Budget 2019: What the Government's announced so far

The Government's said its soon-to-be-released Budget will for the first time prioritise people's wellbeing alongside economic growth, and here's how it's looking so far. 

Social development has been the big winner in pre-Budget announcements, 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.

Lifting Māori opportunities

The Government's said one of its five Budget priorities is to lift Māori opportunities, hence its $56.1 million pledge over four years to implement the Whenua Māori Programme, which includes "new on-the-ground services" for Māori landowners.

Māori are 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.

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

Health funding

As for health, the Government hasn't announced much yet, although it's been heavily foreshadowing a major investment in mental health support.

"Taking mental health seriously" is one of the five priorities of Budget 2019. 

Health was the big winner of last year's Budget, totalling $4 billion, including free doctor visits and prescriptions being extended to all under-14s.

The Dental Association has expressed disappointment over the absence of funding in the upcoming Budget for dental services, which Health Minister David Clark confirmed to Newshub.

But the health sector hasn't been completely forgotten. The Government announced a pre-Budget $21 million boost over two years for ambulance services.

Education funding

All eyes will be on the education sector too, particularly with primary and secondary school teachers set to strike across the country on Wednesday after rejecting the Government's latest pay settlement offer.

That's despite the Government setting aside $95 million to boost the number of teachers in a pre-Budget announcement earlier this month.

National has criticised the Government for not offering more to teachers, particularly after it announced the fees-free policy hadn't met initial forecasts. The leftover $197 million will be redirected towards vocational education.

The Government's pre-Budget announcement that the $76.70 NCEA fee will be removed, and that internal assessments will make way for more exams, has received more cross-party support. 

Other pre-Budget announcements

What to look out for? 

Mental health is expected to take centre-stage in the Wellbeing Budget.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delayed the Government's response to the mental health inquiry for a second time last month.

She said it would be delayed until closer to the release of Budget 2019 "so that the public can not only see our plans for transforming our approach to mental health and addiction but can also see how we will resource and deliver that transformation". 

The Government's also expected to allocate money towards fallout from the March 15 Christchurch terror attack. Finance Minister Grant Robertson told Newshub money will be put aside money to fight white supremacy. 

There's also KiwiBuild to think about. The Prime Minister confirmed earlier this month that the housing programme is being "reset", but details haven't been released yet. That's expected to come next month.