Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall believes the Budget has plenty for Whanganui and the regions in general.
He was especially pleased with spending on housing, jobs training and environmental work.
On Thursday afternoon the Government's Budget announcement included a $50 billion Covid-19 recovery plan in a bid to save almost 140,000 jobs nationwide.
At the centre of the Budget is an up to $3.2b eight-week extension of the wage subsidy scheme, a $3b infrastructure investment package, a $1.6b trades and training scheme, a $400 million targeted tourism support fund, a $220m expansion of the school lunches initiative and a$830m disability support package.
To pay for the recovery, Government debt will more than double to $200b.
McDouall said the two-month extension of the wage subsidy for businesses whose returns have fallen more than 50 per cent will help keep people working throughout Whanganui.
He was confident Whanganui would get a slice of the infrastructure money and was happy to see community education funding restored.
"Education should last from birth to death, and the community connection that a facility like CES provides is invaluable."
McDouall was also pleased about spending to encourage domestic tourism, and is envisaging Auckland people getting on Air Chathams planes to fly to New Zealand's most beautiful city.
"Whether it's here or elsewhere, the fact is that the regions are still front and central for this Government's thinking."
More detail needed on investment
Whanganui & Partners chief executive Mark Ward said the wage subsidy scheme was a lifeline to many local businesses during the lockdown and he was pleased to see the scheme extended by eight weeks targeted to businesses most affected.
But he said the detail around some aspects remained to be seen.
"This is a short-term solution, of course, and we'll be interested to see if additional support is provided for the medium and long term with the unallocated portion of the Budget," Ward said.
"The funding allocated towards tourism will go towards lifting the sector nationwide and we agree the industry as a whole needs considerable support right now, though we'd like to see additional details on how this will strengthen regional tourism in particular.
"Similarly, the announcement of infrastructure investment is also very welcome but we await details on which projects will be funded."
'Our children will pay for today's decisions'
Manawatu/Rangitikei Federated Farmers president Richard Morrison was "heartened" the Budget recognised farmers would have to help pull New Zealand out of post-pandemic debt.
Investment in the Budget backs that up, he said, but the debt was daunting, like a second mortgage.
"From a parent's perspective, our children are being asked to pay for today's decisions."
He liked the spending promised for biosecurity, biodiversity and pest control, and the spending on vocational training and on promoting trade through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
There wasn't enough detail on the infrastructure spending, Morrison said.
"Is it a Shane Jones slush fund for his pet projects?"
There was also a lack of detail in environment policies - and no sign Government was likely to backtrack on carbon tax or freshwater regulation.
'We need to ensure Māori get access to these opportunities'
Meanwhile, the Budget's increase to the number of state houses being built, funding to support increased access to health and the wage subsidy and tourism support would all provide some benefits to Whanganui whānau, former chief adviser and then regional manager at the Ministry of Māori Development Nancy Tuaine said.
Tuaine was disappointed not to see any significant support for those on welfare, particularly given rents and the costs of living continue to rise, and she said more people will go on to welfare as a result of Covid-19.
She noted money for education and training.
"We need to ensure that young Māori under 30 get to access these opportunities given average age for Māori in this region is mid to low 20s. They will unfortunately face competition for spaces from a more experienced non-Māori cohort whose average age is 40.
"It could be good for Māori if someone focuses on joining the dots and ensures the houses that need to be built turn into training opportunities for a young Māori workforce, where new skills and jobs in technology are built by youth who are experienced in gaming and using technology."
A recovery budget
Age Concern manager Michelle Malcolm said it was "very much a recovery Budget".
"Which is to be expected and it is better than we could have hoped for under the circumstances.
"From the perspective of Age Concern, I am very pleased about the boost in funding for District Health Boards.
"It will give peace of mind for our clients when they can have tests and procedures completed promptly."
Tim Metcalfe from family support service Jigsaw said he was disappointed his hopes for more support targeted to families and social worker pay parity in the not-for-profit sector were not realised but there were some good social initiatives in the Budget.
"I'm pleased about the health funding although I would have liked to see more go to primary healthcare," he said.
"Funding for Māori health is great news for our region and so is the boosts for Whanau Ora funding."
Metcalfe said he applauded the Government's plan to build 8000 houses.
"That is a huge spend in an area where it is desperately needed."
Welfare and environmental health
Whanganui environmentalist Keith Beautrais said it was a Budget that focused on people's welfare and environmental health.
"The initiatives to provide green jobs like the work on DoC land are welcome. There is no need to have unemployment when we have so much work to do improving our environment."
The $229.2m Productive and Sustainable Land Use package to support farmers and councils make positive land use changes is a great idea, he said, but he wanted to know more about the details.
"We didn't get everything we might have wanted for the environment but it is early days in the response to the Covid-19 crisis."