The Government drip feed of spending announcements

National spokesperson for finance Paul Goldsmith is nudging Minister of Finance Grant Robertson on the drip feeding of spending announcements.

Usually most spending is signalled in budgets – this year’s budget was published in mid-May, but unusually, due to the Covid pandemic, a there was a lot of additional spending plus $20 billion not allocated to anything specific.

Obviously spending on measures related to Covid would have to be announced and that would happen gradually as needed. But like $1 billion a year Provincial Growth Fund it leaves open perceptions and allegations of election campaign assistance.

Every Government times announcements they think will be favourable to their chances of re-election, it is a major benefit of incumbency. But most spending is signalled in the election year budget.

In Parliament’s Question Time yesterday:

Hon Paul Goldsmith: Does he stand by his response to my question on Tuesday, which asked how much additional spending he had so far planned to announce before the general election in September, “As the member knows, the Government has been very flexible all the way through our response to ensure we meet need as it arises, but I don’t have any specific plans in that regard.”?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: I stand by all of the statements I made in that answer, and I think the member’s impression wasn’t too bad just then.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: How did he not have any specific plans for new spending on Tuesday and then have his Government announce $400 million of new spending on Wednesday?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: The basis of that spending was in the Budget and the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund announcements we made.

Hon PAUL GOLDSMITH: Does he think he can just dismiss questions about his intentions for billions of dollars of spending?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: No, and I haven’t.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: Can he assure New Zealanders that he’ll keep a substantial part of the $20 billion spare from the COVID fund as a contingency in the case of a later outbreak?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: I, in fact, talked exactly about that when I announced it on Budget day.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: How long is he planning to keep up his average of announcing $200 million of new spending a day since the Budget, and how does he think New Zealand will pay for it?

Hon GRANT ROBERTSON: I would have to go back and look at the figures that the member has just put forward there. What we have done throughout the last 2½ months or so is what New Zealanders wanted us to do, which is cushioned the blow of this virus on both our economy and our society, and we will keep doing that.

On Wednesday:

Govt boosts innovation, R&D for economic rebuild

New Zealand’s entrepreneurs, innovators and crown researchers will benefit from a $401.3 million funding boost through Budget 2020 and the COVID Response and Recovery Fund to help deliver jobs and a stronger economy in a post-COVID world, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Megan Woods said.

Free period products in schools to combat poverty

During term 3, the Ministry of Education will begin providing free period products to schools following the Government’s $2.6 million investment. The roll-out will begin at 15 Waikato schools and be expanded to all state and state-integrated schools on an opt-in basis in 2021.

“Our plan to halve child poverty in 10 years is making a difference but there is more to do and with families hit hard by the COVID-19 global pandemic, it’s important to increase that support in the areas it can make an immediate difference.

Free period products to schools seems like a worthwhile initiative but it has been campaigned for by the Greens for some time and it seems very loosely connected to Covid.


An iconic New Zealand tourism attraction and the country’s 31 Regional Tourism Organisations are the first recipients of support from the $400 million Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, to help position the sector for recovery from COVID-19, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.

Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has welcomed the first release of funds from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced as part of Budget 2020.

It will be difficult for Goldsmith and the Opposition to pin specific spending more on electioneering than being necessary, but the COVID Response and Recovery Fund decisions should be scrutinised.

Leave a comment


  1. David

     /  5th June 2020

    Its all electioneering and some is loosely tied to Covid, most stats are looking damn perky on the economic front outside of tourism.
    The thing with this administration and why the 17 empty chairs is so apt is you have Ardern with her winning PR shctick announcing hundreds of millions in new spending and the incompetents in the back row who are supposed to deliver have no bloody clue so we literally have a government of announcements.
    The 400 million for tourism is a perfect example as Davis hasnt a first clue on tourism but what is he to spend it on ? He is so desperate to spend it on anything he has just given 4 million to a publicly listed company that operates Waitomo Caves, how was that going to be lost to NZ. Its another headline with no thought.

    • I wish that they’d stop acting as if Covid was to blame when it was their damned lockdown that did the damage.

  2. Pink David

     /  5th June 2020

    Tampons cost, what, a few dollars? But of course this government is in the process of making people so poor they cannot afford them, so they have to be handed out as charity.

    Slow hand clap Jacinda!

    • Pads (generic) are $1 for 10 at the Warehouse and have good reviews. Tampons are dearer, but very young girls would probably rather have pads. I only looked in two places. But surely anyone can afford $2 for 2 packs of pads a month.

      Slow. Hand. Clap.

    • Generic pads, $1 for 10 at The Warehouse have good reviews. Anyone should be able to afford 2 packs a month at that price. Tampons are dearer, but they are more complex to make.

  3. Duker

     /  5th June 2020

    All Governments drip feed spending announcements after the budget , especially in election year for obvious reasons.
    Its easy enough to look back to and choose 2017 and National led government to see this is so
    “31 AUGUST 2017
    The Government will provide $27 million to help Auckland City Mission build a new 80-unit complex in the heart of Auckland to house some of the city’s most vulnerable people..”
    30 AUGUST 2017
    The Government is investing $270 million to roll out Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) to 190 more small towns, and extend rural broadband to another 74,000 households and businesses, Communications Minister Simon Bridges says.
    30 AUGUST 2017
    Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced government funding of up to $800,000 for 3-D aerial mapping of Northland
    29 AUGUST 2017
    Around $3 million will be invested to build six new classrooms at Te Kura Kaupapa o Ngā Uri a Māui in Gisborne, Education Minister Nikki Kaye
    4 SEPTEMBER 2017
    A new development on Auckland’s Great North Road will be solely used for those who need social housing assistance, Social Housing Minister Amy Adams announced today.
    1 SEPTEMBER 2017
    The Government is committing more than $50 million to the full redevelopment of Whangarei Boys’ High School, in one of the largest-ever single investments in a New Zealand school.
    21 AUGUST 2017
    Education Minister Nikki Kaye today announced a $3 million package to help increase teacher numbers, with a focus on Auckland.
    19 AUGUST 2017
    Dunedin will get a new $1 billion plus hospital, in what will be the largest build of its type in New Zealand’s history, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says.
    15 AUGUST 2017
    The Government has today announced details of the $100 million social investment fund for mental health, says Social Investment Minister Amy Adams and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.
    12 AUGUST 2017
    Auckland’s historic St James Theatre is receiving $1.5 million in government backing from the Heritage EQUIP fund for privately-owned, earthquake prone buildings.
    24 JULY 2017
    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says $2.1 million over two years will be pumped into selected DHBs to help families support their children’s healthy growth and development.
    24 JULY 2017
    The Government will co-invest up to $600 million alongside local councils and private investors in network infrastructure for big new housing developments
    and it goes on for dozens and dozens of others too numerous to mention

    “But most spending is signalled in the election year budget.” Just isnt true and never has been as a quick run through previous government announcements , both big and small shows.
    2017 wasnt even a year where they had a huge amount of new spending on for a crisis on the eve of the budget and not say 6 months previous to go over the fine details and have have it ready for this myth of ‘most spending in budget.
    Is Goldsmith signalling to his colleagues he cant make headway against the tide of government announcements ….welcome to Politics and his colleagues will know that is how it usually works. Im not sure why Goldsmiths bleating should gain traction outside his caucus either
    Especially as this one shows him to be ‘very forgetful’
    Entrepreneurial Universities funding awarded
    21 SEPTEMBER 2017
    Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Auckland will be the first to take advantage of theGovernment’s $35 million investment in ‘Entrepreneurial Universities’, part of the Innovative New Zealand initiative in Budget 2016, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Paul Goldsmith announced today.

  4. Duker

     /  5th June 2020

    Oh dear another poll and no bump for National under Muller
    ‘A UMR poll the week after Todd Muller took over as National Party leader has shown no immediate change to the National Party’s fortunes, although Muller has debuted at 13 per cent as preferred Prime Minister.”

    “The poll results had National on 30 per cent – just 1 per cent higher than the 29 per cent it scored on the last such UMR poll under Simon Bridges’ leadership at the end of April.
    The poll has Labour still well ahead of National on 54 per cent, NZ First was on 5 per cent and the Green Party on 4 per cent.

    and importantly I hope this puts to rest the common but misguided notion that its ‘leaked by labour’

    “UMR is the polling company used by the Labour Party, but this was one of a regular series taken for its corporate clients rather than Labour.

    Nothing like the poll Jump when Ardern became opposition leader
    “Muller’s entry was not quite the “Jacindamania” when Ardern took over from Andrew Little as Labour leader on August 1, 2017.
    In the first polls after that, Ardern leaped from 8.7 per cent to 26.3 per cent as preferred PM in a Newshub Reid Research poll done the week she took over.
    A 1 News-Colmar Brunton poll two weeks later showed a larger spike for Ardern from 6 per cent to 30 per cent.

    meanwhile back to the mushrooms
    “It is understood National’s caucus is yet to be shown any of the National Party’s internal polling by Curia since the leadership change. Two sets of polling will have been delivered since Muller took over on May 22.”

    as an aside
    DPF Group Ltd trading Curia Market Research has received $310,800.00 for 74 employees from the Government.
    No wonder its been a parade of guest posts on his blog to criticize the spending during the lockdown.


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