Written By: - Date published: 12:31 pm, May 19th, 2018 - 71 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, Economy, grant robertson, greens, housing, labour, liberalism, Media, monetary policy, nz first, political parties, politicans, Politics, quality of life, social democracy, welfare, workers' rights - Tags: austerity, budget2018, liberalism
Before Thursday, I was expecting a fair few budget posts to be penned, and/or comments made, lauding or expanding on aspects of Grant Robertson’s first budget.
Funnily enough, that hasn’t happened, and in all honesty, I haven’t yet come across a wholly positive budget piece. Maybe that’s a case of chickens coming home to roost?
The truth of the matter is that NZ Labour have been told time and again that the days of accepting the comfortable managerialism of post ’84 economics; the promise of longer term gain to come off the back of short term pain – that those days and that acceptance were coming to an end.
Unfortunately for New Zealand, NZ Labour managed to contain and defeat moves from with NZ Labour that would have shifted the party’s thinking. More, it seems the victors of NZ Labour’s internal power struggles in caucus and so on, have managed to co-opt the Green Party to some extent – hence the Green Party ascribing to the nonsense of “fiscal responsibility” too.
So a quick perusal across various media outlets suggests the best any “tribal” NZ Labour person can hope for is that the whole budget thing gets quietly and quickly swept under the carpet on the grounds of “next time” promises, and the government thus escapes a bollocking for traipsing us through bullshit just because it’s being led by the ideological nose ring of austerity.
Across media, damning faint praise seems to be the order of the day for now.
So, for example, Alan Johnson, writing at the Spinoff sees the budget as “A Squandered Opportunity to be Transformational on Poverty”.
Joseph Cederwall is also less than impressed. He positions the budget in a thoughtful and wider context at Scoop and his piece is well worth the read.
Some, such as the CTU, have pulled their punches, and yet even they can’t help but condemn the government’s stupid adherence to “austerity thinking”.
In terms of spending, this budget is one of the stingiest when measured as a proportion of GDP. Many announcements offer up nothing beyond the prospect of “standing still” and some (such as housing) are to be funded by private sector borrowing because that damned stupid nose ring has led Robertson and his crew to believe that much cheaper government borrowing is a bad thing.
So what happens next?
Do we endure a re-run of the Clark years that were always putting off “just rewards” until ‘next year’, or ‘after next election’, or ‘after the next election after that, when the time is right/if the time is right, and conditions are fine, and the sun shines for 24/7?
At the moment, it would appear that’s what government expects of us. And if it wasn’t for the peculiar state of NZ parliamentary politics, I’d say they were pissing in the wind with that expectation. But then, it’s an odd politics when the closest thing to anything left wing is a party that embraces old school conservatism. Yes, NZF are everything that left leaning voters would vote against in a social democratic framework; a framework that views economics and finance in terms of what is good for society and reins or guides accordingly . But NZF are the only party in this current Liberal environment that positions society alongside or before economics.
Which is a shite state of affairs to be in.
And if you disagree with that on the grounds that NZ Labour also favour society over economics and finance, then how would you care to explain the austerity budget we’ve just been presented with?