BUDGET SURPLUS EXPERT MEETS LIFE DEFICIT.
New Zealand politician Michael Cullen has died of lung cancer aged 76. Deputy Prime Minister from 2002 to 2008, Cullen was the New Zealand version of John Prescott: a left wing bruiser who had a habit of drawing attention to policies the government didn’t want attention drawn towards. We can find no reference to him continuing this trend by punching a gobshite during an election, mores the pity. Cullen also had a decade as Finance Minister, He first came to power in the 1980s, helping to nobble a pro-monetarist Finance Minister in the Labour government. He was elected as Deputy Labour Leader in 1996, having previously ran for the job, and despite having tried to help oust his own leader Helen Clark.
In the dual roles of Deputy and Finance, he managed to create a budget surplus 9 years in a row, which meant New Zealand buffered the effects of the 2008 recession better than most. However, like most governments in that time period, they lost the subsequent election. Cullen was a supporter of euthanasia and civil unions, and was moving towards the left on progressive tax reforms as a key advisor to Jacinda Ardern when he was struck down with Stage IV lung cancer. Despite saying Queen Elizabeth should be the final monarch to rule New Zealand, Michael Cullen was still knighted by that same monarchy in 2012. His legacy is Kiwirai, interest free student loans, and free nursery education.
He was picked by 14 teams, including Cancel My Appointments (on a roll), Droller Coaster, Thomas Jefferson Survives and Pan Breed (who he?). This is actually the first hit for Pan Breed in over 6 months, which is a longer drought than even 2013- 2015 when I was picking Ryan Buell and Superstar Billy fn Graham.
5 February 1945 – 19 August 2021