Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Sludge Report #71 – Old Mother Hubbard’s Budget

NOTE: Authors of this report will be anonymous and wide ranging, and occasionally finely balanced. Indeed you are invited to contribute: The format is as a reporters notebook. It will be published as and when material is available. C.D. Sludge can be contacted at sludge@scoop.co.nz. The Sludge Report is available as a free email service..Click HERE - http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/myscoop/ to subscribe... Sludge Report #71

Old Mother Hubbard’s Budget

Question: Why are we spending more on new computers for the Department of Work and Income than we are on protecting our children by implementing the Judge Mick Brown report?

Answer (Minister of Finance, Dr Michael Cullen): We have to have computers to pay the benefits. That’s just the way it is. I can tell you I wasn’t delighted either when I was told this spending was necessary.

Q: Is this then symptomatic of this budget, is this in fact old Mother Hubbard’s budget?

A: The cupboard is not bare. And next year we are forshadowing $850 million of extra spending. So the cupboard isn’t bare and neither will we be having an election year spendup.

******

Dr Michael Cullen is being disingenuous about this budget and he knows it. How long he maintains the pretext that he is in fact proud of it is a moot point. Certainly his media monitors don’t like this line of questioning anyway.

******

Q: Are you caught in a straight jacket by the Fiscal Responsibility Act?

A: No. I don’t see it that way. Though it would be fair to say that we caught a little by the perceptions of the financial markets about these things.

A: Would you have liked to have spent more?

A: Would I have liked to spend more money on protecting children? Would I have liked to spend more money on education? Would I have liked to reduce student fees? Would I have liked to spend more on infrastructure and roading? On health? Yes. Of course I would have.

(Media Minder from the back of the room) last question please.

Q: Why didn’t you increase spending by more then? Is this budget too prudent?

A: We can’t just borrow against the interests of future generations.

Q: But we have recorded surpluses for the last eight years. Isn’t the truth that it is irrational of the markets to describe a tiny increase over planned expenditure as a budget blow out.

A: That’s not an expression I have ever used. And it’s true we have had had a long run of surpluses, yes.

Q: What are you scared of?

A: Who me?

Q: Yes. Are you scared that if you spent more that the markets would send the NZ Dollar even lower? Wouldn’t such a move by the markets be irrational given that the increase of spending by the government is lower even than inflation?

A: Certainly as a percentage of GDP government expenditure is forecast to fall.

******

Today’s budget is definitely not made from the cloth of socialist revolutions. This budget is prudent, conservative, responsible and thrifty. It is in short an ultra-careful-as-she-goes, lets-get-ourselves-re-elected-by-centrist-voters-in-2002 budget.

On the bottom line total government expenditure is forecast to increase at just $1085 million this year or 2.8% over what it was in the financial year just finished. This is around the level of inflation during the same period and is, Sludge reckons, the smallest ever bottom line increase in government expenditure.

But while the cut of this budget maybe sack-cloth and ashes, considerable effort has gone into the styling.

The government has tried to do its best of a bad lot and the budget comes equipped with several catchy slogans designed to make it more palatable.

In addition, and for this the government deserves credit, a focus on improving the lot of at risk children is definitely evident, even if the $56 million provision is embarrassingly overshadowed by $71 million for new DWI computers.

Anti©opyright Sludge 2001

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news