Survey shows one in five Kiwis can't afford Christmas

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Monday, 19 November 2018, 6:46a.m.
Listen above as Head of Welfare Services Major Pam Waugh speaks with Kate Hawkesby. Photo / Getty Images

A new survey has shed light on the struggles Kiwi families face during Christmas.

The Salvation Army survey shows one in five Kiwis say they can't afford to celebrate Christmas, with almost half saying Christmas is a time of financial struggle.

Head of Welfare Services Major Pam Waugh told Kate Hawkesby these numbers don't come as a surprise, given the rising living costs.

"When you look at what's going on in our communities and you listen to families, this us quite indicative of what we see coming through our door but also of families struggling to keep their head above water."

Ever year the number of families needing help increases, however Waugh says they are hoping the Government's Families Package will start to help.

"This year we are hoping to stabilise it. We think the Families Package has made a dent...but a lot of the families we work with are struggle with debt that has built up over years of not being able to afford their basic living cost."

"We have encouraged people to look at that debt and get it paid down so in another year or so we will see the full impact of those packages." 

She said Christmas puts added stress on families who are already struggling to cope.

"Christmas impacts on all of us. We are in a consumer-driven society. Children are watching TV and see what they want. They have the same wishes and wants as all children and that impacts on our families who really struggle to provide that." 

Waugh said the main issues for the families they help are jobs and secure housing.

"When you have got children in those environments, they are going to struggle even more when mum and dad don't have a reasonable income to bring home or they cannot provide stable housing."

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