“The Government’s financial statements for the year to June 30 show Jacinda Ardern’s abundance of caution has become an abundance of costs to New Zealanders,” says ACT Leader David Seymour

“Last year Labour spent $9 billion more than they taxed, even though taxes were up $9.9 billion, or 10 per cent from last year. That’s because Government spending is out of control, with the Government spending $151 billion, $17 billion more than last year. The Government has abandoned any pretence of being a careful economic manager.

“In per capita terms, these numbers mean that Labour spent $29,000 per person, taxed $20,750 per person, and borrowed $1,865 per person. If every year was like that we would be broke in no time.

“Labour constantly tells us what a good job they did of Covid management, quarantining an island nation from Covid, but now the costs are stacking up for all to see. In truth, we had very expensive Covid mismanagement, and New Zealand taxpayers will feel it for a long time to come.

“Government accounts for the latest financial year reflects disastrous decisions made by Labour in the second half of 2021 and the first half of this year. Bad decisions Labour made included (but were not limited to):

  • The delayed vaccine roll out due to delayed procurement
  • The ban on Rapid Antigen Tests while the rest of the world used them to move on
  • The December decision to delay the border reopening due to Omicron (which got through MIQ before the originally scheduled date anyway)
  • The decision to lock down Auckland even when vaccination rates exceeded 90 per cent
  • The decision to lock down Northland despite knowing that the travellers were not sex workers who’d lied to get travel passes
  • The retention of unworkable isolation periods throughout 2022

“All of that has occurred with a massive inflationary tailwind. Since the beginning of COVID, we have had 10 per cent inflation, with the Government being a silent partner benefiting from larger tax takes. Grant Robertson says the economy is resilient, it’s just overinflated by loose monetary and fiscal policy - money printing and money borrowing.

“Labour’s irresponsible behaviour leaves New Zealand like a lot of countries, with hard choices coming out of Covid. Households face the end of cheap money, with interest rates rising. Taxpayers face high Government spending and rising debt and taxation per worker.

“The next Government will have to take decisive action to reduce Government expenditure, reopen the border properly by making immigration policy and administration efficient, and put in place measures to boost productivity and pay down the debt.

“ACT is the only party that has produced a fully costed alternative budget so that New Zealanders have a choice. The next Government can carry on Labour’s borrow, spend, and hope attitude, or draw a line in the sand and move the country back to being a low tax, high growth economy.

“ACT’s alternative Budget for real change would reduce wasteful spending by $7.2 billion, reduce taxes by $3.3 billion, target new spending of $1.5 billion at education, defence, and housing, and start paying down debt immediately. That is the kind of decisive real change that middle New Zealand needs. It would deliver around $2,300 dollars a year in tax relief to a middle earner on $70,000 with one child."

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David Seymour