Cost of living payment error 'disrespectful' to taxpayers – Luxon

Source: 1News

National Party Leader Christopher Luxon says the Government's cost of living payment is "a total a joke" following the revelation some New Zealanders who've lived overseas for years will receive the payment in error.

The first of three $116.67 instalments was sent to around 1.3 million Kiwis. This is around 800,000 fewer than estimated by the Government.

Two further instalments will come through on September 1 and October 3.

To be eligible, a person must be a New Zealand tax resident aged 18 and over, who earns $70,000 or less a year and who is not receiving the winter energy payment. The initiative, which is projected to cost $816 million, was announced in Budget 2022.

But Luxon told Breakfast on Wednesday the payment is a total "shambles" and was made up on the fly by the Labour Government.

"You've got people getting it that shouldn't be getting it, you've got 800,000 people that are eligible and entitled that aren't getting it and you've got a Government that doesn't know what's going on."

"The bottom line is this, it's actually taxpayers money that's being hugely disrespected here," he said.

Luxon says the payments are poorly targeted and not directed at those who need it the most.

READ MORE: Nats call for review into 'embarrassing' cost of living error

"There was a reason the IRD and the treasury said this is not the way to go and that was the advice they gave the Government because it's just not delivering the support that is needed to the right places."

Luxon added, "whether it's the economy, whether it's housing, whether it's health, whether it's education or crime the Government is not able to get anything done anymore."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday acknowledged that some Kiwis based overseas would also receive the payment, despite not being eligible.

READ MORE: Govt's 'duty' to support Kiwis amid cost of living crisis - Ardern

“By using that simple design, there will be a small number of individuals who we may not be able to tell are not in New Zealand. Again, relative to the number who are eligible and will rightly receive it, it’s a small number," she told Breakfast.

“At the same time, I’d rather that simplicity because the alternative is that you have this system where you apply for something and we know we wouldn’t have reached the people we needed to.”