Grant Robertson welcomed new Treasury forecasts as proof the economy is doing better "right now" and he is right.
But the picture into the future is far from rosy.
In the short term the news is good, or at the very least, is better than it was a few months ago.
Back in May, Treasury expected that unemployment would jump to just below 10 per cent in September, the highest since the 1990s (earlier estimated had it climbing well into the teens).
Now, Treasury expects unemployment to peak at below 8 per cent, above the peak of the global financial crisis, but far better than was feared during lockdown.
But a less severe short term knock is expected to be followed by a persistent hangover.
The longer term outlook for unemployment, growth and debt are all significantly worse than they were at the time of May's Budget.
Back then, Treasury predicted that from its peak, unemployment would tumble to 4 per cent within two years (a forecast which seemed hopelessly optimistic even then).
Now unemployment is expected to stay above 7 per cent until 2023, recovering gradually to 5.3 per cent in 2024.
The outlook for the Crown's balance sheet is also worse over time, despite being slightly better right now.
In the year just finished (the year to June 30, 2020), Robertson is expected to have run a deficit of $23.4b, a huge number, but $4.9b smaller than expected at the time of the Budget.
Next year though the deficit is expected to climb above $30b, improving only to around $12b by 2024.
From there, the deficits continue, as far as Treasury can see. In its projections - which, it stresses, are less studied than the forecasts - Treasury see deficits continuing every year until 2034.
As such, the overall balance sheet of the Crown weakens considerably.
Net worth - the share of total Government assets to its total liabilities - is expected to fall from more than 47 per cent in 2019, to 12 per cent in 2024.
Treasury's projections show only a marginal improvement over the next decade.
There is nothing magic about a lower net worth figure (some large countries have negative net worth), but the drop from 2019 reflects the hit the Crown has absorbed to respond to Covid.
If another major shock hits New Zealand, the Government will not be in the same position to deal with it.
Debt levels also climb persistently.
Net core Crown debt, which was below $60b in 2019, is expected to climb over $200b in 2024.
That is roughly similar to what it was at the time of the Budget in nominal terms, but because the economy is expected to be smaller over time, net debt as a share of the economy climbs above 55 per cent of gross domestic product.
From there, it will continue to drift. Net debt is projected to stay close to 50 per cent of GDP in the middle of the 2030s.
In a briefing with journalists ahead of the release of the figures, Robertson said that the measures the Government had taken to suppress Covid-19 and cushion the impact on the workforce would be less severe but "there is no free lunch here".
He also attacked the plan of the Opposition, claiming National wanted to raise spending, cut revenue and reduce debt, which he said was an irreconcilable "Bermuda triangle" of a fiscal strategy.
But with Labour promising only a marginal increase in taxes on salary earners and little sign of plans for structural reform, the latest Treasury numbers do not show a plan of how to restore the Crown's balance sheet to a point where the finance minister of the day can cushion the next blow, whenever that hits.