Wednesday's bumper day for the economy was a story told on both sides of The Terrace: number 1, the headquarters of Treasury, and across the road number 2, the Reserve Bank.
Two tower blocks, both alike in grey bureaucratic indignity, on a wet day in Wellington, where we lay our scene.
Treasury delivered the Government rosy (under the circumstances) accounts for the year ending June 30. The deficit of $9.7 billion is, in nominal terms, still one of New Zealand's largest, but at just under 3 per cent of GDP, it's hardly terrible given the period captures the Omicron and Delta outbreaks, and not quite small in historic terms.
It's also $9.3b smaller than the massive $19b deficit forecast by Treasury in May of this year.
It stacks up well to the deficit posted just after the first lockdown and after the Christchurch earthquakes.
There's wriggle room of the good and bad kind in the accounts - upside and downside risk is what they call it in the trade. Crown expenses up on last year, but about $2b less than forecast at the Budget.
Expenses were fattened by $4.7b in wage subsidies and $4b in Covid resurgence support. Both of those expense lines will be gone from the next set of accounts, giving the finance minister some breathing space. The worst of Covid from a fiscal perspective is (touch wood) over.
The accounts also show healthy revenue. Corporate taxes were up 26.2 per cent on last year - an increase of $4.1b.
Tax from individuals was also up - 11.2 per cent, about $4.3b.
Lower expenses and higher revenue makes it increasingly more likely that the Treasury's decision to push back a return to forecast at the Budget to 2025 was incorrect, and that the books will return to black sooner than that (the 2025 surplus is forecast to be $2.6b).
While the Government's roar back to surplus is certainly a positive, the fact that it has done so, at least partly on the back of far better than expected tax from individual income earners, creates a problem for the government.
The income tax take was $4.3b up on last year, $3.3b of which was "largely owing to wage increases and growth in employment".
The increase was also due to people moving "into higher tax brackets" and the first full year of the new 39 per cent top rate.
Overall, core Crown tax revenue is 30.2 per cent of GDP, higher than at any point since 2008, when the last Labour government was in office.
National has over $3b in tax cuts on offer to the electorate. Individuals might look at the $1.7b of those cuts that are for people in low and middle-income tax brackets and think the Government could probably afford to find space for them.
(We should add here that the fact that so much more has been earned in tax likely makes the cost of National's cuts more expensive than budgeted. If more people are earning more money in the brackets National wants to change, it will make those tax cuts more expensive - National would probably add, however, that this makes the need for the cuts all the more urgent.)
The other side of the story came roaring from the other side of the road, just an hour after the Government published its accounts: A fifth 50 basis point OCR hike from the Reserve Bank.
The hike will push up the cost of lending, squeezing household earnings. Central bank tightening is happening across the world. It risks pushing the global economy into recession as the cost of borrowing rises. New Zealand's small, open economy is no exception. A recession looks possible - even likely.
While the Government books look good - there's a clear path out of the storm - there's a good chance, a very good chance, an international recession could explode on the scene, derailing the books.
This wouldn't necessarily kill the need for tax cuts. Cutting tax is economic stimulus too, and could be used to chuck money into the economy in need of life.
It would however make it more difficult for both Labour and National to argue the case for tax cuts and fiscal sustainability at the same time.
Unveiling the accounts, Robertson repeatedly said he would not "fritter away" his fiscal gains on tax cuts for wealthy people and property speculators - a reference to three taxes National would cut, the $180,000 top rate, the bright line test, and the removal of interest deductibility.
But he was coy when asked about taxes for people on middle incomes, saying that Labour had committed to no major changes this term, but that all parties would take a tax policy to the election, including Labour.
This sounds like a finance minister who is leaving the door open for some kind of low- or middle-income tax cut.
Robertson is very keen to signal the next budget will be a small one. There'll be no austerity, but announcing the date of the Budget Policy Statement on Wednesday (the day when Robertson announces how much new money he'll spend in Budget 2023), he said the fiscal strategy would involve "cutting our cloth".
That sounds like the $4.5b operating allowance announced at the Budget won't be increased in the way previous allowances have been.
There are other challenges to tax cuts too.
Cutting taxes without cutting spending will be stimulatory to the economy. Governments are effectively having their cake and eating it too, sending spending and tax cuts to people to spend.
It sounds great until the Reserve Bank has to intervene, mopping up all that increased cash with much higher interest rates.
Ironically, this kind of fiscal orthodoxy in this country is coming at the same time from opposite ends of the political spectrum: the Greens and Act.
The Greens responded to the Reserve Bank's cash rate hike today by putting out the most logical invocation of British Prime Minister Liz Truss' disastrous tax cut U-turn. In the UK, mortgage holders are furious because their mortgage costs are set to increase by far more than the rate at which their taxes are being cut.
Finance spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter argued that National's proposal to cut taxes without an equivalent cut in spending would add to inflation by flushing the economy with more money.
It's an argument also made by the Act Party, including in an Herald op-ed by deputy leader Brooke van Velden on Wednesday.
Act is in favour of large tax cuts, but it plans to pay for them with even larger spending cuts, meaning the net effect on the economy is contractionary.
It's a lesson our two large parties will have to ponder leading into next year's election: the level of tax cut the inflation-battered economy can afford will in part be determined by how much spending can be cut to pay for it.
When it comes to tax, Number 1 The Terrace can giveth, but Number 2 can very easily taketh away.