Jacinda Ardern was right. There were no deep dark surprises is the Budget. It could hardly be called exciting.

But it was not boring either.

No Budget is boring, especially not the first Budget of a new Government.

The slight surprise is that education did not receive quite as much as the sector may have wanted.


But that can wait. There is a fundamental review of the education sector being undertaken and it makes more sense to wait for that to be finished before deciding where to direct the next spare billion or so.

This Government has options and growing coffers means greater options.

Grant Robertson has received a windfall in extra tax revenue from an increase in business activity and he has put much of it aside for the future.

He took a little bit to increase expenditure in this Budget but left much of it unspent, meaning the surplus has increased from a forecast $3.1 billion to $3.7 billion.

Robertson did the measured and responsible thing to resist calls from the left to spend more and borrow more.

Like it not, the Government's swelling coffers for better public services depend on the goodwill of the business community.

Despite businesses' supposed falling confidence in the new Government, their deeds don't match their words and their increased activity has produced a bonus for the surplus.

If Robertson wants that to continue, first he must do no harm by the standards of business. In that he has succeeded.


By traditional Labour standards, he succeeded too with a big increase in funding to public services.

The greater challenge will be to ensure that the quality of spending matters, not just the quantity.