Business industry heads say the budget delivered no surprises and there was little to get excited about, aside from a new $300 million investment fund.

The Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce said the Budget offered nothing to "transform the economy" or support businesses to enable growth but there were aspects of the budget that would be welcomed by business.

"It was positive to hear the Government's $300 million fund for investing in venture capital markets, with a particular focus on mid-sized businesses, as well as the $157 million allocated to help support start-ups focused on innovation to promote low-emissions," Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Leeann Watson said.

In addition to funding for start-ups, Government allocated $200m to boost apprenticeship and trade training.


Craig Hudson, Xero New Zealand country manager, said he was pleased with the sentiment of the budget which allocated $1.9 billion over the next five years for mental health, an issue which plagued the small business sector.

"A better person makes a better employee which makes a better business," Hudson said.

"In all, there was very limited there for business and we kind of knew that, it's not a business Budget. If you take the view that productivity is the most important thing that New Zealand business is needing now, which it is because our productivity is dropping, then focusing on culture and wellbeing within a business and getting tools for staff to be the best they can be will in turn have better outcomes for the longer term."

Hudson said the Budget was a 'hit' for New Zealand Inc but not so much for business, at least not in the short term.

"I think it's a hit for New Zealand Inc which in turn will have a long term positive impact on New Zealand business but definitely not in the short term, but that was all pre-empted and we didn't expect anything but a Wellbeing Budget."

Small business had not received significant investment from budgets in the past few years and had not expected much from this one, Hudson said.

Craig Hudson, Xero New Zealand country manager. Photo / Supplied
Craig Hudson, Xero New Zealand country manager. Photo / Supplied

Business Mentors chief executive Craig Garner said $300m funding allocation to keep start-ups homegrown was a win for the sector.

"Part of the problem with investing in businesses is they get to a certain stage and they leave and we don't financially benefit from their ongoing investment or infrastructure that goes around it, so I think that is a very good move with positive implications."


Garner said the Budget placed an emphasis on the cause, which was good news for the sector and its wellbeing. About 80 per cent of small businesses in this country identify isolation as their biggest issue, and a recent survey found about 40 per cent of businesses say their current levels of stress are not acceptable.

"The emphasis placed on wellbeing and mental health is brave and it's positive and I think it is highly relevant in the small business space."

BusinessNZ said business wanted to ensure that the reform of vocational education would increase the number of people in on-job and other vocational training. It said the allocation of $197m was a positive sign in support of that goal.