The script have changed
might will act as a sort of laxative.
Opposition leader Simon Bridges was euphoric in his disappointment. ‘‘This is an almighty handbrake on New Zealand’s economy!’’ he bellowed.
It wouldn’t be Budget day without someone saying ‘‘Tax and spend!’’ and ‘‘Borrow and hope!’’, so Bridges got them both out of the way quite quickly.
He congratulated the Government for a big-spending Budget, which nevertheless broke so many spending promises.
‘‘In our Budgets, we always looked for ways to make the boat go faster! This Budget is dropping anchor on the New Zealand economy,’’ he boomed.
In fairness, the 2018 Budget is at least designed to make horses go faster. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has scored more money to encourage the breeding of racing studs. He barely mentioned this triumph in his speech, as he was unable to stop talking about the previous Government’s Budgets. As Robertson announced each item, Peters sat quirking his eyebrows and smirking triumphantly at Bridges’ team, muttering with great satisfaction. Official translation is unavailable, but Winstonologists take this sort of behaviour to mean: ‘‘How d’ya like them apples, sunshine?’’
Peters’ favourite words, at least, have not changed. He gave us – about National, rather than the Budget – effrontery, vacuity, flim-flam, dereliction and perfidy. He said National agriculture spokesman Nathan Guy must have copped ‘‘too much of something from under the cow’s tail in his ears when he was farming’’, later clarifying this to ‘‘bull dust’’.
Robertson’s two small inaugurations were to wear a red rosebud in his lapel, and to finish his reading by naming in advance the 2019 Budget as ‘‘the WellBeing Budget’’.
Soon-to-be acting prime minister, though, Peters couldn’t wait till next year for the telling slogan. To double-takes from even his own troops, he thundered: ‘‘We’re going to make New Zealand great again!’’
❚ Jane Clifton is married to the Speaker, Trevor Mallard.