Both Ele at Home Paddock and Inventory2 at Keeping Stock
have memories of Budgets past, listening to the radio in the evening.
The first I remember was Bill Rowling’s second, and last, Budget as finance minister in 1974. I was just starting to take an interest in what was in the newspaper and there was a Minhinnick cartoon, the morning of the Budget, of Rowling on the phone and saying ‘Good morning, Nordy…’
It was, of course, the first Budget after the First Oil Shock and it was expected to be a tough one. (it wasn’t). ‘Nordy’ was Arnold Nordmeyer, architect of the 1958 ‘Black Budget’.
It was either that Budget or the next one I was at a dance at the local hall on Budget night, and all the dads – farmers, all – were out the back in the kitchen, listening to the radio as it was being read.
What hit me at the time was the atmosphere of … not quite dread, but disquiet. The economic ground was shifting under our feet and things would never be the same again. People knew this, even if they weren’t up on the detail of economics. A great part of Muldoon’s appeal was he seemed so certain – he provided assurance in what was becoming a very uncertain world.
Whenever I think of Budgets now, I think of that country hall, and that room of worried farmers.