PoliticsMay 26, 2016

A complete history of Bill English’s budgets in sick burns by the opposition


Bill English just delivered his eighth budget, and the opposition as ever had pre-cooked epithets to denounce it. Here’s how his budgets have been defined – heroically or hopelessly – by his enemies (and ACT) in the parliamentary budget debate since 2009.



Labour leader Phil Goff said it was the

Dishonest Budget

Greens co-leader Russel Norman said it was not an Obama budget but an

Oh, Bummer Budget

The ACT party’s Sir Roger Douglas (yes, Roger Douglas, remember him?) called it the

Bereft of Vision Budget

No NZ First, so who knows what Winston Peters said.


Goff bemoaned a

Budget of Broken Promises and Lost Opportunities

Norman denounced a

Triple Deficit Budget

ACT leader Rodney Hide (remember him!?) quite liked it.

Still no Winston.


Goff condemned a

Subzero Budget

Norman condemned a

Cut, Borrow and Sell Budget

And John Boscawen, whom no one will remember but according to Hansard was then ACT leader, quarter-condemned it as the

Missed Opportunity Budget

Still no Winston.


Into term two, and English’s fourth budget, which the new Labour leader, David Shearer, dubbed the

Zero Budget

The Greens’ Norman must have listened to Shearer in horror, for his coinage, repeated through his speech, was the

Zero Hope Budget

And, guess what, Winston Peters was back. He called it the

Back to the Future Budget

Also, John Banks was there! Remember him? He thought about it and decided this was a

Good Budget


Shearer was thinking casinos, and lambasted a

Blackjack Budget

(The prime minister didn’t like Shearer’s speech. “That was truly awful. It was like watching MySky on half speed,” he said.)

Norman was starting to lose the will to come up with exciting new descriptions so went for

Another Triple Deficit Budget

And the muse didn’t come up with the goods for Winston particularly either, though he sort of called it the

Cooked the Books Budget

John Banks was there! The ACT leader thought it was a

Good But Not Great Budget


A third term! Budget number six for English Bill, and another new Labour leader. David Cunliffe flexed his poetic muscles to admonish the

Fudge-it Budget

Russel Norman went topical – remember this? – attacking the

Cabinet Club Budget

Winston Peters? Still there! He had a name for this budget, and it was the

Steady As You Go When You Are Going Nowhere Budget

John Banks spoke.


Another new Labour leader! Andrew Little let rip on a

Fiddling-around, Fudge-it Budget

Didn’t someone say that earlier? No matter. For the Greens, Metiria Turei lamented a

Let Them Eat Toast, Out of Touch Budget

Winston? It was a

Split Enz Budget

The ACT Party’s David Seymour was there.


Here then we are, at today’s Budget, and Andrew Little is still the Labour leader. He divined a

Scratched-Out, Patchwork, Hotchpotch Half Measures Designed to Look Like an Economic Strategy Budget

James Shaw, newish co-leader of the Greens, called it the

With Any Luck Second-to-Last Budget

Winston slammed a

Get Stuffed Budget

And David Seymour was there.



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