What could Aucklanders lose if Council's budget cuts go ahead?

What could Aucklanders lose if Council's budget cuts go ahead?

Auckland's Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), a crucial social service, is at risk of closure if Auckland Council's budget cuts go ahead. Mayor Wayne Brown's budget plans include a NZ$2 million cut to the bureau's funding, which would severely impact its ability to operate.

Submissions on the budget plan have now closed, and the future of the bureau is uncertain. The bureau has been described as an integral part of Auckland's social fabric, providing free advice and support to those who need it most.

One individual who credits the bureau with changing her life is Eirian Perkins, a migrant who suffered a severe shoulder injury in 2021, leaving her unable to work. When she found herself in need of help, she had no idea where to turn until she discovered the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Perkins spoke to Tova O'Brien on Wednesday, detailing the support she received from the bureau during a challenging time. 

"After I had my injury, it was so bad I wasn't able to sleep for months and months, I certainly couldn't drive and it was really tough, wasn't able to keep the job that I was in," Perkins said.

"All this was going on and I got the letter from ACC telling me that they had declined my application, you only have a certain amount of time to ask for that decision to be reviewed. and I had no idea how to even start that process, what that process entailed and what support, if any, I could get through that, where the forms were.

"I walked into my local Citizens Advice Bureau, I only knew about it because it was right in the little town square in Browns Bay.

"I just walked in and they explained the process to me in a way I could understand, they sat down with me [for] like 30 minutes, understood my situation, and they printed out a huge packet of information specifically based on my situation and I was able to use that to take me through the next 18 months of the process."

O'Brien asked Perkins what impact on the community there could be if the CAB shuts down.

"I think CAB is for everyone. It's easy to construct a narrative about, well, it's only for certain people or people without means. 

"But look at me I came to New Zealand as a skilled migrant, I’m very fortunate in a lot of ways [but] I didn't know how to go through this process, and if I didn't go through it, I might not be able to work again.

"I think it impacts everyone on every level, I could be gainfully employed or I could be here needing help, that has an impact on the community. What's it going to do to ordinary people? If you don't have support, maybe you don't have better outcomes.

"There's also a large impact on how ordinary people like me can give back to the community and without the CAB you're taking that away too."

Listen to the full interview between Eirian Perkins and Tova above.

You can also download the full interview on the Tova podcast, and listen on the go. 

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