People need more money. Most simply do not have enough.

84 percent of people said they do not currently receive enough income to live with dignity and participate fully in the community. People need more pūtea.

Do you currently receive enough money on your benefit to live a life with dignity and participate fully in your community?

“Amounts provided could be more in line with people’s living costs. For example, I have a client who gets additional support for his medical costs, that is only one third of the actual cost of them.”

  • Rachel, 45, Palmerston North

"I am a single Mum raising my son who is Aspergian/high functioning Autism. I have kept a spreadsheet of my income breakdown, then taking off rent, leaving what is left to live on. Since 2008 to current, there has been very little increase of income yet costs have risen greatly, leaving us less and less money to live on. [An] example is that last year before I was put onto SLP, I had $53.14 less per week than I did in June 2008.

I constantly see my clients living from food parcel to food parcel, in uncertain housing, children and parents unable to participate in basic social activities. We need to do better by them.
— Laura, Social Worker, Dunedin

In April of this year I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, requiring huge surgery and five months of chemotherapy. It was a while after diagnosis and surgery that I was able to go to WINZ for help. Staff at WINZ have been very supportive but very limited in what they could do to help me with the extra financial costs. I have been left with a big debt (for someone on a benefit) to pay off."

  • Lynda-Maree, Rangiora

“I tried several times this year alone to receive help. Due to our living expenses we live with a weekly deficit of $60 - $80. I wanted to ask for more money as the bills were piling up and we were at risk of losing our power in winter. It was only after emailing them directly informing them of my mental state did they offer to help. It shouldn't take that much effort to get help.”

  • Levi, 27, Palmerston North

“We tried to get a food grant as we have huge bills to pay this week and we were turned down as we earn too much money. My husband brings home $640 a week and I bring home $370 a fortnight. Our bills this week are $430 for rent, $380 for power and $260 for water rates so of course can't buy food. Really thrilled we earn so much money.”

  • Maree, 61

“They sometimes take so much for debt repayments that the client doesn't have enough money for food.”

  • Rachel, Social Worker, Palmerston North

“I work around 30 hours a week and receive accommodation support. After bills, I have $130 per week for petrol and food and anything that comes up. I don't ever go out.”

  • Terri, 58, Auckland

“On the whole the people I have dealt with were really good but I tried not to bother the welfare system too much with what was happening in my life. I didn't tell them half of what was going on and for over a year I was getting help every week from my church to buy food. Without that help I wouldn't have been able to properly feed my children. Sometimes it came down to paying a bill or buying food. No one should have to make that decision, but hundreds do exactly that. I don't believe that we should solely rely on welfare to support ourselves but when we have to be on welfare we shouldn't have to live on the bones of our backside. For me, receiving a benefit wasn't a choice, it was a necessity and one I didn't enjoy having to partake in.”

  • Louise, Dunedin

“I am only able to live well when I work as well as receiving my benefit. It is not at all possible to cover the real costs of living in Auckland and raising a child alone on Sole Parent Support.”

  • Emily, Sole Parent Support

“If you take my benefit over 40 hours, I am on $7.25 an hour.”

  • Allan, Ōtaki