Mark Sainsbury: This Budget was designed to soothe the worriers

OPINION: My cousin Bernie isn't happy. He isn't happy with the budget.

"It's just putting money into the hands of the crims and the no hopers who don't want to work, and there's nothing for regular families and regular people," he complains.

To be fair, cousin Bernie hasn't been happy since John Key stood down; then the post-election negotiations didn't go quite how he wanted either - and now this.

It's not entirely true what he says - much of the $5.5 billion in the Families Package was released well before the Budget.

And the lion's share of new spending announced today goes to health and education: more state houses and more cops - although not quite as much as had been heralded.

The first mission of this Budget - as it was with Helen Clark and Michael Cullen's first effort - is to soothe the worriers.

Not cousin Bern of course. But out there in the real world, they needed to show that here was a responsible Government that wasn't going to send the country broke, that wasn't going to be 'tax and spend' Labour.

It's all about confidence.

The same happened in 2000, and the situation wasn't far different - the new Labour-led administration inherited a strong set of books and went on to balance the parallel requirements of keeping its own supporters happy and sucking up to the business world.

As a political editor in those days, I remember Helen Clark ringing me - as she was wont to do when wanting to get a message across - to spread the word that she was going to make sure business didn't get nervous, and if they were worried that Michael Cullen had it in for them, she had their back.

So 18 years later, Finance Minister Grant Robertson has delivered in the same way - nothing to frighten the horses, nods to all those they need to keep sweet, and money tucked away for future contingencies. But if there's one thing any government needs to learn, it's that there will always be something that comes back to bite you on the bum when you least expect it.

Whether that's an earthquake or financial crisis or the looming Mycoplasma bovis disaster in our dairy industry.

So cousin Bernie can relax for now - unless, of course, one of these curious pop-up prison concepts suddenly appears next door to his place.

Mark Sainsbury is RadioLIVE's Morning Talk host.