the budget has been delivered and it's not as bad as it could have been, which doesn't mean that it's good. the tax cuts are gone but they were never viable in the first place and that was clear in october last year. to promise tax cuts during that campaign, given the economic forecasts, were nothing short of duplicitous.
which takes us back to the 80s and 90s, when all sorts of promises were made during campaign time but the exact opposite was done within months after the election. hence the rt hon helen clark being extremely careful about what she promised. by sticking the rule of "underpromise, overdeliver", at least she brought some level of trust back to campaign promises.
there are a lot of hidden cuts in the budget as well as some pretty open ones. many others have talked about those. but i get very annoyed that all these cuts are being blamed on the recession. a lot of them can be blamed directly on the 1 april 2009 cuts, which should have been cancelled as well. that's money that could have been directed to social programmes, such as the sexual abuse help line, or the drug and alcohol rehabilitation programme at whaimarama youth complex which has just been told of a funding cut.
i was talking to the manager of budget advisory services in hamilton this morning. of course they are getting more clients than ever, but are facing a very uncertain future when it comes to their own funding. it looks like the "pathways to partnership" funding has been partly brought forward, and the rest may be cut.
at the same time, the modern apprenticeship scheme has been cut, as have various tertiary education scholarships. and the training component of the 9-day fortnight (which was the main point of the proposal in the first place) was never put in place. so at a time when investment should be made into upskilling nz'ers so that we are well placed when we come out of recession, all we get are cuts.
similarly in the area of research and development, particularly in the agricultural sector which surely needs it at a time of falling dairy prices, there is a total lack of investment. jim anderton gave a very good budget speech today, but i can't find it on-line just now. he spoke really well about R&D and about the superannuation fund.
all in all, pretty depressing response to the current economic situation.