Most read: Watch Paula Bennett's brilliant facials during Simon Bridges' Budget speech

Note: This story was first published on Thursday May 17

The National Party deputy was clearly delighted by what her boss was saying. Source: Seven Sharp

It was a big day for Finance Minister Grant Robertson as he delivered his first Budget, and the first from a Labour-led Government in 10 years.

But Seven Sharp reckons his moment in the spotlight was overshadowed by a member of the shadow cabinet.

Tonight, Seven Sharp would like to give a standing ovation to National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett, a shoe-in for best supporting actress, for her performance during Simon Bridges' rebuttal of the Budget.

Watch as she connects both physically and emotionally with her leader. 



Most read story: Budget 2018 - Here's what you need to know at a glance

Note: This story was first published on Thursday May 17

File image of $50 and $100 notes. Source: 1 NEWS

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has revealed the 2018 Budget. Here's what you need to know - at a glance.

Watch Grant Robertson deliver the Budget HERE.

*More children to get free GP visits, with the scheme extended to under-14s from under-13s.

*Lower-cost doctors' visits for all Community Services Card holders, making them cheaper by $20 to $30.

*More people eligible for the Community Services Card - extended to anyone living in state housing, receiving accommodation supplement or paying income-related rents.

*6400 more state houses provided over the next four years.

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*$750m boost in spending for re-building ageing hospital buildings and facilities.

*About $450m towards new schools, and money to hire another 1500 teachers by 2021.

*Around $300m over four years to police to recruit an extra 920 officers.

*New housing insulation programme providing grants to tens of thousands of low-income families.

*Tribunal set up to resolve outstanding Earthquake Commission and insurance claims.


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John Armstrong's analysis: Budget went some way to meeting Labour's unrealistic election promises

Grant Robertson’s first Budget falls short of being a real humdinger, but it is no humdrum affair. 

Source: 1 NEWS

It is restrained rather than reformist. It is transitional rather than— to borrow one of the Prime Minister’s favourite words — transformative.

The document is devoid of any “wow” factor. It contains nothing which is likely to grab the public’s imagination.

What is eye-watering is the scale of the cash and capital injections into the public health sector.

Some would come from reprioritisation, which is pulling money from other sectors. Source: 1 NEWS

There is only one thing that can be guaranteed from that funding. With an ageing population, even more moolah will be needed — and soon.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

The extra spending on health makes this a traditional Labour Budget to its core. The comparative starvation diet imposed on the education sector makes it a very unusual Labour Budget.

The contradiction comes down to priorities — the priorities imposed by the Minister of Finance by his wearing of the clothes of fiscal rectitude.

Robertson describes his first Budget as a “bread and butter” Budget. That is a way of deflecting National’s claim that he has been wasting all the tax revenue flowing into the Treasury’s coffers on fancy cakes.

In preparing the Budget, he had to conduct a difficult balancing act. On the one hand, Labour had to go some way towards meeting the unrealistic expectations the party had raised during last year’s election campaign that it would fix the country’s ageing schools and hospitals if it won power.

On the other hand, Labour did not want to do anything which National would wield as confirmation that Jacinda Ardern and her colleagues were binge spendthrifts.

He needed to serve up a very thick surplus.

1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch says there was no lolly scramble in Wellington today. Source: 1 NEWS

Tempted as he might have been to borrow heaps more money to fund the Government’s extensive and expensive capital works programme given current low interest rates, that is a political no-go area. Voters simply don’t like being in such hock.

Robertson’s caution means there is little to dislike in his Budget. Voters would like it even more were it not for one yawning hole — the absence of further measures helping first-home buyers get into a house or apartment.

Simon Bridges labelling of KiwiBuild as KiwiFraud was very cutting. It was biting because there was more than an element of truth in the remark — at least in terms of fraud in the political sense.

Perhaps worse would be KiwiBuild to become a joke, especially in Auckland. The joke would be on Labour.

Given elections can be won or lost on the mood in that metropolis, the broad smiles on the faces of Ardern and her MPs yesterday would fast become a distant memory.