Budget 2018 addresses many aspects of poverty and poor housing not tackled by previous Governments, but it is not the transformational change we had hoped for.
This Budget will assist the most vulnerable New Zealanders but it will not rid New Zealand of the combined plagues of homelessness and child poverty.
Free Health Care for all children under the age of 14 years, increased investment in early childhood education, an expansion of the community card to HNZC and Accommodation Supplement clients, and investment in new approaches to criminal offending, are all very welcome initiatives.
Sixteen hundred new public rental houses is also a welcome commitment by the Government to meeting housing need, but it still falls short of the 2000 public rental houses a year, The Salvation Army says are required to arrest homelessness. The need for 200 additional transitional houses funded in this budget show the Government building programme is not expected to produce enough permanent affordable housing for everyone needing housing.
2018 Budget is an important step in the right direction but further investment is needed in critical areas of social need.