Ed Said - The politics of money
So the Budget has been announced – a major event on the political calendar – and the debating has begun, though no amount of debate is going to change anything.
I see the Government Budget as being not one atom different from that of any household in the country or at least those who do run to some sort of budget. It can only be seen as a guide. Whether living on benefits or in a salaried position we know, within reason, how much is coming into the home and how it will be dispersed. But we rarely allow for, say, a 10 percent jump in our home and contents insurance, the kid who scuffs out his shoes until he comes home from school with wet feet and a snotty nose and requires $100-plus for new ones or that sluggish car battery that finally only delivers a dull ‘click’ on a frosty 4-degree morning. Government, any Governmant, is no different in my view.
I took some time to listen to some of the Bill English delivery and was surprised by the lack of booing and interjections from opposition parties on this occasion. We of-ten have a fair idea of what the Budget contains through surreptitious or well-placed leaks. On this occasion the cry was to help the hungry and the perception was that lit-tle would be offered to the very needy.
Opposing parties were completely blindsided when finance minister Bill English, not giving anything away previously, delivered some solace in ‘social spending’ to lower income families the like of which had not been seen for over 40 years. Some applauded while others said ‘too little, too late.’
One solo Mum on TV said an extra $25 a week won’t go anywhere while another thought it was a great boost. That’s simply the nature of the beast. This is generally described as a give-and-take budget. Aren’t they all? To give to one sector, funds have to come from somewhere else, just as your own household situation.
Prime Minister John Key had predicted the New Zealand economy to be back in the black this fiscal year. That’s not happening. Possibly a big drop in export earnings in the primary sector has a lot to do with that, but that could well bounce back up as fast
as it fell. The Budget estimates that the cur-rent year will post a $684 million deficit, and forecasts a tiny surplus of $176 million for 2015. Opposition MPs are already jeer-ing at the ‘tiny’ surplus for 2015.
When it comes to money, whatever our situation we could all do with a little more. Traditionally the Budget has never been of great interest to me and I doubt that any Government budget during my lifetime has really made much difference to my overall lifestyle or daily routine. Though we generally seek to live within our means there are always unexpected expenses that crop up that we haven’t allowed for but we seem to battle on aided by judicious spend-ing, innovation or good friends and family.
How do you see the Budget or does it not interest you at all? Is it going to help or hinder your situation? Please send us your view – if you’re not too busy working to make ends meet.