National leader Simon Bridges has come out swinging today, attacking the Labour-led Government for what he calls ‘wasteful spending.’
Mr Bridges also said the Government had backed away from a number of their policies.
“We look right now and we see big spray and walk away policies by this Government,” he said.
“Whether it’s Shane Jones who spent money on the mulching of seeds around about or near his house, and a variety of other things.
"There’s lots of money going on things where actually, people who get up every morning, work hard for their family, say 'why are we doing that? That’s not going to me or to anything I see value in',” he said.
Mr Bridges was adamant he was not attacking beneficiaries.
“I’ve always had an incredibly consistent line on benefits and our welfare system – it’s really important but it should be a hand up not a hand out,” he said.
He said the Labour Government had backed away from “so many things” including their “big welfare group".
He said although Labour do not want to see sanctions on beneficiaries, he thinks sanctions are a “fair go.”
“It’s fair on the taxpayer and it’s fair on the beneficiary,” he said.
Mr Bridges said National wants to see beneficiaries “get into work to make a better go of it for themselves".
Earlier this month, Labour scrapped benefit sanctions on sole parents who don't name their child's other parent on its birth certificate, among welfare changes totalling $286 million.
It also announced low-income workers will be able to earn more before their benefit payments are reduced.
The changes were announced by Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni, based on recommendations made by a welfare advisory group.
Ms Sepuloni said the 2019 Budget would allocate funds to employ up to 263 front-line staff at Work and Income over four years "to support more people into good work", costing $76.3m.
The changes to benefits will come into effect from April, 2020.