Claire Trevett's take on Budget Week at Parliament, featuring the great How-dunnit, Grant Robertson's broken promise, and what PM Jacinda Ardern said at the post-Budget drinks.
Monday: The Sausage Roll Pledge
A cheerful Finance Minister reports to the Beehive Diaries that the question asked most often by journalists is whether the "Wellbeing" Budget meant the demise of the traditional sausage rolls at the lunch for journalists and analysts in the Budget Lockup.
He provided an assurance the sausage rolls would indeed survive his otherwise laser-like focus on wellbeing.
The questions he faced got somewhat trickier to answer the next day.
Tuesday: The Great Budget How-Dunnit.
Robertson's good cheer is interrupted by National Party leader Simon Bridges revealing his party had secured some of the information from the Budget.
It sparked a great how-dunnit for the next two days as media, Treasury and the Government tried to work out how National got the information.
That involved claims of hacking by Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf, claims of innocence by Bridges, and calls for enough heads to roll to qualify for a re-enactment of the Red Wedding massacre in Game of Thrones.
Robertson had an in-house expert to help with the technical questions.
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His partner Alf Kaiwai used to run the Treasury IT department many years ago. He left to be a bus driver, which may also come in handy once Robertson works out who should fall under a bus.
Wednesday: The teachers come to town
What a set-up. Education Minister Chris Hipkins (probably to his delight) had planned to stay away from the teachers' strike march at Parliament – his staff said the unions had made it clear they did not want politicians at it.
Once there, they started chanting "Come out, Chris", making it look like he was a no-show.
He double-bluffed them and turned up – only to be face a barrage of booing.
Meanwhile, National complained about the decision to slash the number of MPs and staff they could take into the Budget lockup from 16 to 8. The Government resisted pointing out that since National has been bragging about having Budget details in advance, they should not need a lockup at all.
Thursday: Budget Day
Budget Day dawned in an appropriately stormy fashion in the capital. Its infamous wind was worse than normal, cancelling flights and lashing the Budget lockup windows.
The Budget Day hype was alive and well. One of Robertson's advisers brought his baby in for breakfast with a onesie with "Specific Fiscal Risk" printed on it.
Parliament's Copperfields cafe was giving out chocolate coins with coffee.
But beyond that, things were even stormier inside than out.
At 5am, Makhlouf issued a statement reporting Police had cleared National of unlawful action: National had secured Budget information simply by using the search box on the Treasury website rather than through any sinister hacking techniques.
Robertson escalated his language from saying he was "disappointed" to "very disappointed". It is unclear how many "verys" are needed for further action.
At 8.45am, Simon Bridges held a show and tell to show media just how easy it was. Inquiries were launched, the inquisitions began.
Then the news broke that the cover model on the "Wellbeing Budget" had moved to Australia in December because she could no longer afford to live in New Zealand.
Robertson promptly blamed Treasury again, saying it had chosen it from a "stock" photo catalogue. Robertson said he was certain the woman would move back once she had read the contents of the Budget.
Robertson's Oliver Twist moments: Please sir, may we have some more.
The lockup brought at least one broken promise from Robertson – his assurance earlier in the week about the sausage rolls.
The usual spread for those imprisoned in Parliament's Banquet Hall was sparser than usual, leaving many hungry.
After the rush by the early movers, the only food left was a few "coalition lamingtons" – lamingtons in red, green and dark brown.
In past years the repast had been plentiful and refreshed as it emptied.
Asked later if it had fallen victim to Robertson's drive to find spare money by "reprioritising" from baseline funding, Robertson quipped: "I get a feeling it might be waistline issues for the Press Gallery rather than baseline issues."
Very droll, Robertson, but for next year the hint is in the title: "Banquet" Hall.
Robertson had a second catering fail that night.
The Minister of Finance's Budget drinks for staff and ministers ended by 8pm and reports filtered through that the Lindauer had run out.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke at that event and showed she was not beyond taking the gentle mickey out of her coalition partner, NZ First leader Winston Peters.
Beehive Diaries was told she referred to Peters' statement in Parliament that this was "the best Budget delivered to the people of this country in 40 years".
Ardern noted that was high praise indeed, given Peters himself had delivered two of those 40 Budgets.
That was when Peters was Treasurer for the 1997 and 1998 Budgets.