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Auckland mother of nine disappointed at lack of support after today's Budget announcement

Today’s wellbeing budget announcement means little for Manurewa mother of nine, Memory Brown.

Ahead of today’s opening of the Government's books, Ms Brown was hoping there would be a bit more money for her to buy food, clothing and furniture for her family.

"The budget we live off with my nine children, we can’t even afford to eat after we pay our rent," she said as she gathered with others outside the local Work and Income office this morning.

Speaking to 1 NEWS following the 2pm Budget announcement, Ms Brown said her family would not be much better off with just an extra $10 in the bank each week.

"It’s something but it'll get us an extra two milk and a couple of breads every week or maybe for the day," she said.

"I have 12 people in my household and two milks go like nothing, it goes within maybe five hours," she said.

To get by each week she says she would need at least an extra $100-$150.

"We spend at least $10 just on milk daily, that’s just giving the kids breakfast before they go to school and cup of teas or milos for the kids' bottles at night. It’s very expensive to live and you don’t even get that on the benefit," she says. 

Ms Brown says she had to visit Work and Income today for help with food and petrol, because there "wasn’t enough left over this week to put food on the table."

'Breadcrumbs for people on a benefit.'

Following the Budget announcement, Kiwi anti-poverty campaigner Ricardo Menendez said benefit levels were still below the poverty line.

"Access to adequate incomes and adequate housing is one of the most important things for your wellbeing," he said. 

"Benefit levels remain far below the poverty line and what the Welfare Expert Advisory Group recommended and barely any money has gone into investment for social housing when we've got record levels of people that are homeless and waiting for a home."

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The poverty advocate said the boost to mental health in the Budget is important but doesn't mean much with issues like housing and incomes overlooked.

Today's Budget said benefits will be indexed to the average wage instead of inflation, meaning $47 more a week is expected in beneficiaries' pockets by 2023.

It will cost $320.2 million over four years - a sum Menendez says is simply not enough.

"The Welfare Report is clear that benefits need to go up by up to 47 per cent so this is really breadcrumbs for people on the benefit who are desperate for transformative change."



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Memory Brown says the Budget will give her an extra $10 per week, just enough for milk and bread. Source: 1 NEWS