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Maximum benefit from minimum wage

Raewyn Butler (PR Coordinator—Northern), Andrew Mexted-Bragg, Jason Dilger (Director, Community Ministries, Mt Albert)

3 Dec | 2013

Andrew Mexted-Bragg voluntarily lived close to a quarter of the year on the NZ minimum wage.

Andrew Mexted-Bragg recently donated a cheque for $6400 to The Salvation Army, after voluntarily living close to a quarter of the year on the NZ minimum wage ($550). ‘Every day hard working families on minimum wage struggle to make ends meet. When you’re on good wages it is easy to lose sight of how tough some others have it,’ he says.

Andrew, a banker from Auckland, altered his lifestyle to live off $373.19 per week (after taxes, KiwiSaver, insurance, et cetera). He decided on the fundraising target after realising he often complained how easy it was to spend money on things like dinners or trips away, and how different this was for so many New Zealanders living on the minimum wage. ‘I started talking to people about how I might try to adjust my own thinking—and in the process to do something to help hard working people struggling to do exactly that,’ says Andrew.

Andrew also committed to donating 25% of his initial target of $5000. ‘I really wanted to donate to The Salvation Army because they do the lot. Food parcels, counselling, budgeting, getting people to safer living environments and more,’ he says. ‘I visited with Jason Dilger, Salvation Army Community Ministries Director out in Mt Albert, and it really was eye opening to hear about all the work they do for people who are struggling. It confirmed for me that they were the right recipient for all the donations.’

Andrew said that at the end of the day there was an end to challenge, whereas for others the challenges of poverty continue. He says he realised ‘more than ever how fortunate I am’.

Andrew has some suggestions for others who want to practically help their community: ‘The next time you have a clean out of clothes or stuff you’re not using around the house, drop it off at your local Salvation Army store. They can definitely find a home for it.’

The Salvation Army helps low-income families progress from being dependent on support to financially managing on their own. This support can be budgeting services, food parcels or skill development. All funds Andrew raised will be used to assist families who use these services.