Simon Collins is the Herald’s social issues reporter.

Couple welcome 'at-risk' spending

The Tauia family (L-R) Teiliam age 11, Tepora age 5, Matthew (dad), Tuhe (mum) and Marcel age 8 at their home in Massey. Photo / Dean Purcell
The Tauia family (L-R) Teiliam age 11, Tepora age 5, Matthew (dad), Tuhe (mum) and Marcel age 8 at their home in Massey. Photo / Dean Purcell

More school spending for the most "at-risk" children is welcomed by West Auckland couple Mathew and Tuhe Tauia.

Mr Tauia, a board of trustees member at his children's decile 1 Royal Rd Primary School in Massey, says his school has more than its fair share of such children so it should be a net winner out of the Budget decision to freeze school operations grants but give an extra $43 million to schools with the 150,000 children deemed most at risk.

"For some reason we get a lot of those challenging kids at our school, and getting an extra teacher aide there to support them, I guess that's good," he said.

"It's also good that they are looking at special needs. Early in my career I was at a special needs school. They need more."

However, the couple, who are both support workers for disabled people, did not see anything in the Budget to boost their own household finances.

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"In our case it's just soldier on, really," Mr Tauia said.

He recently started working two jobs to pay the family's increased rent of $480 a week after Housing NZ forced them to leave their state house because both parents were working.

"With the secondary job, I thought there might be a bit of help there in terms of tax," he said. "But there was no change in Working for Families or tax on the secondary job.

"I don't think we have free education," he added. "We spend probably $6000 to $7000 on our 3-year-old daughter going to preschool."

- NZ Herald

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