‘No-frills’ Budget needs to cover basic living costs

April 2024

It’s good to see the budget is investing in early childhood education, free public transport for children, additional classrooms and schools, health workforce, family and sexual violence services, says General Manager SociaLink Liz Davies.

But it does not go anywhere near to ensuring the basics are met for everyone, even just to survive, she says. In Tauranga, SociaLink’s research shows that locals are paying even more for food, electricity and housing than most other parts of Aotearoa New Zealand, so it’s a triple whammy, she says.

SociaLink supports the Western Bay of Plenty social and community sector.

“We might live in the Bay of Plenty’ but there is not plenty for many people who are struggling with food, rent, power and other costs’ and with little end in sight. The cheaper childcare doesn’t kick in until next year and parents are pretty desperate now.

“We need more financial support for families to reduce the stress and hardship. Not only will we have healthier, happier children, we might see a reduction in problems like child abuse which are alarmingly high in the Bay of Plenty.

“We know some people are struggling more than others – people on low incomes, Māori and Pasifika, people with disabilities – and these groups need to be prioritised,” she said.

She said there is a common perception, particularly in the Beehive, that Tauranga and broader Western Bay of Plenty is prosperous.

“Without a doubt there is significant wealth in the area, but this often masks the significant deprivation that also co-exists in our communities.