Brownlee stands by earthquake spending statement

7:53 am on 26 May 2012

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee is standing by his statement that the Government has spent nearly $2.5 billion on recovery efforts in Canterbury.

As part of a pre-Budget announcement in mid-May, Mr Brownlee said the Government will have spent $2.45 billion by the end of this financial year, and just over $2.1 billion by the end of the next financial year.

However Labour says the minister was fudging the figures, as evidenced by Budget documents.

Labour MP for Christchurch East, Lianne Dalziel, said the $2.45 billion was the forecast expenditure but the cash spend was some $400 million lower.

Mr Brownlee says the money is committed and the vast majority has been spent, so he is comfortable with his previous statements.

"It's like anybody who does a balance on a particular date, you have outstanding liabilities that do have to be paid and that's the position that we're in."

The Treasury says the two sets of figures referred to by each politician are correct but have just been treated differently for accounting purposes, with one as cashflow and the other direct expenditure.