Hearing about doing it tough

Labour leader Phil Goff visits Sean and Jasmine Jackson, and their  daughter Cheyanne, in Caversham,  Dunedin. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Labour leader Phil Goff visits Sean and Jasmine Jackson, and their daughter Cheyanne, in Caversham, Dunedin. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Unexpected bills are the toughest to deal with for a young family struggling to get by on an apprentice baker's wage.

Phil Goff met the Jackson family in the working-class Dunedin suburb of Caversham yesterday. The media were invited to attend the home visit, during the Labour leader's time spent in the city yesterday.

Young couple Sean and Jasmine, who already have a 20-month-old daughter Cheyanne, are expecting another baby, and are getting by on just the wage Mr Jackson earns as an apprentice baker.

They told Mr Goff they ran a tight budget, so when both Jasmine and Cheyanne had to go for an after-hours doctors' consultation, the $90 charge hit hard.

Mr Jackson said the couple were friends with a worker at Dunedin South MP Clare Curran's office, which is how they became involved in the visit.

Mrs Jackson said the family had to budget "a lot".

"If we're stuck, we're stuck. It [money] doesn't go any further."

Mr Jackson said the couple's Caversham Valley Rd rented home cost $200 a week, about half his wage.

He had about one year left to go on his apprenticeship, after which he expected to start earning a better wage.

Mr Goff said the visit highlighted how difficult it was for a young, hard-working family to make ends meet.

Tax changes brought in by the Government had added plenty of income to higher wage earners - Mr Goff said he benefited by about $300. Mr Jackson got about $10, at a time when living costs were rising.

Mr Goff said if Labour made it to government, the free health care policy for under 6-year-olds would have helped, halving their recent medical bill.

He pointed to a policy of no tax on the first $5000 earned, which would also help.

Mr Jackson said he would normally vote Labour, and thought Mr Goff was "great".

"He's not as scary as I thought," Mrs Jackson said.

 

 

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