CAB: More Than Value For Money

What’s a damaged casserole pot, a beat-up printer, busted car door and a cracked letterbox have in common?

“Nothing normally except for needing to be recycled but they became a public thought-provoker,” says Rani Timoti, manager of Citizens Advice Bureau Helensville.

  Citizens Advice Bureau Auckland branches, including Helensville, teamed up with TradeMe, to present a series of auctions which metaphorically represented the cost of free advice given by our volunteers throughout February.

The creative campaign featured a cracked letterbox worth $34,350 (over 229 hours on tenancy advice), a damaged casserole pot worth $33,450 (over 223 hours on consumer rights), a beat up printer worth $30,750 (over 147 hours on employment dispute cases), a broken car part worth $24,450 (on all vehicle advice).

Visitors to the auctions in March could also contact CABs as a forum to ask questions and seek advice.

ACABx, the board responsible for negotiating and administering funding with Auckland Council on behalf of the nine Auckland CABs with 33 branches, secured a timely Radio New Zealand slot to highlight the auctions.

National Radio host Jesse Mulligan started the interview by reading a text from a grateful CAB client before talking to John Farrell, CAB Orakei volunteer and a former CEO of some of the world’s most renowned hotels.

John says despite his previous skills it was like starting again as he went through extensive CAB training to learn how to help clients. “We don’t use our own opinion but point them in the right direction.”

John estimates he’s taken over 700 calls in his six years acknowledging the accuracy and information from CABNET and support of fellow volunteers with expertise on certain subjects.

He says CAB is for everyone, not just those suffering deprivation, and volunteering is very satisfying to empower clients to receive genuine help and provide relief for them.

“There’s a sense of learning and working with like-minded people,” he says about his comradeship with his colleagues.

In illustrating the real-life impact of the CAB’s work on individuals and communities, John articulated the significance of its mission and the collective effort required to sustain its vital service.

“I am also always surprised at how many Kiwis don’t know about our services, that we can help them, for free in their time of need or to help solve the trickiest situations,” he says. “This is our chance to remind New Zealanders of this extremely important service and the impact this advice can have on people’s lives.”

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