Election 2023: Kiwis would get annual breakdown of taxes, where money's been spent under National

A National Government would require Inland Revenue to produce a "Taxpayer's Receipt" for every taxpayer in New Zealand outlining not only their taxes paid and government payments received, but where taxpayer money has been spent.

It's one of three initiatives a future National Government would introduce to boost fiscal discipline, leader Christopher Luxon announced on Monday

"Every taxpayer will receive a 'Taxpayer’s Receipt' from Inland Revenue, showing taxes paid and government payments received including Working for Families and benefit payments. It will breakdown where taxpayers' money has been spent, eg education, health, and welfare."

National would also require Treasury to report annually on the performance of major programmes "to demonstrate whether they are achieving results" and also link public sector chief executives and deputies to achievement "in order to encourage high performance and ensure accountability".

Luxon said he wanted to "restore fiscal discipline". 

"I won't put up with pouring more money into broken programmes that don't work when we need more funding for frontline services like schools and hospitals," Luxon said.

He believes the idea of a taxpayer's receipt would explain government spending to the public, therefore improving accountability. 

"It's taxpayers' money and we all deserve to know what it's being spent on but unless you've worked in the machine in Wellington, or have trained for years in accounting or economics, it's impossible to work out how much money the Government spends, and where it all goes.

"That's why a Government I lead will introduce new requirements for clear financial reporting to taxpayers. Individuals will receive a taxpayer's receipt each year and Treasury will produce an annual Report Card for Taxpayers to clearly show government spending and tax."

This comes ahead of the release of the Budget on Thursday. 

In a speech to the Auckland Chamber on Monday, Luxon said he would be looking for "evidence of a return to disciplined spending" - calling savings announced by the Government "small" - a plan to get the economy "moving again" and tax relief. 

"I think there’s a real chance Labour will deliver something on tax. But it’s likely to be too little and too late and offered only in an effort by the Government to secure a third term."

Finance Minister Grant Robertson last week said the Government had found $4 billion in savings.

The bulk of that had already been announced coming from the Government's earlier decisions to throw initiatives like the public media merger, social income insurance and multiple climate schemes onto the policy bonfire.

Other savings have been found by reassessing contingency allocations the Government's now convinced are no longer needed and by returning underspends from existing initiatives. 

"We owe it to New Zealanders as they are carefully considering their spending, and making trade-offs in their lives, that we do the same," Robertson said.

The Finance Minister said Kiwis shouldn't necessarily be preparing for a lolly scramble, but instead a "balanced Budget".

"It means that we've worked very hard to make sure we've got the resources we need, for example, to meet cost pressures."

The Government's released a number of pre-Budget announcements, including a $1 billion package on Sunday to assist with the recovery from the Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.

The Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand for the nine months ended March 31 showed Core Crown tax revenue was $83.6 billion, compared to the $86 billion predicted. Overall, Core Crown revenue was $91.7 billion and expenses were $92.5 billion. 

The Operating Balance before Gains and Losses showed a deficit of $3.4 billion, higher than the $913 million forecast. This was partly down to additional costs due to the North Island weather events.