Grant Robertson

You don't have to believe the conspiracy theories to see that Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf is in serious trouble. A new inquiry will have to uncover something yet unknown to excuse the three strikes he committed last week

National leader Simon Bridges laid it on pretty think last week when he did his big reveal and showed that the supposed 'hack' of the Treasury website and early release of some Budget information nothing more than some Google searches and good luck.

The spadework has been done and the Labour-led government now has to decide whether it can afford to walk through the door labelled 'Capital Gaints Tax'... and they need to know who will follow

And so now, as was always inevitable, it comes down to political courage. Has Jacinda Ardern and her coaltion got the will and the numbers to introduce a proper capital gains tax?

Was it National-lite or is it a new direction?

According to the Treasury forecasts – which do not differ greatly from those of any other reputable forecasters – the economy is in a sweet spot. Output is expected to grow at about 2.9 percent a year over the next four years and employment about 1.7% p.a. That means a productivity growth of 1.2% p.a..

Two weeks out, Labour is positioning its first budget as a noble quest story in which it saves the nation from under-funding whilst also being super-responsible. But with questions about how it will try match its spending to its rhetoric, it feels more like a plot-twisting mystery

Budgets typically make for dry reading. From a speech that opens with a motion to pass the Appropriation Bill (yawn!) to appendices full of complex numbers, they're not exactly page-turners. Yet this year's Budget promises to be something of a pot-boiler packed with twists and turns and mysteries to be solved.

Incumbency is the super power every politician craves, yet this oddly muted new Labour-led government doesn't seem to have figured out how to use it yet. This week's mini-Budget is now crucial if it wants to position itself as a truly transformational government

It's such a quiet and prosaic tranformation. An undistinguished revolution.