Govt to give more than $20m to budgeting services

Prime Minister John Key. Photo / APN
Prime Minister John Key. Photo / APN

More than $20 million will be made available to budgeting services over the next four years, the Government says.

Prime Minister John Key announced the new funding at the Newtown Budgeting and Advocacy Service in Wellington this afternoon.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett was also at the pre-budget announcement.

In total, an extra $22 million will be poured into budgeting services around New Zealand over the next four years, Mr Key said.

"People have to make sure that they carefully manage their money and lots of people end up coming into budgeting services because they either have considerable debt or they're unaware of the circumstance they are in or they are new to New Zealand and they don't understand a lot of the issues involved in terms of where they can borrow money and how that can work," Mr Key said.

The additional finding would assist budgeting organisations deliver services which "help New Zealanders get out of debt, make sure they can buy the things that they need in their daily lives and to have support and help in times of need."

Ms Bennett said today's announcement would lift annual funding for budgeting services from $4 million to $6 million next year.

"This additional investment means that by 2015/16 funding for budgeting services per year would have more than tripled from the $4.4 million provided under Labour in [20]07/08.

"This new funding will provide an additional 17,000 places each year from 2014/15 for one-to-one support and will bring the total number of funded places to around 23,000 per year," she said.

Raewyn Fox, chief executive of the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services, said she was "over the moon" at the announcement.

"That amount is amazing and it's going to mean so much for budgeting services in New Zealand.

"I wasn't quite prepared for words to go with that amount," she said.

The extra funding would help provide services to families struggling with complex financial needs.

It could also be put towards doing more "preventative education with people [and] stopping then from getting into crisis", Ms Fox said.

- APNZ

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