UpFRONT A Cartoon History of Management

These days there is little drama – anticipatory or apprehensive – when the Minister of Finance rises in the House to perform the budget-reading ritual. The 1993 Fiscal Responsibility Act and the practice of drip-feeding budgetry decisions to the media for weeks and months have put paid to that. It was different in the early 1980s when PM Robert Muldoon kept the economy on short, closely guarded leash. ‘Fine-tuning’ with mini budgets was his modus operandi as he reined in economic activity in an attempt to control inflation and reduce the overseas deficit, and engaged in wholesale state intervention to lessen dependence on imported oil and boost export income. The second oil shock in 1979 quickly showed that Muldoon’s interventionist, reactive, tinkering approach to economic management no longer worked. New Zealand’s oil bill doubled virtually overnight, but while his caucus wanted to restructure and free up the private sector, Muldoon retreated to his old formula of incentives and the imposition of counter-productive sales taxes.

Minhinnick, NZ Herald, November 27 1980

From the NZ Cartoon Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library, P O Box 12349, Wellington, Tel/fax 04-474 3154. The national collection of cartoons and caricatures

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