“While private businesses are having to tighten their belts amid a cost of living crisis, the Government is spending more than a billion dollars on a make-work scheme in which the Minister can’t even explain how the money is being spent,” says ACT’s Conservation spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Jobs for Nature is a money pit. It is competing with private businesses in a tight job market and using taxpayer money to do so. Over $1 billion has been contracted so far for 6.3 million hours of work. That comes out at $167 per hour of work, about eight times the minimum wage.

“I asked the Conservation Minister in Parliament whether she stood by this programme. She listed off a number of activities such as planting trees and trapping predators which she is proud of. She couldn’t explain why these jobs need to be funded by the Government at $167 per hour though.

“The fundamental problem is that the Government is trying to take on too many non-essential functions instead of doing a few things well. The Government’s inability to reign in its spending is why inflation is skyrocketing and hardworking Kiwis are getting poorer by the day.

“Labour has no problem wasting taxpayers’ money without a care for the value it gets, or the impact on future generations. They’re borrowing a billion dollars to fund low-skilled jobs that could just exist within the job market.

“The country needs to pay for the rebuild from Cyclone Gabrielle, if they can’t give up on expensive programmes like Jobs for Nature then New Zealand will never be able to afford it.”

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Nicole McKee