Reactions to the Budget have been more interesting than the thing itself. The Herald has a partial summary here.
Tariana Turia has complained that the Budget has "snubbed tangata whenua with no mention of the word Maori." As I've said before, her idea of rangatiratanga is a country in which everyone pays for her vision. In many ways they already are, as Parekura Horomia points out, but she would prefer that that money go through agencies endorsed by her.
Rodney Hide says this is a budget you have when not having a budget. He even seems disappointed there's no traditional election-year lolly scramble to criticise.
No lolly scramble, but Cullen and Clark have drawn a line in the sand on governance which they are hoping National will pick up. Seems they will (see here). Don Brash says hes sure they can do better, and apparently an alternative budget is on its way (Sheesh, if Libz can get one out in time ...).
In the meantime here are John Key's comments yesterday morning on what a Key Budget would look like. National's problem is that in order to make meaningful tax cuts they have to offer meaningful cuts in government. Of course they should. And of course they won't. Can I suggest John Key could easily chop out at least half of these here bureaucracies and quangoes without any but the jobsworths even noticing. Start with the Ministryof Womens' Affairs and work on up.
Helen Clark is saying this morning that all the talk of tax cuts prior to the Budget announcement was the result of journalists interviewing their typewriters. "Tax cuts don't do much for low-income earners," said a Labour Prime Minister offering nothing to low-income earners but toil, tears, sweat and Smarmey Maharey's 'Welfare for Families' package.
This is still an election-year budget, but it's a new kind of election-year budget. As I said above, it's a new line in the sand. Clark and Cullen are betting that after years of indoctrination, people have now bought the Labour line that tax cuts are bad but state welfare, state benefits, state student scholarships, scads of bureaucrats, oodles of taxes and pet schemes dreamed up by smarmy tossers are all A Good Thing. A Very Good Thing. They think people like being nannied, and will vote for more of it.
My worry is they're probably right. I blame the schools.