Chris Hipkins denies spending cuts a reaction to negative polling despite saying in April he's not 'willing to oversee that kind of austerity'

The Prime Minister is denying the Government's announcement to cut billions of dollars of public service spending is a knee-jerk reaction to negative polling.

Labour revealed on Monday a plan to slash $4 billion in spending over the next four years and also cut money spent on consultants and contractors.

But Chris Hipkins said cutting spending has been part of his plan ever since he became Prime Minister.

"We've set out two lots of savings already this year since I've been Prime Minister and this is the third round of savings," he told AM. "We indicated in the Budget that, actually, this is what we were going to be doing as we headed into the… pre-election fiscal update."

But, since May's Budget, tax revenue had fallen by more than anticipated, Hipkins said.

"We need to make sure that we're trimming our spending so we continue to balance the books."

However, AM host Ryan Bridge pointed to earlier comments made by Hipkins that in order for the Government "to reduce spending and have a meaningful impact on inflation, you're talking billions of dollars that the Government would need to reduce its expenditure by".

"I'm certainly not, as Prime Minister, willing to oversee that kind of austerity approach because the consequences of that for New Zealanders and New Zealand families would be significant," Hipkins said in April.

When asked by Bridge on Tuesday about those earlier comments, Hipkins said the Government was being "absolutely consistent".

"If you're using 'cutting Government spending' as the primary means of bringing down inflation, the sorts of cuts that you would need to make would need to go far further than the cuts that we announced we would be making yesterday," he reiterated.

Hipkins accused Bridge of "not even considering the full context" of his earlier remarks. 

"I don't see Government spending as the primary means of bringing down inflation, I've been very clear about that since the day I took on this job," the PM said.

No frontline departments would see spending cuts under his watch, he said.

Meanwhile, economist Cameron Bagrie said the Government's latest saving promise would put "the squeeze on all political parties" ahead of October's election.

"There's a bit of ideology now getting met by economic reality; the economic reality is firms are not making money, they're not paying tax on the other side and we're seeing company tax fall 10 percent on a year ago. So things are starting to hit home really hard."