Budgeting services to get a boost

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 15:59 05/05/2014
Budgeting with credit cards
CRITICAL HELP: Budgeting advice helps those on limited incomes.

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The Government has announced $22 million in funding to non-governmental budgeting services.

Prime Minister John Key made the four-year funding announcement today at Newtown Budgeting and Advocacy Services in Wellington.

Key said budgeting was an important part of the daily lives of New Zealanders.

He said people at various stages of their lives might need help sorting their finances.

"What we do know is with the right advice... a little bit can go a lot further."

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said budgeting services provided "critical help" to Kiwi families.

"This new investment sees baseline funding rise by 61 per cent from $9 million a year to $15 million a year by 2015/16 and will ensure the services are able to keep up with demand," she said.

The extra funding is in the amount of $4 million in the first year, and $6 million in each of the following three years.

"Being able to manage your money is vital to be able to improve your living standards,'' Bennett said.

"This Government is committed to helping people to help themselves. It's far better for people to learn and develop budgeting skills and avoid being caught in a constant cycle of bills and debts.

"Budgeting services have helped to reduce repeat hardship assistance requests,'' she said.

New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services chief executive Raewyn Fox said the money was a significant help to services across New Zealand, which had been struggling to get through waiting lists.

Fox said the announcement was longer-term solution to allow Budgeting Services to plan ahead and give "more consistent" help to vulnerable people.

She said a "very large" proportion of people that budgeting services dealt with had found themselves in trouble with loan sharks.

"They were the second highest debt that presented to our budgeting services in last year's statistics. It's probably the biggest type of problem our budgeting services are dealing with, with their customers."

The announcement was made off the back of another Bennett made earlier today.

The government was also working alongside BNZ to dedicate $10 million toward interest-free loans for low income families.

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- Fairfax Media

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