Budget paper trail: It's as tall as four giraffes

Budget paper trail: It's as tall as four giraffes

The Government's annual Budget is a big hoopla for journalists, politicians and community groups, but what actually is it?

Aside from telling the country what the Government will spend its money on, how much money it has and how much debt we've got, the Budget is a lot of pieces of paper.

How many exactly?

Well, this year's Budget and all the supporting documents will be printed on 217,000 pages.

Stacked on top of each other, that's roughly the same height as four giraffes, the length of a blue whale -- the largest mammal in the world -- and 11 Steven Adams but not when he's airborne. 

Budget paper trail: It's as tall as four giraffes

And while that seems like a lot (it is), Treasury says it's actually been trying to lower that number each year by moving a lot of the material online.

The 4596 individual documents go all over the place, with many ending up in the hands of journalists in the Budget lock up where they get to see where the money goes before the information is publicly released at 2pm.

Budget paper trail: It's as tall as four giraffes

Finance Minister Bill English (Simon Wong / Newshub.)

In all, 17 different Budget documents are printed from the 12-page Budget at a Glance pamphlet to the 800-page Supplementary Estimates of appropriations for the Government of New Zealand and there's also the set of ministers' press releases in the media kit given to journalists.

Cover to cover, one full set of Budget documents is 2836 pages.

Some of those documents are tabled in Parliament, the lock up for MPs, some are kept at Treasury and given to MPs. It's also a legal requirement for the legal deposit office at the National Library to get two copies of the Budget each year.

Treasury wouldn't go into how much it costs to print the Budget each year, but says the price was cut by half between 2011 and 2013.

This year, Treasury decommissioned the Budget app which it launched in 2012 because it says there's a general trend away from native apps because they cost a lot to maintain and take up a lot of data and space.

They say in most cases, native apps have limited advantages to mobile apps which is why they've put more focus on redeveloping the Budget website instead.

The Budget and technology: