Opposition parties have described the Budget as one which hits the pockets of the poor and middle class through an accumulation of small cuts and charges such as the funding freeze for early childhood education and prescription charges.

Labour leader David Shearer said National had failed to deliver on its promises for economic growth for four years in a row and there was little in the Budget to give confidence that it would achieve its goals this time.

Rather than take the tough decisions such as tackle the cost of superannuation, National was focused on niggardly changes such as removing a tax credit for children who did jobs such as paper deliveries.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said National was "slowly grinding lower and middle income workers into the ground" to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.


Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said it was hard to secure gains in a zero Budget and allowances had to be made for the Christchurch earthquake and economic woes.

Act leader John Banks said it was an improvement on Labour budgets because it stemmed the growth in Government spending.

Read all of nzherald.co.nz's Budget coverage here.