Government told to be more transparent about its COVID-19 spending

Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson.
Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson. Photo credit: Getty

The Government has been told it must do a much better job of telling the public how it is spending billions of dollars battling the pandemic.

Auditor-General John Ryan wants more detail on how much is being spent on the COVID-19 response and where the money is going.

Treasury figures show of the $62 billion put aside, more than $15 billion has gone on the wage subsidy and small business loan schemes.

But Ryan said in a media release that it was difficult to know how much COVID-19 funding had been allocated to specific initiatives or the total amount of spending so far.

He wants the Government to provide special reports and be more transparent and accountable so the public can have confidence that the huge sums of money are being spent wisely.

"Summarising and reporting this information regularly will significantly increase the transparency of this spending. It will help the public and Parliament hold the Government to account.

"An exceptionally large amount of funding has been set aside to tackle the many challenges created by COVID-19. Future generations will likely inherit significantly more public debt as a result," Ryan said.

"Current and future generations will want to know where the money has gone. They will also want to know what has been achieved."