Rail initiatives were a big hit. Business initiatives - not so much.

That was the main reaction from Tauranga businesses leaders as they digested the 2019 Budget, which will pump $1 billion into KiwiRail, including $300 million for regional rail projects.

On the business front, a $300m capital gap fund will help mid-sized $2m to $15m companies expand. Mana in Mahi, a strengthening work programme, will get $200m
to help 2000 young people find work and employers would receive a wage subsidy.

An innovation for the future programme will receive $157m over four years to develop high-value low-emissions products.

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Economic Development Minister David Parker said the world was in the middle of a technological revolution ''and we need to chase down as many of these commercial opportunities as possible''.

Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato general manager Anton Jones said mum and dad enterprises and small business owners had been left in the cold.

Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato general manager Anton Jones. Photo /File
Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato general manager Anton Jones. Photo /File

''It would have been better to have something a bit more generic for those people. A lot own their own business and never get a look in. What is happening with those people, where are the benefits for the everyday normal people?''

He said business owners were getting thumped with rising rates and taxes.

But Jones supported the possible cash injection into regional rail, especially passenger rail as an attempt to relieve traffic congestion.

"We need something to take some of the pressure off our roads. At the moment some roading projects have been canned and there is this band-aid approach which will stall productivity and growth because people are stuck in traffic.

Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt. Photo / File
Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt. Photo / File

Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said there was not a lot in the budget for most New Zealand businesses.

''The moves around the capital provision fund, rail and apprenticeships are all good but we would have expected to see far more spending on productive infrastructure to enable future growth in New Zealand. A chunk needs to go on your standard infrastructure and roading, a chunk into science and research infrastructure so it would have been cool to see more.''

Anne Pankhurst, of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce. Photo / File
Anne Pankhurst, of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce. Photo / File

Anne Pankhurst, of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, said the improvement in rail, innovation and research and investment into mid-range start-up businesses was encouraging.

''Those businesses can become more export-focused and ready, that is encouraging to see.''

However, there were concerns about the economy slowing.

''This also applies to the world economy slowing, so it's not just in New Zealand when the world has a sneeze we cough frantically.''

National leader Simon Bridges slammed the budget and said the economy was sharply declining as business confidence reached record lows.