By: Mike Hosking | Friday, May 25, 2012
Well what can you say about the Budget? It was a document for the times when you don’t have a lot of money. There’s not a lot to say.
And what there was to say? They already said earlier in the week. The upside is the usual bollocks where the other side line up to pick holes doesn’t have quite the same vigour to it given it’s rats and mice stuff they’re attacking. So the Government are protected from the hot air circus and they by and large have the backing of the rest of us who understand that as unspectacular as it all may be, it’s the right thing to be doing.
In fact when you look at the spending, not only is none of it fresh money but just funds they’ve taken off other people, short of health and education they’re comparatively speaking tiny announcements. Remember this is a $200 billion economy so announcing $100 million over four years is really only $25 million a year dressed up to look more impressive. The science figure of $320 million over four years is $81 million a year, $6 million a month for all of science and innovation, all that research and development. It’s pocket change.
Closing loopholes for paper kids and nanny rebates - it shows the fine toothcomb approach and how desperate they must be for every single last cent, which of course is the sensible thing to be doing. If you’re scraping together lunch money, every cent counts. But you do see the tension in approach that we’re seeing in places like Europe between countries like Germany which favour our view and the French who want to spend.
The KiwiSaver default programme has been suspended. The Government’s argument is that we don’t have the $500 million over four years it would cost. But what happened to the line they’ve run since day one that we need to save and savings are the key to a secure future where we don’t rely so heavily on foreign money.
What about the smoking? Do they want to stop people smoking or what? If they do, why is the tax rise only 10 percent and not 100 percent? And is it 10 percent because the 10 percent brings revenue? And if it is, how cynical is that? And the surplus - $190 million in two years, on a treasury forecast? You have to be kidding! It could be a billion either side of that.
So not a document that stops us in our tracks, but the overriding theme is that they’re pushing hard, and they’re right too. You may think its dull but we find ourselves in way better shape than a whole lot of others right now that would give their right arms to be where we are.Photo: Getty Images
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