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May 26, 2008 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Blowing the Budget

My eyes glaze over as the treasury official hands me about two KG’s of paper thick with numbers, pie charts and line graphs. I am informed that the budget is embargoed till 2:45pm and that the Cullenator will be talking at 12ish.

I sit down and flip open the “Budget Media Kit”, barely noticing the pictures of smiling New Zealanders from all walks of life on the cover. The first thing that catches my eye is a tiny booklet entitled “Key Facts for Taxpayers” which basically is a teeny tiny summary of the 1400 pages or so of paper that is 55% recycled paper and 45% pulp with all inks vegetable based.” This will be good if they don’t bring out the food soon as I am allergic to mineral oil based ink.

At one stage I was seriously contemplating actually blowing the budget up. Hiding a stick of TNT inside the budget would be a great way of concealing it as an explosive device. Setting a charge and just leaving it there… right next to Dr. Cullen… then BOOOOOOOM.

Woah… wake up Jackson. This is no time to be daydreaming… this is budget ’08… shit. I get up past the porkies from Bloomberg sitting next to me who won’t shuffle their fat arses in, so I can pass. Talk to treasury officials. “Yo… what’s going on here? What’s the skinny? I don’t really understand all these numbers and shit. Where’s the action? Do you like to party?”

Suddenly all the cameras swing around, Cullen comes in tailed by Mallard, Hodgeson and Cunliffe and some other white dude. I quietly flip through the mountains of paper they’ve given me, pretending to look smart and take notes, while Cullen speils on about some numbers and equality and being fair, the FA Cup final, and tax relief for the worker. Used some more soccer metaphors about how the posts have shifted and how Labour have done some cool shit but because of global conditions the average Nzer is totally fucked. Talks about individuals, families and Nzers and spits some stuff about how Labours tax cuts will bring equality where the Nats will bring hardship.

Finally something picks my imagination. Tertiary education. What this budget will do for you if you’re a student next year and Labour retains power:

Raise the threshold for parental income to allow more students to get the allowance, by about 10%

Bring the eligibility age for emancipation from parents re the Student Allowance down from 25 to 24.

Increase the amount you can borrow from the living costs from $150 to $155 and there will be annual increases indexed to inflation.

Offering more scholarships. As of October, if you’re working part time and earning a pittance your tax rate will go down soes that youse got more money in yo’ pocket.

What the budget didn’t do: Stop the amount of debt increasing. In fact since you can borrow more, student debt will only increase at a faster rate.

It didn’t help students pay off existing debt as the tax cuts are only designed to lighten the burden increasing living costs.

Put more cheese into my pocket.

Ensure that giraffes in NZ have cheap access to acacia.

I came away from Cullen’s speech disheartened and slightly dizzy. The only high point was when he burned David Farrar for being a tool of the National Party.

With the ten minute wait between the speech ending and the food being put out I did what Keith Ng taught me how to do: hobnob. I talked to the dude next to me, who was an analyst of some description. It was a very one-sided conversation with me ending up leaving having to push past the Bloomberg diddle heads again.

Finally the food came out and I gorged myself on what I figure is a transmogrification of my tax paying dollars into culinary form.

Anyways by the time you read this the budget would have been out for at least four days, so it will have been thoroughly picked apart in a more concise way that I can be bothered to right now.


About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (1)

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  1. JJW FAN! says:

    Where is the lovely picture of Jackson Wood naked reading the Budget in the online edition? I have already plastered my walls with the picture and would like to use it as the desktop background on my laptop.

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