The Wellbeing Budget sees the government balancing record levels of investment to resolve key long-term challenges while maintaining fiscal responsibility; delivering a sustainable surplus and growth averaging 2.6 percent over four years, ahead of comparable economies.
"We have so often heard New Zealanders calling for early intervention and investment in challenging issues to save both money and lives in the long run. That is exactly what this budget delivers," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.
The budget covers a 1.9 billion-NZ dollar (1.24 billion-U.S. dollar) package over five years including new universal frontline mental health service aimed at helping 325,000 people by 2023-2024; 40 million NZ dollars over four years in suicide prevention services; and 1 billion NZ dollars to redevelop the rail system including purchasing new wagons, locomotives, tracks and infrastructure.
According to the Ministry of Health, New Zealand's youth suicide rate in 2011 for both males and females was the second highest in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.
The Wellbeing Budget also covers funding to tackle child poverty and climate change and help homelessness.