This was probably the budget for National to do the most with, the first budget in their second term, but they were severely constrained by trying to balance the need to be “austere” in a very difficult economic environment, but being careful not to further stifle anaemic growth.
If they were going to take risks this was the time to do it. They would hope that the negatives would be bypasssed by subsequent bidgets and largely forgotten by the next election.
There has been a lot of noise, but about fairly minor things, and nothing of major consequence.
So it hasn’t been a bad budget – I think the best reasonable description is it was a budget for it’s time.
National will be hoping the economy will have improved enough to allow them some measured increases in important funding areas in their next two budgets. And to hope that continued restraint in public service spending and employment will have been overshadowed by an improving public sector.
There’s huge risks in the world econom so National chose to play safe. I think that was appropriate.
Now most attention will be on the asset sales (Mixed Ownership Model). Much will depend on the market conditions for the sahre floats.