The Government's first Budget has ticked off some key Labour pledges, spending billions on increasing benefits but keeping a lid on major spending and debt increases. Experts and commentators have weighed in on some of the highlights.
"Of all Grant Robertson's Budgets this term, this will almost certainly be the easy one in terms of decisions," writes Audrey Young. "Lifting the incomes of the poorest Kiwis on benefits had to happen, for several reasons other than alleviating suffering." Read more here.
"In recent speeches, Robertson has made a mantra of his 'balanced approach'," writes Liam Dann. "While he has stayed broadly true to that, he has, in the final wash-up, leaned back towards the left." Read more here.
"Grant Robertson has delivered a fiscally conservative Budget," writes Brian Fallow. "He is about midway between the skinflint and the spendthrift ends of the spectrum." Read more here.
"Despite six years of deficits, and a tonne of debt, the Government has picked the right time to increase benefits," writes Audrey Young. "It is a move that will have wider political buy-in." Read more here.
"I think this is a smart Budget that supports those who need it most," writes Paula Bennett. "Targeting beneficiaries, Māori and the vulnerable - many of whom cover all three categories - are worthy and timely priorities for this Government," writes Jon Stokes. "The Budget's benefit increase of over $100 a week for many families is truly historic," writes Neale Jones. And "Grant Robertson parades this Budget as a worthy counterpoint to Ruth Richardson's Mother of all Budgets 30 years ago. It is nothing of the sort," writes Sue Bradford. Read the Budget verdicts of four political experts here.
Grant Robertson's Budget did "nothing for middle New Zealand", according to both National and Act, writes Jason Walls. National labelled it the "Broken Compass Budget" and Act called it the "La La Budget". Read more here.
The world's biggest credit agencies said the Budget "highlighted continued improvements to the economic and fiscal outlook, as successful containment of Covid-19 had enabled a swift economic recovery," writes Jamie Gray. "The stronger fiscal outcomes supported higher spending on wellbeing initiatives and ongoing infrastructure investment." Read more here.
The bombshell of this year's Budget "was a projected massive drop to nearly zero in national house price growth," writes Anne Gibson. "Treasury is expecting house price growth between 2021 and 2022 to be 0.9 per cent." Read more here.
The Budget includes "$57.3 billion in infrastructure spending between 2021 to 2025, increasing what was already a large increase in the 2020 Budget," writes Hamish Rutherford. "The economy is expected to grow at a healthy clip and unemployment to fall close to 4 per cent in the coming years, with [the] big increase in infrastructure spending driving rosy forecasts from the Treasury." Read more here.
The Budget also committed "$44 million on a digital skills programme that will provide up to 60,000 small businesses with digital skills training to aid in 'the transition to future ways of working,'" writes Aimee Shaw. The programme "would grow the digital skills and capabilities of the workforce, improve productivity and create more resilient businesses," Small Business Minister Stuart Nash said. Read more here.