How do the pre-Budget announcements stack up?

Budget Day has arrived - the day the Government hands out its money and financial plans for the coming years.

It's an election year, but Finance Minister Steven Joyce claims there won't be a lolly scramble to entice voters - this one will be much the same as National's others.

In keeping with tradition a number of pre-Budget announcements have already been made, aimed at taking the spectacle out of the big day.

It's a habit which then-Finance Minister Bill English summed up ahead of Budget 2015: "It's designed to be less exciting."

He favoured announcements throughout the year "rather than hinging everything on a Budget".

And it appears it'll be the same under new Finance Minister Steven Joyce, who described his Budget to the AM Show as "very sensible, conservative" but "possibly good-looking".

It'll be his first Budget, but National's ninth.

Here's a rundown of what has already been announced:


Up to $812 million will go toward fixing State Highway 1 between Picton and Christchurch following November's Kaikōura earthquake.

budget 2017 kaikoura earthquake
The road was left impassable (File)

The route is planned to re-open before the end of the year, with the money also carrying over into the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years to keep work going if necessary.

It'll also allow KiwiRail to get its affected rail network up and running while it waits for its insurance claim to be finalised.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the estimated cost of getting the road and rail back up to scratch is between $1.1b and $1.33b.

Social investment:

There'll be a $321m social investment package containing 14 initiatives to "help our most vulnerable to improve their circumstances".

It'll include $68.8m over four years for children with behavioural issues, communication problems or a challenging family environment.

The money will fund a national rollout of the Family Start Programme creating an extra 570 places per year, and a new programme for pre-school children with oral language and literacy needs.

Social Investment Minister Amy Adams says the Government will be focusing on getting the money where it'll be most effective and intervening early for those at risk.


pharmac pills budget medicine

The Government's drug-buying agency will have an extra $60m over four years to help Kiwis get access to new medicines.

It'll get $20m in the 2017/18 financial year as well as another $11m from DHBs into Pharmac's annual budget.

Marae and Māori housing:

There'll be $10m made available over four years to help repair and restore whare and facilities.

It is part of a broader $27m package for Marae Ora, which helps whanau live in safe, secure and healthy homes.

"In order to be able to support the wellbeing of whānau, hapū, iwi and communities, marae must be safe, secure and healthy. This funding will support the restoration of whare, repair facilities, insulate meeting houses and provide for reo and tikanga wānanga," Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says.

The Māori Housing Network will get another $8m to help meet housing needs, while the Pathways to Home-Ownership programme will receive $9m over three years to trial new approaches to housing independence.

Research and development:

An extra $74.6m will be made available through the Innovative New Zealand programme to help meet demand for Callaghan Innovation's Growth Grants.


A new $102m tourism infrastructure fund has been created, the money from which will go toward things like new carparks, toilets and freedom camping facilities in partnership with local authorities.

new zealand tourism budget getty
In the year to March 2016, total tourism expenditure was $34.7 billion (Getty)

The Department of Conservation will also get $76m in new funding as part of the overall $178m package announced by Tourism Minister Paula Bennett.

The fund is made up of $60.5m in new money from the Budget and $41.5m of reprioritised funds from the Tourism Growth Partnership and the Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Grant Fund.

It'll cost $2m over four years to manage the fund.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says the announcement is "meagre", a rework of already announced spending and "less than a quarter of the $100-$150 million the tourism industry says is needed every year".

The $76m of DOC funding will be broken down as follows:

  • $23m for improving visitor experiences
  • $11.4m to make the department's online services better, including a new booking service
  • $12.7m to expand the Great Walks network
  • $5.7m to develop Great Short Walks and Great Day Walks
  • $19.8m for upgraded tourist facilities

Film industry:

More money will be invested to entice international filmmakers to shoot in New Zealand, as well as helping the domestic industry.

There will be $309.3m to continue New Zealand screen industry production grants over four years.

It includes $222m over four years and $18m in the 2016/17 financial year for the International Screen Production Grant.

Up to $63.9m will be made available over four years for the domestic version of the grant.

Since 2014, the grant has provided money for around 50 international productions.


Over the next two years, $8m of operational funding and $2.1m of capital funding in the next year to help safeguard New Zealand's historically important documents.

It'll help plans to increase storage capacity and resilience of Archive New Zealand's Wellington repository.

The money will also go toward planning a shared Archives NZ / National Library off-site storage facility.

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says it's important to preserve the country's history for future generations.


As part of the Battle for our Birds programme, an extra $21.3m will go toward helping eradicate rats and stoats following this year's beech mast which will increase their numbers.

kakapo budget conservation getty
There are fewer than 160 birds left (Getty)

The new operational funding will be part of the 2016/17 financial year and will go toward targeting more than 800,000 hectares of land.

It is part of the Government's larger Predator Free 2050 goal.

Green Party conservation spokesperson Mojo Mathers says the Budget "lolly" will go nowhere to fix the long-term funding problem the department faces.

"DOC's funding has been cut by some $336 million since National came to power. This one-off increase for the next year will have little long-term impact in the battle for our birds," she says.


Over the next four years, $5.2m will go to expanding the Teach First NZ teacher training programme by 90 places. It is reprioritised funding from Vote Tertiary Education.


Forty-two percent of graduates from Teach First NZ teach maths, science and technology.

The new places will be available in two cohorts of 45, starting in 2018. The focus will be on maths, science and technology and training to teach in schools with a high proportion of Maori and Pasifika students.

There will be $2m of operating funding over the next two years for further induction and mentoring for provisionally certified teachers in priority areas to get their full certification.

Labour says the $5.2m is paltry considering it is less than the amount National has cut from TeachNZ since taking office and is an attempt to "play catch-up".


Additional grant funding of $26.7m over three years as well as a capital boost of $63m will be made available toward investments in irrigation.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says over the past few years, areas such as the South Island's east coast and Northland have severe drought. He says the money will go toward developing new private sector schemes to lessen the impact on rural communities.

He says new irrigation schemes will need to meet "stringent environmental tests" before they're given the go-ahead and will need to be within local and regional council limits.

The $26.7m over the next three years will match existing grant funding to regional-scale irrigation schemes to help get to construction phase.

Meanwhile, the $63m of new funding will support investment in the construction of the regional irrigation infrastructure.

Both will be administered by Crown Irrigations Investment Limited.

Federated Farmers and Horticulture NZ say the extra money will help greatly, but Greenpeace labelled it "sickening" the Government would use money to help the intensive dairy industry amidst a freshwater crisis.


All road ambulances will be double crewed by 2021 with a $59.2m of funding over four years.


It'll create 375 new emergency medical and paramedic roles across the country over that time.

However, there's concern from the union because not all the roles that need to be filled will be qualified paramedics.

The Government says while most callouts in Wellington are already double-crewed, around 38,500 of the 393,000 callouts around the country were single-crewed last year.

St John has welcomed the funding, but New Zealand First has called the measure a "blister-patch approach" after ignoring the sector's needs for so long.

Labour says it is crazy the ambulance service isn't fully funded by the Government, and has promised a policy to better support them.

Everything else the Government has in store will be revealed at 2pm on Thursday.