History will now record this year’s government Budget as the "Backdown Budget".
That’s how significant it is. Virtually all commentators have pointed out that despite the small amount of money that the ill-fated increased class size policy aimed to save, the political implications have turned out to be anything but insignificant.
- It seems a capital gains tax would hit some MPs quite hard, as Alex Tarrant reports that 121 MPs own at least 292 properties between them. There’s some very interesting detail of "who owns what" in Parliament – see: Who owns all the homes? MPs own all the homes.
- As Labour and the Greens try to present themselves as an alternative Government, Chris Trotter points out that political necessity is actually driving them further apart ideologically – see: Green/red alliance makes unappealing brown. In another opinion piece from Newswire, it is argued that a Labour-Green coalition "will not be a marriage made in heaven" – see: Greens could be hard to handle. Meanwhile, Vernon Small also has an interesting analysis of future coalition possibilities – see: Peters predictions gather pace.
- Paula Bennett’s breeding ban has little support from editorial writers – see editorials from the Herald (Ban on abusers breeding a step too far), The Press (Bennett's loose talk) and the Waikato Times (How far should we go?).
- The Government’s claim that it already has its mandate for asset sales ignores fundamental parliamentary processes according to opposition politicians – see: Danya Levy’s Asset-sales law 'being rushed' to dodge poll. One specific objection is that Treasury will not be able to complete an official comparison of private versus publicly-owned electricity prices which independent energy analyst Molly Melhuish claims are 12% higher – see Adam Bennett’s Expect power bill rise if state assets sold: analyst.
- Pokie machines have been under attack as a blight on poor areas but now the Lotteries Commission is facing the same accusation – see David Fisher’s Lotto targets poor areas, claimed health official.
- Pokie Charities are also under attack for using their funds to lobby against Maori Party MP Te Ururuoa Flavell’s Gambling Harm Reducation Bill which aims to stem the flow of pokie funds from poor to wealthy areas – see the Timaru Herald’s editorial – Gambling bill on track and Denise Roche’s Pokies and porkies. A critique of the bill is put forward by Gareth Morgan: Politics and pokies a bad mix.
- Following on from Colin James’ overview, Rod Oram and Bernard Hickey both preview presentations to The Voyage seminar this weekend – see: Bernard Hickey’s The Voyage: The Engine Room Dilemma - All Hands Below Deck and Rod Oram’s The Voyage: On Interpreting and Sending Messages From the Deck.
- Steve Kilgallon has a comprehensive backgrounder on Dunedin’s new stadium and the large debt now facing the Dunedin City Council – see: Dunedin's House of Blame.
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