Budget 2019 has been described as "botched" or "great news" depending on which Bay of Plenty leader is talking. The Budget has offered significant investment in areas such as schools and mental health but leaders are concerned it might not be doing enough to keep the local and national economies healthy. Regional leaders share their thoughts on what the Budget will or won't do for the Bay.
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless
"I'm pleased with the investment in mental health. It's a good start. I hope it will translate into the street. But I think it's unusual to spend all of this money on mental health then consider legalising cannabis use. That seems to fly in the face of that and in my opinion, especially with younger people, can cause huge mental health issues.
"I would have liked Tauranga to have seen a big chunk of [transport and rail investment] but there's nothing specific for Tauranga. There's nothing really for your hard-working, middle-of-the-road families. They will continue to work hard with no change.
"I don't see anything for them and I'm concerned we need more investment for a more productive economy. These social things are well and good but you need to have an increasingly good economy to fund these and, if you don't, it will just become unsustainable."
Western Bay Mayor Garry Webber
"On a personal basis, I am pleased to see the investment into mental health as it recognises a real need in our communities to significantly reduce suicide and alcohol and drug addiction in our youth.
"I am encouraged by the additional investment into education and health infrastructure which may see a new intermediate/secondary school in our district soon.
"For me, as a member of our council, the main point to grab hold of from this Budget is that central government will put together a 30-year strategy for infrastructure investment.
"This initiative will enable central government and local government to align their planning processes – this will be a major step forward."
Labour list MP Angie Warren-Clark
"By taking mental health seriously and breaking the cycles of poverty and of family violence, this Budget improves people's wellbeing right across the Bay of Plenty. The Budget builds on all the other things we've delivered.
"Since we came to office, there are 2000 more jobs in this region. We're backing the local economy, investing in Bay of Plenty projects through our Provincial Growth Fund. We're investing in community safety by starting to add 125 extra police on our streets. And we're investing in transport around the region, including through safety upgrades on State Highway 2.
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"Now in this Budget, our record investment in family and domestic violence prevention and services will work to break the cycle of violence that affects about one million Kiwis every year.
"We've also announced the indexation of benefits, which means more money in the pockets of our most vulnerable families."
Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller
"This Budget could bluntly be summed up as over-promising and under-delivering. There is very little in it for Tauranga or the wider Bay of Plenty to get excited about – a slowing economy, stalling job growth, primary and secondary school teachers on strike, and a real pattern emerging of sloppy and incoherent spending that isn't getting the results we expect.
"Some things, like increased mental health spending, are welcomed – but where is the money for the Tauranga Northern Link, better health services from our DHB and a new secondary school in the Western Bay? Government investment is clearly not keeping pace with growth in our city and we are certainly feeling it."
Labout list MP Jan Tinetti
"Through the Wellbeing Budget, the Government is investing in programmes that make the biggest, most positive difference in people's lives. We care about improving real lives as well as improving statistics.
"There are so many fantastic announcements in this Budget but I am especially excited about the announcements around school donations. If I was still a school principal I would be really happy right now. All decile one to seven state and state-integrated schools can now receive $150 per student per year if the school agrees to stop requesting school donations from parents.
"I had a great example last week of what this will mean locally. I was visiting a local school principal who told me they received very few donations right now. This announcement would see their school receiving around $85,000, meaning more supplies and activities for their kids.
"This is great news for parents and great news for schools."
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, leader of the Opposition
"There's no money for any rail improvements that will help congestion in our region.
"The Government has stripped $5 billion out of state highway improvements to pay for things like light rail. Congestion isn't a priority under this Government. All they've done is re-evaluate and recalibrate critical roading projects, and they haven't started any new ones.
"Most New Zealanders will be left asking what's in it for them. Families want more money in their weekly budgets for food, petrol and rent, instead their taxes are going towards rail, the defence force and trees.
"Yesterday teachers marched on Parliament, but there's nothing for them today.
"Surpluses are forecast to be billions of dollars lower than they were just a few months ago.
"This budget is style over substance, it's not transformational, and will be a disappointment to New Zealanders."
New Zealand First list MP Clayton Mitchell
"New Zealand First has been constructively engaging with our coalition partner to achieve a Wellness Budget that puts a human face on capitalism. This Government is focused on putting an end to kids growing up in cars, fixing our hospitals that have sewage leaking in the walls and tidying up our rivers so dirty they can no longer be swum in.
"In Budget 2019 New Zealand First has built on the platform of the first coalition budget to grow our policy achievements on behalf of our supporters by investing in New Zealand and New Zealanders: $1.042b infrastructure for KiwiRail, $7.7m to upgrade and enhance the SuperGold Card, $21m to secure St John ambulance services, $153.7m to support young people transitioning from state care, $1.704b in capital funding, and $273m in operating funding for defence including the purchase of P-8A Poseidon Maritime patrol aircraft, and a boost in funding support for veterans."
Rotorua MP Todd McClay
"The Budget is disappointing for Rotorua. It reveals a slowing economy because of poor government policies. They're borrowing $17b extra and adding new taxes.
"With rents, electricity and petrol costs all going up this Budget should have reduced costs for local families.
"I welcome mental health funding but we need to see real action now not more working groups. I cannot understand why they've cut all funding for drug and alcohol courts from next year.
"I'm surprised there's no money for midwives, dental care or reduced doctor' fees, nor for teachers. Tragically there nothing more for life-saving cancer drugs – this should be a priority.
"We'll carefully watch how funding for forestry is spent but I'm deeply disappointed there's nothing for the double-laning of Te Ngae Rd to the airport or an upgrade to the Ngongotaha roundabout.
"All and all this was a missed opportunity to do something significant – they botched it.""
Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey
"Everyone knows somebody affected by mental health challenges. If someone needs help, they should get help.
"That's why we're taking mental health seriously in the Wellbeing Budget by providing much-needed support for mental health in our communities.
"Once rolled out, this new support means every New Zealander can access free and immediate help, when and where they need it. That includes help for people with mild to moderate mental health needs, as well as those doing it the toughest. We're helping those already in crisis, and we're also helping prevent people from ever reaching that point. It's a big step forward for mental health in the Waiariki and New Zealand.
"We're doing things differently because everyone knows that preventing a crisis is better than cleaning up after one."