Finance Minister Grant Robertson will today deliver one of the most significant Budgets in New Zealand's history.
And as New Zealand stares down the barrel of what was yesterday described as the "sharpest and deepest economic slump ever," the Government has a clear focus: "Jobs, jobs, jobs".
That's according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who yesterday warned that the Budget would be delivered against the backdrop of the most challenging economic conditions since the Great Depression.
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern announces funeral review, 'Jobs Budget'
• Covid-19 coronavirus: Government facing 'one hell of a fiscal repair job' MPs told by top economist
• Covid 19 coronavirus: How vaccine could be manufactured in NZ
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Virus-positive traveller jailed after refusing medical examination
"New Zealand is about to enter a very tough winter."
And, if the unprecedented nature of today's Budget wasn't already obvious enough, the Reserve Bank's near $30 billion expansion of its now $60b money printing programme should make that clear.
The coming months and years, according to Ardern, will be some of the most challenging this country has faced in a "very, very long time".
She warned that businesses will close and unemployment will rise – the Reserve Bank yesterday estimated the Covid-19 pandemic could result in 150,000 job losses across the country.
At the same time, top economists are picking the Government's debt levels to almost triple – reaching as high as $180b in four or five years.
"There is no playbook for the recovery we are about to embark on," Ardern said.
It is widely expected that the Government will announce tens of billions of dollars more in spending today.
The Government has already earmarked, and spent, roughly $25b on a series of pre-Budget Covid-19 related initiatives.
These include the almost $11b wage subsidy scheme, an extra $4b for district health boards and the health sector, $3b for benefit increases and a winter energy payment boost, and another $3b on tax changes to help struggling businesses.
But both Ardern and Robertson say this is just the beginning.
A support package for the tourism sector will be unveiled today and there will also be more funding for New Zealand's media industry.
And after Budget Day there will be even more announcements – the Government's Covid-19 response is a "rolling maul" of initiatives, Robertson said.
"We have indicated there will be sector packages, but not all of them will be in the Budget."
What will be in the Budget today, however, will be detailed on the Government's job creation plan.
"Our number one priority is jobs. That means this will be a jobs Budget," Ardern said.
In fact, she said the Budget will have a "relentless focus" on jobs and the economy.
Ardern told the House yesterday the Government's plan is to "invest in our people".
"We are creating jobs, jobs, jobs and we are looking after the wellbeing of every New Zealander."
She said the Budget would be the beginning of a longer-term project by the Government to rebuild New Zealand.
But while Ardern was focused on "jobs, jobs, jobs," National Leader Simon Bridges said what he is expecting to see from the Budget is more "debt, debt, debt".
He agreed that now was the time for investment, but said it depends on what the Government is investing in.
"What I think we need to see investment in is education, health and saving jobs."
Ardern also confirmed what would not be in the Budget – any cuts to essential services, such as hospital and teaching staff, and members of the police force.
"We believe when times are hard, you don't cut – you invest.
"The notion that at this time of need we would make cuts to the essential services so many New Zealanders need more than ever is not only immoral, it is economically wrong."
There will be no cuts to welfare support, Ardern confirmed.
"We will not let our team of 5 million fall when the times get tough; instead we will strengthen the blanket of support the Government can provide."
As well as a series of new spending initiatives and announcements, Treasury will today lay bare the Government's books – Robertson said the numbers will be "sobering".
He has declined to go into detail about what should be expected, but Bagrie Economics chief economist Cameron Bagrie said the numbers will be "horrible".
Speaking to the Epidemic Response Committee, the former head ANZ economist forecast the Government's deficit to explode to roughly $30b – that's up from a pre-Covid expectation of just a $1b deficit.
Bagrie is also forecasting Government debt to increase to $180b within four or five years – that's almost triple the current levels.
At the same time, the economy is going to take a significant hit as the recession bites.
Bagrie picked that Covid-19 will impact the economy by $3b a month for every month the country is in level 1.
That means even at level 1, the economic hit of Covid-19 will be bigger than that of the Global Financial Crisis, he said.
"[The Government] will have one hell of a fiscal repair job," he told MPs.