May 24, 2008

What We Would Cull, That Cullen Wouldn't

The excellent South Island blog Home Paddock has reminded us that in farming, when feed gets short, a sensible farmer starts culling. Home Paddock suggests some areas of Government activity that the Government should go further than John Key's suggestion that there be no increase in core bureaucrats and consider culling: Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Families Commission are cited as targets for the initial cull. Unfortunately this will not save that much.

So here our our suggestions:

Abolish the Ministry for Economic Development (keeping NZTE which would become a standalone department) saving - around $63 million

Abolish the Ministry for Environment (disaster zone. Anything important can be done by Treasury or MFAT) saving - around $43 million

Cancel the $165.2 million earmarked in this budget to strengthen New Zealand's presence in the international community (until MFAT and NZTE have been reformed)

Freeze Arts and Culture expenditure at 2007/08 levels - saving $124.4 million

Freeze NZAID monies at 2007/08 levels pending review and reform of NZAID - saving around $100 million

Cancel plans for the New Zealand Fast Forward Fund and redesign saving $700 million

That is $1.2 billion and who will notice? Will there be any reduction in quality of delivery of core services such as education or health? Have other social services been cut?

We would like to say sell the railways but who would pay $1.5 billion for them?

Now if Cullen had announced changes such as the above at the same time as his tax cuts would interest rate cut have been delayed? No. And would Labour have had a bigger chance of winning the election? Yes. Could Cullen have given an even bigger tax cut? Yes.