This is the broccoli budget. It's the one you have to eat before you get the treats.

Bill English has got his surplus back and if we buy in to his vision of fiscal prudence we'll have $6.7 billion in the tank by 2020.

That's more than enough for John Key to dangle $3 billion in tax cuts in front of us before the election next year, although that does render the $6 billion figure a little redundant.

The $700m surplus this year represents a huge swing from the $400m deficit which was forecast as recently as December.


But economists will point out that is still margin of error stuff in a Budget spend of $77.4 billion.

In some ways the extent of the turn around since December just proves that.

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephen's has already described the forecasts as a mirage. He also believes Treasury is overly optimistic in its outlook.

Meanwhile the Government is talking up "massive" new spending on health and education.

There's $1.44 billion more in education, including $882.5m for classrooms and nine new schools and $2.2 billion more in health, including $1.6 billion for district health boards over 4 years.

But how generous is that really.

With the increased tax take and better than expected economic performance underpinned by historic levels of population more spending is needed just to balance the ledger.

The Government will argue that this spending outpaces the population growth, the opposition will argue it redresses years of under-spending.


Still, despite the lack of real surprises this is Bill English in top form. He's promised us boring and stable he's delivered.

Whether we see more of the same next year or whether the Finance Minister's colleagues dive in for an election year lolly scramble may depend on how the polling goes.

For now we've got no choice but to shut up an eat our greens.