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The Unbudget

What is the best financial approach to take during a recession? Is it best to play safe and try to save money and minimise debt, or is it better to act positively and try to improve the situation? Well it seems that the New Zealand government has taken the former course because the budget they just released is extremely yawn-worthy.

To be fair they have produced a fairly well balanced budget which doesn’t penalise or advantage any particular groups. No one should be too upset about it, but then again no one will probably be celebrating either.

Of course, there is a case to say this is the best approach. At least we aren’t handing out free money to dead people as part of a stimulus package like the Australians. Maybe they think they will stimulate the dead back into life!

But you would think that to recover from a bad financial situation you would need to do something. Just waiting around and doing as little as possible while the rest of the world tries to solve the problem doesn’t really seem like the sort of thing we should be too impressed by.

One opportunity we might be able to take advantage of during the recession is the increased number of people who participate in tertiary education programs while jobs are harder to get. But there is no money in the budget for this. In fact, given the increased number of students likely to arrive, tertiary education institutions are likely to be a lot worse off. And I’m not just saying that because I work at a University!

Anyway I guess I should be happy that the budget hasn’t been the type that takes an axe to anything that’s still moving. It probably won’t do any harm but it seems unlikely that it will do any good either.

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