The businessman: Geof Nightingale, Glen Eden
The Government should resist the temptation to write any big election-year cheques today, says small business owner Geof Nightingale.
A director of Avondale's Navigator Business Software, which distributes products in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, he said careful financial management was still the order of the day.
"I think it's just continuing to restore the New Zealand economy from out of the earthquake issues, and getting the surpluses back in place."
Mr Nightingale said considering the country's economic state he saw little reason to change how much money was allocated to each area.
"I would think that to change the current direction of spends while we are on the recovery phase and progressing well would seem to be change for no benefit."
He said that if there was a better surplus, then spending on education and health would need to increase in line with demographics such as age distribution, and also inflation.
Roads and infrastructure should be next in queue because of population growth.
The parents: Marama and Nelson Harris, Manurewa
Education would be a top priority if mother Marama Harris was writing today's Budget.
Mrs Harris, 35, is studying travel and tourism but is focused on her seven children, aged 4 to 12. She says she is happy enough with their schools — the eldest at Greenmeadows Intermediate, five at Manurewa East Primary and one at kindergarten — but she would cut the state's other main spending items to lift education's share from its current 17 per cent.
"I'd say 25 per cent for education," she said. Introducing subjects such as woodwork earlier would also be a good idea, she said. "It would be cool to do stuff like that starting at primary."
Husband Nelson Harris, 39, a cable installer and a volunteer Mormon preacher, said he would rather put more money into health and housing.
"I took my 6-year-old boy to the doctor [at an A&E] one time and it cost me $76," he said.
The migrants: Ganapathy and Dipali Iyer, Auckland CBD
Migrants Ganapathy, 34, and Dipali Iyer, 33, believe transport should be a priority in today's Budget, and would also like to see funding given to nourish entrepreneurship and encourage people to save more of their incomes.
Mr Iyer, a management consultant, said the couple saw a need for better transport infrastructure and services that ran more frequently.
"For new migrants a car might not be something that they can afford, especially when coming from countries like India where a car is not considered a necessity and people use public transport much more," he said.
The couple, who moved here from India in September and January, respectively, supported the country's investment in health and thought more money in that area could bring down what was spent on welfare.
Defence and crime and justice spends should remain the same, he said. "It's like insurance, you might not ever use them but you always should have it if things go wrong."
They also believed housing should be more of a priority.
"There should be some investment for people who need to get into a house and buy a first home. Some funding that could build affordable housing would be a good idea."
The homebuyers: Kanav and Shruti Malhotra, Lynfield
Would-be Auckland homeowners Kanav and Shruti Malhotra say the best thing the Government could do for them would be to release more land for housing.
The professional couple rent in Lynfield. They have saved a 20 per cent deposit towards a first house which they expect to cost them $450,000 to $500,000, but they have been looking for more than three months and haven't found a home yet.
"We are in Lynfield. We have looked at a couple of houses here but three-bedroom houses here are being sold around $700,000, so we are now looking in places further west like Glen Eden," Mrs Malhotra said.
On her hopes for the Budget, she said: "The only thing is releasing more land so it could bring the prices down."
The Malhotras, both 32, came here from India five years ago and have a 3-year-old daughter, Kashish. Mrs Malhotra works at Auckland University and her husband is operations supervisor for a shipping line.
Mrs Malhotra said that if she was writing the Budget she would boost spending on education from 17 per cent to 20 per cent, roads from 3 per cent to 5 per cent, and on law and order from 5 per cent to 8 to 10 per cent.
"Some of our close family members and friends have had robberies and the feedback from the police is, 'oh, it's just a robbery'. They get away with it," she said.
She suggested spending less on other public services to free up more funds for law and order, education and roads.
The retiree: Bill Rayner, Devonport
Retired financial director Bill Rayner would like to see more jobs created, an overhaul of the justice and education systems and the Government invest more in Auckland's infrastructure to cater for its growing population.
He also believes the more vulnerable members of society — the aged and the poor — should receive a bigger slice of today's Budget and the Government should relieve the heavy burden on Auckland ratepayers.
Mr Rayner, 73, said a focus on growing professional industries here would retain skilled workers, meaning they were able to help support their ageing parents.
"One of our problems now is those jobs being created are just for lower wage levels and that needs to be addressed," he said. "The whole base of our wage needs to be increased and there should be provisions for the Government to support real industries."
Mr Rayner thought education spending should drop, with funds redistributed to give higher-quality education before students leave high school.
An overhaul of the justice system was also needed, he said.
"The police get a rough deal, they should be fully resourced and well paid."
Mr Rayner would also like to see local government get more funding to reduce rates.
When it came to welfare, Mr Rayner said payments should increase so those in need were better cared for.
The student: Chris Wiggins, Eastern Bays
Public transport would be the big winner in today's Budget if university student Chris Wiggins was drawing it up.
The 21-year-old, who is studying engineering at the University of Auckland, said he would put more money into transport and education, hopefully making some savings by reducing welfare fraud.
Mr Wiggins said he lived in Auckland's Eastern Bays area, and if catching public transport at peak times needed to leave about 90 minutes before classes.
"One of the big problems, especially as a university student, is that public transport isn't that great," he said.
While public transport was also a funding issue for Auckland ratepayers, the Government should make it a priority.
Mr Wiggins said he frequently travelled by road to Northland, and congestion through the Warkworth area was an issue. However, the everyday necessity of public transport meant he would give that priority over roading.
He thought it was right to have tolls on new roads.