'I hardly see them' - Auckland mum has little time with children, working two jobs to meet living costs

Source: 1News

An Auckland woman says she has little time to spend with her children after working two jobs.

Trixie Sisi this morning told Breakfast she works 15 hours a day, five days a week but still struggles to make ends meet.

However, she's not alone.

Auckland is now ranked the fourth most expensive city in the world to live in, according to the latest Demographia International Housing Affordability report .

Auckland is behind Hong Kong, Vancouver and Sydney as most expensive.

The report ranks cities not just on how much house prices cost, but also how much locals earn.

For Sisi that means working two jobs, 15 hours a day for five days, as well as her husband working, to support their family.

They have nine children, of which there are three living at home.

"It's very tough because I don't spend any time with my children, I only spend a little time with my children," she said.

"It's very stressful for them and for me because I go to work two jobs and I hardly see them, hardly see them, hardly spend some time with them."

Sisi said her biggest cost was rent, as well as her children's public schooling fees, stationery, uniforms and food.

She said they'd been struggling with affordability for around two and a half years, only made worse by Covid-19 over the past year.

"My message our prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, is to deliver on our fair pay agreement and living wages for all the people, the cleaners of New Zealand. To deliver so I don't have to work two jobs so I can spend more time with my children."

Also on Breakfast, Mangere Budgeting Services Trust chief executive Darryl Evans said Sisi's story was "heartbreaking", but sadly it is a similar story with other struggling Auckland families he hears from daily.

"That's the problem when you live in a very low wage, but very high cost economy," he said, adding that while people wanted to work, often they were better off staying on a benefit.

"Now I think that's absolutely appalling. We need to do something to encourage people into work but they have to be better off, they have to be able to pay the rent, pay the power, put gas in the car."

Rents have risen dramatically, with a three-bedroom house in Mangere around $550 to $595 a week, a four bedroom house going for over $650 and a five bedroom house is around $795, Evans said.

"Rents are absolutely problematic, they are crippling the average household, and so more and more people are having to take full time jobs and part time jobs.

"The result of that is they never see their kids or their kids don't have supervision so they play up in the community. So it's a lose-lose and we need to turn that story around to make it a win-win."

Evans said families he looks after are left with around $39 a week after paying bills to spend on food. Before Covid-19 that number was better, but still not good - $83.

"You certainly can't feed healthy food, so I've said it in the past and I sound like a broken record - we're raising a generation of two-minute noodle kids because that's simply what families can put on the table."

On Tuesday, Stats NZ released new data which showed  child poverty in New Zealand was going down before Covid-19 hit, however 125,000 children are still living in material hardship.

There were 53,000 children living in severe material hardship.

"I love South Auckland, but there are massive levels of deprivation and it's getting worse," Evans said.

"Currently we've still got families who haven't been able to provide school uniforms, stationary, shoes on the feet of our children so they stay in home.

"Many of our kids are going to school hungry, we all know that a hungry child learns nothing. The Government have been doing something - lunches in schools, breakfast clubs - they're all good, but is it enough? At the moment, absolutely not."