26 May 2017

Working mum says budget increase only small help

From Morning Report, 6:42 am on 26 May 2017

A single mother on a minimum wage who lives in a state house in Auckland says changes announced in yesterday's budget would only make a small difference to her life.

Tutu Maru Wichman works full time on minimum wage. She dreams of one day owning her own home, but on her current income that is not possible. She doesn't see today's budget announcement as changing anything significant enough for her to make that dream any more likely to come true.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Tutu Maru-Wichman lives in Mangere with two of her five children.

A full-time glasshouse worker, she pockets about $560 a week and pays $149 rent to Housing NZ.

She said she cannot afford a car, to heat the house or buy clothes for her teenage children. Some weeks the family ate canned food left over from previous weeks because she had bills to pay.

Under changes to the tax threshold and Working for Families in the new Budget, she worked out she would bring home an extra $28.50 a week, $1,480 a year.

She said living in Auckland was "very expensive" and the extra money would make a "slight change" to her life.

"It's not much. Thank goodness bread costs a dollar," she said.