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Fans of Bill English’s Budget series worried he won’t be able to tie all plot threads together by the end

English’s dramatic saga about numbers and decimal points is also facing pressure to update its cover art, which critics have described as “exactly the same every time.”

English’s dramatic saga about numbers and decimal points is also facing pressure to update its cover art, which critics have described as “exactly the same every time.”

Following the widely unanticipated release of the 8th instalment in Finance Minister Bill English’s Budget series, fans are beginning to fear that the plot has become so convoluted that he won’t be able to tie it all together by the series’ end, which is expected in either the 9th or 12th instalment.

“I struggle to believe he’s going to end it all in the 9th Budget,” said long-time fan of English’s numbers, Jarrod Bakker. “There’s just so much going on and it’s not even really close to making sense at this point.”

That sentiment was echoed by other fans, who felt the latest chapter in the hugely influential saga did not go nearly far enough to resolving the many conflicts and character arcs in New Zealand, the possibly fictional world in which the Budget series is based.

“There’s been a lot of characters introduced over the years. I mean, there’s been 8 now, and they all introduce some new characters, like Free Doctor’s Visits, kill off some others, like State Assets or Continuing Education,” said Margaret Gillespie, who says she’s been reading the Budget series since the very first one came out in 2009.

“At a point, it all becomes a bit much from a narrative point of view, and instead of getting detailed character arcs like you used to, you just get little updates on each character each instalment. It’d be nice to spend more time with certain characters, like Housing.”

Despite these criticisms, Bill English’s publisher, Prime Minister John Key, said that the latest instalment was the “biggest and best yet,” in part due to some exciting new developments, like inflation.

“I think most New Zealanders would agree that there are certainly more numbers in this budget than in previous budgets,” he told media this morning, ahead of the book’s release. “Lots of columns, possibly more columns. If you like columns, and if you liked the last few Budgets, well, this is much the same.”

The Budget series has suffered dwindling popularity in recent years, as the country’s major media outlets become increasingly disinterested in covering news, and increasingly interested in covering things that people will read about.

For a helpful rundown of what’s in this year’s Budget, we’ve compiled a list, which you can read here.