Thursday, May 26, 2016

The NZ Budget 2016

NZ Labour Party budget meme.
Today John Key’s government released the latest New Zealand Budget. Yawn. It’s the budget of a government that’s tired, arrogant, and totally out of ideas. This budget was in many ways John Key’s government giving New Zealand the middle finger.

I can’t remember often saying this, but NZ First Leader Winston Peters is right: This is the “get stuffed budget”. And while the cultural reference is overly dated, Greens Male Co-Leader James Shaw was right when he said, "This government is the political equivalent of Milli Vanilli—lip synching when they should be leading."

Labour Party Leader Andrew Little pointed out the weaknesses in the budget, not just on housing, but also on health. Despite the big numbers announced, the actual increase in health spending is, basically, nothing, since the increase won’t even keep pace with increasing costs and demand. Andrew Little put it well: "More New Zealanders will wind up in greater pain for a lot longer."

But it is on housing where the government is dramatically out of touch. When increasing numbers of people are living in the cars or garages because they can’t afford housing, most thoughtful people would call that a crisis—but not John Key and his subordinates in Cabinet. They’ve all agreed to spin it by only using the word “challenge” instead of crisis because, obviously, the correct word—crisis—shows how incompetent John Key and National are. Even Paula Bennett was publicly caught pivoting her spin to match up with National Party directive.

John Key and National have not increased housing supply, and haven’t even made up for the state houses they sold off. They’ve utterly failed to reduce demand, flat out rejecting the single most common sense approach yet proposed, namely, to limit the purchase of residential property to only those resident in New Zealand. Instead, John Key and National are threatening local councils—Auckland Council in particular—to open up more land for sprawling housing devlopments or face having John Key and National passing new laws to force them to allow virtually unchecked urban sprawl.

But, that’s their sole incompetent response to the housing crisis—sorry! I meant to say challenge! And National’s fetish for urban sprawl will cost Aucklanders: Auckland Council estimates that expanding urban sprawl will cost $17 BILLION dollars over 30 years for service infrastructure, but John Key doesn't care that Auckland ratepayers will have to pay that cost through higher rates.

But, that's the story for this year. Next year is an election year, and John Key and National will spring all sorts of surprises in the 2017 Budget. That figures. This year’s budget offers nothing to ordinary New Zealanders, and with no new ideas left, they’ll have to try and bribe New Zealand voters—next year.

This year, though, we got nothin’.

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