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Maori Party Call to Address Food Poverty

Maori Party Call to Address Food Poverty

Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

Tuesday 26 August 2008

The dramatic 7.6% rise in food prices announced yesterday by Statistics NZ is but another factor in the hardship being endured by more and more New Zealanders says the Maori Party.

“It is the basics that are hurting our families the most” said Mrs Turia. “We’re not talking about luxury items - families have suffered price hikes of 89.4% for butter; 19.6% for bread; 59.3% for cheddar cheese; and 10.2% for milk – core items in the weekly shopping basket”.

“But the biggest worry has been the impact of a 3.6% increase in fruit and veges – an increase which low income families have been struggling to meet over this long winter” said Mrs Turia.

“All the research tells us that under the persistent pressure of other costs such as fuel and housing, people are being forced to make a choice whether healthy food is worth it” said Mrs Turia.

“Massey University's Dr Emma Dresler-Hawke and Otago University’s Professor Jim Mann have both come out with independent studies, concluding that if Government wants to make healthy food choices affordable, they must give serious consideration to removing the GST off food”.

“The Maori Party supports the call from the Public Health Association and the National Heart Foundation for GST to be removed from the nutritious basics of the New Zealand diet – fruit, vegetables, milk”.

“The excuses put forward by other parties, that it would be administratively challenging, or would involve some investment – are just excuses” said Mrs Turia.

“If we are seriously concerned about the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders – and the Maori Party is – then taking GST off the basic food elements of the household grocery list – is an easy way to make a difference” said Mrs Turia.


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