Who could have guessed Ruth Richardson would take such a supporting role in the first 100 per cent pure Labour Budget since 1990?
Richardson was not specifically named as the bogey-woman.
But she was unequivocally there as a point of comparison in Labour's first Budget as a majority Government since David Caygill in 1990.
Both Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in their Budget statements have drawn fiscal and moral comparisons with Richardson's "Mother of All Budgets" which slashed social welfare benefits.
• Budget boost for beneficiaries: The Government's 'two-bird-one stone' Budget
• The Budget:10 things you need to know
• Live blog: Kiwis react to Budget 2021; what it means for you
• Govt expecting 'very sharp' drop in house price growth
The cuts allowed the Labour majority Government to mark the 30th anniversary with what Robertson has called the largest lift in benefit levels in a generation.
The increases in this year's Budget to social welfare benefits amount to $3.3 billion over four years and increase main benefit rates between $32 and $55 a week.
In his Budget speech, Robertson says it is "primarily a moral issue".
He ends his speech with the historical comparison: "We are also here to right the wrongs of 30 years ago."
It has been dubbed the Recovery Budget by Robertson - he may not just be meaning recovery from Covid, but from 1991.
Budget literature also points out that by April next year, many of the benefit rates will exceed those recommended by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG) set up last term.
Labour increased them again by $25 a week last year (as Bill English did under National), indexed them to the average wage and adjusted abate rates to allow beneficiaries to earn more before their benefits are reduced.
But child poverty advocates have never let the Government forget the WEAG recommendations and how far they had fallen short, until now. They became an article of faith for the left.
As a careful Finance Minister, Robertson is also comforted by the fact the increases will almost certainly be instantly spent and will add stimulus to the economy.
Despite six years of deficits, and a tonne of debt, the Government has picked the right time to increase benefits. It is a move that will have wider political buy-in.
Its own base would have revolted had they not done so. After all, it has no handbrake besides its self-imposed ones.
But more importantly, the rest of public may also have revolted.
With $57 billion having been spent in the past year on the Covid recovery fund, including expenditure on some pretty healthy companies, there has been an adjustment in the public's mind as to what is deserving of state support.
And for social welfare beneficiaries, if not now, then when?
Robertson has also signalled he will not become obsessive about getting net core Crown debt to a specific level.
Last year it was forecast to peak at 55 per cent of GDP and this year's forecast has it peaking at 48 per cent in 2023.
The Obegal deficit in the current financial year is about half of what was forcest a year ago.
Robertson does not get back into Obegal surplus for another six years - a vast improvement on last year's horizon of deficits.
But as he points out, it is roughly the same amount of time the previous National Government took to get into surplus after the global financial crisis.
Perhaps not the mother of all comparisons, but an important one to Robertson.