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NO HUGE ENHANCEMENTS: Tauranga Community Foodbank Chairman Alan Plunkett said the package gave people a little bit here and there.

The Government’s lauded $790 million families package has failed to wow Tauranga’s foodbank chief but the city’s head of budget advice says the $25 a week for families is “definitely needed”.
The package, which allocates funding for the next four years, includes:

•Getting single parents back to work when their youngest child is 3yearsold.
•Raising the benefit for families with children by $25 a week after tax.
•Making single parents on a benefit reapply for the benefit annually.
•Giving low income families earning less than $36,350 a year an extra $12.50 a week from Working For Families.
•$23 million for Child Youth and Family.
Tauranga Community Foodbank chairman Alan Plunkett said the package was “piecemeal”
giving people a little bit here and there.
“Unemployment is still our biggest issue and I think the funds aren’t going to do anything to largely decrease the unemployment. They want to get people back to work but these people then need to get someone to look after their children,” he told the Bay of Plenty Times.
“Any step is a good step but they are little steps, rather than huge enhancements.”
Mr Plunkett said unless a person was eligible for each increase in the new package, it would not amount to much.
Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Bruin said the $25 a week cash injection was “definitely needed”.
“From what we have seen, there are definitely more people seeking employment. The beneficiaries have reduced,” Mrs Bruin said.
“The Budget relies on areas where there is really good support for parents to get into parttime work, as long is there is support available for those parents.”

Mrs Bruin said it was a good move reducing Working For Families payments for those on higher incomes and increasing payments for lower incomes.
Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services Trust director Tommy Wilson said last night that an extra $12.50 a week was a good start.
“If you’re earning $36,000 a year, that’s $700 a week. You’ve got to try and live on that. For those paying $350 a week in rent, $12.50 is probably huge in their eyes,” Mr Wilson said.
Mr Wilson said the $25 beneficiary payment increase was a bit like looking at a glass half full or
half empty.
“Most people will celebrate that little bit extra in their glass. Being able to survive on that amount of money every week is becoming more difficult,” he said.
“If we don’t address it, we will start to ghettoise Tauranga and that’s not good for anyone,” he said.
“It’s a good start and we’ll keep advocating for more.”