Waikato rail corridor can expect its fair share of investment.

Waikato can expect its fair share of rail investment, says Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

But the Labour-led government's transport spend is not about transport alone. The rail corridor connecting Hamilton to Auckland and Tauranga will see urban development grow.

"We have a serious endeavour here around what happen's in the Golden Triangle. We are determined that that is not just a corridor, that it's actually a co-ordinated, sustainable urban planning exercise which enables people to live along the corridor," Robertson said.

Robertson met with more than 100 members of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce at an afternoon luncheon at FMG Waikato Stadium's Bronze Lounge on Tuesday where he extolled the virtues of the 2018 Budget.

Speaking for 30 minutes, he said the new transport strategy, the $1 billion Provincial Growth Fund, the $100 million Green Investment Fund and the $1b research and development tax incentive would help future proof the economy.

The decision to halt oil and gas exploration at Taranaki is part of a plan to prepare for a green economy in the middle of this century; New Zealand needs to diversify its export markets and; the future of work needs to be secured, he said.

He also went into depth about Budget 2019 and the Wellbeing Agenda, measuring financial capital, natural capital, human capital and social capital rather than productivity growth.

"We're going to continue to look at GDP growth and measure ourselves against GDP growth because it's a really good measure of productivity but I don't think that represents what New Zealanders think of as success.

"We will get a much better picture of our success as a country and this is not some light, fluffy happiness index."

During a subdued Q&A session, Robertson, who visited the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and Sport Waikato on Tuesday morning, was asked four questions - each concerned less with doing business and more on early childhood education, social entrepreneurship and funding for GPs.

It's a sign that New Zealanders recognise what is important, Robertson said afterwards. 

"While we might have relatively done well at the high end of the economic indicators, there are issues and challenges in our society that we've let go in that period of time," he said.

"It's an encouraging sign that New Zealander's values are coming to the fore and, for me, in terms of where we are heading with the budget, it fits perfectly.

"This concept of a wellbeing budget where we do assess ourselves against a wider range of success measures - that's what you heard in the room today."

- Stuff


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