Greens support the Budget despite Labour's opposition

There's a split in the Labour Green alliance after the Greens made a surprise move to support National's Budget family package.

National's family package was always designed to go into Labour's territory, but it will be an unexpected bonus for them to have gained the support of Labour's political partners the Greens.

Grant Robertson is on the attack over National's family package, armed with a tin of corn in Parliament.

Mr Robertson referred to "the cleaner in our office who gets one tin of corn a week out of this Government."

But Labour's momentum stopped there with allies the Greens opening up a can of worms by supporting National's policy.

Greens co-leader James Shaw says "When it comes to people on lower incomes something is better than nothing, and they've had nothing for the last eight years."

Prime Minister Bill English was unable to contain his glee.

"It looks like cohesion between the Greens and Labour and NZ First is pretty difficult for them even in opposition so I don't quite know what it'd be like in Government.

Under Steven Joyce's Family Package every worker paying income tax will benefit:

  • 310,000 low to middle income families with children aged under 16 years will get more from Working for Families
  • 136,000 households will benefit from increases to the accommodation supplement
  • 41,000 students will get more money per week from the accommodation benefit.

Labour and the Greens have a formal alliance which is all about showing a unified front, but on National's Budget they are divided.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says "for the very poorest families there will be more money in their pocket", admitting that it's "on the barest of margins."

Labour leader Andrew Little says there's no divide here.

"They're sovereign independent party they can do what they like we disagree with this package, we think its poorly targeted."

Even the Salvation Army is backing National's policy.

Salvation Army officer Ian Hutson says "There's a lot of positive aspects about it, it's particularly good for the low income families."