The idea that a government would purposely spend money in a wasteful manner is patently absurd. Voters want more government services and lower tax, any dollar of wasteful spending not only takes away from a government’s ability to meet those desires but also gives voters an active reason to vote against the Government. That’s a huge incentive to spend public money as efficiently as possible.
So, it should have been no surprise to hear Trevor Mallard on Agenda today talk about how, during the Budget process, the Government goes through expenditure line by line, looking first at where resources can be moved around so new policies can be funded from the existing funds – ie. provide more services for the same amount of tax. That is totally at odds with the baseless line from John Key following the Budget that ‘ government spending hasn’t been reviewed in a decade’.
No wonder, then, that National has been able to identify virtually no waste it would cut, while the Government has been able to shave $40 million plus off spending for the same or better output by developing a single core benefit. While the Government has actually got on and done the work, Key has just been telling porkies to the public to win votes.
As it becomes more and more clear that there is simply nowhere near enough government waste to pay for the big tax cuts Key is promising, we have to ask where he will get the money from. There are only two options: borrowing or slashing public services.