Working Groups

According to Simon Bridges Labour has instigated 279 working groups costing $317M

The tax working group cost the taxpayer $2M and arguably a big chunk of this was wasted on examining how to push through a capital gains tax that failed due to its complexity and the lack of a public appetite for it.

The 21 member mental health working group reported back to government in November 2018 but several more mental health working groups were formed in February 2019 attracting criticism that work is being unnecessarily repeated.

The Criminal Justice Summit cost $1.5 million – more than twice the original estimate.

The Porirua event hosted between 600 and 700 people from within justice sector and explored ways to turn around the country’s high reoffending rate and swelling prison population.

Mr Little had initially signalled the conference would cost just $700,000, but said on Sunday that figure had only been a “rough guess”.

National MP Mark Mitchell said it was a waste of taxpayers’ money. “Nothing appears to have come out the other end of it. It appeared to be a forum where ministers just stood up and talked to people.”

Radio NZ


$2 billion was allocated to KiwiBuild resulting in around 200 houses being built.

In the May 2019 budget the government allocated just $90 million to housing and urban development and this month a further $400 million was allocated to progressive home ownership under the KiwiBuild reset

Free University Tuition

Previously covered under pre-government failed promises.

Shane Jones Regional Slush Fund

In February 2019 Ardern launched the $3 billion Shane Jones’ regional slush fund and by April Jones had already attracted criticism from National’s Regional Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith who said Jones wanted to spend taxpayers’ money on an unnamed regional airline which hadn’t even asked for funding.

“It would be odd for the Government to invest in companies just so they could compete more effectively against a business the Government already part owns (Air New Zealand). It’s doubly odd to push for an investment when it hadn’t even been requested.

“Treasury’s comments were withering: The company ‘has not applied to the PGF for funding, and we have not seen any analysis of what benefit a $15 million investment in this company would provide’.

“It is tawdry that Mr Jones was pushing this plan at a time when he was carrying out a personal and public vendetta against the CEO of Air New Zealand. ‘

One reasonable interpretation of events is that Mr Jones was angry with Air New Zealand’s leaders because they wouldn’t do his bidding and he wanted to teach them a lesson by strengthening the airline’s competitors.

“This will send a shudder through New Zealand business.


Robert Pigou, a former banker who now heads the Provincial Development Unit, the team behind the administration of the Provincial Growth Fund, admitted in May that “when the PGF is attempting to measure success, it goes to the groups that it has awarded millions of dollars to, and asks them to tell it how they are doing” making reliable reporting optimistic nonsense.

Pigou said the fund was “on track to create thousands of jobs” and that “over 10,000 jobs may be created as a result of PGF investment” but when pressed by National Party figures claiming that just over 50 jobs had been created by the PGF in a year was forced to admit he couldn’t say “exactly how many jobs are full-time, part-time or temporary, or whether all of the workers are employees or contractors.”

Pike River

The budget for the Pike River re-entry was $23 million over three years which rose to an estimated $36 million in July 2018.  The mine was re-opened in May after the first attempt was thwarted by a false oxygen reading.  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the reopening as a “symbolic” removal of the last piece of concrete sealing the mine drift. The time frame for reaching the end of the drift is unknown with costs expected to go only one way.

At the time, Pike River Recovery Agency chief executive Dave Gawn said “we shouldn’t underplay the amount of work that still to be done.”

Hardship Grants

“Figures from the Ministry of Social Development for the March 2019 Quarter showed that hardship assistance grants increased by $48 million in the past year.

They also showed the emergency housing grants went from $6.6m to $23m, and there were 70,000 extra requests for assistance for food.

National Social Development spokesperson Louise Uptson said the government promised to reduce child poverty, but more New Zealanders were struggling to live day-to-day.

“The Families Package they introduced last year was meant to help low income families and those families who were worse off.

“That absolutely hasn’t worked when we’ve seen significant increases in people seeking help for food and housing.”

Radio NZ

Using the Air Force Jet for a One Day Hui

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has defended having an Air Force Boeing 757 fly back from Nauru after dropping off Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters to collect her and deliver her to the Pacific Islands Forum on the island for one day.

The round trip comes at a cost of $80,000 on fuel alone.

While Peters and a contingent flew to Nauru yesterday, about five-and-a-half hours from New Zealand, Ardern will go on Wednesday for the leaders’ retreat.

The Prime Minister is still breastfeeding her 11-week-old daughter Neve, who does not have immunity to visit an environment such as that on Nauru.

A Newspaper