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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 12. June 16, 1971

Brap Young's Aro Street Caucus

Brap Young's Aro Street Caucus

Aro Street Caucus header

Well, the word on everybody's lips this week is "The Budget". That has been the case in the opening week of Parliament for many years; as many as I remember, and that is many. This is the week when the columnists and the politicians burst into print and speech with their comments on the state of the country's economy, and everybody expects that, for the budget has come to hold a place of great interest in our country's political year.

Of course there is always the odd wag who flaunts the tradition and speaks or writes about something else in this week, and that is always good for a surprise. The day in 1958 when old Sir Leon Gotz stood up in parliament after Nordy's famous budget that year, and spoke about the new eye clinic in Taupo, he nearly brought the house down. But of course incidents like that are rare, and the budget has at many times produced some of the finest speeches ever to reverberate in our House. I remember Sir Leslie Munro's last coherent speech, when he outdid himself in what can only be described as a brilliant expose of the communist basis of social security - it now seems a strangely antiquated yet still relevant notion. One would think that our present minister of finance would be the first to realise that, yet here he goes again heaping bribe upon bribe upon that part of the community least qualified to enjoy it. That can only lead us into the arms of the communists.

Those pictures one sees of the Minister of Finance carrying his black satchel with the budget in it on budget night often have a longer story behind them than one might think. I remember the night before the Black Budget in 1958 (funny to think that was 13 years ago), when I came into Nordy's room in Parliament Buildings carrying my camera, and found him on his knees praying before his Methodist shrine which he used to carry everywhere with him. I positively had to drag him to his feet and push the satchel into his sweating hand before he would let me take the snap! He was really very nervy that night, quite unlike his usual self, and of course he couldn't enjoy the traditional noggin or two that our Ministers are won't to down before the presentation of the budget. He was in a way the odd man out amoungst MP's. He couldn't make shortbread like Sir Walter's wife.

Of course one failing one can never lay on the National Party is that they forget that ultimately their fate rests with the people, and that what the people want is leadership. That was what went wrong with the Labour Party in 1958. They forgot that an election was only two years away. That is something one must always remember. Unless one has the election well rigged, the reckoning with the People is never more than 3 years away.

Listening to the radio last Thursday night, I thought back to the early days, when communications were not quite so fast, when we used to gather round the newspaper office at 2 or 3 a.m. to await the news of William Pember Reeve's latest budget. Those were the days before Keynes was ever heard of, when a budget was Budget. When those who were too lazy or too stupid to fend for themselves or their families could not hope for the State to do it for them, When the first Labour Government was voted in, I voted for them too. But I soon stopped when I saw how excessive pensions and old age homes drove my mother from her productive job in the laundary before she reached 75, she slowly decayed into what can only be described as a senile decrepit old bitch. That is what Dr. Sutch and his communist gang tried to drive us into. I have never accepted a handout from the State in my life. I never will. I'll work till I drop.