His smile was wider than the expected wafer thin surplus set to be unveiled in tomorrow's Budget, but Finance Minister Bill English admits it's good to be back in the black.
Posing for the traditional pre-Budget photo-op at the Petone plant where the Budget is printed, English joked that he had delivered "six Budgets and six children".
He was mum on the prospect of any goodies in the Budget but said tomorrow's was only the first of many surpluses.
"You'll have to wait and see about what we are able to do in the next 12 months but this is the first of many surpluses and [the Budget will outline] a direction about how we see the balance of sustaining growth and sharing the benefits.
"I think we've demonstrated over the last six years by taking a long-term view we've been able to achieve surplus from quite a large deficit.
"If you look out over the next few years we can achieve a lot from an economy that grows roughly 10 per cent every three years."
But English out a damper in growing expectations of help for first-home buyers, saying people should not expect any windfall measures.
"It's a Budget about sustaining the growth in the economy and sharing the benefits of it," he said.
"There's a lot of people who have worked hard over the last four or five years through tougher times. They will see the prospect of a stronger economy delivering higher wages and more jobs.
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