Tune in here for up-to-date coverage of the big event.
I’ll be updating this page all afternoon.
Tremendous excitement is building, as speculation mounts that Sean “Diddy” Coombs may be joining the cast of Downton Abbey.
I am scratching now.
Bill English is now speaking.
Government to review the award to Talent2 of the contract to build the Budget 2013 app.
Momentum… on track… momentum… surplus… gains could be lost…
No news yet on how Bill English’s programme will affect Bonnie Tyler’s Eurovision chances.
Bill English confirms that the suspension of payments into Cullen Fund won’t affect superannuation affordability, as NZ Super will be funded by a partial sale of the elderly.
Bill English taking extra care not to read the “pause for applause” lines in his speech.
Finance Minister says something about multinationals. Green Party members clutch at their crucifixes.
Business New Zealand Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says he is delighted with the 2013 Budget. Says he hasn’t seen the details yet.
No plans at this stage to invade Poland.
Finance Minister pretends his government is targeting child poverty, rather than increasing it. Applause, possibly ironic.
Housing policy announced. A tinker here, a tinker there. Property investors breathe a sigh of relief.
Student achievement to be lifted by improving the career opportunities of unqualified teachers.
Nothing in this Budget specifically for West Auckland lawyers. Gutted.
Crime has fallen, or the reporting of crime has fallen, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. This is too complex for Bill English’s colleagues to grasp, so they clap politely.
Grant Robertson is overheard telling David Shearer to stop clapping.
Shearer to Robertson, as English concludes: “Can I clap now?”
It turns out that, in fact, David Shearer doesn’t like this Budget much.
David Shearer: “I don’t like you and your mates. Me and my mates are gonna give you and your mates the bash in 2014”.
“What is more important than that?” asks David Shearer. This?
Overheard on parliament’s microphone: “Who was that guy pretending to be David Shearer? He was quite good”.
John Key is giving a history lesson. He likens Labour to a Polish Shipyard, forgetting what came out of the Polish Shipyards.
Key: “How dare the Opposition oppose! Shame on you!”
The ratings agency that so spectacularly failed in 2008 has endorsed New Zealand’s economy. The population rejoices!
Applause as John Key pretends to give a damn about poverty.
Key: “Our economic prosperity is assured because of Blame Labour!”
Partisans declare that their man is winning the debate.
John Key’s history lesson ends. Historians breathe a sigh of relief.
Devil Beast Party still hopeful of coalition deal with National in 2014, despite PM’s speech.
Dr Russel Norman is talking. He turned up with a serious speech. Little applause or jeering, as sleep descends upon the masses.
Did Russel Norman not get the memo that this was supposed to be a comedy roast event?
Dr Norman’s speech makes blogger pass out.
A point of clarification: Parliamentary standing orders do in fact include a “no ladies” rule for Budget debates.
Winston Peters is also giving a history lesson. Historians now weeping.
Blogger’s business partner demands to know why blogger is not working. Threatens consequences. Blogger ceases blogging.
Nobody is looking, so blogger logs in again.
A mouse on a fitness treadmill will make forward progress if you pull the plug. Is this why the Nats are making power more unaffordable?
The elephant in the room has been scared away by the mouse on the treadmill.
Pita Sharples now talking. Boasting about the scraps handed to his party.
Blogger returns, having attended to work and family duties. A short non-partisan summary:
- Everyone’s a winner, everyone’s a loser.
- The worst budget speech was the one given by the leader whose party you dislike the most.
- This pretty much summarises it for me.