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Government leaves foodbanks to pick up the slack

21 December 2012

Government leaves foodbanks to pick up the slack

The Government do not take into account the impact of its decisions on foodbanks, and is leaving them to pick up the slack, the Green Party said today.

Confirmation of the Ministry of Social Development’s disregard for foodbanks was revealed through Green Party questions for written answer.

“People are sometimes sent from the Work and Income office straight to a foodbank for a food parcel. That is not providing the support that families need. That is passing the buck onto community groups,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“Foodbanks do an amazing job on a shoestring, especially at Christmas time,” said Mrs Turei.

“The focus should be on working to eliminate the need for foodbanks, but instead this Government is developing policies that rely on them picking up the slack.

“The National Government’s welfare reforms will only increase demand at foodbanks by leaving them to pick up the pieces of the Government’s harsh sanctions.

“People’s basic need for food shouldn’t be reliant on charity.

“The National Government are as dependent on foodbanks existing as those families who receive food parcels.

“We need government policies that will bring hope to those struggling to make ends meet, not send them to get a food parcel.

“The New Zealand public’s generosity at Christmas time is well known, but the lack of thought the Government have given to the impact on community groups is unacceptable.

“What is needed is collaboration with community groups, and strategic support for those that pick up the pieces when the welfare system fails.

“A decade ago, in 2002, MSD developed a foodbank strategy with the aim of putting foodbanks out of business through lack of demand; this strategy has vanished under the National Government.

“The Government need to look at the way in which their flawed policies lead to spillover effects in the community sector. Foodbanks feel the brunt of this in the lead up to Christmas.

“Getting a food parcel can be the start of a relationship that can provide all sorts of wider support. The Government should be working with community groups providing food parcels, not just relying on them,” said Mrs Turei.

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