TODAY |

'No new initiatives' tackling child poverty in budget - Bill English

Finance Minister Bill English is doing his best to quash expectations that a major package tackling child poverty will be announced in Thursday's Budget.

The Finance Minister has ruled out any new initiatives for children in poverty. Source: 1 NEWS

Following last year's election, Prime Minister John Key indicated that hardship would be the focus of the Budget.

But Mr English warns that while there could be more money for existing child poverty programmes, there are no new "initiatives to be announced".

Last December, Mr Key signalled that this year's Budget would help 60,000-100,000 New Zealand children living in hardship.

"At the moment the focus is on the children, how would you improve the lot of those children...officials are working on it," Mr Key said at the time.

His comments had poverty campaigners hopeful but Mr English says "there will be more money for child programmes, but not any new initiatives for vulnerable children."

Thursday's Budget is expected to put more money into what the Government feels are proven, targeted programmes rather than boost funding for big programmes like Working for Families.

What is likely to come out a winner on Thursday is support for teen parenting, with Mr Key conveniently planning a visit to a teen parent's unit on Friday.

Mr English's other big budget headache is housing, with first homebuyers being told not to get their hopes up.

"Just some more steps, wouldn't want to create too many expectations," he says.

Labour leader Andrew Little is unlikely to be impressed when Mr English outlines his plans for the country's poorest on Thursday, ONE News Political Editor Corin Dann says.