AM co-host Ryan Bridge rips into Prime Minister Chris Hipkins' policy bonfire

AM co-host Ryan Bridge has ripped into Prime Minister Chris Hipkins' policy bonfire, questioning when he'll come up with any "bright ideas". 

Hipkins said on Monday the Government was reprioritising further spending as Labour continues its refocus on the cost of living and recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle.

This policy wildfire, along with previous reprioritisations, is estimated to save the Government about $1 billion. Hipkins has said this will be reallocated to help Kiwis with the cost of living. 

The Government on Monday announced significant increases to Superannuation, main benefits and student supports as part of a "bread and butter support" package that comes into effect on April 1. It's expected to cost an additional $311 million but the Government said it means about 1.4 million New Zealanders will "not go backwards" as most of the changes are aligned with increases in inflation.

But Bridge questioned on AM on Tuesday when Hipkins will stop scrapping policy and come forward with new policies.

"This is an election year and he's getting them in the centre and getting rid of the annoying stuff that people hated about Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson, so he's doing that. But in seven weeks, has he come up with any bright ideas at the same time that he's been culling these ones?" Bridge asked.

One policy scrapped was the social car leasing scheme. The policy was to provide leasing arrangements to low-income families for clean cars but the Government said it was proving "difficult to implement". 

But Bridge took exception to this, questioning how hard can it be to implement a car leasing scheme. 

"We have just found billion dollars and apparently it won't cost us anything to save this billion dollars. The planet won't melt, life will go on mostly as normal," Bridge said. 

"So what were the billion dollars being spent on you might ask? One of the things they have cut is the car leasing scheme.

"When asked, 'Why aren't you going ahead with this, why would you stop this particular project?' Chris Hipkins said, and I quote, 'It was a difficult concept to be able to implement.'

"Have you ever heard of Hertz or Avis? This is their bread and butter. They do it every day. What is so hard about leasing a car? Is it that the Government is trying to do it?"

Hipkins defended the policy bonfire at Monday's post-Cabinet press conference when he announced the reprioritisation, saying it will help Kiwis through the cost of living crisis.

"I want New Zealanders to know the Government is doing its bit and is cutting its cloth to suit the times we are in," Hipkins said.

"Some of these things we're delaying or stopping mean a lot to us. But we're taking the hard decisions because we know Kiwis are also making some tough calls.

"It will give ministers and wider Government more bandwidth to deal with [the] cost of living issues and the cyclone recovery."

Hipkins is due to appear on AM later on Tuesday morning.

Watch the video above.