One Question Quiz
Bill English poses with a copy of his budget speech during the printing of the budget on May 24, 2016. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Bill English poses with a copy of his budget speech during the printing of the budget on May 24, 2016. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

OPINIONPoliticsMay 26, 2016

If you could insert one line into Bill English’s Budget speech today, what would it be?

Bill English poses with a copy of his budget speech during the printing of the budget on May 24, 2016. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Bill English poses with a copy of his budget speech during the printing of the budget on May 24, 2016. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The Spinoff asked a bunch of clever people to give us one sentence they’d like to see magically written into the finance minister’s Budget speech.

These are the words they’d put in his mouth …


“Inequality in New Zealand has increased dramatically in recent years, and we need to urgently address it, particularly in the ares of social housing, public health care and education, and in order to do so we are asking in this budget for those New Zealanders with incomes over $100,000 to pay a special surcharge of 6c in the dollar, while at the same time the government will take extra steps to eliminate tax evasion in all forms, whether by individuals, New Zealand or overseas corporates or trust funds set up for that purpose.”

Jim Anderton

“We recognise the severity of the homelessness crisis in New Zealand, and will immediately commence an accelerated state housing programme with the goal of building and acquiring 20,000 more houses in next two years; beneficiaries will no longer be forced into personal debt for overpriced privately provided emergency accommodation.”

Sue Bradford

“The government recognises the serious social and economic problems being caused by the severely unaffordable housing market in many parts of the country, most particularly in Auckland; as a result, we have decided to override the Auckland Council and pass legislation under urgency to abolish the Council-imposed limits on Auckland’s expansion with effect from 1 June this year.”

Don Brash

“This government will end the housing crisis by implementing a National Policy Statement ending urban boundaries and automatically increasing allowed density whenever a city’s housing becomes unaffordable; further, it will help councils defray the costs of growth by letting them share in the increase in central government tax revenues that happens when councils do allow growth.”

Eric Crampton

“This government is about nation building – investing in our social and economic infrastructure. Not counting pennies and punishing the poor.”

Shamubeel Eaqub

“This National-led government is announcing that we will be delivering tax relief to hard working New Zealand families and reducing the tax burden on them in 2017 with across the board reductions in all personal tax rates.”

David Farrar

“For too long now we’ve permitted New Zealand to drift away from what it was – so with this budget we affirm our commitment to rebuilding a society where every person, from cradle to grave, is able to lead a life of dignity and free from want.”

Andrew Geddis

“It’s very rude of my opponents to point out how I was claiming a weekly housing allowance in 2009. I admit that it was nearly $1000 per week, and I concede that New Zealanders were paying me to live in my own home, but it was all within the rules. Yes, all within the rules, and if I can follow the rules so should the New Zealanders on an emergency housing allowance. They should pay back every dollar, like the rules say, fair is fair.”

Morgan Godfery

“We are National, so of course we support individual choice – which is why we are issuing an ‘Open Challenge’ to develop a system for the production and distribution of cannabis for adult use in a way that minimises harm and maximises savings for the state, starting with the $100 million currently spent annually on the enforcement of cannabis laws.”

Laila Harré

“I hope my eighth Budget will not be seen as a Budget Budget.”

Tau Henare

 “Joycey’s boffins at Callaghan Innovation have come up with something they call ‘perpetual motion’ in order to alleviate the housing cris … err, I mean, the person per house surplus. On alternate Tuesdays, state housing tenants will be moved to hotels, tourists will be sent to state houses, and then back again. No one will be homeless, although some may find themselves in transit. Unfortunately Treasury tell me that there is no such thing as a free lunch, so we’ll be paying for this with a poll tax on Aucklanders who are stuck in their cars on the motorway.”

Shaun Hendy

“We will cut taxes in 2017/18 if we can afford to, but we won’t cut them if we can’t.”

Matthew Hooton

“I am announcing today that the government intends to increase the flow of foreign direct investment to New Zealand by locating the Overseas Investment Office within the Treasury, beefing up its staff and resources, appointing a private sector advisory board and further reforming its operating mandate. It is foreign investment that will fuel economic expansion, particularly in the regions, enabling New Zealand enterprises to move up the value chain, connect with global markets and employ more New Zealanders. Put simply we need more investment and we are determined to get it.”

Stephen Jacobi

“It is too difficult on our low wages for many to get a decent house to live in. We will regulate rents to stop landlords profiteering from the current shortage and regulate the labour market again so families can start thinking of owning a home in the future.”

Helen Kelly

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“Treasury officials have estimated that the current high demand for extra budget appropriation for emergency housing is simply due to a post-Bachelor spike in social awareness and will dissipate quickly when The Block recommences, remaining overall a fiscally neutral ethical-moral abyss.”

Hirini Kaa

“Not only will we be putting money into boosting the arts, helping schools keep their pools open, and saving our forests up north … there is 26 million for a referendum on whether to make Pokarekare Ana the national anthem.”

– Oscar Kightley

“We will buy Russian fishing credits (Swiss or Rarotongan will do) to offset negative ‘by-catch’ reportage by troublemakers and snitches.”

Lucy Lawless

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 24:  Finance Minister Bill English poses with a copy of his budget speech during the printing of the budget at Printlink on May 24, 2016 in Wellington, New Zealand. English will deliver the 2016/2017 budget on Thursday which is expected to include announcements on housing, education, health and benefits.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Bill English’s smile fails to mask his astonishment at discovering his speech has been augmented by Spinoff contributors. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty

“Given the current housing dilemma – which is not a crisis, the government will ensure that all cars with families in them,will have a current warrant of fitness.”

Gary McCormick

“I’ve looked into the eyes of the kids and decided it’s time to take climate change seriously, so in this year’s budget I’ve decided to end the billion dollar a year subsidy for greenhouse emissions and instead invest the money into affordable housing – a win for the climate and a win for people!”

Russel Norman

“Mr Speaker, after three decades of economic growth that has gone largely to those who are already doing well, it is time for a change in direction, and for that reason every action in this Budget is dedicated to ensuring that the proceeds of growth go to those who need it the most.”

Max Rashbrooke

“We will improve the economy, environment and society by closing tax loopholes (including those for housing), making polluters pay and reinvesting that money in providing the opportunity for all kids to get a fair start in life.”

Geoff Simmons

“After eight years of outstanding economic management we can promise a chicken in every pot and a family in every car but only if you can afford My Food Bag, otherwise, sorry no chicken.”

David Slack

“Because we know it’s crucial to people’s wellbeing that arts and culture flourish, we are immediately doubling the amount of funding available to New Zealand artists to make new work.”

Lara Strongman

“This government’s enduring public sector legacy will be the investment approach to social services. Because we believe in early interventions where these are proved to cost less for society in the long term, it no longer makes sense to judge spending increases in some areas by population growth or inflation. That’s why we are dramatically increasing funding for mental health services in New Zealand.”

Ben Thomas

“Given the exclusion of research into infectious diseases – of which New Zealand has higher rates than the UK, Australia and USA – from the National Science Challenges, coupled with the fact that antibiotic resistant superbugs are predicted to kill more people than cancer by 2050, today I announce a new fund dedicated to the discovery and development of new treatments to kill infectious microbes, with a particular focus on those over-present in New Zealand as a result of our appalling child poverty rates.”

Siouxsie Wiles

“I am proud to announce an end to the corrupt practice of taxing company profits at 28% and then handing more than $1 billion back to firms that have successfully lobbied the government for favours: corporate welfare is finished, as is company tax.”

– Jamie Whyte

“We’ve solved the housing crisis: people are sleeping in cars now! It’s the invisible hand at work the market has started regulating itself!”

Guy Williams

“So before this Budget, I went away to a silent retreat in Te Urewera. On the seventh day I sat in a forest alone and I started to hear a voice. It spoke my name. And it said, ‘For My sake, Bill, stop fart-arsing around with these Special Housing Areas and impose a sodding capital gains tax.’ I looked around for a sign that this was in fact the Deity, but it turned out to be Phil Twyford with a wig and a megaphone.”

Jessica Williams

Keep going!