The government’s dived into its Covid-19 response fund to help boost work on the controversial three waters proposal.
According to the Herald, about $70 million of pandemic support money was redirected to three waters in April this year. That’s despite a promise from the finance minister Grant Robertson only to use the fund for responding to the pandemic (though this isn’t the first time it’s been used for other costs).
Robertson defended the decision, saying the reallocated cash would be spent across a number of areas. That included more than $20 million for policy and communications work, $14.6 million to increase iwi understanding of the changes and almost $33 million to cover councils’ costs in working with a “transition unit”.
The opposition have lunged at the opportunity to further criticise the government for wasteful spending. National’s deputy Nicola Willis told Newstalk ZB that when you hear it’s from the Covid-19 fund, you expect the money to be used for dealing with the impact of Covid-19.
“You think nurses, you think hospital – but instead this government has treated the Covid fund like a petty cash account for their sneaky projects,” she said. “This latest one is wasteful and verging on dishonest.”