Tova O'Brien: Labour delivers a 'Good Start Budget'

OPINION: The Labour-NZ First Government has revealed part one in their Budget trilogy - and it's a good start.

Budget Wars: A New Hope?

Health is the big winner and it had to be. DHBs are struggling, staff are stretched, hospitals are rotting. 

The Government's making the biggest investment in DHBs in a decade - $2.2 billion - and $750 million more is going towards shoddy hospitals like Middlemore.

Creaky hips and knees are another health winner in this budget - $126 million more towards elective surgery - that's more than $100 million more than the National government mustered last year.

Under-14s will get free GP visits, 83,000 more people will get access to the community services card and their doctors visits will be $30 cheaper.

Community midwives will be given a cash injection to bring them parity with their DHB midwifery colleagues. 

It's more than the Finance Minister planned to spend on health in his first budget. Again, this is a budget in three parts and for this Government, the sequels really count. 

For housing they're going to build 1600 more social houses - that's more than the 1000 they promised but less than the 2000 the housing minister personally and ambitiously pledged. 

In education, there's more money for learning support, early childhood education, extra classrooms and 1500 more teachers. 

Those are the big three - health, housing and education.

Budget Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Using our highly accurate Stars Wars analogy we can deduce that the second Budget instalment should be the greatest of the trilogy, but the Government's going to be wanting to hold back serious cash for the third part of its saga - its election promises Budget.

Budget Wars: Return of the Jedi 

The third part of the Budget Trilogy is where the Government's chickens - or Ewoks - come home to roost. 

Grant Robertson has said hand on heart that he will deliver all of the Government's promises by his 2020 budget. 

If they dont' do it this year, they swear to voters they will do it in the next two years.

Given the constant cries from the opposition benches of 'Broken promises! Broken promises!', it is Budget 2020 that will make or break this Government.

Overall there's an opportunity for this trilogy to deliver some serious good for New Zealanders.

There are some huge omissions - a lack of cash for mycoplasma bovis and other biosecurity risks, a lack of money for cybercrime and no commitment to pay rises for the public sector. 

But so far the Government's set the bar pretty high - possibly at the expense of the overall trilogy.

That's what makes this Budget - for better or worse - the 'But wait! There's more Budget'.

Tova O'Brien is Newshub's Political Editor.