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A budget for a secure furture featuring a few lollies (Photo: RNZ/Angus Dreaver)
A budget for a secure furture featuring a few lollies (Photo: RNZ/Angus Dreaver)

The BulletinMay 20, 2022

Key reads on the biggest budget ever

A budget for a secure furture featuring a few lollies (Photo: RNZ/Angus Dreaver)
A budget for a secure furture featuring a few lollies (Photo: RNZ/Angus Dreaver)

Yesterday’s budget has picked up more monikers than usual. They all start with B. But what was in it, what do people think and who’s disappointed? Anna Rawhiti-Connell rounds up the budget for The Bulletin.


An alliterative attack on our senses

The biggest budget ever was called “balanced” by Grant Robertson“backwards” and “a band-aid” by Christopher Luxon and “the brain drain budget” by David Seymour, who gunned for gold in his speech in the house by calling Robertson “greedy, grabby Grant”. There is no better example of the deployment of oratorical devices to drive headlines for media – and ear worms for voters – than budget day. To get beyond that, depending on your areas of interest or concern, today’s Bulletin contains relevant round-ups and reactions.

Topical toplines

RNZ have an overview of where all the money is going. Stuff’s Henry Cooke breaks down the $350 cost of living payment. Newsroom’s Marc Daalder looks at the health spend. Despite headlines hinting at a big investment in Māori health, it’s less than the film subsidies for international movie-makers. Don Rowe has reactions to that on the Spinoff at 9am. For those who prefer to listen to things that aren’t alliterative soundbites, Gone By Lunchtime’s Toby Manhire has combined with Bernard Hickey from When the Facts Change for a commute-perfect podcast crossover event. Chris Schulz has a guide to the budget for people who don’t want to read about the budget and we have our round table of expert reactions here.

Bullseye on the backs of middle income earners

The cost of living package dominated headlines. There is a change to child support payments and permanent half-price public transport fares for community service card holders, but overall, the budget has left advocates for beneficiaries and low income earners pretty disappointed. Max Rashbrooke says it’s a bold move to deliberately bar the poorest from your policy centrepiece. In comments supplied to the Science Media Centre, Nicola Gaston from the University of Auckland says “I don’t see any big wins for science, research and innovation in this budget”. For small businesses there is a new equity fund. Reweti Kohere has reactions from business leaders. Newsroom Pro’s managing editor Jono Milne has an interesting observation about the infrastructure spending and how it might alienate voters outside the big centres.

The political pay-off and economic outlook

Writing on budget week’s political pay-off for the government, BusinessDesk editor Pattrick Smellie (paywalled) thinks it looks a bit underdone. A Stuff editorial today says the government may not have done enough to turn backwards into forwards. Danyl Mclauchlan says it’s hard to see what Labour are actually doing with the most powerful electoral majority in our modern political history. Robertson’s bet is that inflation will be a short term issue for voters. The forecasts released yesterday still have inflation running above 3% until 2025. Treasury downgraded our forecast for economic growth. But it also predicts wage growth will overtake cost inflation from the start of 2023. That will mean a bigger tax take for the government. Toby Manhire has already noted Bernard Hickey’s comments about the government pulling a bigger rabbit out of the hat then and has early dibs on the election year budget being the non-alliterative “super giant budget”.

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