Judith Collins has lambasted the Governments Budget, in an annual speech tradition in which the leader of the Opposition tries to topple the Government.
But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shot back, making jokes about Nationals many leadership changes.
Collins focused her speech on the Governments issues around delivery and its increased spending levels in the current budget, rather than specific policies funded in the Budget.
Thats fairly common as the Opposition doesnt get much time to look at the Budget before its presented to Parliament, so rebuttal of specific policies are usually scarce.
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We’ve now seen four Budgets from Grant Robertson and zero evidence that it doesn’t matter what he promises; he will not deliver, Collins said.
She then listed things from Budgets past that she believed had failed.
They said $2 billion for KiwiBuild. Well, I don’t want to gloat, but I think we all know what happened there.
Three billion dollars for the Provincial Growth Fund they’ve got a lot of debt, but not much else, Collins said.
National Party leader Judith Collins lambasted the Governments lack of delivery.
She noted that failure to deliver was even evident in the area of mental health, where she agreed extra spending was a good idea.
In 2019, the Budget had $1.9b for mental health, and I actually thought, yeah, that was good.
But actually, two years later and a lot of these projects haven’t yet received a dollar. So, no, that was a shame, Collins said.
National is still parsing the numbers on Budget 2021 unlike the Government, its only had a few hours to look over the figures, but its clear the party is concerned about Government borrowing levels, despite net core Crown debt ending up $10b lower than previously forecast over the next five years.
But thats not enough for Collins.
Our debt as a country is set to climb to $184b more than $100,000 for every household. New Zealanders want to know what they’re getting for that debt, she said.
Ardern, who spoke after Collins (the finance minister always speaks first on Budget day, followed by the opposition leader and prime minister), joked at Nationals current disarray.
Ardern said that much had changed in the four years since Robertson delivered his first Budget day speech, particularly in the wake of the pandemic and one thing that had changed more than most was the leader of the Opposition, cycling from Simon Bridges to Todd Muller to Collins herself.
The Leader of the Opposition has [changed] a few times, Ardern said.
She also poked fun at Collinss characterisation of some of the Governments proposals for Mori as a secret agenda, implying Collinss own caucus may have a secret agenda to topple her as leader.
Over the last few weeks we’ve heard that the Leader of the Opposition has this habit of calling almost every document she happens upon a secret agendafrom a commissioned piece of work to something she finds on a website, to possibly even her own caucus minutes, Ardern joked.

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