Earlier this week, the Herald ran a piece about the underlying battle between the Government and the opposition each year to attach a pithy nickname to the budget.
Now, as the dust settles on another chaotic day across newsrooms, there's little doubt as to who sired a moniker upon this year's edition.
That was none other than Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf, who – unfortunately for Labour – made sure that 2019 would be remembered as the year of the Leaked Budget.
What will be particularly frustrating for the Government is that this Budget had more than enough to justify the "wellbeing" line trumpeted for weeks in advance. And while there was concern from business leaders that it didn't do enough to promote growth, the subdued reaction of the sharemarket showed it wasn't as calamitous as the most partisan commenters might have you believe.
Budget day is always a big public relations opportunity in that it allows the Government to back its rhetoric with action, to outline how it views the world and to show why it's a better bet than the opposition.
The thing with PR is that it's unwieldy and can quickly hurtle off in the wrong direction if things aren't managed appropriately.
The reason marketing and PR people are so precious about embargoes is because they know it gives them a short window during which they control the narrative. The trick, however, is to make sure you don't lose your narrative entirely by the time it comes to make your big splash. It's far harder to pull back public interest once it becomes fixated on an entirely different issue.
The problem wasn't the leak itself, but rather the handling thereof in the immediate aftermath.
Govt sets aside funds for new cyber security strategy
The day after news broke, Makhlouf – a name few knew until then – went on the offensive, telling media there were 2000 unauthorised attempts made to hack the Treasury website in two days.
The National Party, knowing full well how easily they attained the information, sat back and watched Treasury and Labour dig a hole all the way to the New Zealand Police.
Now that we know the leak came from a simple web search rather than a hack, Makhlouf's analysis of the events appears as technologically limited as a US congressman asking Mark Zuckerberg how Facebook makes money.
Makhlouf didn't lie as much as he showed he didn't quite understand how cybersecurity works. The line about 2000 hacking attempts may have sounded downright scandalous, but it didn't take long for security experts to pour cold water on it by pointing out that the figure was pretty much on par with a standard day.
He also wasn't helped by the fact that the true genesis of the leak was easily uncovered by a crew of online sleuths who found the information in a Google cache. As mysteries go, even profligate Netflix would have hesitated to dedicate a multi-episode documentary to this one. And it definitely didn't necessitate the involvement of the police.
The fiasco that ensued because of Makhlouf's comments dominated all media airtime in the lead up to the Budget and continued to be a major talking point when the event finally kicked off at 2pm yesterday.
The impact of the leak was only further accentuated by the revelation that the person on the cover of the "Wellbeing Budget" had left for Australia because she couldn't get decent wages here.
In many ways, this falls in the same category as the management of the budget leak because it's a communications and marketing fail more than anything else. If you're going to put someone on the cover of a Wellbeing Budget, the least you can do is make sure they didn't leave the country due to a lack of wellbeing.
No matter how many times the Government might say that it's what's inside that matters, the public isn't going to forget this little fact or the other things that happened around the Budget.
The small narratives boiling around the Budget seem like marketing fluff or irrelevant, but it all winds together into a single story that defines how an event is remembered. And once those perceptions have been shaped, they're incredibly difficult to break no matter how good the actual story you were hoping to tell.
Whether it's recounting an anecdote or presenting a vision on the future of the country, delivery matters – and the Government has been found wanting in this regard.