Greens weren't 'shafted' - Grant Robertson

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has responded to criticism his first Budget "shafted" the Green Party, saying the Greens are actually "very happy" with what they got.

"Winston Peters got more than $1 billion for Foreign Affairs and a cheeky few million for his mates in the racing industry," Newshub political reporter Jenna Lynch wrote on Thursday.

"Climate Minister James Shaw, however, had to chuck his name on a press release about insulation because he had next to nothing to claim as a win."

"I've heard James Shaw and Marama Davidson both say since the Budget they're very happy. They're a huge contributor to what we're doing.

"If you just take a look at the Auckland transport programme where Julie Anne Genter and Phil Twyford have been working together, a $28 billion programme, a huge investment in rail, huge strides towards lowering the carbon emissions in our economy - those sorts of issues are the ones the Greens have come to this coalition with, and I think they're doing well out of it."

In a plea for fundraising sent to supporters on Thursday afternoon, Mr Shaw called it the "greenest Budget ever", thanks to extra funding for the Department of Conservation, the Green Investment Fund, sustainable farming and extra mental health therapies.

"We've managed to secure the most funding yet for green projects, $618 million in total, plus up to $13.5 billion for critical public transport projects like light rail to the airport in Auckland and a billion dollar fund for cycling and walking."

As for the Budget's $4.8 million tax break for the racing industry, Mr Robertson says that's to make up for tax changes made a decade ago that were never properly implemented.

"It's a fairly modest change, but it's one that will support an industry which employs… a lot of Māori. The racing industry is one that's important to [Mr Peters]."

Mr Robertson rejected suggestions there was little in the Budget directed at Māori because of Mr Peters' aversion to "race-based" policies.

He said much of the money allocated towards Māori-focused projects in National's 2017 Budget wasn't spent at all.

"When we went looking to see what that money had been used for, we couldn't actually find it. It's not responsible as a Minister of Finance for me just to roll over funding that we can't see the purpose for.

"What we have done is we have put in place some very good and specific projects around housing, and education and training for Māori, and it's vitally important to remember the families package [delivers] $1.5 billion to Māorifamilies over the next five years. I think we've done the right thing there."

He said while Labour supports the "principles" of Whanau Ora, it "doesn't make a lot of sense" to increase its funding while it's under review.

"We're not just going to carry on funding the previous Government threw in without even knowing what it was going to achieve."