Labour backbenchers, conscious that recent polling shows their political futures could be cut short, will be looking to this week’s budget to replenish their party’s popularity with handouts to swing votes.
They could be disappointed, if the Budget’s programme does not tackle voters’ concerns.
BNZ economists last week warned that the chances of a recession are “increasing by the day”. Economist Cameron Bagrie says controlling government spending to tamp down the factors causing high inflation should be a priority for the government, but a big-spending budget is already locked in.
Meanwhile investors in the local sharemarket, taking a gloomy view of NZ’s economic prospects, are already reeling from the downward trend in the local indices. Similarly the NZ dollar has dipped sharply against both the greenback and the Australian dollar, as New Zealand’s main export market in China suffers from a severe Covid lockdown.
This then could be the moment for Finance Minister Grant Robertson to produce the proverbial from his hat.
Certainly his opponents have been generous with their advice, urging him to offer tax relief and in particular to reverse the tax bracket creep which is adding to the bruising from the wage-price spiral. Continue reading “Caucus neophytes may be keeping the govt from knowing what Kiwis in their electorates are wanting”