Live updates: Government releases Budget 2018

  • Updated
  • 17/05/2018

It is Budget day on Thursday, and Finance Minister Grant Robertson has revealed the Government's tax and spending plans.

Health, housing and education have received a major boost with billions in extra funding. However Opposition leader Simon Bridges calls it a Budget of "broken promises", saying the Government isn't following through with its campaign policies.

What you need to know

  • Health was the big winner - it gets a $4 billion boost, with a focus on children's health 
  • Free doctor visits and prescriptions are extended to all under-14s
  • An additional $1 billion will go towards housing, including $369 million in capital funding
  • The Government has allocated $245 million for its One Billion Trees programme over 10 years
  • The education sector gets nearly $2 billion extra over four years

These live updates are now over.

4:15pm - Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomes 'fair share' of Budget

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says he welcomes the steps the 2018 Budget takes to address Auckland's problems.

"We look forward to a fair share of the boost to education and health funding in this year's Budget going towards Auckland's schools and hospitals, both of which are under pressure from population growth," Mr Goff says.

"For too long, we've missed out on the level of investment from central government required to meet our critical infrastructure needs."

3:25pm - Police Association welcomes Budget announcement

The NZ Police Association is commending the Government on its goal of working toward 1800 extra police and 485 additional non-sworn Police employees.

"This $300 million commitment to policing is a serious one that is desperately needed to address the growing pressures on frontline 24/7 staff," says NZ Police Association vice-president Craig Tickelpenny.

"We have always made it very clear to the minister that staffing issues top the list of concerns our members have, and we are pleased our voice has been heard."

3:00pm - ACT slams budget

ACT  Party leader David Seymour is slamming the Budget, saying it offers only to spend more of taxpayers' money.

"More money for health and education won't deliver better results. Those sectors require structural changes," he says.

"Far from being a transformational Budget, this Government is simply spending taxpayers' money where it feels it will get the best electoral results.

"New Zealanders deserve so much better than the short-termism that this Government is serving up."

2:35pm - Watch Newshub's Budget wrap

RadioLIVE's Ryan Bridge and Mark Sainsbury are doing a live wrap of the Budget on Facebook. What strikes you as the best announcements?

2:30pm - What have the Budget trade-offs been?

PricewaterhouseCoopers says there have been a number of trade-offs in the Budget, including "less of a focus on Agriculture, Defence, and Tourism".

2:25pm - What you need to know

Newshub has made a cheat sheet of the most important bits.

Please see here for the condensed version of what you need to know

2:20pm - Green Party 'got shafted' by Budget

Newshub political reporter Jenna Lynch says the Green Party have "been shafted" by Budget 2018.

"The first red budget is actually a tinge of maroon, with New Zealand First in command of some big bucks," Lynch writes.

NZ First leader Winston Peters got more than $1 billion for Foreign Affairs, however she says Green Party leader James Shaw has "next to nothing to claim as a win".

"The Green Infrastructure Fund, which will be a key element of getting the private sector on board to transition to a low carbon economy, is worth just $100 million," Lynch writes.

"The Greens calling this the 'Greenest Budget in Living Memory' is a load of organic waste."

2:15pm - Simon Bridges slams Budget

Opposition Leader Simon Bridges is slamming the Budget, accusing the Government of taxing more, spending more and borrowing even more.

"Labour spent the last nine years calling everything a crisis, yet today's budget provides no new solutions to back up their claim," he says.

"The big thing missing in this Budget is any meaningful help for Kiwi workers. In fact middle-income families are getting steadily worse off, with the cancellation of National's tax changes and the coming big increases in fuel taxes that will take petrol and diesel prices to record levels."

2:10pm - Big spend on housing

Budget 2018 has allocated an additional $1 billion for housing, including $369 million in capital funding.

The Government has provided funding for an additional 6400 state houses over four years - or 1600 a year. It'll come at a cost of $234 million over four years.

And a classic insulation win for the Greens - funding has also been made available for insulation grants for low income owner-occupied homes, at a cost of $142.5 million over four years.

2:00pm - Children's health the main winner

The Government says it's focusing on better lives for children.

Prime Minister and Minister for Child Poverty Reduction Jacinda Ardern says the Budget builds a better future for New Zealand children, with major investments in health, education, housing and justice.

"The Coalition Government is committed to genuine change to ensure New Zealand becomes the best place in the world to be a child, and today's Budget continues the significant work already under way," she says.

Plans include extending free doctors' visits and prescriptions to those under 14, increasing public housing by over 6,000 homes over the next four years, and expanding school-based health services to cover decile 4 secondary schools.

1:58pm - Major announcement minutes away

The Government is just minutes away from releasing its first Budget.

 1:10pm - NZ Treasury delivers on Budget promise

It's turning out to be the day for Kiwi snacks after the New Zealand Treasury delivered on its sausage rolls.

"Another Budget promise delivered," it says on Twitter.

12:30pm - Māori public health group publish wish list

Hāpai Te Hauora, the largest Māori public health collective in Aotearoa, has listed the areas it wants to see prioritised.

Items include compulsory te reo Māori, funding for papakainga housing in rural areas and a focus on investment in primary and preventative healthcare.

11:55am - David Seymour slams Budget

ACT Party leader David Seymour has slammed the upcoming Budget, accusing Finance Minister Grant Robertson of "short-term thinking".

"It'll take more of your hard-earned money and spend it on wasteful programmes like 'Fees Free' and the Provincial Growth Fund," he says on Facebook.

11:15am - National accuses Labour of broken promises

With just under three hours until the Budget is revealed, National is accusing Labour of breaking its campaign promises.

"This Govt campaigned on no new taxes in its first term," it says on Twitter.

"Yet already it's introduced four extra taxes that will cost NZers $2.2 billion over the next four years - that equates to around $500 for every Kiwi."

11:00am - Paula Bennett brings back the Budget pie

Former Finance Minister Bill English had a tradition of celebrating Budget Day with a pie - and it seems he's passed this on to National MP Paula Bennett.

Fellow MP Chris Bishop posted an image to Twitter showing Ms Bennett holding the Kiwi favourite.

"@paulabennettmp bringing back the Budget pie tradition," he wrote.

10:45am - Budget lockup begins

The Budget lockup has begun, with New Zealanders now facing a nervous wait until 2pm to find out what's in store for them.

Images taken inside the room show Newshub's reporters preparing for the big moment.

10:25am - Grant Robertson prepares pre-Budget snack

Finance Minister Grant Robertson is enjoying a pre-Budget treat with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"With a nod to my southern roots, its cheese rolls with the PM for my Budget morning snack," he says on Twitter.

9:55am - Chris Trotter warns Govt promises can't be kept without raising taxes

Left-leaning political commentator Chris Trotter is urging the Government to throw off its "self-imposed shackles" and honour the promises it made to those who voted it into power.

He says the Government appears keen to keep the business community onside, even if it means disappointing Labour, New Zealand and Green voters.

"With the greatest respect, the business community does not elect Labour Governments," he told The AM Show on Thursday.

"Another whole group elects Labour Governments... those are the voters to whom you really do have to pay attention if you have fought a campaign on the politics of transformation and the politics of kindness."

Mr Trotter blames the "self-imposed shackles" of the Budget Responsibility Rules, agreed to by Labour and the Greens early last year, which commit the Government to running surpluses and keeping debt down.

"A social democratic government that goes into office promising to spend but not to tax has got problems," he says.

"I just want the Government to keep its promises to the people who put it into power."

9:25am - Amy Adams says there's 'plenty of money' for the Govt

National finance spokeswoman Amy Adams said there is "plenty of money" for Labour to meet its campaign promises - and shouldn't break them.

"This is a Government awash with cash," she told The AM Show on Thursday.

"They have huge and growing surpluses left to them thanks to the good management of our Government. They've borrowed another $10 billion and they've already put up taxes by a further $2 billion from a Government that said 'no new taxes'. So there's plenty of money."

Labour promised no new taxes in its first term. It's likely Ms Adams' claims of a $2 billion tax hike is referring to National's planned tax cuts, which Labour cancelled in favour of more targeted spending on its families package.

Ms Adams denied claims National neglected struggling Kiwis by ignoring the housing crisis and inequality.

"It's absolutely not true… we came through long-running deficits left to us by Labour, a country in recession before we even got to the [global financial crisis], the earthquakes. We recovered from all of that."