“The Finance Minister must commit, as far as is possible, to returning New Zealand to pre-COVID-19 economic settings, rather than using the current crisis to make permanent ideological changes”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Grant Robertson told the Epidemic Response Committee this morning he’s reconsidering the role of the state. He’s already raised benefit levels permanently and hasn’t ruled out a UBI. Phil Twyford is talking about a Ministry of Works and is going to fund new infrastructure projects, singling out clean energy and cycleways. Shane Jones guaranteed the Government will not waste a crisis. Marama Davidson is asking that we use the current circumstances to build a different kind of society.

“Meanwhile, the Finance Minister was cagey when asked about hitting pause on the minimum wage and regulatory initiatives.

“It would be disappointing if the Government was only willing to consider policy responses that aligned with its worldview. The economic recovery should be above politics. We should not be aiming for a particular ideological flavour of recovery. The goal should be to have an economic recovery.

“To this end, as Shamubeel Equab told the Committee this morning, Treasury must reassume its intellectual leadership role on economics, and there must be a genuine contest of ideas.

“Right now, we are sleepwalking towards larger post-COVID-19 government – more government interventions, higher spending and taxes.

“The Government should commit to returning New Zealand in the long-term to our pre-COVID-19 policy settings, and not using our current circumstances to make permanent ideological changes.”