Lewis Madar knows what it's like to struggle. He was still at school when he went with his mum to help her with cleaning work.
It's those memories that saw him turn up on his day off, to support the living wage being brought in for Wellington City Council Workers.
Living Wage Aotearoa delivered a petition of 750 signatures to the council today, to support their move to bring in the living wage for all council workers.
Madar said his mum could have done with the living wage.
"If she was alive still, God rest her soul, a living wage would have made things so different.
"It gives you that extra money for the family, bread and milk and butter, whatever."
Madar now works as a security officer. The work involves 12-hour shifts, on a 24/7 roster.
"When I first started here, we had a bomb scare in the library," he said.
"They asked me to go with the dog handler and the police to look for this bomb. I'm thinking, 'man, I'm not cut out for this, I'm not getting enough to be doing this'.
"Even in daily work, you're protecting the site, and you deal with some strange, weird people, you know."
He said the switch to the living wage would mean he wouldn't have to take on extra shifts, and could enjoy living a life outside of work.
Wellington City Council's new Long Term Plan includes a proposal to upgrade its living wage agreement.
Staff working directly for the council would have their pay upgraded from $18.40 to the new living wage of $20.20.
They also plan to bring contract workers, such as cleaning and sanitation, on to the living wage.
If implemented it would take effect from July 1 this year.
Living Wage Wellington co-ordinator Lyndy McIntyre said the change was widely supported across Wellington.
They hadn't launched a campaign to put together today's petition, but had been approached by members of the public wanting to show their support.
"The people of Wellington have been falling over themselves to say we're so proud of our city, and we want to sign something to say this is a city moving in the right direction.
"On behalf of Living Wage Wellington, we just want to say thank you."
Mayor Justin Lester said the community support was crucial to bringing the changes in.
"This has been a process made much easier from your continued and ongoing support.
"We're seeing other councils now falling in behind, Porirua, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Hutt City Council, Auckland, Christchurch.
"Hopefully this will become the normal process, the normal rate for staff who were traditionally getting lower wages."
Lester said New Zealand had a tradition of being a fair society, but inequality was increasingly becoming a problem.
He said the change in pay rates was a good way to tackle that.
The living wage changes will cost $700,000 for 2017-18.
It's budgeted for within the Council's pledged 3.3 per cent proposed rates increase.