'Too little, too late' - community groups say Budget fails to turn the tide for the most vulnerable

Too little, too late is the feeling from community groups about Finance Minister Steven Joyce's first Budget.

The Government has been accused of being too focused on keeping its surplus. Source: 1 NEWS

Campaign director for ActionStation, Laura O'Connell Rapira, says the extra spending is not enough.

"We welcome the thaw on public funding of the social services that we all require, but unfortunately I do think that it is too little too late for a lot of people," she told 1 NEWS. 

"The health budget particularly has been underfunded for the last decade and people have lost their lives because of it and that is the truth."

The increases to the accommodation supplement are being welcomed. Some people will receive up to $80 more a week.

"I think the increased support for housing is quite an encouraging thing. I think the adjustments in the accommodation supplement was overdue,"  says Alan Johnston of the Salvation Army.

But Plunket says more investment is needed in healthy homes.

We've basically spent all the cash that our surpluses generate - Finance Minister Steven Joyce

"A Hawke's Bay Plunket nurse described the homes she visits as cold to the bone, damp and covered in mould. There are often no curtains, holes in the floor and families just cannot afford to heat them," said Amanda Malu, Plunket chief executive.

Mr Joyce says no particular Budget can achieve everything, "but I'm confident that this achieves a lot for people on low incomes".

Community groups are concerned the Budget fails to turn the tide for the most vulnerable, because the Government is too focused on keeping its surplus.

Mr Joyce said the reality is the Government has "basically spent all the cash that our surpluses generate between the public services, the infrastructure and the family incomes package".

"We would next have to be borrowing more nominal money, actual money."

One of the big criticisms from some groups is the extra money going into health and education will only allow services to play catch up. That's despite an extra $879 million going into health next year alone.