Government to set scene on social investment approach

The Government's social investment programme is Bill English's baby. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

Prime Minister Bill English will outline "the next steps" in the government's social investment programme in a speech on Wednesday.

English told his regular Monday post-Cabinet press conference that the speech would also focus on the "Better Public Service" targets, which will be "updated and strengthened".

The Government has been under pressure to address a widening poverty gap, alongside a housing crisis in Auckland which is groaning under the pressure of a surging population.

Plenty of time has been spent talking up the health of the books and a surge of new infrastructure spending with $11 billion to be spent in the next four years.

Social investment areas that could see a boost include the Accommodation Supplement and Working for Families.

The former, a weekly non-taxed payment to help people with their rent, has not risen since 2007.

Rents have risen during that period and it has left many people struggling to pay the bills, even with help from the supplement.

Housing is also an issue that is likely to see significant investment from the Government at the Budget.

Likely to be one of the key election issues, National will not want to ignore it after Labour announced its Kiwibuild policy.

It's unlikely all new spending details will be revealed during English's Wednesday speech, but there may be a few more hints on what the Government will target.