For political tragics, Budget days are the most exciting outside election days. The uninterested 99 per cent will remain more passionate about Queen's Birthday traffic queues.
This offering is the "Pollsters Budget", smelling as if National pollster Curia conned a committee of confirmed Labour voters to meet for pizza and $50, then appointed a moderator and banged together Billy's Budget.
Election budgets should lob lollies to potential voters, not Opposition true believers. Again Bill English acted like the quintessential smug Kiwi farmer content with increasing wealth on unrealised tax-free capital gains. He bottled it.
English has morphed into a less witty Michael Cullen. That transformation is complete in accepting that Cullen's Super Fund was not such a bad idea after all. Oh, to go back to the day English was secretly taped mumbling he wanted to sell Kiwibank.
The most obvious focus group-driven language is that against tax avoidance. A common parliamentary intent test makes it impossible for big taxpayers to beat the IRD anyway. In the fine print, $132 million over five years to the IRD includes $84 million to write debt off. Oops.
National promise 18 weeks' maternity leave. Labour want half a year, Greens and Mana more. Former Alliance leader Laila Harre was happy with 12. I expect the Internet Party will promise women the option to work in a cloud for life sporting black onesies. This baby bribe bidding war keeps women barefoot in the kitchen heading backward in employability. We already have the second-highest fertility rate in the OECD - there's no need for incentives. Quality over quantity seems the issue.
Act proposes slashing corporate welfare for favoured firms to give tax cuts to everyone. National? Maybe. National remain intent on picking the loudest for corporate handouts at the expense of competitors in the market.
In a perverse twist, this lame Pollsters Budget should terrify John Key supporters out to vote in their masses. After six years in power, National believes this is an acceptable centre-right Budget in an election year.
I ask, then, what on Earth would a Labour-Greens-Mana-NZ First-Internet Party Government come up with?
Cathy Odgers (Cactus Kate) is a political commentator from the radical right. She works in the offshore finance industry.