Bill English has indicated that a "social investment" approach will be driving his ninth budget, but his first as Prime Minister.
He spoke to Morning Report's Susie Ferguson in Wellington about the government's approach to the upcoming budget and entering the Pike River mine.
Mr English, the former finance minister, said the government wanted to focus its spending where it made the most difference, especially supporting children most at risk of long-term disadvantage.
He discussed Winston Peter's call for a law change to enter Pike River Mine.
Mr Peters has said manned re-entry to the mine was a bottom line in any coalition talks after September's election.
Mr English said it was irresponsible for Mr Peter to say there was a political solution to what was a technical decision about safety around entering the mine.