Completely shambolic, that’s the simplest way to describe this Government’s latest attempt at rolling out one of their headline policies.
The cost of living payment was a sticking plaster solution which came about because Labour were slow to acknowledge the hardships everyday New Zealanders were facing as inflation ate into their weekly budgets and the cost of living crisis hit home for so many.
We are now seeing the farcical result of this poorly thought out policy, with people living overseas reporting they have received the cost of living payment. There is a long and ever growing list of examples where Labour have been careless with New Zealander’s hard-earned tax dollars, but this sets the bar even lower. It’s just disrespectful to spray around taxpayer funds without even caring if it’s going to achieve its intended purpose.
National have written to the Auditor-General and have asked for an investigation. One of the key criteria for receiving this cost of living payment was that recipients must be living and present in New Zealand for tax purposes. We want to know the extent of the issue and to determine if taxpayer funds have been used without the proper authority of Parliament.
The high cost of living is having a devastating impact on our country and we are seeing this most acutely in the rising number of people living in cars. When they were in opposition Labour were rightly concerned that people were sleeping rough, but they have done nothing but make the problem worse. 480 Kiwis are currently living in their cars, a number which has quadrupled in the last five years. There are also 27,000 people on the social housing waitlist. Labour’s inability to deliver is hurting our most vulnerable.
On a slightly more positive note, we had a great turnout at my public meeting in Katikati where we discussed the dire transport needs of the region. The Western Bay of Plenty has experienced rapid growth over the past few years, but investments in key roading projects keep getting kicked down the road. It’s simply not good enough that residents continue to risk their lives on one of the most dangerous roads in the country. We need to do more, and I appreciate my colleague Simeon Brown, National’s Transport Spokesperson, for joining the discussion via Zoom and outlining National’s commitment to investing in our state highways.