Tauranga couple Anthony Hano and Naomi Gardiner have five children and live on a single wage.

Gardiner is a stay-at-home mum and is also the full-time carer for her mother, who suffered a stroke last year.

She said her husband "works really hard and long hours" as an aluminium joiner to support his family.

Gardiner said having five children, who were all involved in multiple sporting and extra-curricular activities and thriving in them - meant budgets were tight, so she was looking forward to seeing how they could benefit under Labour's newly announced Families Package.


Although Gardiner said it was hard to live on one income they made it work.

"Antz and I are happy to go without luxuries and make sacrifices for our kids," she said.

"We are grateful we have a roof over our heads and the kids are happy and healthy."

The package, taking effect from July 2018, is expected to benefit 384,000 families with children by an average of $75 a week. A further 650,000 families without children are expected to benefit by an average of $14 a week through the increases in Accommodation Supplement and Winter Energy Payment.

The family currently receives $428 a week through Working for Families and although Gardiner has not looked at the package in depth, she expects to receive an extra $75 a week under it.

"If there is an increase that would be so helpful to our family."

Gardiner said families were just making ends meet, especially in Tauranga, so she was supportive of anything that helped.

She also believed the changes would help improve general health, especially through the Winter Energy Payment of $450 a year for singles and $700 for couples - easing financial pressure for heating, which would have beneficial effects health-wise.

"Overall I think the effect will be a positive one."

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges had concerns over the Families Package and said it was a "really big spend-up and poorly targeted".

"This package will only increase our country's debt and hurt the incentives of people trying to get ahead," Bridges said.

Tauranga-based Labour list MP Angie Warren-Clark said through her experience as the former manager of Tauranga Women's Refuge the families package would make a "remarkable" difference.

She said many families she worked with "struggled to make ends meet" and when household finances were put under pressure due to someone leaving a violent relationship, food was the first to go.

"Food is often pushed to the back of the list to make way for necessities such as rent and power so an increase of this nature is significant to these families who are struggling," Warren-Clark said.

"A child may be able to go on school camp or a family will be able to pay for their car registration so they can actually have a car to use, these are the things people struggle with."

Labour list MP Jan Tinetti said poverty was an issue "dear to her heart" and she was particularly excited to see the Best Start Policy and the Winter Energy Payment introduced.

Tinetti said she had visited many homes in Tauranga that were "completely cold" because families could not afford to heat them.

"I have seen the effects this has especially with children getting sick."

The details

People with children:

• Working for Families payments will increase by $1056 a year for children under 16 and $575 for 16- to 18-year-olds.
• 26,000 more families will be eligible after the abatement threshold is lifted from $36,350 to $42,700. The abatement rate will increase from 22.5 to 25 per cent.
• For low-income families the threshold for family tax credits will increase from $23,816 to $26,156 - the increase was made to ensure people with children would be better off working full time than on the benefit.
• The Foster Care Allowance, Orphan's Benefit and Unsupported Child's benefit will increase by $20.31 a week.

People with babies:

• Available for babies born on or after July 1, 2018.
• The Best Start payment of $60 a week for those not on paid parental leave until the baby turns 1.
• Low and middle-income earners get it until baby turns 3 - it abates over $79,000 income.
• Also available to foster parents and the carers of orphans and unsupported children.
• About 65,000 newborns a year will qualify.

Low income households on accommodation supplement:

• Significant increases to Accommodation Supplement, especially for those living in areas such as cities with high cost of living. Changes take effect April 2018.

Superannuitants and beneficiaries:

• A Winter Energy Payment of $450 a year for singles and $700 for couples.
• Paid to superannuitants fortnightly and beneficiaries weekly from May to September.
• Expected to benefit about one million people, including 710,000 superannuitants.
• It is auto-enrolment - people can opt out.
• Does not need to be spent on heating.
• Begins July 2018.

Singles and those without children:

• Independent Earners' Tax Credit of up to $10 a week will be retained for low-income earners on $24,000 to $48,000 a year.