Auckland's housing supply, immigration and defence are set to be at the front this week's 'no-surprises' Budget announcement.
Finance minister Bill English will present government's annual spending plan on Thursday and while he won't "open the presents before Christmas morning", he will say no revolutionary changes are on the way.
Thursday's most anticipated chapter will be Auckland housing's debacle - and how government's next move will impact an increasingly strained relationship with Auckland Council over how to fix rocketing prices and a serious supply problem.
With QV figures declaring the average cost of an Auckland house is now over $800,000 (way over the national average of $507,040 ), toughening lending restrictions and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment predicting a further 22,000 new houses are needed on top of Auckland Council's 10-year for 50,000 new homes, the situation is pricing many out of the market entirely.
Fuelling the fire, Auckland's booming population of 1.5 million is tipped to have another one million people added to it over the next three decades.
Housing Minister Nick Smith warned earlier this month that "government also has the power to create special housing areas without the approval of the Auckland Council if they choose to overplay their cards and demands for money".
English says Auckland's supply issue is absolutely on the agenda - hinting at the special housing areas already mentioned by Smith.
"This budget will be focussing on the same sort of areas we've focussed on before, so part of it is about doing what we can to sustain this moderate economic growth. At the moment, the factor that could potentially have impact on that has been the much-discussed Auckland housing market," English told the Herald on Sunday.
"We're not relying on stuff in the Budget as a way of dealing with it, but it's part of an ongoing process of the government doing what it can to develop it's own real estate and support Auckland Council and the decisions it has to make."
Elsewhere, English confirmed defence will also be a winner, hot on the heels of government deploying 142 personnel to Iraq to join the fight against Islamic State terrorists, while unlike military coalition partner Australia, he said New Zealand's aid budget will remain stable.
English also said more money is needed for the continued rebuild of Christchurch after the devastating 2011 earthquakes.
"There's additional costs coming through to government, so the budget will show further increases in the taxpayers' contribution to the rebuild of Christchurch," he said.
"We'll be moving pretty quickly after the Budget to progress some of our hardcore issues, particularly better results with reducing welfare and increasing educational achievement. "it's a case of sticking with a plan that's working."
What hasn't worked was English's goal from Budget 2014, that this year government would return to surplus. English dismissing criticism of the shortfall, insisting the economic trajectory is on the right track and the surplus goal will be scored this time around instead.
"There's a bit of confusion about it, which is understandable. In Budget 2014 we said there'd be a surplus for the year-ended June 30, 2015. It turns out that's not going to be a surplus. In Budget 2015 we'll talk about year-ended June 30, 2016, and there will be a surplus for that year, but it won't be large," he said.
"The year ahead we'll be budgeting a surplus and people will be able to kick that number around to see whether they think it's credible for not. We're on the right trend, it's taking a bit longer."