There is not a "hell of a lot" in the Government's election year budget for children living in poverty and low-income earners in Northland, former Children's Commissioner Professor Cindy Kiro said.
She said an increase in the Accommodation Supplement of between $5 and $80, depending on family size, was welcomed, but the financial assistance would only benefit households where landlords did not push rentals up.
Finance Minister Stephen Joyce announced increases for many on Working for Families and accommodation supplements which are expected to benefit about 1.3 million families nationwide by an average of $26 a week as well as 750,000 superannuitants and 41,000 students.
On tax cuts, there will be $11 more a week for people earning more than $22,000 and $20 for those earning over $52,000.
Kiro said the budget mostly maintained most of the Government's current approaches with top-ups in some areas.
"It's a pretty conservative budget given the surplus the Government has. For children, there's potential for more accommodation supplement payments but the difficulty is the extent to which private landlords use that to increase prices.
"Then there are specifics in the budget on youth offending and an additional $73 million for at-risk kids and that could have implications for Northland depending on how the money gets spread here or will that money be soaked up in bureaucracy?"
The University of Auckland's director of faculty of Education and Social work in Whangarei said initiatives such as an extra $224 million over four years for mental health services were all very well as long as they were followed through.
On tax breaks, she said: "By and large tax breaks do not benefit low and middle-income families. I am not optimistic it will benefit children living in poverty in Northland.
"Even those (tax breaks) don't really compensate those who rely on benefits. There's nothing in this budget that will benefit those who experience extreme and sustained form of hardship," she said.
There may be new job opportunities, she said, in infrastructure development such as new state highways for which $9.2 billion has been allocated over four years but it depended on where the new builds were.
Kiro said plans in this year's Budget to lower hospitalisation for children under 12 with preventable conditions and registering 90 per cent of pregnant women with lead maternity carers were nothing new.
She will speak at a Northland Child Poverty Action Group's Budget analysis lunch at Manaia PHO, in Rust Ave, between 12.30pm and 2.30pm today. Group member Associate Professor Michael O'Brien will also take part.