Making sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely

  • Hon Grant Robertson

The Coalition Government is continuing to prioritise expenditure to ensure that we’re investing in the public services that matter to New Zealanders, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

“We have a responsibility as Government to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. This means they are spent on the priorities that New Zealanders hold important and represent value for money,” Grant Robertson said.

The 2019 Budget Policy Statement reconfirms operating allowances of $2.4 billion per year over the next four Budgets. This is the new spending that will be available at Budget 2019 for new initiatives and to meet growing demand for high-quality public services.

“Every new Budget bid is carefully scrutinised by the Treasury and – from this year – filtered through the Budget priorities to ensure that they represent value for money, fit with the Coalition Government’s objectives and improve New Zealanders’ wellbeing.

“It’s clear that this Coalition Government has different priorities to the previous one. After nine years of a different Government, it’s not surprising that there would be some spending not aligned to our priorities that can be reprioritised to higher value spending.

“We undertook a similar prioritisation process ahead of Budget 2018 and said back then that this exercise will be ongoing.

“Budget 2019 guidance sent to all departments and Ministers in September outlined how the process is continuing. Before they put in bids for new spending initiatives, Ministers and their departments were asked to undertake a review of spending within their portfolios to identify at least one per cent within their baselines that is not aligned with the Government’s aims, or is of the lowest priority for that portfolio.

“This review does not cover capital expenditure, benefits or related expenses, cost recovered revenue, revenue dependent appropriations and memorandum accounts, and Permanent Legislative Authority funding.

“We will assess the material that Ministers and departments put forward before deciding whether resources can be better spent, in time for Budget 2019.

“This is a responsible Government in action working to ensure all aspects of baseline operating spending are of high value, and that this spending fits with the Government’s objectives,” Grant Robertson said.

The guidance issued to Ministers and departments can be found here: