Ques­tions for Fi­nance Min­is­ter?

Piako Post - - FRONT PAGE - CLAIRE ASH­TON

OPIN­ION: Re­cently, I was stopped in the street by a New­shub re­porter.

Her pream­ble to warm me up was that the poor town of Te Aroha was strug­gling away be­cause, ‘‘you know the Freez­ing Works burnt down and that af­fected the town and cre­ated un­em­ploy­ment…’’

Tir­ing of the warm up which I knew was headed to­wards a ques­tion even­tu­ally, I cor­rected her in­ac­cu­ra­cies; no that was years ago and Sil­ver Fern was re­built to be the most mod­ern freez­ing works in the coun­try, em­ploys a lot of peo­ple, and plus there is Ing­hams.

She then asked if I had a ques­tion for the fi­nance min­is­ter.

I drew a blank. All I could think of was a piece on the news that the pho­to­copier or printer had bro­ken down when try­ing to print the bud­get.

I won­dered, was it be­cause the red ink ran out? And was that due to the Labour party colours, or the amount of deficit in the bud­get?

I had been up su­per early as I had stayed in Hamil­ton, been for a river walk (in my gum­boots as I had for­got­ten my sneak­ers) hit K-mart at 8.30am for Hog­warts py­ja­mas for the child, and then popped in for a sur­prise visit to my un­cle and aun­tie in Hamil­ton – all by 10am!

No won­der by mind was blank. So I fobbed her off and she went to prey on an­other Te Aro­hian.

What I wanted to ask in ret­ro­spect I guess, is why is petrol so freak­ing ex­pen­sive?

Apart from Iran, blah blah. And what are the gov­ern­ment go­ing to do about it?

Ah ap­par­ently in­crease it even fur­ther in­cre­men­tally over the next two years with petrol tax hikes and GST as the bank break­ing cherry on top.

This is of course a blan­ket tax, ap­pli­ca­ble to rich and poor alike.

And very city-cen­tric (Auck­lan­ders will have a spe­cial tax) with the Prime Min­is­ter ex­plain­ing that high petrol costs will en­cour­age the use of public trans­port with the pay offs be­ing less traf­fic and more util­i­sa­tion of public trans­port, cy­cle lanes, and of course it’s bet­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment.

So in the re­gions, public trans­port is aver­age to nil, we’d be bet­ter off with a cow lane than a bike lane, and oh ac­tu­ally that gives me an idea.

If th­ese prices stay so high, I’m go­ing to make the tran­si­tion and hoof it – prob­a­bly more likely a horse than a cow though!

-Waikato writer and film­maker Claire Ash­ton grew up in Hamil­ton and now lives in Te Aroha. She can be con­tacted on: claireash­ton7@gmail.com Mor­rinsville Po­lice are think­ing of in­vest­ing in a cow, like the ones in the Herd of Cows? street art col­lec­tion, to go with their flash new sta­tion front. If the idea goes ahead, what do you think the cops should call their cow? Visit our Neigh­bourly page now to vote in our on­line poll and we’ll pub­lish the results next week. The Pi­ako Post wel­comes let­ters and opin­ion ar­ti­cles to its Con­ver­sa­tions page. Let­ters must be about 200 words and opin­ion ar­ti­cles 400 words. Send in your con­tri­bu­tions to: lawrence.gullery@stuff.co.nz

ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFF

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Grant Robertson de­liv­ers his Bud­get 2018 speech in the Bee­hive lockup.

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