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The government has dipped into its Covid-19 response fund to help boost work on the controversial Three Waters proposal.
According to the Herald, around $70 million in pandemic support funds were redirected to three waters in April this year. This is despite a promise from Finance Minister Grant Robertson to only use the fund to respond to the pandemic (although this is not the first time it has been used for other costs).
Robertson defended the decision, saying the reallocated money would be spent on a number of areas. This included more than $20 million for policy and communications work, $14.6 million to increase iwi’s understanding of the changes, and nearly $33 million to cover the costs of advice by working with a transition”.
The opposition jumped at the chance to further criticize the government for its wasteful spending. National deputy Nicola Willis told Newstalk ZB that when you hear it comes from the Covid-19 fund, you expect the money to be used to deal with the impact of Covid-19.
“You think nurses, you think hospital – but instead this government has treated the Covid fund as a petty cash account for their sneaky schemes,” she said. “The latter is wasteful and borders on dishonesty.”