Budget 2023 live updates: The latest announcements and reactions on the Government's spend-up

Budget day 2023 is here and the Government has revealed how it will divvy up funding.

The Government earlier played down expectations, with Prime Minister Chris Hipkins saying it will be a "no-frills" Budget because it reflects the times the country's going through.

At 2pm, Finance Minister Grant Robertson revealed the Budget. The Government is using it to target assistance to New Zealanders with young families, expanding its early childhood education subsidy and making public transport fares free for all under 13-year-olds. 

What you need to know:

  • Treasury forecasts Aotearoa will now "avoid a technical recession"
  • Inflation is forecast to fall to 1-3 percent by late next year
  • 20 hours free early childcare assistance expanded to two-year-olds
  • Free public transport for kids under 13, half-price fares remain for under 25s
  • $5 prescription medicine charge wiped.

Newshub's live updates have now ended.

7:00pm - Read more about Budget 2023's winners and losers.

6:10pm - The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says while the Government's Budget offers some staffing relief and pay adjustments it fails to respond to the frontline crisis in health.

NZNO President Anne Daniels said while the $1 billion investment is welcome, most of it was already committed in the 2022 budget and significantly more new spending was required to meet the need in the health care system.

She said 500 new nurses is a step in the right direction, but 4000 new nurses are required urgently just to plug the most urgent gaps alone.

"This is a drop in the ocean of what's required. An additional 500 new nurses will not resolve burnout and fatigue that chronic staffing shortages brings to the workplace for nurses."

NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said there is no clear pathway to remedy poor health outcomes for Māori in this Budget. Nor is there anything to specifically address the urgent need for Māori and Pasifika nurses.

6:00pm - The Salvation Army welcomes moves in the Budget to boost social housing by 3000 homes over the next two years - but questions how it responds to the increasing cost of living.

It said the people it is working with every day are struggling with rising rentals and desperately need more housing that is affordable and safe.

"Continued funding to support financial mentoring, food-insecure families and the food in schools programmes is welcomed, but we question how this Budget responds to the increasing level of need related to the cost of living," Salvation Army's social policy and Parliamentary unit director Lt-Colonel Ian Hutson said.

"The Budget includes no announcements of increased income support for those on lower incomes and shows that in 2024, at least one of the primary measures of child poverty is expected to worsen.

"With unemployment projected to increase along with higher levels of hardship, we would have expected to see a lift in financial support for lower-income households, for example through Working For Families and the Accommodation Supplement. Unfortunately, this Budget is no game changer for people who are facing hardship in the communities where we work.

"We're pleased to see additional funding for services that respond to family and sexual violence, including the Women’s Refuge, but would have liked to see additional support to help people struggling with addictions such as alcohol, drugs and gambling."

5:45pm - Forest and Bird said the Budget leaves New Zealanders at continued risk from the climate crisis.

"Keeping New Zealanders safe is clearly a 'bread and butter' issue, yet the government’s lack of investment in nature-based solutions is putting us all at risk," Forest and Bird's Chief Executive Nicola Toki said.  

"Boosting protection of nature will bring back wildlife while also protecting farms, towns, and infrastructure from the impacts of extreme weather."

Forest and Bird want the Government to double New Zealand's natural wetlands, control goats, pigs, deer, and possums across all public land, accelerate efforts to restore native forest on erodible hill country, put a price on agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions and fund a wider programme of nature-based solutions to climate impacts.

5:30pm - Tax Justice Aotearoa said priorities signalled in today's Budget all point to the need for a better tax system.

"It is disappointing that government after government keeps kicking the need for making major changes to taxes down the road. This just creates an environment of underinvestment, and the consequences of that are seen in media headlines in Aotearoa every day," Tax Justice Aotearoa chair Glenn Barclay said.

"Tax Justice Aotearoa is encouraged that today's Budget has included the move to bring the trustee tax rate in line with the top personal tax rate, as recommended by officials. 

"It is a small step in the right direction towards a fairer and more transparent system. By bringing trustee tax rates into line with top personal tax rates it means New Zealand will no longer be behind Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States."

5:10pm - BusinessNZ says the Government's Budget announcement provides a well-being boost for some but is light on business investment.

"Reduced public transport costs, scrapped prescription fees and increased ECE entitlements may have a benefit for some business owners and employees, but if we want real growth-promoting policy, businesses will need more direct investment than that," chief executive Kirk Hope said.

Hope said businesses were hoping to see investment in infrastructure and immigration to assist in increasing productivity.

"Instead of unnecessary Government expenditure outside of these areas, businesses would prefer changes to the regulatory environment and to legislation which is hampering business and holding the economy back," he added.

Hope said some positives from the announcement include investment in the gaming industry.

4:50pm - Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand welcomed the Budget's injection of funding to extend 20 hours free ECE to two-year-olds and the one-off injection of funding for 'Teacher Supply'.

"We're extremely hopeful that this additional funding boost and extending 'free ECE to two-year olds' will make a meaningful difference for the thousands of parents that want to ensure their tamariki are being cared for and educated, in an early childhood centre," CEO Kathy Wolfe said. 

"The increases in the budget today are the headlines, and while they look positive and we are certainly grateful, the devil will be in the detail. Until we lift the hood on how the funding actually works for the many different kinds of ECE services, we won't be certain that children, kaiako and ECE services will have received a decent serving of the budget's funding."

4:40pm - Infrastructure New Zealand said the Budget has missed opportunities in its infrastructure delivery, efficiency and scale by solely relying on the Government to fund improvements.

"More plans, more apparent pots of money, but the funding pool remains the same and the only source is from the back pocket of the taxpayer," Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive Nick Leggett said. 

"New Zealand badly needs to access private capital to inject into a sustainable building plan for our infrastructure.

"As a country, New Zealand doesn’t lack for promises, plans or ambition. However, it often lacks action in getting infrastructure projects built. Budget 2023 doesn’t deal with that problem."

Leggett warmly welcomed the announcement of a new National Resilience Plan.

4:30pm - ASB said measures to address bracket creep caused by rising incomes could have been signalled - but were not. 

The Budget maintained the Prime Minister's earlier pledge of not introducing major new taxes, however, has raised taxes on Trustees' income.

"More substantive changes, including tax reform and raising the age of eligibility for NZ Superannuation, were largely deferred," ASB said in a statement. 

"This can-kicking potentially raises the risk of larger adjustments down the track given the longer-term challenges to the public finances caused by demographics, let alone climate change."

ASB said the NZ tax system is a bit of an anomaly in not taxing capital gains as thoroughly as other jurisdictions but noted this does not always produce equitable outcomes. 

4:25pm - Te Pāti Māori says it's disappointed with the government's Budget announcements today, but has claimed some small wins.

Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer told Newshub Nation that on the whole, it hasn't delivered for Māori.

"Definitely not. [Although] we've got some wins," she said.

Ngarewa-Packer was hoping to see GST removed from kai, or evening out the two percent of Kiwis who own 50 percent of the nation's wealth.

"This hasn't been the distribution of wealth that we were after - a wealth tax, a capital gains tax - we needed to see real pressure to once-and-for-all break the entrenched poverty that we see Aotearoa suffering from."

Read the full story here.

4:15pm - Infometrics has warned, "small policies add to higher government spending".

It said the Budget 2023 at first glance appears to be a budget with no large spending initiative but instead a collection of small, targeted supports in line with a more restrained spending focus. 

However, taken together, these Budget initiatives see a large increase in government spending compared to expectations.

"Less fiscal restraint than expected raises concerns over the inflationary outlook. The fiscal impulse shows that government spending in 2024 will be stimulatory, and risks keeping inflation higher for longer. In this respect, the Treasury’s forecasts for inflation to fall below 3 percent pa at the end of 2024 appear optimistic," Informetrics said.

Infometrics said while the higher level of investments announced is encouraging, lack of detail on these investments discussed in the National Resilience Plan and the Infrastructure Action Plan limits the current understanding of what investments are being prioritised.

4:00pm - The Opportunities Party has called labelled the Budget as "vanilla", saying it lacks long-term ambition.

"Labour's sixth budget, whilst helpful, still does not address the structural deficits in our infrastructure and core public services," The Opportunities Party leader Raf Manji said.

The Party said there were four key areas that have not been addressed:

  • Our tax system remains unbalanced and unfair
  • More investment in our young people is needed
  • There is no serious commitment to fund the community housing sector
  • And no clear long-term plan to invest in our infrastructure.

3:50pm - Economists have applauded the Government for resisting political temptation by delivering a "no frills" budget and investing in infrastructure, but one business journalist believes a cash splash will come closer to election time.

National Business Review senior journalist Dita de Boni told Newshub Nation's political panel there are some "cheap frills" in the budget for families but believes there are "not genuine".

Currently, there are 20 hours of free early childhood education (ECE) for Kiwi kids aged between three and five. But that's being expanded to also include two-year-olds - an extension that is costing $1.2 billion over four years and which is expected to start from March next year.

Based on average costs so far this year, the Government is estimating that families who were not previously receiving the childcare subsidies will save about $133 per week if a two-year-old child attended ECE for at least 20 hours per week.

"But I think these things are not really genuine things," de Boni said.

She cited issues facing education such as a lack of teachers and places in centres.

"If you are looking more long term, like they are in the infrastructure package, it would be better to nationalise ECE and raise benefits," de Boni said.

Read the full story here.

3:45pm - Federated Farmers says it asked for "absolutely nothing" in this year's Budget, and it's "safe to say the Government have exceeded our expectations on that front with no new spending for farmers".

"We made it clear last week when we released our Budget Wishlist that farmers aren't looking for a handout and are happy to stand on our own two feet," Federated Farmers Acting President Wayne Langford says.

"But the other side of that coin was a request that the Government stop weighing us down with impractical, unpragmatic, and unfair regulations that are heaping on costs and tying us up in red tape."

Langford says they're still waiting on the Government to deliver on that second request, but hope to see some movement soon.

"We have a cost of farming crisis in New Zealand with fertiliser costs up 28 percent, fuel costs up 33 percent, and interest rates up 45 percent. We're also under real pressure with staff costs, rate increases, and the impacts of general inflation," Langford said.

"As a farmer all of your costs are heading up, but the price we are receiving for our produce is heading in the opposite direction. Farmers are getting squeezed in the middle and are struggling to turn a profit.

"This Budget does nothing to bring those costs down and is just going to lead to more tax, more inflation, and higher interest rates."

He said farmers are having to tighten their belts and live within their means, while it's "disappointing to see the Government aren't doing the same".

3:40pm - Wanting to catch up on what's in Budget 2023? Here are the main things you need to know that were revealed today.

3:35pm - The Free Fares campaign says it is pleased with some of the steps taken in Budget 2023 to invest in making public transport more affordable.

The campaign, a coalition of 80+ organisations, has been calling on the Government to make half-price public transport permanent for all, and fares free for students, under 25s, community service card holders and total mobility card holders and their support people. 

"Free public transport for under 13s, and half-price fares for under 25s is a big win and a great step towards a fairer transport system," says Mika Hervel, a spokesperson for the Free Fares campaign. 

"But it's a shame half-price fares weren't locked in for everyone, and made completely free for all the groups in the Community Connect scheme. Transport is a bread-and-butter issue, and half-price fares have made a huge difference in addressing the cost-of-living crisis by making transport cheaper for people feeling the cost of living. Half-price fares are hugely popular, with support from 80 percent of New Zealanders."

3:30pm - The College of Midwives says the increase across the health budget is a welcome change for community midwives, who have never had the certainty of regular cost of living adjustments to their pay.

College chief executive Alison Eddy says the 5 percent pay increase, which they assume will apply across all maternity funding, is positive and they look forward to confirming and negotiating the finer details with Te Whatu Ora.

"Let's just say it's a good start and we're confident we can negotiate with Te Whatu Ora to ensure this funding is applied in the way it should be; to help achieve the best outcomes for the women, babies and whanau who midwives provide care to," she says.

The College says it's been clear about the need for a strategic approach to workforce retention and the need to be as focused on keeping midwives in the profession as recruiting new midwives.

"We have a very qualified and experienced workforce of midwives here in Aotearoa New Zealand who must be supported and encouraged to work here instead of either leaving the profession completely or heading overseas. We encourage Te Whatu Ora not to lose sight of that and in fact increase its focus on keeping these maternity health professionals in New Zealand," Eddy said.

"The College would like to see a dedicated and resourced programme of workforce development and support, aimed at retaining midwives."

3:25pm - Greenpeace is calling out the Government for supposedly "gambling" with the climate crisis, saying that Budget 2023 puts corporate profit ahead of acting on climate change and the cost of living.

Greenpeace climate campaigner Christine Rose says you just need to "follow the money" to find out why the Government is "failing" to take action.

"New Zealand's most polluting industries - agriculture, transport, and energy - are profiting from the status quo, while vulnerable communities disproportionately carry the environmental and economic costs," she said.

"Industry lobbyists have pushed the Government into inaction on the transformative change needed to address both the climate and cost of living crises.

"The Government had compelling reasons to invest in real climate solutions in Budget 2023, because this year has shown us what happens when we don’t act to stem the tide of climate pollution."

Rose said resilience funding won't stop the climate crisis from getting worse. Instead, changing the way we farm is a necessity and the Government has a "golden opportunity" to fund the transition from intensive dairy to ecological, low-emissions farming.

"We've seen yet more missed opportunities on transport and energy, and it's incredibly disappointing," Rose says.

"Prioritising investment in walking, cycling, and public transport over roads would reduce climate pollution and make it easier for New Zealanders to get from A to B at much lower costs."

She said while it's positive to see half-price fares remain for some, "bolder and more visionary strategies" were needed, such as significant investment in expanding rail and making public transport fares free for all.

"We welcome the funding boost for home insulation and heat pumps, but are disappointed not to see significant investment in locally-owned renewable energy. This would end our dependence on oil, gas and coal, and also reduce the power bills of everyday New Zealanders, addressing both the cost of living and climate crisis," Rose says.

"Industry greed and profiteering in the face of a climate and cost of living crisis is completely unacceptable. By choosing to protect corporate profits over people and nature, the Government is delaying action that would benefit all New Zealanders. Everyone has the right to a healthy environment and a safe and stable climate - and government action is required to secure these.

"This budget has made it clear that we need a climate election, where all political parties understand that the climate crisis transcends politics. Polluting industries cannot be allowed to continue with denial and delay, forcing us all to carry the costs of escalating severe climate disasters."

3:17pm - James Shaw says there is $1.4 billion in new spending on climate in this Budget, which is "very significant".

He talks about how the Government is expanding the electric charging stations, which he supports

3:15pm - Green Party co-leader James Shaw told Newshub Nation this Budget contains "some very good" measures that the Greens support but feels there are some areas that the Government could've gone further on especially with climate and poverty.

James Shaw.
James Shaw. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

3:13pm - Grant Robertson says the deficit has gone out by one year and thinks Kiwis will understand that because of Cyclone Gabrielle and the floods.

He says we have to "step up" and help Kiwis to recover from these devastations and that is what they're doing.

3:12pm - Grant Robertson says 79 percent of spending in this year's Budget has been on cost pressures, "just making things keep going".

3:11pm - Grant Robertson says the Budget has also invested heavily in science, research and the game development sector, the places where jobs will be created with high wages and low emissions.

3:10pm - Grant Robertson says the thing that is "squeezing people" is inflation and that will come down to 3 percent next year and 2.5 percent the year after.

He says the Government has struck a balance between investments that will help New Zealanders who are struggling and create an environment that will help inflation "disappear".

3:08pm - Grant Robertson says they do have to be careful with their spending but they're spending in "really important areas".

3:05pm - Grant Robertson told Newshub Nation he doesn't think the Budget is boring but instead believes it's responsible and "targeted investment to easing the cost of living pressures".

"I don't think it is at all boring that we've got free public transport for kids, I don't think it is boring that the $5 subscription charge is gone. These are things that really going to help ease the pressure on New Zealanders," he says.

Grant Robertson.
Grant Robertson. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

3pm - Back to our Newshub Nation panel, Shamubeel Eaqub says middle New Zealand is the election ground with National and Labour fighting for that come election time.

"We haven't given you anything yet but you know what, during the election time, we will promise you stuff if you vote for us," he says when talking about Labour.

2:58pm - The National Party is labelling Budget 2023 as the "Blowout Budget".

National leader Christopher Luxon says Finance Minister Grant Robertson delivered a "spending spree" in this year's Budget, which Luxon says is "creating a massive increase in deficits and debt climbing for years to come".

"Robertson has blown his own spending limits for the sixth budget in a row," Luxon said.

"The deficit has blown-out to $7.6 billion, a whopping $7.1 billion increase. The return to surplus has been delayed."

"Operating spending has blown out to $137 billion this year, up $61 billion since Labour entered office," he said.

"And debt has blown out to $95 billion by 2026."

Luxon said Kiwis are paying the price for Minister Roberston's "addiction to spending".

"And now Treasury confirms Mr Robertson's spending will mean interest rates are higher for longer, meaning Kiwis will pay for years to come when they refix their mortgages."

Luxon says the Finance Minister should have adjusted tax brackets for inflation to provide relief.

"Yet again, Labour has refused to do the right thing - instead deciding that they can spend taxpayers' money better than Kiwis," he said.

"New Zealanders hoped today for some relief from the tough conditions that Labour's economic mismanagement has produced. What they will get is cheaper bus rides for those who qualify, but still nothing for the majority of hard-working New Zealanders."

Christopher Luxon.
Christopher Luxon. Photo credit: Getty Images

2:55pm - Jenna Lynch says the losers out of the Budget will be middle-income earners since there isn't much in it for them.

The Government said the Budget was the "bread and butter" Budget, but Lynch thinks it's "breadcrumbs" as there are "sprinkles here and there" for targeted groups.

She says National will focus on its policy of inflation-adjusted tax cuts since they have a similar policy for middle-income earners and parents.

2:54pm - Jenna Lynch says both National and Labour are trying to claim the centre voter, which will be key at the election later this year.

2:52pm - Newshub's political editor Jenna Lynch says the Government has missed a trick in the way they framed this Budget.

She believes Robertson should've framed it similarly to how US President Joe Biden did with his "inflation buster budget".

Robertson is trying to keep inflation under control, Lynch says.

She says since Treasury is no long predicting pressure and inflation is set to drop down to 4 percent in 2024, there is hope for middle-income New Zealanders.

2:50pm - Back to the Newshub Nation panel, Cameron Bagrie says National's claims it's a "blow-out" Budget is a "stretch too far.

"Government debt is moving up rapidly, the last couple of years and the next couple of years, but it is predicted to come down on the other side on the condition we are going to rein in spending."

The Newshub Nation panel for this afternoon's Budget reactions.
The Newshub Nation panel for this afternoon's Budget reactions. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

2:47pm - The Green Party says Budget 2023 falls short to fix climate change and inequality, and wants change faster.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson says while the Budget will make a difference in Kiwis' lives it "falls short of what's needed".

"Aotearoa needs a bold plan to make sure everyone has what they need to get by and to face up to the climate crisis with the scale and urgency we need."

Davidson wants change faster and says it isn't happening fast enough.

"By ruling out tax changes, the Government tied its own hands. The Budget could have gone further with a bold plan to make sure everyone has what they need to get by, and to face up to the climate crisis with the scale and urgency we need."

She warns Aotearoa is facing a "perfect storm of crises super-charged" by climate change and "an outrageous and immoral level of income and wealth inequality".

"People struggling to put food on the table, pay the bills, and heat their homes as massive corporations cream it; and farms, towns and cities ravaged by floods and storms," she said.

Although Davidson did say Budget 2023 delivered on a number of policies her party has campaigned on for years.

"Nine years ago, we promised to extend the 20 hours ECE subsidy to cover 2-year-olds - today it's a reality. Greens have campaigned for 10 years to deliver more affordable public transport - and now, in government, it’s a reality."

Davidson said her party are delighted with changes to Kiwisaver "that will ensure parents continue to receive contributions while on paid parental leave".

Co-leader James Shaw said free public transport for those under 12 years old and half price for those under 25 will "is huge".

"It is a perfect example of what we need: action that helps people make ends meet and reduces climate pollution."

But Shaw says further support to build more public housing is welcomed, but says it doesn't go far enough.

And Shaw said he's "frustrated" that the Budget "stops short" of what's need to "confront the climate crisis with the urgency it demands".

"Don't get me wrong, I am delighted we have secured another $1.4 billion for action to cut climate pollution. And it comes on top of a $2.9 billion package we announced last year. Every dollar of this is coming from our biggest polluters."

2:44pm - Nicola Willis says she wants New Zealanders to keep of what they earn.

She says she supports cheaper early childhood eduction but prefers National's policy rather than what the Government has announced.

The problem with the 20-hour free approach by the Government is that it's "not free" as expenses go to other areas for parents, Willis says.

2:42pm - Nicola Willis says a lot of families will not be better off after today's Budget. She adds the Government has made no effort to control the underpinning drivers of inflation.

"I actually think the Government has been gaslighting New Zealanders by talking about restraint when in fact what they are doing is spending even more than they planned to," she says.

"The Government is doing the opposite to what it should be doing."

2:40pm - The National Party's finance spokesperson Nicola Willis told Newshub Nation that today's Budget is a "blow-out Budget", which is going to hurt everyday Kiwis.

"They are getting served up a dish of more inflation and higher mortgage payments for a long time to cone," she says.

Nicola Willis.
Nicola Willis. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

2:38pm - Seymour says there is nothing in the Budget to grow the economy or produce new wealth.

2:37pm - Seymour says New Zealand is on track for 10.5 percent floating mortgage rates.

He says this is putting so much pressure on the economy and adds the Government is "totally irresponsible".

All they've done is take with one hand and take with the other, Seymour says.

2:35pm - Speaking to Newshub Nation, ACT leader David Seymour says this year's Budget is a "blowout".

"No one predicted next year's deficit would be the Government spending $7.5 billion more than it takes in."

David Seymour.
David Seymour. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

2:33pm - Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says it's a missed opportunity to remove GST from fruit and vegetables.

"The state of our nation falls into some of the lowest points it been," she said.

2:30pm - Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says she was hoping for a complete "flip upside down" of who has the wealth so Māori can afford to live in their own home.

"It's underwhelming, this is what we expected it to be. It's something that is more focused on the rich in New Zealand than people during hardship and poverty."

2:28pm - Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer told Newshub Nation the Budget isn't doing enough for Māori.

She adds the Government hasn't addressed poverty. She would've liked to have seen a wealth tax and capital gains tax to distribute wealth in New Zealand.

"It's not good for Māori at all," she says.

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.
Debbie Ngarewa-Packer. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

2:26pm - Shamubeel Eaqub says New Zealand is heading in the right direction with this year's Budget in terms of social housing.

2:25pm - Cameron Bagrie says he is pleased the Government has resisted the political temptation.

He says the political temptation is to drive operational spending but he says the Government has done the opposite and stayed within its lane in terms of operational spending.

The Government has resisted the temptation to splash the cash, Dita de Boni says.

2:22pm - Economist Shamubeel Eaqub he says he is excited by the Government's announcement on infrastructure.

"The numbers are really quite big. As you know, New Zealand has an infrastructure deficit of $210 billion and we are going to get on top of it as soon as possible. While it's a no-frills budget, in terms of the lolly scramble I'm quite pleased to see there is a focus on infrastructure."

2:19pm - Now we're heading to the Newshub Nation panel, which is responding to the Budget.

Journalist Dita de Boni says there are some cheap frills for young families but adds she doesn't think some of the things announced are "genuine things".

"There is problem with the number of teachers, there is a problem with a number of places,"

Grant Robertson speaking in the House.
Grant Robertson speaking in the House. Photo credit: Parliament TV

2:17pm - He says New Zealand is in a good position to meet the upcoming challenges.

He says New Zealand's economy responded well to COVID-19 and our economic recovery is in the top 10 for OECD nations

He adds New Zealand has some of the lowest debt in the world.

2:15pm - He says they have "carefully cut our cloth" as the emergency spending for COVID declines and we move to a fiscally sustainable path.

He adds New Zealand has sustained a lot of shocks recently but absorbing these shocks have affected our wellbeing, Robertson says.

2:12pm - Robertson says they're also focused on helping communities rebuild following the weather disasters some have faced this year.

He adds they are on track to return to surplus in the forecast period. New Zealand's net debt will peak at 22 percent of GDP, well below the ceiling for New Zealand's fiscal rules. Inflation should also return to 3 percent by the end of 2024.

2:10pm - Robertson is speaking in the House.

He says they're taking into account the wellbeing of our people and the health of the environment alongside the performance of our economy.

Robertson says they are striking a balance between helping people now and investing in future jobs and economic security.

"It's hard to remember a time in New Zealand's history when there have been so many challenges to our economic and environmental and social systems in such a short time," Robertson says.

He says Budget 2023 responds in a "responsible way" to global challenges facing New Zealand.

2:05pm - Newshub Nation co-host Rebecca Wright says this could the "world's most boring Budget", which comes after Grant Robertson tampered down expectations about it.

She says the big winners today are families with small children. with the Government extending 20 hours of free early education to families with two-year-olds.

2pm - The Government has revealed Budget 2023 this afternoon, with the focus being on "support for today" and "building for tomorrow".

The cost of living, cyclone recovery, building resilient infrastructure and the climate emergency are among the headline issues the government focused on.

Treasury forecasts Aotearoa will now avoid a technical recession.

Finance Minister Grant Roberston says the rebuild from the devastating Cyclone Gabrielle and flooding events will support activity and stronger tourism.

Treasury says high inflation has begun moderating and it forecasts further moderation ahead. Treasury has forecasted inflation to fall to 4.5 percent by the end of 2023 and then drop further, making it inside the Reserve Bank’s (RBZNZ) target band of 1 to 3 percent inflation by late next year.

The Government has expanded its Childcare Assistance programme, extending its free 20 hours of early childhood education for three to five years to include two-year-olds too. It's expected to save parents about $130 a week in childcare costs if their two-year-old attended ECE for at least 20 hours a week.

"Childcare is one of the biggest costs families face, so extending 20 hours of free ECE to two-year-olds will make a big difference," said Education Minister Jan Tinetti.

The extension of the 20 hours-free ECE subsidy will cost $1.2 billion over four years and comes into effect on March 1 2024.

The $5 prescription charge on medicine will be scrapped from July, which Health Minister Ayesha Verrall says will remove the barrier many Kiwis come up against when in need of medication.

The removal of the $5 co-payment charge will come at a cost $618.6 million over four years.

In a bid to ease the cost of living pressures, the government has announced free public transport for children under 13 and permanent half-price fares for those under 25. The changes to the public transport fees come into effect on July 1.

The Government will roll out a "major expansion" of Aotearoa's EV charging network, delivering 23 charging hubs across the motu.

"We're making sure there are more locations for people to ‘tank up’ their EVs, with a nationwide network of public electric vehicle charging hubs, with multiple fast electric vehicle chargers," said Energy and Resource Minister Megan Woods.

The Government will partner with the private sector to build "thousands" of new EV charges across the motu.

Each hub will hold up to 20 charges, with every hub stationed every 150-200 kilometres on main highways.

The Government has revealed it will increase the trustee tax rate to match the top personal tax rate of 39 percent from April this year.

The trustee tax rate currently sits at 33 percent, but Revenue Minister David Parker said the move to increase the rate will improve the "fairness of the tax system".

1:55pm - We're just five minutes away from hearing what's in Budget 2023.

From 2pm, there are a number of ways you can find out what's in this year's spend-up. This page will be updated with details and articles from our team, and there is also a Newshub Nation special that will cover all you need to know.

You can watch this special in the video player at the top of this page. Refresh this page if you can't see the stream.

Budget 2023 live updates: The latest announcements and reactions on the Government's spend-up

1:50pm - A third pre-Budget announcement was a massive Defence Force spend, which would see the "biggest pay increase in over a decade" for personnel.

Defence Minister Andrew Little announced earlier this month a $419 million boost to Defence's payroll, with personnel expected to receive pay increases of between $4000 and $15,000 depending on their rank, role and service branch. This will start from July 1.

"High rates of staff turnover, as well as increasing calls on the NZDF such as responding to Cyclone Gabrielle, training Ukrainian troops in the UK, and surveillance and patrolling in our region means our forces are stretched," Little said. 

He said that's four times higher than any previous Defence remuneration boost over the past decade and will go a "long way to address attrition issues and make Defence a career of choice".

"It means 90 percent of NZDF personnel will now be paid at, or close to, market rates."

1:45pm - Budget 2023 will also fund 300 new classrooms, it was announced earlier this week.

Money is also being pumped into the education infrastructure fund pipeline to support the construction of up to four new schools and school expansions, the first two of which will be in Auckland and Papamora.

Hipkins said the targeted funding was intended to address underfunding, overcrowding and decay in schools and classrooms.

The 300 new classrooms will both ease existing pressures while accounting for future population growth, Hipkins said. This will create 6600 new student spaces to ease the pressure on school rolls, both in the short term with the immediate establishment of 2200 places, and in the long term, with funding for a further 4400 places to account for future roll growth, the Prime Minister added.

Chris Hipkins.
Chris Hipkins. Photo credit: Getty Images

1:35pm - There have already been a few pre-Budget day announcements, including a $1 billion package of initiatives to support the recovery and rebuild for regions impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle and the Auckland Anniversary floods.

The Budget 2023 announcement, made on Sunday, was about responding to the "immediate recovery needs" and investing in "greater resilience for tomorrow", Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said. 

"This is about doing the basics - repairing and rebuilding what has been damaged and making smart investments," he said. 

"This recovery package will get roads, rail and schools back to where they were before the extreme weather hit this year so communities can get back to normal as soon as possible."

1:30pm - Kia ora and welcome to Newshub's live updates for Budget 2023.

We'll bring you all the details as they're released at 2pm, along with reactions as they happen.