As we count down to the release of this year's Budget, Jimmy Ellingham and photographer Mark Mitchell hit the streets of the capital to gauge expectations.

Ellie Rainford, Post-graduate student, 25

"I'm on a scholarship, but it's quite hard to juggle the workload along with university responsibilities and having to have a part-time job as well. I think that better benefits for students would be a good idea. In general, just usual things - everyday stuff like public transport, more money towards housing and bringing rents down. I know that's a difficult thing with private owners, but rent's a pretty big drain on the old budget."

Terence O'Brien, Retired, 80

"They've got to do something about some provision for refugees. I think our performance on letting in refugees is disgraceful for a country with this degree of wealth and achievement - and, obviously, housing. I don't understand how to solve the Auckland housing issue but it looks as though the Government and the Auckland Council are heading for some kind of collision right now. That wouldn't be in anybody's interests, I don't think."


Mike Bryant, Retail assistant, 25

"More focus on mental health issues and that sort of thing, into the mental health sector. I used to do a lot of youth work and I think that the youth of New Zealand are going through a lot of stuff and we have one of the worst suicide rates in the world, so that would be nice to fix."

Tony Martin, IT industry, 54

"I suppose like everybody I'd like to see tax cuts, but the reality of it is can we afford it? I think more money to education, more money to the health sector is what I'd like to see, personally. Health and education affect me, with my children, yes, absolutely. They'd be the two important things, I think."

Sarah Kennard, Workplace trainer, on maternity leave, 39

"I think the thing that concerns me the most is education, especially in the latter time of my son's life, so tertiary. Whether it's free or whether it's subsidised, that would be handy. Also, longer maternity leave for mothers. Healthcare, it was a really great thing that they get healthcare now up until 13 years old but up until the end of their education, maybe to 18, would be great - a great help for working families."

Hannah Russell, Student, 19

"Definitely an increase in student loans and allowance, because even though I do get that extra $40 living allowance costs, $200 is not enough for a student when you're paying close to $195 a week to $200 for your rent. That leaves you, what, $5 a week for your money, so I work part-time and I work probably about 25 hours a week to actually try to survive and increase that fulltime university work. It's [a] juggling act. "