Thursday, May 14, 2015
Family Budgeting in this country is a remarkable story. From the first formal commencement in in the far North in 1960 with strong support from Maori Affairs, it has evolved into a massive effort in almost every part of the country. A pile of taxpayer funding goes into some paid coordinator and administrative expenses, but the key is the vast volume of voluntary work done day by day by 1700 ordinary people who try to help families in financial difficulties. 55,000 enquiries were received in 2012 and budgeters were seeing more than 22,000 families for regular visits.
Not too many of the "steam budgeters" of the early days are still around and as one of the survivors I have been asked to put some material together. There's not much to work on. Most of us operated in a fairly informal style, without much attention to records. At least one very comprehensive file that I assembled disappeared completely after I left Dunedin in 1982. So research for the book is turning out to be a bit of a mission.
But, as I said in a recent post, the odd challenge is something that makes some of us want to get up in the morning.