Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson defends Budget despite no benefit increase

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson is defending the Government's 2020 Budget - despite it including no additional support for beneficiaries.

In the Government's economic relief plan for the COVID-19 pandemic released in March, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced a permanent raise to benefits of $25 per week.

While Davidson has been at the forefront of efforts to reform New Zealand's welfare system, no additional funds for beneficiaries were announced in this particular Budget.

But she's adamant that's still a focus for the Green Party.

"That's something that we still will continue to push harder for," she told Newshub Nation following the Budget announcement on Thursday.

"I also just want to keep reminding people how important the affordable and safe housing equation was - that those with the least support and least resource can live some dignified lives - and I'm really rapt."

The Government has committed to building an additional 8000 public and traditional houses in Budget 2020 to "stimulate the residential construction centre".

It will also deliver $570 million of income-related rent subsidy as part of the build programme - something Davidson says "is going to make a real difference".

The Greens are also "over the moon" about the $1.1 billion investment to create 11,000 green-based jobs, Davidson said.

"These are going to be decent jobs all around the country, in local communities - it's something that the Greens have pushed for for a long time."

National finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith, meanwhile, described the Budget as a "$50 billion slush fund".

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson defends Budget despite no benefit increase

"There's nothing to help small businesses with their rent and other issues that they're struggling with," he told Newshub Nation host Simon Shepherd.

"In terms of projects to grow the economy, [there's] very, very little in this Budget that I can see."