The so-called 'Wellbeing Budget' was delivered by Finance Minister Grant Robertson today at 2pm, with New Zealanders weighing in with their opinions on what it got right - and wrong.
As details emerged, politicians, industry groups, journalists and commentators across the country have taken note and offered their thoughts.
NEW ZEALAND REACTS:
Law firm Chapman Tripp: "#Budget2019 reinforces the Government's wellbeing approach and aims to encourage better decision-making. It also signals a slight loosening of the Government’s fiscal stance, although within the constraints of the Budget Responsibility Rules."
Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw: "Fundamentally, the way the Wellbeing Budget has been put together is, at its heart, what the Greens have been talking about all this time. What gets measured, gets managed. Today’s Budget 2019 provides $107 million to transition our economy towards a low carbon future. We will have independent, expert institutions to guide the way there. There is $42.7 million for the Climate Change Commission to provide the advice, guidance and monitoring New Zealand needs to reduce our emissions."
Dr Nicki Jackson of Alcohol Healthwatch: "Fantastic to see #Budget2019 invest in children, mental health & addictions. This improves well-being for all of society. May #budget2020 be the Prevention Budget so we can turn down the tap of inequities in well-being. Prevention for social justice."
Post Primary Teachers Association President Jack Boyle: "While we support the focus on well-being and mental health and the funding to replace school donations, we wish the government had been braver. Education, health and housing are the bedrock of our society. We have to get it right. Teacher shortages are dragging our education system down and there is nothing concrete is this budget to address them."
Emma Halleur of Taranaki: "Is there anything in the budget that will specifically help me? No. Am I mad about it? Also no. The budget will help our children, our homeless, our schools, our hospitals, our mental health, our climate. Ultimately, how does that not help me?"
Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft: "It could be a game-changer for New Zealand's children ... that is the hope. If we can mean business about wellbeing, it's gotta start with our children and young people - and to see that front and centre of this budget is really satisfying and it's a great start."
Nurses Society of New Zealand: "Mental health and addiction services are an obvious winner in the #Budget2019 #Wellbeing Budget with a $1.9 bn package. But there is a lot else to like across many sectors and services."
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand: "REINZ is disappointed that there were no new announcements made in today’s budget that support addressing housing supply when we have a deficit of around 104,000 houses across the country."
National MP Michael Woodhouse: "A key factor of wellbeing would be funding access to life-saving & life-changing new medicines for NZers. In #Budget2019 this Govt has only increased funding for medicines by 1%, which means after inflation and population growth, it's going backwards."
Greenpeace director and former Green Party co-leader Russell Norman: "The biggest climate spend in #Budget2019 is the one billion per year to subsidise agricultural emissions under the ETS. If we want to cut emissions shouldn't we stop subsidising them?"
Animal rights advocates SAFE New Zealand: "Let's hope the Government's proposed investment in helping farmers deal with climate change in today's budget, means helping them transition away from animal agriculture. "
New Zealand Drug Foundation: "Budget 2019 covers many bases in the MH and Addictions space: funding for primary care + funding for acute care + funding in the community + funding for AOD services in prisons + funding to grow new services + funding to strengthen existing services".
Louis Houlbrooke of the Taxpayers Union: "$1.9b for mental health. $1000 per household. If addiction and suicide rates fail to improve, will the Government be prepared to dial back this spending? Or will it just throw more money into the black hole?"
Political Science graduate Rhiannon Kate: "Listening to the opposition about the budget is painful because they are not offering any alternatives or stating what they would do differently. The #budget2019 should be a discussion on priorities, not mud-slinging."
National Party Leader Simon Bridges: "Yesterday, teachers marched on Parliament demanding a pay rise but there’s nothing for them today. #Budget2019 has funding for classrooms, but what good are classrooms if there are no teachers to work in them?"
Michael Pulman of Hamilton: "It's all very well and good to invest in building more schools and upgrading existing ones but what about the wages for teachers and their working conditions?"
Mental Health Foundation: "#Budget2019 makes an excellent start in addressing our suicide rates with some good new initiatives which are tailored to meet Māori, Pasifika and Rainbow communities. 40 million is good but much more will be needed."
National MP Paula Bennett: "From what I can see this is a throw money and hope in a botched budget. Not result focused and not delivering".
Former MP Tau Henare says "I like that #Budget2019 takes a more Social Investment side rather than basing everything a number bottom line. About how and what we use as a a base to work from. Social Capital, Harm reduction etc. I think its a great new way of leveraging off people rather than numbers".
Emma Holland of Wellington: "Is it bad that because of all of the childish high school games I just don’t give a s*** about the budget this year?
University of Canterbury Professor Anne-Marie Brady: "Really good to see the major increase in funding for mental health services in NZ Budget. Very needed in Ōtautahi Christchurch where many people are still hurting after the terror attack".
Rainbow advocate organisation InsideOUT: "We're so pleased to see $3 million in the budget to increase the number of publicly funded gender affirming surgeries - this surgery saves lives and funding for it so long over due!
Camryn Brown of Auckland says: "every budget is a wellbeing budget - every budget allocates resources to improve wellbeing. New Zealand has always recognised wellbeing as the environment, health, safety, and community as well as wealth. The sheer arrogance to think there's a new idea here!"
Journalist Russell Brown: "The investment in mental health and addiction services in this Budget – $1.9bn over five years – is genuinely historic. However this government ends up being regarded as a whole, I don't think that fact will change."
Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere: "This is a game changing budget based on a concentration about the humanity of NZers rather than on the orthodoxy of Douglas & Richardson. In that sense it’s broken the mold & strangle hold of previous Govts strict adherence to rules set in the 80s".
EY NZ tax policy advisor David Snell: "The books are sound and would be the envy of most nations. The $3.5 billion surplus for 2019 is intact. All the budget responsibility rules have been met. The underlying economic forecasts are broadly credible. Spending is increasing, both operating and capital. The economic forecast is on the optimistic side, particularly in relation to productivity and trade."
National Party Leader Simon Bridges: "The #BotchedBudget is a disappointment to NZers & just another example of this Government failing to deliver in its self-proclaimed year of delivery. It's not a wellbeing budget. Most NZers will be left asking themselves what’s in it for them?"
Auckland accounting firm Generate Accounting: "Wow. $1 billion on Kiwirail. That's an astonishing amount of money by any measure."