Last Thursday I witnessed my first Budget as an MP. Great things were promised in the campaign and in the weeks before.
In what can be only described as a major let down for teachers, nurses and regional New Zealand, very little was delivered.
Budget 2018 will go down as the tax and spend, borrow and hope budget.
In spite of inheriting a bustling economy with 10,000 job being created every month, Labour is taxing more, spending more, borrowing more, and hoping that their broken promises are not noticed.
They spent the last nine years criticising everything the National Government achieved and calling everything a crisis, yet this Budget provides no new solutions.
They've dressed it up with rhetoric like "starved for funding" and "deficit support" but the reality is even their health budget is underwhelming, and commits less each year than National did in the last Budget.
Budget 2018 is strewn with broken promises. No universal cheaper doctor's visits, 1800 extra cops that aren't coming anytime soon, no free iPads for every child at school, not to mention a raft of new taxes from a Government that promised "no new taxes" in its first term.
There's nothing in the Budget for Hawke's Bay except some new state houses which were programmed by National anyway. We will also end up paying an extra 12 cents a litre for Auckland's public transport.
Of course, Winston Peters is happy because he got his billion dollars for diplomats and a new embassy in Sweden. Unfortunately, Labour has prioritised that ahead of funding mental health and better roads for regions like Hawke's Bay.
Labour have realised they don't have enough money to meet their excessive election commitments and so have increased future spending allowances by $5 billion.
Spending is the easy part. Governing is about delivering New Zealanders the public services they need and getting better results. That's more cops on the beat, more operations in our hospitals, and our kids doing better at school. There is no sign this Government has any understanding of that approach.
And New Zealanders are paying the price with a big lift in Government debt – $10.8b higher than National. That doesn't include an additional $6b of debt hidden off the Government's balance sheet.
Borrowing more and taxing more in strong economic conditions makes no sense and risks undoing all the hard work of New Zealanders over the last few years.
There is no meaningful help for Kiwi workers in this Budget. In fact, middle-income families are getting steadily worse off, with the cancellation of National's tax changes and the big increases in fuel taxes that will take petrol and diesel prices to record levels.
But the most frustrating oversight in Labour's Budget is any plan to keep our economy growing and developing. It's quite the opposite.
This Government's anti-business policies mean growth projections are more a hope than a prediction, despite strong growth internationally.
This is a hugely disappointing Budget of little imagination from a Government that is borrowing more, taxing more and spending more – but has no plans for how we as a country can earn more.
Mike Williams got it 100 per cent wrong in his column on Saturday. There were only two winners. Winston Peters and his grab for billions and Simon Bridges whose job to become the next Prime Minister was just given a major boost.
* Lawrence Yule is the MP for Tukituki and former Hastings mayor.