"Assuming soon-to-be announced Alert Level 2 rules permit medium-sized indoor gatherings of people, then restricting Budget lockup attendance to Press Gallery journalists is unnecessary," says New Zealand Taxpayers' Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke.
"Why are the Finance Minister and Speaker only planning for Alert Level 3 conditions? Why not have a contingency plan for Level 2, allowing for more open access to the lockup, perhaps with an overflow room?"
"The Government could send out conditional invitations to banks, investment firms, think tanks, and unions on the understanding that they will only be valid under Level 2. This would suggest a good-faith, transparent approach to Budget Day arrangements. As it stands, the Speaker and Finance Minister appear to be exploiting a health crisis to limit expert scrutiny of their spending plans."