Budget 2023: Not many goodies from Grant Robertson for many New Zealanders

There were a few more breadcrumbs to go around in Budget 2023 than just what made the top headlines.

There are 5 million LED light bulbs, 100,000 insulation and heating fit outs, and 7500 water heating systems for low income families.

The gaming sector will get $160 million for a 20 percent rebate for developers.

A ‘circuit breaker’ pilot programme targeting repeat child offenders will be expanded to Hamilton, Christchurch and Auckland City.

There's $450 million for building science and research hubs.

There's an $825 million package for Māori to build and repair homes, more Whānau Ora services and great news for Te Matatini, that’s secured funding too.

Government disability support services will get $836 million and 3000 more state homes have been funded.

Meanwhile, 30,000 more apprentices will be supported.

However, for most New Zealanders, like Steve Christodolou and his whānau, there weren't a lot of goodies from Finance Minister Grant Robertson in Thursday's Budget.

"We are definitely a loser," Christodolou said. "There is nothing in the Budget that's going to affect me in any way."

He was really wanting a tax cut.

"They call it the 'bread and butter' Budget but, to be honest, it's not going to help anybody with bread and butter when they are at the supermarket aisle with nothing in their pockets," Christodolou said. 

"I would've said this was disappointing… as much as [Robertson's] tried, he's dropped the ball."

For anyone over 25 years old without children, sorry - you're a loser. 

But Robertson insisted what middle-income taxpayers "needed us to do was to make sure that inflation comes down. That is what this Budget helps to do".

However, it's about to get more expensive for people needing to get from A to B. The 25c fuel tax is back on and half-price public transport is ending for those over 25s.

"No, that's the worst!" one annoyed commuter said.

"That's unfair," said another.

While there may have been some frills in health and education, those systems themselves are losers too - the Government hasn't inflation-matched how much it costs to keep the lights on.

"There's a punch point next year where inflation will be rising faster than the contributions to education and that's a real challenge," Council of Trade Unions economist Craig Renney said.

But Robertson said health spending the Government "put out last year was significant and represents a very large increase". 

"In education, there are a variety of different funding rates," he added.

For Kiwis needing to keep their own lights on, there were literally light bulbs in the Budget - five million of them. There were also more efficient hot water systems and insulation installations for low-income households.

Robertson said the light on every New Zealander's economic horizon is a recession is now not expected and the rebuild from the cyclone and floods has kept the economy humming.

The Government's pushed out its forecast of getting back into surplus with a $7 billion or more deficit for this year and next. New Zealand's then on track to be back in the black by 2026. 

That would be helped, in part, by a surprise tax. The top tax rate for trusts was being hiked to 39 percent.

It now matches the top income tax bracket and should pull in an extra $350 million per year for the Government coffers.

"There is every reason for optimism that we are coming through the worst of it and that we have a solid platform to grow sustainably again," Robertson said.

But National Party leader Christopher Luxon blasted the Budget as a "blowout", while ACT's David Seymour said Robertson "came, he borrowed, he bankrupted all of us".

Infometrics principal economist Brad Olsen didn't believe the Government was spending with restraint.

"Over the next four years, the Government is set to spend another $9.4b compared to what they thought back in December," he said. "At the same time, they'll be taking in another $11b on the revenue side. That doesn't seem to be spending with restraint."

Also not showing restraint was Luxon, using his favourite slam in the House on Thursday afternoon - saying multiple times the Government had an "addiction to spending".

But Prime Minister Chris Hipkins hit back, saying it was "no wonder that his own colleagues have started to call him 'Captain Cliche.'"