Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Family Budgeting

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...

1 comment:

  1. Last night I skyped a lovely lady in Melbourne. Yvonne earned an MA in Social Work back in 1980, presenting a thesis on the history of the family budgeting movement. Her work has been of enormous help to me in updating the story in my own book on the topic. But for twenty years we have been unable to locate her. It has been so good to make that contact this week and to put a face and personality to the writing that has occupied so much of time this year. Life is not just about details of history or science; it's about relationships. This fleeting relationship - half an hour on Skype with a person I'd never met - has been one to savour....