For many in the health sector this was a Budget with a lot to talk about.
Whether it was money for the nationwide transition from district health boards to Health NZ and the Māori Health Authority, money for Pharmac for more drugs, a mental health boost or an increase in emergency dental grants - health was a major focus of Budget 2022.
As well as the health investments, a one-off $350 payment to those earning less than $70,000 gained the most attention in the Budget announced yesterday afternoon.
Ruapehu District Council's Elijah Pue said the overall focus on having a well-being Budget was a positive move by the Government and it featured a lot of first steps.
"I said I wanted to see some investments in the health and wellbeing of people and I think we've seen that today," he said.
Pue said he approved of the investments made by the Government into public health, with $11 billion going into the country's health services.
"We've seen the biggest investment in health that Aotearoa has seen in its history. I think a lot of that has got to do with the health reforms that I'm a really big fan of."
Whanganui dentist Hadleigh Reid welcomed the announcement that dental grants were to increase for low-income families from $300 to $1000.
"It has been the same amount for the 20 years I have been working, I had actually spoken to WINZ [Work and Income New Zealand] a few years back asking them to increase this, so it's been a long time coming but welcome nonetheless.
"This will really help those for whom financial costs are a major barrier to improving their dental health, which often limits their participation in society."
But Reid said the increase in the dentistry grant was playing catch-up.
"I was hoping for a bit more for dental; in reality this is just accounting for 20-plus years of inflation, so it doesn't really get us any further ahead regarding supporting and funding dentistry, as most other medical services are."
Dental assistant Cheryl Henderson said $1000 would not cover a lot of dental care.
"You could get two or three fillings and that's gone. It will help some people and that's great.
"It can put less strain on the health system too, otherwise they're going up to ED because they're in horrendous pain."
It was important that people knew they were entitled to that new grant of $1000 and ensuring there were dental workers to provide the care, she said.
Pue was concerned the amount of money set aside for the Māori Health Authority - $168 million - over four years was only a small proportion of the overall spending.
The Government has put aside $1.8 billion to set up year one of its new Health NZ organisation that will replace the district health boards. In its second year it will get $1.3 billion.
"I do hope, though, that the investment in Health New Zealand is equitable to the Māori Health Authority and that they are really looking at better health outcomes for our own people," he said.
Vera Mulligan works at the Whanganui DHB in the emergency department and is a delegate of the Public Service Association (PSA).
She said the imminent change from the DHBs to the overarching Health NZ organisation
would hopefully be a positive one and the $1.8 billion for that in the Budget sounded like a good move.
Budget 2022 set aside $76 million over four years to go towards getting more people trained and working in the health workforce.
Mulligan was concerned there was a focus on training new people to work in the health sector and not enough of a focus on retaining the people already here and in it.
"Any funding for training new people to come into the health industry is good but then you have to also look at what wages are.
"If wages do not keep increasing - people are going to train here but then they will leave."
Frank Bristol, from peer support provider Balance Whanganui, said the $100 million allocated to specialist mental health services was good, but he wasn't sure if it would be enough.
"Over the whole country, that isn't much, really.
"Secondary health services have been under quite significant stress, with increased demand.
"That isn't going away."
There was significant work being done locally on collaborative services, Bristol said.
"All the different specialist services, including DHB ones like Mental Health and Addiction, and NGOs are coming together in the design of better services.
"We can use every dollar we get in a way that is much more person- and whānau-centred."
One-off $350 payment
Pue was pleased with the investments made towards people earning less than $70,000 with the one-off $350 payment ($27 a week over three months) they were eligible for.
"In recognition of higher costs at the moment, I think that's a really good start,"
However, he hoped it was just the start of the Government addressing the needs of the middle class, with the cost of living being the highest ever.
Tim Metcalfe, executive officer for social service Jigsaw Whanganui, said while there was some recognition of low-income earners in the Budget, the extra $27 a week would get "wrapped up pretty quickly".
"There are other practical announcements, like dental grants and the fuel tax, to assist the cost of living.
"The thing I would highlight is that these small supports go nowhere near implementing the recommendations of the welfare working group the Government set up some years ago."
The recent government announcement about substantial spending on early intervention and prevention projects around family violence could benefit a number of initiatives in the Whanganui region, Metcalfe said.
"They are really trying to reach people who don't come into services much."
Overall, the Budget struck him as very conservative, especially in a time when there was a huge amount of pressure on families, Metcalfe said.
Mulligan celebrated the $350 payment for those in the 'squeezed middle'.
"It's tough out there if you're a middle-income earner, and I think they get overlooked a lot.
"That's the first time I can think of where people in middle income have actually got something, which is nice."
Although there were question marks over whether education would get new cash injections, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced $777 million in capital investment for schools.
This included the already announced $88 million package to address school attendance, a 2.5 per cent increase in funding for early learning funding and $75 million per year in additional equity funding for schools with higher levels of socio-economic need.
Keith Street School principal Linda Ireton said she was pleased to see the increase in equity funding.
"It's really important.
"I imagine that will come into our operational funding and it will mean we will hopefully have a bit extra to spend on resources for students such as our support staff," Ireton said.
She said it would also help with resources to support curriculum learning with students.
"Things like school trips are important to put children in context for their learning, and having extra equity funding can help support that kind of educational context with our tamariki."
Ireton was also excited to see the increased funding for early childhood.
"We know from neuroscience, and especially the work of Nathan Wallis and others in New Zealand, that the earlier we pour the greater funding in, which is our early childhood and Kōhanga Reo (Māori language preschools), the better the outcome for our tamariki across Aotearoa.
"I'm not an economic expert but I'd be interested to know if the extra funding poured into education only brings us in line with inflation. It might have just brought us to where we should've been a long time ago."
Pue had also hoped for a significant boost in housing, which he had seen from this Budget.
He was pleased to see the progression of public and transitional housing, the homelessness action plan and an affordable housing fund of $1.8 billion.
"I think that's a really, really great start to addressing some of those big issues that people are facing in our area, such as the overcrowding issue... but also across the motu, the lack of public housing stock is critical at the moment so it's really positive to see that."
Whanganui Chamber of Commerce chairwoman Glenda Brown said she was disappointed in the lack of support for businesses but she gave a nod to a new Business Growth Fund set up to support small business.
"This is definitely a well-being Budget for the people, as was tabled before it was announced."
Budget 2022 sets aside $100 million over the next year for Crown investment as a minority shareholder in a Business Growth Fund, alongside private banks, Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash said.
Brown said she was concerned equity finance would not be appropriate for many small businesses.
She praised the Government for a $230m investment providing apprenticeships to help with the skilled labour deficit.
"... although this is not an instant relief for our labour shortage, it will provide opportunities for skills to be delivered to students."
Overall, she said there should have been more support for businesses that had struggled over the last two years.
"We believe this government is not placing business on their priority list. Businesses need more than a mere hand shake and 'all the best' as business is what boosts GDP."