"The cupboard is almost bare and that is the way Michael Cullen planned the 2008 Budget.
He has delivered a Budget that offers a little of something for almost everyone but his biggest gift is to National - an election-year headache.
There is so little cash left to play with, $1.75 billion, that National will have little headroom to make attractive tax promises without saying what funding commitments Labour has made it will scrap.
That is what Michael Cullen promised and that is what he has delivered. The $1.75 billion isn't real either because $750 million of it was earmarked for health long ago.
Phil Goff's revealing comments this week showed that Labour is into legacy politics and this is a legacy Budget - a legacy to National. It will make it harder for National to win and if it does win, it will make it harder to govern."So that's why Cullen has been so chipper lately. He has thrown National a right-and-proper hospital pass. But will it be enough? Recent polling suggests that the public has gone right off Labour, so will this be exposed as just enough desperate ploy by a government on its death-bed? The next round of polls will tell the story, I guess.