With all the interesting things to do around here, the book on family budgeting is moving along only slowly. But it is a moving experience to enter into the lives of those who half a century ago had a vision of a country in which fewer households would suffer because of their inability to manage the financial affairs.
I am writing today of a public servant who conspired to change the way his department worked to help people into getting their own homes. I have discovered that an imaginative and sweeping proposal to assist Maori people into a better quality of life was back-burnered by one Minister of the Crown because it might become an election issue.
But, wait, there was a change of government. The new Minister not only put the report back on the heat but appointed the report chair as acting secretary of the department. And a key person in the same department caught the vision and travelled widely around the country promoting a system of voluntary family budgeting advisors that altered the household budgeting landscape.
My own involvement in the decade from 1978 gave me huge experience in the area. I knew of the two men who dreamed up a scheme that caught the imagination of the country. But I was never enlightened about those who spread this extraordinary voluntary movement throughout fifty centres in just three or fours years. It is a privilege to be trying to put together their story...