A $813 million boost in operating spend for child poverty, housing and homelessness will help those working in the frontline, say Tauranga social service leaders.

Thursday's Budget 2018 included $634m in operating funding and $369m in capital funding to address housing and homelessness.

A total of $179m in operating funding was allocated for clothing support to children on the Orphan's Benefit and Unsupported Child's Benefit, a new Child Poverty Unit and funding to the KidsCan and KickStart programmes.

Tommy Wilson from Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services called the Budget 2018 the "frontline budget" because funding was going to "all the right areas".


"I am really encouraged by this budget," he said. "It gives us the opportunity to reconnect the disconnected."

Wilson said once a family was placed in a home it was important to discuss the reasons as to why they became homeless and to educate them to become better tenants.

"There is a number of areas this budget teaches that will really help homeless become better tenants," he said.

Oranga Tamariki will also have nearly $270 million to spend over the next four years.

Homes of Hope chief Hilary Price said additional funding support within Oranga Tamariki will be significant when supporting children in their recovery from trauma due to violence sexual abuse neglect and family dysfunction.

Price said the Budget strongly reflected that the government intended to make "real meaningful changes" in support children in out of home care.

"This is hugely encouraging and begins to address the critical importance of early intervention which is fantastic," she said.

Price said the new allowances proved positive for both children and whanau.

"The changes to allowances for unsupported, orphaned and fostered children and the clothing allowance benefits will mean those who have taken on the responsibility of raising someone else's child (grandparents, extended whanau or foster caregivers) will receive welcome financial support to ensure the needs of the children are properly met," she said.

"We surely understand the significant pressures and stressors of financial hardship and this will help mitigate these."

Minister for Children Tracey Martin said the investments announced today would better support caregivers, fund increased demand for child services.

Martin said it would also represent change needed to transform New Zealand's system of care and protection for children and young people.

"This Government has committed to putting the wellbeing of children at the heart of what we do and Budget 2018 represents a significant step forward in this."

BUDGET 2018: Child poverty, housing and homelessness
- Significant investment to increase public housing by more than 6000 homes over the next four years to address severe shortage of public housing.
- Extending chronic homelessness by strengthening the Housing First initiative and expanding it beyond the main centres by 550 places, with the same tailored wrap-around support
-Funding is also provided to implement the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act and insulation grants for eligible owner occupiers.
- Extending free GP visits to under-14s, extending the provision of clothing support to children on the Orphan's Benefit and Unsupported Child's Benefit
- Setting up a new Child Poverty Unit
- Continuing funding to the KidsCan and KickStart programmes.