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Govt signs blank cheque to fight M bovis

Newshub logoNewshub 6/06/2018 Jenna Lynch
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Those dealing with the threat of Mycoplasma bovis now have a blank cheque signed by the Finance Minister.

Grant Robertson has committed to throwing as much money as it takes at the problem, so long as the eradication shows signs of success.

There was absolutely no mention of New Zealand's big biosecurity disaster Mycoplasma bovis in the budget this year.

The Government set aside $85 million before the Budget, but eradication is likely to cost the country 10 times that.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has his cheque book ready. © Newshub. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has his cheque book ready. And if that cost blows out, the Government's money man has his cheque book open and ready - there's no cap on how much he's willing to spend.

"Is there a fiscal upper end for the commitment to phased eradication?" National's finance spokesperson Amy Adams asked.

"[It] is not about fiscal matters, it's about whether or not it can be successful," responded Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

The Finance Minister was defending his books on Wednesday at the annual 'back your Budget' grilling by MPs

National did a lot of sniping, but didn't manage to land any blows - perhaps because most New Zealanders think the budget was spot-on.

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll asked where the public thought the money should go; 56 percent thought the Government was right to spend up large on health, 22 percent thought it would be better spent on housing and 14.5 percent wanted education to be the focus.

The annual post-budget interrogation usually puts the Finance Minister through their paces, but there was a degree of ineptitude from the National Party on Wednesday - an inability to pick holes.

That points to two things - it still hasn't learned how to be a credible opposition, and Grant Robertson's first Budget gets a pass mark.

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