Andrew Little is a keen reader but the urge to scribble down his own verse has never struck.

That all changed while in the thick of preparations to respond to tomorrow's Budget, his first as opposition leader.

Over a couple of hours this morning, and in between other tasks, the Labour leader penned a lengthy poem that poked fun at National and began, "Twas the night before the Budget" - a nod to the famous A Visit from St. Nicholas (also known as The Night Before Christmas) by Clement Clarke Moore.

Mr Little's poem painted a picture of panic amidst National MPs rising with the realisation the country's finances weren't as healthy as had been made out.


He later read it out during Parliament's general debate - an event he later told the Herald qualified as his first poetry reading.

"But Bill English knew, he just hid his fear," one line of the poem read.

"That all their good words were just plain hot air,

"It was great that Mike Hosking and Paul Henry were glowing,

"But nothing could mark the economy slowing."

Mr Little's performance ended in an imagined leadership bid by MP Judith Collins, who cries to John Key in a "great throaty roar" that he is now known as a "ponytail puller".

Afterwards, Mr Little said his inspiration came after both frustration at the current Government, but also a lifetime of being a keen reader.

"I love reading that sort of doggerel, I grew up with Ogden Nash and Monty Python and all those sorts of things."


Ahead of tomorrow's Budget, Mr Little said the Government had made promises that could now not be kept.

"Conditions are looking much worse ahead, and we still have these big problems like runaway house prices and child poverty, and a Government desperate to cobble something together so it looks like we're dealing with the problem."


Twas the night before the Budget
When all through the House.
The National Back Benches were keen for a stoush
The promises were hung during the election with care
Of course they would fill them
How could they not
They wouldn't dare.
September 14 was a different time
The Back Benchers quite happy, some in their prime.
Nested all snug in their leather armchairs
John, Bill and Steven washed away all their fears
There had been promises of surpluses, of poverty relieved
Of great fiscal wonders, or so they believed.
"They've got us this fat, the Back Benchers said"
"What could possibly go wrong?"
"We're so far ahead!"
But Bill English knew, he just hid his fear
That all their good words were just plain hot air
It was great that Mike Hosking and Paul Henry were glowing
But nothing could mask an economy slowing.
"We have to do something, we have to be quick"
Said John Key to his Cabinet that had run out of tricks.
"Now Bennett, now Adams, Now Bridges and Tolley
Forget Steven Joyce and his conventional folly.
Where's Woodhouse, McCully, Crosbey and Textor
If there's one thing clear - you all have to do better.
I need plans to help Auckland, to slow housing prices
To help feed the kids, and fix other vices.
Where is the plan for trains, trucks and bikes.
My Facebook page tanking, I can't get no likes."
"And I'm sick of seeing Andy, the new man about town
He never gets angry, we can't bring him down".
Bill English stepped forwarded in canonical mood;
"Just stop there John, I don't mean to be rude
You may not have noticed, but we have a crisis
And it's nothing to do with our troops fighting ISIS
Exports are diving, dairy is down
There isn't much happening in any small town
I know I have said the problem's inflation.
But there's something much bigger - John Bank's compensation.
You said don't touch taxes, levies and fees
But how will we pay for this - it don't grow on trees."
And then the talk came to a stop with a shudder
The Prime Minister knew -his heart now aflutter
Up from the back came a great throaty roar
Judith Collins appeared on Parliament's floor.
"I've heard all of your talk, me and Todd Muller
All you're known as now is ponytail puller"
"Out of the way - shove this in your gob
I'm here to take over, it's my turn in your job."