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 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.
Some weeks she was able to set aside $10 or $20 and she would buy cans of food to store in the cupboard.
"When you need it and there's no money there's always food there," she said.
"What would really make a big difference is if you're looking at $50 (extra a week) and up ... huge difference."
She said she hoped one day to own her own home in Mangere, where she grew up, but she could not save anything on her current wage.
"No way. I can only look for a new job or otherwise push for companies - and there's a lot in South Auckland ... pushing for something better than the minimum wage," she said.
A living wage would make the biggest difference to her life, she said. It would take her hourly pay from the minimum rate of $15.75 to more than $20 an hour.