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New poor stretching food bank resources

Spokesperson for Social Development

22 December 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
New poor stretching food bank resources

With just three days to go before most of us settle in to Christmas holiday mode, the fact that thousands of ‘new poor’ will be making do with a food parcel is a sobering reminder of the growing poverty in Godzone, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“Agencies around the country are grappling to keep up with the soaring demand for food parcels, with the Salvation Army alone distributing 67,000 of them this year, compared to 30,000 in 2008.

“What is really concerning is that recipients include working families and increasing numbers of unemployed young people. These people are not ‘bludgers’- they are ordinary Kiwis who are either holding down jobs yet still struggling to get by, or are desperately seeking work,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“We can talk all we like about Kiwis being on an equal footing, but the reality is that prices are far outstripping incomes and that means those unable to find work and low income families will suffer the most.

“I recall working in a soup kitchen in the United States and being appalled at the number of families with working parents who ate there because they were unable to support themselves on the wages they earned as labourers.

“That is not a situation I expected I would ever see in New Zealand, yet it is now happening here at unprecedented levels.

“My Christmas message to Paula Bennett this year is simple - things need to change and they need to change fast.

“Labour is willing to work with the Government on the issue of poverty. For the sake of Kiwi families, it’s an offer I hope is taken up,” Jacinda Ardern said.

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