A government that swept into power by swallowing dead rats in its first term to deliver something better in its second should now be on notice to deliver. Expect now in the middle of that second term when you’d expect to see their programme emerge, their vision made clear, their reason for seeking power crystallised into a programme of action, we have dropped on us with a resonant thud a Budget showing that of vision, ambition or even a coherent programme there is and will be none.
What we saw yesterday of this government’s “ambition” was a man with a plan to pick our pockets and a hope to “balance the budget” sometime two or three years hence—a fantasy supported only by Treasury’s fantastic illusions about economic growth and an event horizon (2104 to 2105) conveniently placed beyond the next election.
It cannot be taken seriously, because there’s no serious intent demonstrated in this budget to make the decisions necessary to achieve it.
This was a budget that didn’t deserve to be listened to delivered by an unambitious man desperate to please everyone and no-one. It is bold only in its mediocrity and fence-sitting.
It steals more from both rich and poor—and the young—while offering nothing as any reward for the theft.
It represents neither “austerity” nor “stimulus”—just a confession that borrow-and-spend and more muddling through is the only real plan Double Dipton can devise.
It encompasses promises to both sell assets and retain them—a hint of vision mixed with a bucketful of blancmange.
It is a budget drawn up by someone not sure what he’s doing, and no ability to do it. A budget best symbolised by the plan to take $250 million from half-selling the state’s assets and give it to one of its biggest liabilities, Kiwi Rail.
It was a Budget trying to be All Things to All Men, with the result that it will be nothing to anybody. Govt will continue to spend and borrow well beyond their means for the foreseeable future and beyond, and we will keep picking up the bill for their lack of vision.
They deserve to be seriously punished.