This is not a Government that often springs surprises, for which we should be grateful most of the time. But a Budget always brings hope of a new answer to the country’s most pressing problem. Right now that problem is rampant housing speculation, sending home-ownership ever further out of reach of New Zealanders on average incomes.

Bill English was halfway through his Budget presentation yesterday before he uttered the word housing.

He offered nothing to deter speculative investment. Quite the reverse. By its tacit declaration that nothing further will be done to discourage demand following last year’s ineffectual tax measures, and the resolve to provide more land for housing, the Budget is practically a prospectus for residential property investment.

It is only at the poorest end of the housing problem that the Government has been spurred to do something new.

The Budget’s lack of new or daring ideas is all the more regrettable because the economy continues to perform strongly by comparison with nearly all others.

Dominion Post editorial: Blandness doesn’t mask the split within

The Budget was dull, as promised: John Key’s Government has made tedium a virtue.  

National’s chief pollster and PR-man calls the Budget “bland”; National’s helper Peter Dunne says it’s boring, but apparently in a good way.

Is being boring enough?

Blandness can’t patch up the apparently serious split between Prime Minister John Key and Finance Minister Bill English over tax cuts. This crucial issue of economic strategy gets a one line-mention  in yesterday’s Budget speech. One of  the Government’s priorities is  to “begin” to reduce income taxes, but only “if economic and fiscal conditions allow”.