The trouble with budgets is that the Opposition can’t see what’s good for us

Dunno why the wretched Opposition doesn’t pack up and go home.

If they did that, then Alf could pack up and go home too.

As it is, Parliament has moved into urgency to debate legislation introduced to enact changes announced in the Budget this afternoon.

Here’s how Radio New Zealand explained things for those who weren’t glued to their TV sets watching the proceedings.

Five bills have been introduced, three of which will be passed through all stages under urgency.

The other two will be sent to a select committee after they pass their first reading.

Parliament is expected to sit until Saturday as the Government pushes through legislation.

Saturday.

That means Alf will have to forgo Friday night drinks in the Eketahuna Club.

The Budget speech that precipitated these political antics had a slab about housing.

Alf’s mate Bill sounded real impressive when he read it and explained how housing can be made more affordable in New Zealand by focusing on the key areas that actually make a difference: land supply, consent processes, provision of infrastructure, and productivity in the construction sector.

The Government is working with councils on these issues, Bill said, because the decisions they make about housing affect the entire economy.

High housing costs affect financial stability – as we all know – and create an increased demand for housing assistance.

What came next, of course, explains why Alf won’t be home until the weekend.

Today we are introducing legislation to speed up the provision of new housing in areas where the pressure is greatest and housing is least affordable.

Special housing areas will be designated under accords between the Government and councils. Council approvals for new housing in those areas can then be managed under a
streamlined process.

This legislation, which will apply for three years, is an immediate response to housing pressures in areas facing severe affordability problems.

It gives time for the Government’s resource management changes to bear fruit, and address land and housing supply issues in the longer term.

Radio New Zealand’s political editor recognised that this housing package, aimed at putting a brake on fast rising house prices, was one of the main features of the Budget.

It’s such great stuff the Opposition shouldn’t be opposing it.

Supporting it without debate would be the smart thing to do – but they are the Opposition precisely because they aren’t smart.

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