Election 2023: Chris Hipkins doesn't know how much his Government spent in past year

Chris Hipkins doesn't know how much his Government spent in the past year after criticising the Opposition National Party's idea of delivering "taxpayer receipts" to New Zealanders. 

The Prime Minister made the criticism on Monday, saying National should "go back to the drawing board" and it had its "priorities all wrong". 

Earlier in the day, National leader Christopher Luxon announced the taxpayer receipt idea as one of three proposals to "boost fiscal discipline" and improve transparency about where Kiwis' money is going. 

Asked about National's idea again on Tuesday and whether he knew how much his Government had spent in the past year, Hipkins said: "I haven't got the number memorised.

"It's not quite that simple. There are a number of different numbers I could quote, if I'd memorised them, in terms of what reflects overall levels of Government spending," he told AM.

Hipkins said overall Government spending as a percentage of gross domestic product was "trending downwards".

"In raw dollar terms, I haven't got the most recent figure there memorised," he said.

"I don't memorise every number in the Government's accounts."

He maintained the National Party's taxpayer receipt idea was "not a priority for New Zealanders".

Hipkins told AM host Ryan Bridge the Government's finances were readily available for the public to see.

"That does include the sort of information that Christopher Luxon's talking about."

Hipkins said New Zealanders could log in to their IRD accounts if they wanted to know how much tax they were paying.

"That information is available now… you're potentially going to be employing more people to send out what is equivalent to bank statements to people - I think the world's moved on a bit."

Luxon told reporters on Monday New Zealanders should have "more literacy about where Government spending goes" and what their taxes were spent on.

"I'm giving you a sense of how we are going to manage in Government," he said.