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Putting the Foodbank industry out of business

9 Feb 2001 Media Statement

Maharey – Government committed to putting Foodbank 'industry' 'out of business'


The Labour/Alliance Government is committed to industry development, but the Foodbank industry is one that it would like to see go out of business.

Speaking at the Biennial National Foodbank Conference in Wellington Steve Maharey highlighted the incredible growth in foodbank demand over the 1990's.

"This is an industry created by the National Party in government. Salvation Army foodbank use increased a staggering 1,500 percent between 1990 and 1997.

"In 1990 the Salvation Army gave out approximately 4,000 food parcels. In 1997 after seven years of National Government, the number soared to 65,000.

"National Party politicians who now bemoan the existence of foodbanks demonstrate a breathtaking degree of rank hypocrisy.

"That Government abrogated its responsibility to the voluntary and community sector, and to the churches. It is to the very great credit of those organisations, and the thousands of paid and unpaid workers involved with foodbanks and other social services, that they were there to fill the void and that they continue to meet the needs of the disadvantaged members of our community.

"We won't see the Foodbank industry close down over night – but a Government committed to economic growth, social and community development, and the alleviation of poverty is a necessary condition for that to happen. We now have a Government of that kind"

"I am now receiving reports which indicate some reduction in the number of food parcels issues year on year. This Government has honoured its commitment to introduce income related rents – welcomed as the single most important initiative to alleviate poverty.

"The latest Household Labour Force Survey, which pointed to continuing strong job growth and the lowest level of unemployment since 1998, offers real hope to New Zealand families.

"The figures show that more New Zealand families now have a working breadwinner. That is the focus of this Government – real jobs for real wages.

"I am delighted to see that government policies in the economic development and employment areas are really beginning to bite thereby lowering the need for foodbank type assistance over time.

ENDS

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