13 Aug 2013

We're mostly happy - except about money, survey shows

10:07 pm on 13 August 2013

A new report gauging New Zealanders' wellbeing says they're mostly content - except when it comes to money.

The findings were released as part of Statistics New Zealand's General Social Survey 2012 for which nearly 8500 people were interviewed over 12 months from April last year.

Fifteen percent of people surveyed said they don't have enough for their everyday needs. The survey's manager, Philip Walker, said about half of all New Zealanders say they have just enough or an inadequate amount to get by.

The Federation of Family Budgeting Services says that reflects what it's seeing. Chief executive Raewyn Fox said they are experiencing the biggest jump in people seeking budget help since they began keeping statistics 15 years ago.

Despite money woes, 87% of survey respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. One-fifth said they have good health, enough money, good housing and didn't feel lonely.

Philip Walker said most New Zealanders appear to be content with their lives, which is above the OECD average and similar to Australia, the United States and Canada.

The survey also showed that New Zealanders are better prepared for emergencies than they used to be, with 52% living in households that have emergency water for three days compared to 40% in 2008.

Growing number of homeless, agency says

A social development agency says it is seeing an increase of indebtedness and more families are living in their cars. Homelessness is a growing problem, especially in Auckland, due to soaring house prices and rentals.

Lifewise says it is seeing more and more people with extensive debt, and families are sleeping in cars and garages. Spokesperson Corey Haddock said several factors are driving the indebtedness, which he expects to worsen.

Habitat for Humanity said almost half the applicants for its houses in Auckland were ineligible because of debt. The international organisation develops realistically priced homes to sell.