NSBS welcomed a visit by National Party leader Christopher Luxon and members of the media to shine a light on the important work we do in delivering financial mentoring to the community, and directly improving the lives of Kiwis suffering from the cost of living crisis.
“It was a privilege to visit NSBS, a financial mentoring non-profit in Takapuna, and meet CEO Drew Glucina and some of their clients today,” Mr Luxon said.
“I sat down with a couple who are staying in transitional housing, have one toddler and a baby on the way. They’re ambitious, have big dreams and want to get ahead but right now they can’t,” the National Party leader said.
Mr Luxon met NSBS clients Esther and Vanu Rea, who are proud parents of an 18-month-old son and a baby due next month.
The young Pacific Island couple are struggling in this cost of living crisis, despite having a fulltime job as a retail manager and being cautious with their income. Food is too expensive and rent prohibitive, and they worry how they will manage to get by.
Mr Luxon took time to meet with the young couple and their NSBS mentor, Nick Handey, who explained how he is helping Esther and Vanu build a solid financial future for their growing family.
He also met the team of financial mentors at NSBS and listened to their stories about the wide variety of clients who really struggling in the cost of living crisis.
He toured the NSBS offices at the Mary Thomas Centre, where for 31 years, the organisation has provided free, confidential, non-judgemental, and personalised financial mentoring and advocacy services that empowers and enables New Zealanders and their whānau to become more financially capable.
Mr Luxon heard how, in the last two years, the number of financial mentor numbers at NSBS has swelled. The charity has expanded the number of full-time and volunteer financial mentors to meet the demand for our services from clients who are suffering from the cost of living crisis. He learnt that mentoring sessions are provided one-on-one and in-person at NSBS’s Takapuna office, or virtually via Zoom call; and available six days a week, including Saturdays, and after-hours each weekday evening to keep up with demand.
NSBS CEO Drew Glucina told Mr Luxon the increased number in mentoring sessions – up fourfold – is due to the number of new clients who now come from all walks of life.
“NSBS has experienced unprecedented demand for financial mentoring from individuals and whānau,” Ms Glucina said. “And that increased demand illustrates that we are needed, valued and warranted.”
She added: “Our clients represent all aspects of society. They come to us for a lifeline because they are struggling with a high level of debt. The cost of living crisis and the rise in inflation and food costs has severely impacted budgets across the country, and many of our clients are enduring financial hardship and stress while struggling to manage debt.”
NSBS mentors help clients identify their goals and develop a strengths-based financial plan and best debt solutions. They advocate and negotiate on their clients’ behalf with creditors to reduce debt, set budgets, and provide ongoing support to improve outcomes.
NSBS sets budgets and savings plans and delivers financial specialist intervention services such as Debt Repayment Order, Insolvency Procedure, No Asset Procedure and Bankruptcy, and KiwiSaver Hardship Applications. Clients come from all over New Zealand – and abroad. NSBS delivers financial capability services to expat Kiwis in Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, Argentina and Ukraine.
At the NSBS offices, Mr Luxon told waiting media, including journalists from TVNZ, TV3, NZ Herald, RNZ, Stuff and other media outlets, that he is committed to reducing the cost of living for New Zealanders.
The cost of living for the average household increased 7.7% in the 12 months to March 2023. This follows an 8.2% increase in the 12 months to December 2022. Higher prices for interest payments, grocery food, rent and fruit and vegetables were the main contributors to this increase. Inflation is at a three-decade high, and interest rate hikes have endured a long stretch, ensuring the cost of living is one of the central matters on which next month’s election will be decided.
Mr Luxon said the National party’s Back Pocket Boost policy could assist young couples like Esther and Vanu, which would deliver tax relief of up to $100 per fortnight for an average income household, plus a FamilyBoost childcare tax credit of up to $150 per fortnight.
The Labour government has pledged a package of measures, including removing taxes from fresh fruits and vegetables and expanding free dental care to include people aged under 30, and removing charges for prescription medicines.
For Ms Glucina, a global leader in financial literacy, the demand for financial mentoring services is not ebbing anytime soon.
NSBS has been recognised by the Government with a special certificate and pendant for the important work and responsive measures the non-profit organisation provided to individuals and whānau during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a dedicated agency working during the height of the Coronavirus epidemic to offer financial mentoring services, money management support and emergency relief funding, NSBS is honoured to receive the recognition as part of the Government’s Care in the Community Welfare Response.
The Care in the Community Welfare Response action was part of the Government’s three-phase plan to mitigate the impacts of Omicron in our communities and support the expected increase in the number of people who were required to self-isolate at home.
NSBS is recognised as a valued provider and received funding as one of 150 agencies throughout New Zealand that delivered a wide variety of services to individuals and whānau who were self-isolating at that time, many of whom had complex needs and required a variety of support.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins signed the certificates recognising those agencies and community providers. The Government provided funding totalling $407.9 million for the Care in the Community Welfare Response.
“Our dedicated staff and volunteer mentors worked exceptionally hard during the pandemic, remaining resilient and flexible in an extraordinarily difficult environment to ensure all our clients’ mentoring needs were safely met by phone or virtual technology,” said NSBS Chief Executive Officer Drew Glucina.
“The lockdowns throughout the country only raised the need for our money management expertise. The growing demand for budgeting and debt solution services came at a time when delivering face-to-face support became more difficult, but NSBS was able to step up to the challenge, offering flexible delivery procedures to cope with the rise in need.”
Many Kiwis were left severely impacted by the pandemic facing lost income and livelihoods, financial uncertainty, elevated costs and unexpected expenses.
NSBS saw a significant rise in the number of new clients impacted by the crisis and in need of financial mentoring support post-lockdowns, from seniors to small business owners, and debt-free individuals looking to prioritise their lives and develop a better savings plan or leave a family legacy.
People came to NSBS actively looking for more support to better manage their money and reduce the burden of financial worries so they can live happier, more fulfilled lives.
While the lockdowns have ended and the pandemic has eased, the crisis will continue to reverberate on our economy for some time and we will feel the effect on our personal finances and livelihoods. Whatever NSBS can do to free New Zealanders from money worries to live their best life, we will do.
Ordinary Kiwis are doing it tough and are more in need than ever of financial mentoring services to overcome the burden of financial stress that they are under.
The financial mentor team at NSBS has seen a significant rise in the number of people seeking help with financial budgeting and debt resolution due to the rise in the cost of living, inflation, and interest rates.
This crisis has seen ordinary working Kiwis really struggling and stressing about their day-to-day money management; including how they will pay the increase in mortgage payments, how they will stretch their income to buy food and fuel, and how they can keep their head above water without going further into debt.
This has become an even bigger priority since the January floods that impacted much of Auckland, and the states of emergency around the country following Cyclone Gabrielle.
“New Zealanders are really struggling this year, with many barely managing to cope with their daily finances or to put food on the table. We have been inundated with requests for financial mentorship this year, on an unprecedented scale, and the urgency is very real,” said NSBS CEO Drew Glucina.
“The financial stress Kiwis are under is immense, and with that often comes a deep sense of shame and embarrassment to ask for help for many people who have never needed to do so in the past, simply because they are facing a series of situations beyond their control.
“At the same time, many are simply so desperate and in need of help right now, they ring to ask for a $50 or $100 handout to help them meet the rent that week, or put petrol in the car, or buy basic groceries for the family,” she explained.
From pensioners to homeowners, farmers to beneficiaries, young professionals, and small business owners, NSBS has seen a significant jump in Kiwis from all walks of life needing financial mentorship.
National Party finance spokesperson and deputy leader, Nicola Willis, is not surprised by the surge in the need for help.
“The cost of living is higher than it’s ever been. The price of everything just keeps climbing – food, rent, mortgage payments; it seems the only way is up, and things are going up faster than many can remember happening before,” she said.
“The typical hourly wage might have a bigger number on it, but the pay-check doesn’t go as far as it once did, with each fortnight’s pay seeming to get stretched thinner than the last.”
The New Zealand cost of living crisis has impacted all Kiwis with food prices soaring, petrol costs skyrocketing, and energy bills rising as we head into winter, and inflation making everyday life more expensive.
The team at NSBS is here to tackle the reality of the cost of living crisis on ordinary Kiwis by helping to take the stress out of their present financial situations so they can make sustainable plans for a positive financial future.
Women’s wealth and advising women on how to attain financial independence and financial security for themselves and their families is part of NSBS’s strategic vision, and in line with the government’s national strategy for financial capability.
On average, women’s financial literacy is significantly lower than men. Women experience pay inequity in the labour market, and tend to be the family members taking time out of the workforce to care for children or older relatives, arriving at retirement with less. They are disproportionately impacted financially by divorce and domestic abuse, and they are bearing the brunt of the pandemic with higher rates of job loss than men.
Over 80% of New Zealand women rate their level of financial wellbeing as moderate, low or very low, and over 70% feel that financial wellbeing influences their overall wellbeing, the Financial Services Council reports.
At NSBS, 60% of our clients are female. By focusing on women’s financial capability needs we are able to support their security and empowerment, and follow the government’s goal of developing women’s financial literacy.
Female clients come to NSBS after they have made the decision to get a grip of their family’s financial goals and want to ensure future stability. Many of our female clients are young and independent with careers and no dependents. They are conscious of buy-now-pay-later lenders and want to set goals and make savings plans for a wedding, house, holiday or car.
Our mentors empower and enhance our clients on their journeys of financial capability. We offer female mentors to clients who feel more comfortable with one, and adapt times and schedules around family commitments and work hours, with Zoom-call mentoring a popular option.
NSBS is one of the only providers in New Zealand of both the Building Financial Capability (BFC) and Building Financial Capability-Plus (also called Total Money Management) programmes. As such, the Government has invited NSBS CEO, Drew Glucina, to join the Review Board Panel into the BFC-Plus service to discuss its impact and future, held by the Ministry of Social Development.
BFC-Plus is a holistic intensive, guardianship support for vulnerable people and whānau who struggle to manage day-to-day money matters and need someone committed to making their financial decisions and paying their bills when they lack the capacity to do so themselves. The programme helps to micromanage people’s finances to teach good financial habits and gradually transition accountability as skill and confidence grows.
BFC-Plus is heavily administrative and requires a lot of resources, responsibility, trust, and integrity to manage a client’s finances and give them a mental reprieve so they can take control of their lives. It creates a pathway to rise out of poverty, isolation, and joblessness. It improves the wellbeing of people and whānau, improves opportunities and life outcomes for tamariki, and raises social and economic inclusion.
Currently, NSBS’ BFC-Plus programme receives no funding from the Ministry of Social Development, however our organisation remains committed to serving our BFC-Plus clients.
As New Zealand, like the rest of the world, faces a record rise in food price inflation and cost of living, with grocery prices skyrocketing, celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has partnered with UK online grocery chain Ocado to create affordable recipes that won’t break the budget. Try her yummy spag-spin pasta. Recipe and image from Ocado.
Nigella’s Dreamy, Creamy Peanut Butter Pasta
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
1 x 240g pack baby spinach
75g smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp fine salt, plus ¼ tsp for the sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
½ unwaxed lemon, juiced, plus wedges to serve
Get out a large pan that comes with a tightly fitting lid, and fill it with 2.5L water from a just-boiled kettle. Clamp on the lid, and bring the water back to the boil on a large burner on your hob. Sit a large colander in the sink, break open your bag of baby spinach leaves and tip the contents into the waiting colander.
Get out a clean tea towel and take it over to the stove. Once the water’s boiling vigorously, add 1 tsp fine salt, which will make the water rise up fizzingly. Wait for it to subside, then give it a good stir and, once the water’s boiling again, add the pasta, and stir with a pasta fork to help it submerge. Once the water has come back to the boil, cook for 2 minutes, stirring often to detangle and declump the spaghetti. Once the 2 minutes are up, take the pan off the heat – though just to a neighbouring burner – cover with your tea towel and clamp on the lid for 8 minutes, during which you can prepare your remaining ingredients.
Remove the lid and tea towel, give the spaghetti a good old stir, then scoop out 500ml of the starchy pasta cooking liquid with a jug or mug: it’s this that makes the sauce so luxuriously creamy. If you taste a strand of pasta, you should find it’s almost properly cooked, but still has a tiny bit of bite to it.
Drain the pasta into the spinach-filled colander – thereby wilting the leaves – and take the pan back to the hob, leaving the colander in the sink for now. Quickly spoon the peanut butter into the warm pan and add about 125ml of the reserved pasta cooking water and stir well. It will look grainy and alarming at first, and when you look at the curdled clumps, you’ll think something’s gone wrong. It hasn’t! Just carry on stirring, adding the minced garlic, dried thyme, chilli flakes, 2 tsp lemon juice and ¼ tsp salt, and you will swiftly see a pale, herb-flecked emulsion come into being. Slowly stir in another 125ml of the pasta water until that too has been smoothly incorporated.
Add the spag‘n’spinach and stir and toss in the pan to mix everything together as evenly as possible. You’ll need to keep adding more of the reserved pasta water, as the pasta will keep drinking it up, so keep adding a little at a time, stirring vigorously but carefully; you shouldn’t have more than 50ml left, though you might well use it all. Taste for seasoning – you may need more salt or lemon juice – then serve, making sure you give everyone an even amount of spinach. If wished, lightly dust the top of each bowl with paprika. And if you have half a lemon left over, you could slice it into thin wedges and give one to each person to squeeze as they eat.
This year is a special one for NSBS as we mark 30 years since we were founded in 1992. Since then, we have supported thousands of New Zealand people, whānau and communities to build financial capability and resilience and lead happier, healthier lives.
While we want to celebrate all we have achieved in the last 30 years and how far we have come as an organisation, we are mindful of the many Kiwi families in need of our support, who are enduring financial hardship and stress, and struggling on low incomes without the material resources to meet their basic needs, while managing debt and unexpected expenses.
Our vision to support and provide financial wellbeing and resilience to all Kiwis will continue to be our focus as we deliver our financial capability strategies to reach more people suffering from financial insecurity.
We proudly honour this anniversary milestone and aim to make this year our best yet. We vow to continue this vital support for the next 30 years.