Visit at 2pm for the Herald Budget Special with live video coverage from Parliament and the Auckland studio with analysis and expert opinion through the afternoon.

What will New Zealand's Wellbeing Budget look like?

Now mired in controversy following the leak by National, this Budget still promises to be unique in its structure and style.

But will there be room for any spending surprises?


Most economists agree the Government is on track to meet its fiscal goals but may have to lower forecasts and keep spending tight.

Changes to debt limits in the Budget Responsibility rules, announced last week, won't change the equations for this year's accounts.

"The total Crown OBEGAL [operating] surplus of $2.5 billion is running ahead of the Half Year Update forecast by $329 million," said Miles Workman, ANZ senior economist.

But as of March, tax revenues were running $542m below forecast.

Meanwhile, core Crown expenses of $63.5b show a $583m underspend, more
than offsetting weaker tax revenues.

Around $200m of this is because of an underspend on the Fees Free programme with enrolments not meeting initial forecasts. Spending on social assistance benefits was also a little lower, reflecting ongoing tightness in the labour market.

"All up, there's nothing in the starting position to suggest urgent and drastic
change is required to steer the books towards where the Government wants
them to be, " Workman said.

"But a weaker economic and fiscal outlook could have made for a few tough choices. "

Liam Dann speaks to Deloitte NZ CEO Thomas Pippos about the 2019 budget.

Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface said she would not be expecting much new spending.

"The fiscal accounts are likely to show the Government is running out of wiggle room," she wrote in her Budget preview.

The Wellbeing Budget freshly printed. Photo/Mark Mitchell
The Wellbeing Budget freshly printed. Photo/Mark Mitchell

"We expect little additional spending although we could see some reprioritisation of spending. Despite this, the Government is still likely to need to borrow a bit more."

Despite the fact that at least some of the details of the Budget were revealed by National this week, there are still many announcements that will be made.

But, in the lead-up to the big day every year, Governments like to make a few pre-Budget announcements beforehand. This year has been no exception.

Here's what the Government has already announced will be in Budget 2019:

• Fighting domestic abuse – A $320 million package across four years will pay for five initiatives to combat family and sexual violence.

• Money for homeless – Some $200 million over four years has been provided to tackling chronic homelessness to provide a "wraparound" service.

• Transition Support Service - $153.7 million over four years to support young people to transition from the care system to independence.

• Breaking the offending cycle – Some $98 million to break the cycle of Māori reoffending and imprisonment.

• More teachers – $95 million has been set aside for boosting the number of teachers; some 2400 spots will be opened up for trainees.

• Money for forestry – $58 million was earmarked to help with the rollout of the 1 billion trees programme.

• Whenua Māori Programme – Over four years, the Government will provide $56.1 million to implement new on-the-ground services" for Māori landowners.

• NCEA fee removal - $49 million over four years will be spent on removing NCEA fees, plus a further $21 million to continue rolling out NCEA online.

• Clean energy – $27 million was set aside for a clean energy centre in Taranaki; and extra $20 million, over four years, for new science research.

• Funding for Ambulances – the Government earmarked $21 million over two years to relieve pressure some ambulance services are under.

• Ethnic communities – $9.4 million has been made available over four years to promoting social cohesion in ethnic communities.

• SuperGold Card – The SuperGold card will get an updated website and a new app, costing $7.7 million.

• Rheumatic fever – $12 million to develop their own community-led initiatives in the fight against rheumatic fever.

• Money for Stats – The Government will spend $5.76 million on Statistics New Zealand.

• Public transport – $4.6 million towards making transport more affordable for people on low incomes.