The New Zealand Herald have an interesting visualisation of the spending allocations in this years Budget. For many people, the budget is either this large monolithic thing that they don’t really understand, or it is a series of headlines about large increases or decreases in spending that they get worked up about. What many people can’t get their head around is that the Budget effects everyone, every day. The budget is the outline of how the government intends to spend it’s money over the coming year, and years. The Budget is normally reported as “$xmil for Dept A”, what isn’t seen by many is the huge number of areas that spending goes, from the $11.6bil for super, to $0.66mil for the remuneration of the Ombudsmen. The Herald visualisation does a great job of outlining where it is the the money goes. It breaks it down into individual elements within each department.
It is disappointing that things like this are having to be done by the media. It would be great if things like this were done by Treasury, or the govt coms unit. There are so many great ways to make data more approachable and easier to understand. If the Crown is to retain the support of the people when it comes to spending money, there needs to be greater explanation as to where this money is being spent. Social and internet media offer the ability to do this. Hopefully 2015 will be the year that we see the social media budget.