NZ First has secured a massive fund of $1 billion a year to put into regional economic development projects - a massive increase on Labour's policy for a $200 million fund.

And while the Greens had to settle for the smaller amount of $100 million for green technology, it secured moves in welfare, public transport and climate change.

The agreements Labour has reached with NZ First and the Greens scratch the itches of both parties - but also required some compromise.

As well as a regional development fund, NZ First leader Winston Peters secured free health and eye checks for seniors and will get his beloved foreign affairs and racing portfolios back.


The Green Party has secured funding for green technology, the climate change portfolio, and a promise to spend less money on roads and more on rail, cycling and walking.

Other significant steps in the agreements include lifting the minimum wage to $20 by 2021.

Ardern said the agreements marked a "huge step change" for the Government and would result in boosts for health, education, the environment as well as incomes. There will also be a foreign ownership register and steps to restrict house and farmland purchases by foreign buyers.

Among the projects NZ First's regional fund will pay for is a new "Billion Trees" project to plant 100 million trees a year, a boost to the forestry industry.

The fund was promptly labelled a pork barrel by the Taxpayers' Union, but Ardern said it would channel important investment to regions she claimed had been neglected for nine years.

"It will be for instance a combination of investment in regional rail, heavy investment in forestry. We are committed to making sure we rebuild our regions, that there is strong growth and there are job opportunities."

Ardern said the promises in the agreements met Labour's fiscal pledge to run surpluses and pay down debt - but admitted they had not yet been thoroughly costed.

She said the changes were needed. "We are a low wage economy, New Zealanders deserve to have a wage they can live on."


Green Party leader James Shaw said the party's gains would be critical in areas such as climate change and water quality.

It included $100 million as a kickstarter for green technology investment, which was hoped to attract a total of $1 billion private investment.

A welfare overhaul would include easing up on "excessive" sanctions on beneficiaries who breached the rules. Ardern said an example of that was mothers who refused to name the father of their children.

National leader Bill English said there was a risk the policies being promoted would "fritter away" the hard work of the past10 years.

The agreements needed to be viewed along with other Labour policies such as free tertiary study and the Families Package.

"We will hold them to account on the high expectations they have created that, for instance, incomes will rise faster and they will make significantly better progress on some of the more challenging environmental and social issues."

While the Green Party agreement commits it only to supporting Labour on confidence and supply, Shaw said there was nothing in the NZ First agreement he was uncomfortable with.

"This has got to be a Government of consensus. It is designed that way, it is set up that way, and consensus is a long-standing value of the Green Party, so we're pretty happy with how it's landed."

Ardern refused to say whether the decision to leave the Greens out of Cabinet was at Peters' demand - but Shaw said he was satisfied as it gave the party more freedom.

Peters said there had been compromises - one area was his dream to move the Ports of Auckland to Whangarei's Northport. The agreement includes a feasibility study on options for the Port but there is no commitment to the Whangarei option.

Peters said there was still flexibility within the agreements to work on some areas, such as in the area of foreign ownership.

NZ First did peg back some Labour policies considered farmer unfriendly - the water levies are going, although water bottlers will be charged for exports, and when agriculture is brought into the emissions trading scheme the sector will pay for 5 per cent of emissions rather than the 10 per cent Labour had planned.

Several items in the agreements were not firm commitments but rather promises to consider it in the future. Many of the Greens' "wins" were what Ardern described as "aspirational".

That included the Greens' proposal for solar panels for schools and a rent to own scheme for KiwiBuild homes.