The Budget - zero or otherwise- has suddenly become even more important than ever, as the government tries to borrow without incurring debt and cut spending without taking money from the economy

The political ground was always going to move after the Christchurch earthquake, and on Sunday we saw the first rumblings, with the Prime Minister unable to rule out TVNZ's Guyon Espiner's suggestion of a "zero Budget" this year, on TV ONE's Q+A .

The earth moved further yesterday, when John Key confirmed his hints, saying there would be no "new money" - or very little - in the May Budget for almost all government services.

The $600-800 million needed to boost health and education, he said, would come from cuts to other parts of the public purse. And to cap it off, 120-odd Christchurch businessmen broke through the cordon encircling Christchurch's CBD, fed up with their inability to get access to their own buildings, and the stock, equipment and paperwork inside.

Until now, grief and decency has kept a thorough public debate at bay, but with Friday's memorial service behind us folk have felt more able to ask the big questions and express their disquiet.


This is the start of my post at To continue reading, click here. But feel free to add comments and debate below.

Comments (8)

by Danyl Mclauchlan on March 22, 2011
Danyl Mclauchlan

I have a question: why was the PM wearing an earpiece on Q & A last weekend? Is it standard for all guests, and the PM just had his incorrectly fitted on the camera side? Or does Key recieve all his instructions from a sinister, ornately carved white box his DPS guys carry around, and mike up to him whenever he makes a media appearance?

by stuart munro on March 22, 2011
stuart munro

If you're getting confused, you're surely not alone. The government seems to want to borrow without increasing debt and cut spending without taking money out of the economy. But tough choices are going to have to be made, and the political cost paid.

Yes, and I'd go so far as to say that faffing around and not making choices, doing nothing useful, isn't going to win them any friends either. As for the rocket scientists who closed owners out of the CBD... what did they think was going to happen? The usual institutional doubletalk won't get them off that one either.

They just might have to... (shudder) ...get off their collective gluteii and govern for once in their trivial lives.

by peasantpete on March 22, 2011

The ground has definitely shifted under the politicos feet.

It is going to be an interesting election.

Both the two bigger political parties are going to be point scoring off Christchurch.

Auckland presents some interesting debates.  More point scoring opportunities.

A constant red herring will be the bloody RWC.

The Nats know what they want to do but are bit uncertain what line of bullshit will work best.

Labour does not appear to have a clue what to do.

The Maori Party is busy studying its own navel.

Not sure where the Greens are, not sure they know either.

Dunne and Hide are probably best advised to do so.

by Alec Morgan on March 23, 2011
Alec Morgan

“The Shock Doctrine” scenario popularised by Naomi Klein does encapsulate things. Just weeks ago some bloggers were saying here re Klein, ‘conspiracy, not credible, won’t happen here’ but it is, right now in front of us. Long held neo liberal policy is being implemented in the wake of a catastrophic event.

Peoples lives across the country have been devastated since 2008, just one by one, without the mass trauma and liquefaction of Christchurch. Obviously not for a minute should loss of a job be compared to loss of a life.

How indeed though is the government going to both in a real sense, repair Christchurch, and deal with the ideological question of the ‘deserving’ devastated of Canterbury vs. the ‘underserving’ dole bludging DPB devastated of the recession?


by Andrew R on March 23, 2011
Andrew R

Yeah Key is so concerned about reducing debt that he is continuing with more tax cuts on 1 April -- this time for corporates.

But hey it doesn't matter that this government has cut back its income despite knowing it couldn't afford to, because it knows that the only possible answer is to transfer all costs of socisety to the lower and middle incomes.  There is no alternative.

But then consistency or even rationality doesn't matter when you are imposing ideologically driven voodoo economics on everyone whether it is wanted or not.




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