THE NSW Government will take a chainsaw to its own advertising, ordering a 25percent cut in spending at next week's mini-budget.I have never understood why governments of all stripes are so keen on advertising. I know that there is a theory that it can help make a government more popular, but I don't subscribe to that. We pay for those ads - that's you and me, the taxpayer. Everytime I see one come on the TV, I want to throw a stubbie at the screen, for that is my money going up in smoke.
The Department of Health, the Roads and Traffic Authority, RailCorp and the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority - some of the biggest spenders of the Government's $125million annual advertising budget - are under pressure to use technology rather than traditional means to advertise.
I have always thought that the only purpose of advertising by a government was to try and keep the media sweet. After all, those fat salaries paid to media executives and talking heads all have to be paid for somehow, and throwing money at them is one way to shut them up.
If that has been the plan, it hasn't worked.
Which is why I am wondering if this announcement doesn't have a sour grapes flavour to it. If I was Nathan Rees, I'd be saying this:
"We've given these pricks a billion dollars over the last 8 years, and has it bought us any favours? No. Well, fuck them. I'm going to pull the rug out from underneath them. There'll be floods of tears down at Channel 9 this week as the axe starts to swing. A few cutbacks will do them some good. And the beauty of it is that none of them will be able to complain - they'll all have to praise me for doing the taxpayer a favour. I hope they choke to death on the shit sandwich that I'm going to serve them".
If I was him, I would have gone for a 75% cut.