Spending plans 'totally affordable' - Jacinda Ardern

  • 30/10/2017

Jacinda Ardern is defending her Government's policies as "totally affordable", after former Finance Minister Steven Joyce demanded they "front up quickly with the cost of this coalition".

Mr Joyce said his replacement, Grant Robertson, did "two long-form interviews over this weekend and yet New Zealanders are still none the wiser about the cost of the coalition's programme and the impact on their back pockets".

Mr Robertson talked to Three's The Nation over the weekend, saying  the "days of a hands-off, laissez-faire Government hoping for the best for New Zealand are over", and discussed the potential impact of raising of the minimum wage.

Mr Joyce said Mr Robertson has access to advice about the costs of policies but doesn't want to reveal the numbers.

"New Zealand's healthy Government accounts are the product of the hard work of millions of Kiwis. They are entitled to know how much has gone out of their collective pockets in the process of forming this Government.

"They also have a right to know whether the new Government's spending plans in actual dollars will match the cast-iron commitments Labour repeatedly made before the election."

Appearing on The AM Show on Monday, the new Prime Minister said the coalition Government's policy package - including some NZ First and Green initiatives - will stay within the Labour Party's own budget responsibility rules.

"We know for instance the Climate Commission, we'd already budgeted for that because it was part of our plans. We know that things like, the additional police, that's probably one of the larger figures, that's about an extra $80 million in order to fulfil that one.

"We want to make sure we've got those numbers right. We've gone and done our own assessment. Now that we're in a position to do so, we're going to make sure we use our access to officials to cost [the policies]. My assessment is it is totally affordable."

During the campaign, Labour repeatedly pointed out its own policies had been costed and approved by independent economists BERL.

Ms Ardern said now she and Mr Robertson had access to Treasury's expertise, the full breakdown of the new Government's spending plans would be revealed in the half-yearly fiscal update due before December.

NZN / Newshub.