“Shane Jones’ bait and switch on the Provincial Growth Fund will not fool New Zealanders,” according to ACT Leader David Seymour.
Jones today announced that $600 million of the Provincial Growth Fund would be moved around in response to COVID-19.
“The first problem is that the money has to come from somewhere, and New Zealanders are smart enough to work out it’s from their taxes, not just now, but next year and the year after. Every dollar Jones spends is a dollar that could have been spent by the households, workers and businesses that earned it. The Provincial Growth Fund is just a money-go-round with Shane Jones clipping the ticket.
“Last week, I asked the Treasury Secretary what the Government’s current spend up will cost. She said the interest on government debt would be about $1500 for every single person, every year. A taxpayer supporting several other people will be paying thousands a year in interest.
“The second problem is that, even if spending other people’s money was a good idea, Shane Jones is the last person who should be allowed to do it. The Provincial Growth Fund has been plagued by scandals, and Jones is never far from the trouble.
“This latest announcement is supposed to be about urgency. If the need for activity is urgent, it would make more sense to continue projects that are already advanced. Instead, the Minister is now proposing to cancel projects that had been approved and ‘redistribute’ the money to other projects that will supposedly be ready faster. It has to be asked, is he achieving this speed while keeping everything above board?
“The alternative is for the Government to stop taking people’s money in the first place. ACT’s Alternative Budget lays out a plan for a temporary GST cut to 10 per cent for a year, and a permanent reduction in the middle income tax rate to 17.5 per cent from 30 per cent. These tax cuts would have stimulated the economy without needless bureaucracy.
“Ultimately, that is the choice facing New Zealand at election year. A future of paying off debt to cover Shane Jones’ politicking, or a future of prosperity led by businesses and workers in a low tax environment.”