Prime Minister John Key told Parliament that the economy was growing, new jobs were being created, and average wages were on the up.

"Labour know how to tax and they know how to spend. A National-led govt knows how to get expenses under control...look around the world...Australia with deficits as far as the eye can see. Bill English has got this country on the right track and under control."

Mr Key said the extra $2.2 billion in health spending over four years would help fund more operations, new drugs like Opdivo for melanoma sufferers, and the roll out of a bowel screening programme.

"That's what a strong economy delivers - it saves lives."

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On housing, Mr Key said under Labour 10 houses were built in Auckland a day, whereas now 40 were constructed each day.

He said there was an emerging consensus that more land should be freed up, and the national policy statement on urban development to be released shortly would address that.

"This is what the national policy statement will do...it will ensure that councils must make available sufficient land to accommodate growth...it is no longer a matter of choice."

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the Government had for eight years put together budgets based on what polls well. Today's Budget simply preserved the status quo.

"This government is the political equivalent of Milli Vanilli - lip synching when they should be leading."

He questioned what Prime Minister John Key's legacy would be.

"it will be remembered for record number of homeless people...for the biggest decline in home ownership ever. Two thirds of our rivers not safe to swim in...after eight years and eight budgets National has squandered the opportunities to create a meaningful legacy."

The Greens had hoped for measures to fix the country's housing crisis, move the economy to a low carbon model, and protect New Zealand's natural heritage, but had been let down on all three, Mr Shaw said.

"What this Budget shows is that John Key and his ministers have no interest in leaving a transformational legacy for New Zealand...we need more than a few new toilet blocks and more plaster for the cracks that are becoming so painfully obvious."

Mr Shaw said the government had for eight years put together budgets based on what polls well. Today's Budget simply preserved the status quo.

"This government is the political equivalent of Milli Vanilli - lip synching when they should be leading."

He questioned what Prime Minister John Key's legacy would be.

"it will be remembered for record number of homeless people...for the biggest decline in home ownership ever. Two thirds of our rivers not safe to swim in...after eight years and eight budgets National has squandered the opportunities to create a meaningful legacy."

The Greens had hoped for measures to fix the country's housing crisis, move the economy to a low carbon model, and protect New Zealand's natural heritage, but had been let down on all three, Mr Shaw said.

"What this Budget shows is that John Key and his ministers have no interest in leaving a transformational legacy for New Zealand...we need more than a few new toilet blocks and more plaster for the cracks that are becoming so painfully obvious."

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Andrew Little slams 'patchwork' Budget

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said there was only one way to describe today's measures - "the get stuffed Budget".

That was the message to first home buyers, people living on the streets, young families worried about the future, students concerned about debt and future jobs, and regional New Zealand including farmers worried about the bank manager's call, Mr Peters said.

"Now the PM may sleep like a baby. But hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders can't."

The New Zealand First leader held up a chart showing home ownership by income decile. Heckled by National MP David Bennett that he was holding the paper upside down, Mr Peters didn't miss a beat.

"You are exactly right. What ought to be up is down...and Mr Bennett, when we gain power, we are going to put it the right way up."

Mr Peters attacked the Government policy, announced by Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett yesterday, of paying homeless people to leave Auckland.

Why should people who have lived in Auckland for generations "make way for an immigrant", Mr Peters asked. NZ First was the only party with the courage to attack the country's "mass immigration" policy, he said.

"There is an elephant that is so big in the room that nobody else can get in...it is putting enormous costs on New Zealand and impacting every government service...the rest of New Zealand is missing out."