“The Auditor-General (AG) has this morning expressed his desire to get to the bottom of the Government’s reckless spending of the COVID-19 slush fund,” says ACT’s Associate Finance spokesperson Damien Smith.

“Appearing in front of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, the AG reiterated his grave concerns around the cavalier spending of the COVID-19 slush fund.

“I asked the AG whether he will conduct an inquiry to review this expenditure properly, and he confirmed that looking into the COVID slush fund is in his draft annual plan and program of work.

“ACT supports this work and expects the AG will find at best reckless spending and at worst outright dishonesty in the Government’s process.

“Billions and billions of taxpayer dollars have been dished out under the pretence of ‘COVID related spending’. In reality it is nothing but a slush fund for Labour’s ideological pet projects and has contributed to a domino effect of domestic inflation that is making Kiwis poorer.

“$515 million on school lunches, $26.6 million for cameras on fishing boats and the day we went into lockdown it announced $17.1 million from the fund for ‘creative spaces to support participation in the arts.’

“This is an outrageous and brazen waste of taxpayers’ money. While Kiwis have been cutting their budgets and making tough decisions to stay afloat, the Government has been spending their money on whatever it feels like.

“ACT’s Real Change Budget would ensure that your taxes are spent wisely. Taxes would go towards services like health, education and law and order. They would provide the things that Kiwis needs for communities to thrive.”