There comes a point in the life cycle of every government when the stench of impending political death threatens to overwhelm the senses. I think Labour may have reached that point today.
Strong words, but everything is going wrong for the Government at the moment.
But the main reason this year was different was because there was virtually no one there. Now, I’ve been following Cullen to business lunches and breakfasts for the best part of a decade, and this was the smallest audience I can ever remember him addressing. For the main pre-Budget address it was pathetic.
I counted 30 people sitting listening to him over their smoked salmon and sav blanc. Last year, organisers tell me around 80 turned up.
That is quite incredible. In NZ’s second largest city, only 30 people wanted to hear what the Minister of Finance would say.
There’s no question Prime Minister Helen Clark still has the fire in her belly, but I didn’t see anything approaching that from the Treasurer today. Frankly he looks like he’s given up the ghost.
The same applies in the House. David Parker looked awful the other day.
Maybe I’m wrong. Cullen is a master poker player. It’s just possible he has several aces up his sleeve for next week, and he’s been bluffing us all along. But if that’s the case, I wonder if he’s left playing his hand a bit late.
By the time he shows his cards, there’ll be no one left to read them.
Oh there will be some surprises in the budget, but nevertheless I think it is all too late.