If anyone knows about the onion skin that is poverty, it's Whangārei's One Double Five Community House co-ordinator Carol Peters.

''The issues of poverty are very complex, there are so many layers.''

There was much of the detail in Budget 2018 still to be revealed when the Northern Advocate spoke with Peters yesterday, but she believed it could help peel away at least some of those complex layers.

''My initial response is that there are two good things for Northland that stand out. First, there is the $2.2 million nationally that's being put into Community Law. It's significant, it's a stepping stone to greater justice for many.


''We really can be pleased about that money because it will make a big difference.''

Nationwide the 24 Community Law Centres provide free legal advice to about 50,000 clients each year; one based at One Double Five which in turn provides clinics in Kaitāia, Kaikohe, Moerewa, Dargaville and Wellsford.

''The other thing that is really cool in this Budget is that we, as Child Poverty Action Group members, really want to improve the lot of children in Tai Tokerau,'' Peters said.

''We will get more housing for Northland. We have such a large need for secure, warm housing, where families can stay without having to move frequently.

''That way, kids don't have to keep moving from school to school, they'll be warmer and healthier.''

Northland Housing Forum chairman Tim Howard said more money into initiatives such as free GP visits for patients under 14 and an expansion of the accommodation supplement would benefit particularly low income earners.

"It's a good first step but more needs to be done. In a broader sense of child poverty reduction, the level of benefits has not been addressed and I think that's one of the things the Government ideally should be doing,'' Howard said.

"Lifting the level of benefits has been Labour's promise since 1996; it still hasn't happened, including in this Budget."

Howard said a broader housing strategy for New Zealand was needed to address a range of needs for struggling families, although building 6400 more homes for public housing over the next four years would help.

Northland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tony Collins said the Budget gave no major surprises but highlighted some positives such as the Provincial Growth Fund and investment in research and development.

"Generally from a community perspective, investment in health and education is vital because we want Northland to have a skilled labour force and education is going to deliver that."

Collins said a lack of detail in funding for housing and other areas did not come as a surprise.

"There have been policies and intent announced but not how we're going to get there, and I think that's been the hallmark of this Government for the past few months."