What people would do with an additional $72.50 per week

We asked the people who are currently on benefits (102 people) what an additional $72.50 per week would mean for them and their whānau. The question was open-field and the responses were coded manually under these four headings, listed in the order they appeared most.

THE BASICS: Fresh fruit, meat and vegetables, personal hygiene products, clothing and transport.

healthy food

“Being able to stay on top of the bills. Being able to afford groceries each week without taking money away from the rent.”

  • Levi, Job Seeker Support

“I could afford to eat better healthier food, and pay my rates and insurance.”

  • Robin, Job Seeker Support

“I would be able to keep up with my weekly outgoings and not be in deficit every week.”

  • Imogen, Sole Parent Support

“It would help me be able to buy decent meat and be able to save money for a rainy day.”

  • Rachel, Supported Living Payment

“Not having to worry about using the heater at night, washing nappies in a hot wash, affording the food we need for our gluten and dairy intolerance, having the petrol money to get to counselling.”

  • Ursula, Sole Parent Support

HEALTH CARE: Doctors appointments, dentist and medication.


“I could have a checkup with my dentist.”

  • Lynda-Maree, Supported Living Payment

“I would seek treatments for my chronic illnesses.”

  • Nicola, Supported living payment with child added

“My baby has cystic fibrosis and I don't eat much so the extra can go into feeding my baby properly. He needs a high fat diet. He has had a hell of a 22 months of life spent half of that in hospital admissions, clinics. The travel kills me and I don't get to sleep much… Any extra would help.”

  • Shannon, Supporter living - carer

PARTICIPATION: Activities for the kids, church, school holidays.


“It would mean that I can pay all my bills. I can go to church on Sunday. I can meet up with friends occasionally and not feel so isolated. It would make a massive difference. I wouldn't be stressing every week about what I'm going to have to sacrifice to make ends meet. I'm on a benefit because I'm too unwell to work full-time but that does not mean I should have no life. I'm still a person not a number.”

  • Danielle, Job seekers with medical exemption

“It would mean a lot! Being able to go out for a treat with my two toddlers or paying for extra expenses when they pop up or saving some for future needs and unexpected expenses. I have to use my entitlements just to survive week to week.”

  • Blair, Sole Parent Support

“It would mean being able to participate in the community and not worrying whether I can get home from work safely late at night. I would be also able to chip into debts that have accrued whilst being in the benefit.”

  • Anna, Jobseeker

“That's the difference between having enough good basic food with a little left over for extra things like occasional outings - or none of the above.”

  • Angela, Job seeker

EDUCATION: Tuition for the kids, travel to free courses to up-skill.


“This would give the opportunity to travel to free courses.”

  • Taylor, Sickness benefit

“The extra money would allow me to buy meat for my son in the shopping and also help with getting him tuition, pay for school fees and trips.”

  • Linda, Sole Parent Support

“Fresh meat, veggies and fruit. Personal hygiene products. Wood for winter. Underwear and socks. School yearly fees.”

  • Tracey, Invalids benefit