“The Government has budgeted almost $1.2m to upgrade the hidden VIP ‘Kauri Lounge’, should this really be a priority during a cost of living crisis?” Asks ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Written Parliamentary Questions released to ACT showed that $1.192m has been allocated to ‘improvements’ for the lounge that is used exclusively for celebrities and global leaders to relax away from the public, and only had 178 people use it in the 2021/22 financial year.

"All around the world, there is a major resource crunch for money, for workers, for materials. Basically, everyone is short of everything. For the Government to be spending on something like this, that by all rumours was already pretty good, so it can be used a handful of times a year by people who aren't prepared to hang out with the rest of us, is a sign of totally misguided priorities.

“It’s part of a pattern of behaviour from the Government where they’re not focussed on what’s important for Kiwis. ACT has recently revealed $6m allocated to a new Reserve Bank website, $638,000 spent advertising public transport policy to people already on public transport, and $44k on a new theme tune for RNZ. These costs may seem small individually, but they all add up.

“As inflation rises and mortgage rates increase with the Official Cash Rate, projects like this are the sort that need to be shelved until inflation is under control and the country can afford them.

“Kiwis are going through a cost-of-living crisis and tightening their belts to get by. The Government should be doing the same, not spending taxpayers’ money on projects that only service a small group of society’s elite.”

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