Bill English is never happier than when he has an audience and an idea.
So it was yesterday, three days from the Budget, and the Monday before that.
The Finance Minister spoke at two difference conferences at Te Papa in Wellington and the idea was the Government's so-called "social investment" approach to the delivery of social services.
It's an approach that is spreading through Government and will underpin some of the funding decisions in Thursday's Budget.
At its most basic, it doesn't sound different from anything governments over the years have claimed to have done - to spend money where it will make a difference.
But the age-old idea is supplemented by data on a scale never available before - allowing funding to be targeted more directly to address the problems.
At the first conference, English pointed out one example that illustrates just how much information the Government has access to now that it didn't before.
It is about the school-leaving record of the 13,594 Maori born in 1995 - who were aged 18 in 2013. Of those, 991 left school at aged 15 or under without NCEA level 2.
"Until about 12 months ago, that group was invisible," he said. "That 991 number generates more costs than the rest of them. So we've finally found the thousand."
People knew they existed but "the system" didn't, and now it did.
Mr English said the Government could not solve all the problems and he wanted open access to the data "because we want a lot of people chewing on our problems".
"We actually don't know what to do with those 1000 Maori kids leaving school at age 14 and 15."
The aim of releasing the data was not to show it was any brilliant analysis but to use it as a starting point to fix the problems.
The first questions he asked of any new social policy initiative to, for example, get young people on the right track, was "which ones and where", and he said the Government was willing to pay a bit more up front to secure long-term results.
At yesterday's conference he talked about the number of children born in 1990 who were known to CYF, had at least one parent on a benefit and had a parent who had been in the Corrections system.
By the age of 35 that child was about five times more likely to have been on a benefit long-term and seven times more likely to have been in prison by the age of 21, English said. "A lot of these kids are million-dollar kids."
The more the system knew about them, the more likely there was a chance of changing the likely pathway.
The latest government agency targeted for the social investment approach is CYF, Child Youth and Family, which works with families when children may be at risk of harm, and is responsible when children are put into state care.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley announced a review six weeks ago and quickly dismissed as "nonsense" the notion that it was a cost-saving measure.
She said she fully expected that at least one of the changes she wants to see - a lift from the age of 18, at which the state ends its relationship with children in state care - would require an increase in funding.
After a visit to Britain this year, she concluded there was room for more child psychologists to support the work of social workers, and the need for a stronger voice for the child.
"I came back thinking that we were behind in our thinking," Mrs Tolley said.
The review would look at the system, not social work practice as such. She said the liability model, which estimates the lifetime cost of a person, had been used by ACC.
Mrs Tolley said there was some talk now about whether the social investment approach could be used in health. "Now it is spreading through the Government."
It was invaluable when dealing with Treasury when it could be shown that without intervention, a person would cost taxpayers a certain amount.
She asked the Ministry of Social Development to give the latest CYF data to the review panel including the type of data used in the diagrams Mr English employs to help funding decisions.
The CYF review is headed by Paula Rebstock, who chairs ACC and led the review of the probation service which, in the eyes of Government, has been transformed.
Mrs Tolley agreed that all governments talk about spending where it will make the most difference. "We have talked about it for a long time ... but we have never had as good evidence [as now] to back it up."