Saturday, 3 June 2006

It's my Budget, and I'll cry if I want to

Poor Dr Michael Cullen... An esteemed MP for the Labour Party seats of St Kilda and Dunedin South between 1981 and 1999 (now a Labour-lister), Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the House, Minister for Tertiary Education, and of course Finance Minister for the NZ Government.

But it seems even fans of his own party aren't convinced by his recent financial decisions... Last year's Chewing Gum Budget almost lost Labour the election (before he pulled the swifty of "free money for all students").

Dr Cullen tried to temper expectations this year with his Bondi Budget, but despite insisting there was no room for tax cuts (they're committed to spending on the Cullen Fund, more Welfare, and Free loans) announced a surplus of around $8.5 billion.

That brought another drop in the polls for Labour, and more criticism from business groups, financial analysts, and the media.

But apparently the media aren't supposed to publish or broadcast stories saying anything bad about the Labour-led government, and when some of Labour's long-time friends joined in with the criticism, Dr Cullen decided enough was enough.

Last Thursday, an agitated little Michael Cullen lashed out at "friend of the family", State TV's Political Editor Guyon Espiner as he was preparing for an interview, accusing him and others in the Parliamentary press gallery of driving the debate over tax cuts for their own personal gain.

To Espiner's credit, he decided to run pieces from that pre-interview "chat" with Dr Cullen, in which the 64-year old MP ad makes it clear he's "quite angry about this!" ;-) It's absolutely one of the funniest political pieces seen since the glory days of Tennis-gate!

* TVNZ: Cullen attacks press over tax cuts
* TVNZ Video: One News item
* NZ Herald: Cullen accused of losing the plot after outburst caught on camera
* National Business Review: The other face of Michael Cullen

* Hat Tip: Whale Oil

* Sir Humphrey's: Cullen: Guyon Espiner, Tracey Watkins and NZ Herald staff chasing tax cuts for themselves

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