Finance Minister Grant Robertson kicked off his pre-Budget on Tuesday and was at pains to reassure New Zealanders he is a good economic manager.
But the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll shows more than three-quarters of the country don't think the Government has done enough to manage the cost of living.
"We're controlling spending and keeping a lid on debt," Robertson said in a speech on Tuesday.
He really, really wants Kiwis to know he's sensible with their taxes.
"It gets the balance of discipline and room to invest, right," Robertson added. "It is now time to move back to a position where we have clear fiscal rules."
Robertson wants Kiwis to swallow his pitch for what he says is a disciplined Budget. He's switched up how we measure debt, giving himself two new fiscal rules and giving New Zealand a new debt ceiling: 30 percent of GDP.
"The debt ceiling is not a target and we are tracking well and truly under it," Robertson said.
National leader Christopher Luxon disagrees.
"The bigger issue clearly is it looks fundamentally to me - even though I've only done a cursory read of it - that he still very much remains addicted to spending," he said on Tuesday.
Asked if he had curbed his so-called spending addiction, Robertson said: "Well, what I've done is continue what I've been doing since I've been the Minister of Finance, which is being careful and balanced in what we do."
But the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll shows Kiwis want the Government to do more on the cost of living.
It asked: 'Do you think the Government has done enough to address the cost of living crisis?'
The results: 15.2 percent said yes, while 77 percent said no, and 7.8 percent didn't know.
This is where it will sting for the Government: only just over a quarter - 26.6 percent - of Labour voters think they've done enough and 60.1 percent say no, the Government hasn't done enough, while 13.3 percent didn't know.
The Budget won't make it easier.
"I'm not announcing the Budget today but I've been very clear about the priorities," Robertson said.
And to be clear, those priorities are health and climate change.
The Finance Minister, at pains to paint himself as a stable manager of the economy, also conceded the Ukraine war and massive inflation has pushed out when New Zealand will be back in surplus by a year.
Budget 2022 is 16 sleeps away.
The Newshub-Reid Research poll was conducted between April 18-27, 2022 with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.