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Marc My Words: An obscene and obese Budget

Marc My Words

19 May 2006
Political comment by Marc Alexander

An obscene and obese Budget.

Isn't the point of a budget to live within your means and not everybody else's? Nothing makes a budget look sicker than high living and that's exactly what Cullen and the Labour socialists delivered yesterday. After filching a record $8.48 billion surplus from the New Zealand's wealth creators, they gave nothing back. Not a sausage. Bugger all.

Most amazing is the double standard shown by these collectivist apparatchiks. Had it been employers who kept posting large surpluses year in year out, not only would the Unions have been waving placards and screaming 'rip-off' but the government would have either raised the minimum wage and/or initiated new taxes. But here we are with a pink government raping the wealth from the people with the only discordant sound being the jet engines taking more of our talented across to Australia, the U.S. and beyond.

The sad thing is that even after Cullen's ideological spend up, there remains over $1.8 billion that he intends to hoard for a rainy day. And we all know what that means; money to buy more votes at the next election with their tried and true method of increasing the welfare driftnet. If the past is anything to go by, they will be initiatives that will sound suspiciously like nails being driven into the sarcophagus of our future. Virtues which have defined our past such as individualism, resilience, community spirit and family will be buried under the weight of mediocrity, dissolution of family and community unity and a willingness to let government take more and more control over our lives. Look at what they've already done? Incentives for students to borrow (whether they need to or not) without interest thereby mortgaging their futures; and the insane 'Working against Families' package which is nothing more than the financial castration of New Zealand families dressed up to look like a government gift to name but two.

Apart from the deficiency in recognition for taxpayers who produce the wealth, jobs, exports, services and products in our country, the budget is also noticeable for its glaring omissions. Where are the incentives to fuel growth in our economy? How will this somnambulist budget give us a competitive international edge? Where are the signals to our business that the Resource Management Act roadblocks will be dealt with to spur investment? Where's the tax incentive for home-grown Research and Development?

Instead we have money for roads - a good thing, but no complimentary strategy for public transport or relief from ever increasing overseas fuel dependence by fast-tracking bio-fuels, hydrogen cells and other alternatives. We have no change to the wasteful criminal justice system other than the maddest intention yet - to reduce prison musters simply by mandating fewer custodial sentences; an invitation for criminals to worry even less than they presently do about the consequences of choosing a life of crime.

Oh yes, then there's the $11.5 million to 'persuade' people to buy NZ - made. Essentially a sop to the Greens to keep them happy with their so-called co-operation agreement. So now the government wants to use our money to tell us how to spend what's left in our wallets? How generous!

Also missing was the non-appearance of the government's initial plan to tax unrealized capital gains on some overseas shareholdings. This embarrassment has been somewhat downplayed in the media but is a huge retreat for the government and shows just how flawed the concept was to begin with. Had it been part of the budget it would have set an appalling precedent. Imagine collecting on unrealized welfare payments - we currently refer to that as fraud don't we?

What's wrong with the government investing in Kiwis by slapping together a budget that incorporates the radical idea of spending less and trusting us humble subjects more? Shouldn't the whole point of government be to empower individuals to get on with their own lives unencumbered by an administration that is increasingly becoming our common enemy?

We need look no further than our mess of a health system.

Despite massive increases, the health budget ($10.6 billion) delivers less and less. The strategy seems to be to implement Helen Clark's "wait loss" for-life program - patients being forced to 'wait' for longer leading to more 'loss' of life. Patients are forced to being ever more patient as 2,000 have been cut from just Canterbury's waiting lists. This government has certainly put the cull back in Cullen with this budget. It is nothing short of selective suffering. This would not happen if we had greater access to our own health spend and the right to choose our own service provider when and where we need it. This government is playing with our lives and should be ashamed.

While those with degenerative and pain disorders including those with rheumatoid arthritis for example, get pushed off our health lottery, the budget allocates $76.1million to tackle obesity. It is certainly a huge (excuse the pun) issue but perhaps (and I suggest this facetiously) the answer can be combined with our prison system. I am of course referring to the newly released and svelte criminal pin-up Donna Awatere Huata.

Isn't it nice to hear that while many law abiding Kiwis are subject to increasing government control, (we'll all be chipped along with our pooches), convicted fraudster ex-MP Donna Awatere emerged from prison toned, tanned and terrific. Coiffed with blonde tresses, she blew kisses to the 40 children who greeted her from Bridge Pa's Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga school. It was indistinguishable from a hero's welcome.

Oh, and there was the obligatory Haka as well. The only thing missing was the red carpet for her to step onto from her Mercedes-Benz (chauffeured by equally criminally convicted husband). Not much was mentioned about her crime but we did get the obviously important comments on her choice of outfit. For those who care she was 'dressed in a white dress suit too big for her slimmer and more muscular frame. Huata was decked out in sunglasses, cream shoes and white stockings'.

In what was obviously a change of heart Donna will be availing herself of home detention - a regime she advocated against when in parliament. And its good to know she's off home to have "a bit of a celebration" with whanau.

So while this government went on a spending spree with our money to peddle a range of busy-body intrusions, a convicted criminal enjoyed one and a half to up to two hours a day of exercise in the gym, and yoga emerge healthier and in no danger of succumbing to the ravages of obesity. Hell of a punishment. I wonder what Les Mills clients think of having to go to work to pay for their membership?

I think the real obesity problem in this country is with the government whose coffers are bursting at the seams with our money - against our will. We should call it by its proper name: theft.


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