Mum hopeful for Budget good newsSave
By Christine McKay
With two young children, Dannevirke business woman and single mum Melissa Martin is keen to see more funding for GPs in next week's Budget.
"When it can take up to six weeks to get an appointment to see your own GP, the whole medical system needs looking at because there are more administrators than GPs," she said.
"I realise there are some appointments you can make with a doctor who is free, but it's so important to have your own GP for continuity of care in some situations."
The mother of two young children, Imogene, 4, and Austin-James, 18 months, Miss Martin runs her own dance academy and for her, flexible childcare subsides should be one of the things top of the Government's Budget list.
"If I worked from 8am to 5pm my childcare would almost be free," she said. "But because I work out of normal hours and need someone at home to care for my children, the current childcare subsidy doesn't cover the hours I need.
"I have to pay the minimum wage for someone to come in, as well as their holiday and sick pay arrangements. Here in Dannevirke licensed childcare options close between 5.30pm and 6pm, which is no good for me. I'm just starting work then.
"Yes, I chose to have children, [through IVF] but I've also chosen to run my own business and don't want to be on a benefit and I'm sure there are others across the district with similar concerns."
With the cost of basic necessities rising, including electricity, like many other Tararua families there can also be strain on the family budget.
"The price of fruit and veges is astronomical and it's far cheaper to buy fizzy drink than milk. That's ridiculous," Miss Martin said.
Current government policy is also stunting job growth in our district, she believes.
"Work and Income have a scheme to help get people off the benefit and into fulltime employment. And as a small business owner I've been looking to employ a dance teacher. But I'm not eligible under the scheme because I've only got 40 weeks a year employment for that person. I'm unable to employ someone for 52 weeks a year, which is the requirement under the scheme."
And it's time for the Government to look beyond the Auckland-driven housing crisis and consider what they can do to get people into smaller towns, she said.
"Why don't they do something to encourage people to move to places where there is more affordable housing and take the pressure off Auckland infrastructure by giving decent incentives to move?
"Although this policy wouldn't affect me directly, with more people living here more children would come through my dance studio and the economic benefits of that would flow through to our local economy," she said.
"It's a situation which could be repeated throughout Tararua and the rest of New Zealand."