Budget 2019: What the Government has committed to spending its money on

The Government's first Wellbeing Budget will be released on Thursday afternoon after a week of drama and allegations of hacks.

On Tuesday, National leader Simon Bridges revealed some details of the Wellbeing Budget - two days before the official announcement. Finance Minister Grant Robertson admitted some of the figures were correct.

Later that evening, Treasury, which has access to Budget information, released a statement saying there was sufficient evidence to show its systems had been deliberately and systematically hacked.

But on Thursday, Treasury admitted no complex cyber hacks had occurred, but just someone using its website search function in a way that allowed the individual to access the Budget information.

So, after all the National Budget detail releases and pre-Budget announcements by the Government over the last few weeks, what do we already know?

Pre-Budget announcements

With the move towards a Wellbeing Budget meant to show the Government's focus on more than just Gross Domestic Product, the Government provided five areas it wanted to prioritise its spending on:

  • Taking mental health seriously
  • Improving child wellbeing
  • Supporting Maori & Pasifika aspirations
  • Building a productive nation
  • Transforming the economy

Lifting Māori opportunities

One of its pre-Budget announcements was that it would pledge $56.1 million over four years to implement the Whenua Māori Programme, which includes "new on-the-ground services" for Māori landowners.

Māori are also at the centre of another major $98 million initiative to try and break the cycle of reoffending and imprisonment, as well as $12 million to support programmes that will reduce rheumatic fever among Māori and Pacific people.

To boost support for ethnic communities, the Budget so far so far provides almost $10 million over four years to support them in developing and leading their own initiatives.


Taking mental health seriously was a key commitment of the Government and on Wednesday it revealed its response to an inquiry into mental health.

It announced it would agree to 38 out of 40 recommendations made by the inquiry, but any money to back those up or to be put into new services won't be announced until Thursday.

There's also been some disappointment that nothing in the Budget will be put towards dental services, confirmed to Newshub by Health Minister David Clark.

One announcement in health the Government had made, however, is $21 million over two years for ambulance services.


While primary and secondary school teachers went on strike on Wednesday, the Government has already set aside $95 million to boost the number of teachers.

There's also been the announcement that NCEA fees for students will be dropped.

Social development

Social development has been one of big winners, with millions of dollars promised to fight domestic abuse, help troubled youth and tackle chronic homelessness through a boost to Housing First providers.

The Government also announced earlier this month it would allocate more than $200 million over four years to respond to recommendations to improve the welfare system.


National's release

Some of the details released by the National Party after being obtained from the Treasury have been confirmed as correct by Robertson, while some of the numbers are old and irrelevant, the Finance Minister says.

It hasn't been confirmed which of these figures are true and which are not.

The first batch of information released by National said that $1.3 billion would be provided for defence, $139 million for forestry, $740 million for international aid, and $744 million for District Health Boards.

Robertson said the defence figure was misleading as it included increased spending on Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft that has already been announced.

More details from National claimed $4 million would be given to fisheries for policy advice and $4 million on Treaty of Waitangi negotiations.

But the Budget, to be revealed at 2pm on Thursday, will give a better picture.