Story: Family welfare

Family allowances

Family allowances

The Family Allowances Act 1926 introduced a means-tested allowance to families with more than two children on incomes of less than £4 a week ($341 in 2009 terms). Men in paid work were supposed to be paid enough to support themselves, a wife and two children – hence no payments were made for the first two children. This cartoon satirises the suggestion that an extra two shillings a week might encourage parents to produce more children. Few households were actually eligible for family allowances. However, poor Māori families did benefit – while only 5% of the population, they received 20% of all family allowances.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: H-711-016
Cartoon by William Blomfield

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Maureen Baker and Rosemary Du Plessis, 'Family welfare - Welfare, work and families, 1918–1945', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 May 2022)

Story by Maureen Baker and Rosemary Du Plessis, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 29 Jun 2018