When the milk payout plummeted a few years ago we did what every sensible business did – looked at every single item of expenditure in our budget, worked out what was and wasn’t necessary and adjusted it accordingly.
Anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary was removed, anything that was necessary was looked at carefully to see if we could find a way of reducing its cost.
The Key government took a similar approach with its budgeting during the GFC – requiring savings wherever possible while maintaining essential services.
Where is this government making savings?
The country is facing a far bleaker outlook than we did during the GFC but has yet to mention anything about making cutting costs to reduce the amount of borrowing it is doing.
Most councils have reduced the forecast rates rises, some impsing no increase at all but there is no sign that central government is planning to follow that good example from local government and re-examine its budget to reduce the burden of debt that will dog the country for many, many years.
Hardly a day goes by we don’t get media releases telling of government giving money to at least one project or initiative.
A responsible and caring government would put at least as much effort into saving money as it does to spending it.
There is a good case for spending during a recession, as the Key government did to take the hardest edges off the impact on the most vulnerable. But that spending was carefully targeted and the burden of debt was reduced by a concentration on making savings in other areas at the same time.
If the necessity of doing that has occured to this government it’s been very quiet about it but I doubt that it has even crossed its mind.
An administration that has failed to deliver on its big promises, threw money at ill-thought out policies as varied as fees-free tertiary education for all and good looking horses, is one that pays far more attention to the amount it spends than the value.
It has failed to differentiate between the quantity and the quality of its spend, between must-haves, to grasp the necessity of restricting itself to must-haves rather than nice-to-haves and to deliver on its promises when it was in surplus.
It doesn’t have the wit or the will to spend wisely and make savings where it can and must. We can’t afford another three years of that.