Grant Robertson faces 'patchwork quilt of promises' - Patrick Gower

Labour's Finance Minister-elect Grant Robertson will face challenging times as he balances Labour's spending promises with the Budget, warns Newshub Political Editor Patrick Gower.

Appearing on the AM Show on Wednesday, Gower said the pressure was on.

"Grant Robertson has the biggest challenge here. He follows in the footsteps of - if you think about it - Michael Cullen and then Bill English effectively," he said.

"Now he has to stitch together this patchwork quilt of promises and bring it all together and actually keep the Budget in order and keep the confidence of the business community."

The promises include spending $1 billion per annum on a Regional Development Fund, which includes investment in regional rail and planting 100 million trees per year in a Billion Trees Planting Programme.

A feasibility study will also be commissioned on moving the Ports of Auckland, including giving serious consideration to Northport. The cost of a move would likely run into the billions.

Gower says that Mr Robertson will need to keep the confidence of New Zealand's employers after Labour's promise to raise the minimum wage.

"The business community will look very closely - look at that minimum wage rise. Jacinda Ardern will go see the unions today, she will be a hero there, but businesses are looking at having to raise the minimum wage by about $1.60 in a year," he said.

"So Grant Robertson will have to balance the books and he will also have to balance the business community as well as it looks at this new Government and thinks 'Aw - what's coming our way here.'"