Liveblogging: NZ Budget 2008

You know you want it …

Ok, fine … you probably don’t but I figured with only a week to go until I leave and a pile of packing and people to catch up with between now and then my time would be best spent liveblogging something I know little about (it hasn’t stopped me before).

It’s 50 min from the start, 20 min until the TV One coverage begins. If you’re really looking to procrastinate (my god, you must be bored if you’ve decided to procrastinate here) then hit the refresh as the afternoon wears on.

1.20pm
So Sonal, what are we playing for today?
Votes, dear friends, votes. Yes there is more to it than that, but we all know it’s election year, we all know that the current Labour government is facing trouble at the polls this year (just because they’ve been in power for so long … no really, that’s it. Even the leading opposition party, National, has said that if voted in, they’ll keep Labour’s policies for the first term … yep, National’s campaign strategy seems to be ‘we’re just like Labour, but not – vote for us’ and the New Zealand public seems to be buying it. Yes – all together now *headdesk*.

1.45pm
Ow! That hurt!

Me too … to be fair, Labour hasn’t been doing itself any favours either – it’s a bad sign when the people who created the Electoral Finance Act don’t understand it, decide that the best way to combat crime is to ban tagging and make assumptions about the electorate without asking them first (look, I know we all like MMP and would probably vote to keep it, but you’ve still got to let us vote on it, that’s what was promised when we voted to change the system in the first place).

Proper coverage has started on TVNZ and Scoop, if you’re looking for informative (or slightly more informed than me) analysis on the afternoon. TVNZ keeps going for ad breaks, I guess whatever tax cut we end up getting, we could go and spend it on a Bowflex?

1.55pm
Fun facts about the Budget: This year’s Budget is being printed with vegetable ink on a mix of recycled paper and paper sourced from sustainable forests. Next year, they should be printed on rice paper and handed out with small dishes of soy sauce and pickled ginger.

2.06pm
And we’re off!

I wish you could hear the muzak …

2.20pm
And straight out of the gates we’re into the tax cuts …

What do we get, what do we get, what do we get?

What, you want actual coverage? Here, go read Cullen’s speech … in a nutshell, yes, money ($12 – $28 a week) from October (to be passed under urgency tonight – elections, anyone?) … should be enough to pay for … um …

2.39pm
As Cullen speaks at the speed of a bullet of train, my thoughts drift (and show my age): do you remember when budget days used to be really fun? And by fun, I mean, watching grown ups act as if the world was about to end by queuing up the night before at the petrol pump, buying up as much booze and cigarettes as possible and filling the car boot with all the canned goods they could muster before sitting silent near the radio listening to the Budget occasionally cheering or swearing, depending on the announcement …

2.47pm
So what could you be doing if you weren’t half listening to the Budget (while organising your social life) … well you could be speculating whether Phil Goff is making a pitch to be Labour leader or notoh the frenzy! Forget Phil Goff, my money is on David Cunliffe … ooh, it’s all over … 45 minutes and not one stop for breath.

2.51pm
Time for the posturing … Key is up to the plate for the traditional ‘yeah, whatever’ statement from the opposition. General theme ‘tax cuts’ … what did you expect? Ooh and mentions of Herceptin – how much did Roche pay for that product placement?

3.04pm
Ok some one needs to teach John Key how to project rather than scream – “under National New Zealanders will do better” … um, how? You do know that there is a global recession happening, right? Both oil and biofuels are pushing the price of food up, something that no New Zealand Government will be able to combat, we’re a dairy producing nation and the price of cheese and milk have gone through the roof – whoever wins this election is fucked.

3.05pm
Hang on, did John Key just promise that we’d win the Rugby World Cup in National was in power?

3.13pm
Helen Clark is in right of reply … more song and dance about tax cuts along with “I care about the Springbok tour and I remember where I stood on it” … Key walked right into that one having mentioned that Cullen and Clark cared more about the 81 Tour and Vietnam rather than today’s concerns … rookie mistake.

3.31pm
Winston is up to the plate which, as is to be expected, is along the lines of ‘see those small things, the stuff you won’t pay attention to but is really good – that was us’ …

3.33pm
Wait a sec, why is Winston Peters speaking before Jim Anderton? Confidence and supply partner before Government partner?

3.40pm
Winston Peters on Bob Clarkson: “full of puffery and bovine scatology” … heh … man has a way with words …

3.52pm
“Some days (and today is one of them) I feel I am surrounded by people who have their heads in the sand” – Jeanette Fitzsimmons on the current New Zealand obsession with tax cuts … too true …

4.02pm
Like the many members of parliament who have now fled the chamber, my mind once again wanders … to the Scoop Budget lock down fashion report … tee hee. The Treasury guy reminds me of a barista near my old work who we nick named “Too Cool”. Too Cool had a long fringe that would carefully hang over his eye in a perfectly aloof yet unmovable manner … made really shit coffee and hot chocolates, though.

4.13pm
Ok, even the Speaker has made a run for it and has been replaced by her Deputy … Pita Sharples is up and like Fitzsimmons avoids the posturing and opts for a sensible speech calling for the elimination of poverty to the 13 people left in the room.

4.28pm
Peter Dunne is up and his theme? Any guesses? Yes! Tax Cuts! And he’s yelling to a very empty room (I feel for Rodney Hide who is probably desperate to leave and has no one to talk to or heckle with).

In other news it looks like most of the media agencies are running with Key’s title of the Cheese (or Colby) Budget … National will be pleased.

And with that my lousy “broadband” connection (there’s funding to raise NZ’s skill and innovation – could that please extend to sorting out our laughable bandwith, please?) to Parliament TV is no longer working … so here ends any coverage from inside the house.

4.42pm
Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts, the cutting of taxes, whether it was enough, when you’ll get the money, whether this is a cheap ploy to win votes, what are you going to do with yours and how as a single person it won’t really mean anything anyway is all you will probably hear about this budget for the next few days … well everything except for the single bit, the rest you’ll hear about to the point of boredom for the next few days and throughout the campaign here on in … I’m bored now, you? Yeah me too …

4.49pm
Sonal, wait! Did they win?
Votes? Hmm … I doubt it, but it may have saved them from losing some … 6 months until we find out …

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5 Responses to “Liveblogging: NZ Budget 2008”

  1. So, anything helpful for overseas loan-payer-backers?

  2. (student loan)

  3. Um … nope. Sorry.

    I guess you’re just not a big enough voting bloc.

  4. That said, it’s still 6 months or so until the election – let’s see how desperate everyone gets closer to the time …

  5. Perhaps if I write a letter, enclosing a copy of my enrolment confirmation.

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