“Revenue Minister David Parker should publicly commit to accepting all of the Auditor-General’s findings in relation to the Government’s shambolic cost of living payment,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“In particular, Inland Revenue should review the payments made to date, identify the scale of incorrect payments, and remind ineligible recipients that they’re obliged to repay the money.

“The Auditor-General has written a scathing assessment of the Government’s Cost of Living Payment, saying:

"Speed and expediency were prioritised over certainty and accuracy" and "Inland Revenue does not know, and has said it may never know, how many ineligible people might have received the payment."

“The Auditor-General has highlighted the sheer absurdity of setting up an $814 million payment without knowing how many ineligible people you’re giving money to:

"Inland Revenue told my staff that it is doing some work to improve the accuracy of future payments, but does not know, and may never know, how many ineligible people might have received the payment. This is, in my view, unacceptable."

“Taxpayers will be furious that the Government has played fast and loose with their money after being caught napping during the start of the cost of living crisis.

“The Auditor-General goes on:

"In my view, the public can reasonably expect Inland Revenue to consider what steps it can take to better identify the scale of any payments to people who may not have been eligible…I encourage Inland Revenue to review the payments made to date. I also encourage Inland Revenue to remind ineligible recipients that they are obliged to repay any payment received immediately."

“Parker should commit to acting on these recommendations.

“The Government says it will be more careful with the second and third payments but that will be little comfort to taxpayers who have shelled out millions so far. David Parker and the IRD now need to go back and try to fix the mess they have created.”

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David Seymour