Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Half of children on benefits are food insecure

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) says that the number of children living in households regularly going without sufficient healthy food is unacceptable, especially when healthy food is plentiful in Aotearoa-New Zealand.

A recent publication from the Ministry of Health reported that one in five children in New Zealand - between 161,000 and 188,000 - regularly experience food insecurity, while more than half of children supported by a main benefit are regularly food insecure.

CPAG says the connection between food insecurity and a lack of adequate income is undeniable, and it’s past time for Government to reverse the damage of the broken welfare system it has inherited. It is also important to consider the context of the data being taken from the 2015-2016 survey period.

The picture in 2019 is of increasing numbers of people lining up for food parcel assistance from Work and Income offices, the Auckland City Mission, or the Salvation Army, among many others.

The Auckland City Mission reported in August 2018 that the number of families requesting food parcels had reached the highest in City Mission's history.

"The latest figures show that there has been a 44% increase in food parcels from the ACM over the past year," says Helen Robinson, General Manager of Social Services at the Auckland City Mission.

"What we are seeing is that neither benefits or the minimum wage provide sufficient income for a family to meet all their needs, which is why we need a much more supportive and responsive welfare system."

While at the heart of this problem there is a lack of affordable, secure housing solutions, with low-income families often having to spend more than 50% of their income on housing, incomes are just far too low.

CPAG is concerned that children who live in food insecure households are at risk of undernourishment through lack of healthy food, relying on cheap, heavily flavoured fillers such as those Dr Rebekah Graham lists: $1 pasta, $1 loaves of bread, and instant noodles. This type of diet is linked to other adverse health impacts for children, and can be hazardous for their mental and physical development.

"We are also very concerned that families are waiting far too long for meaningful relief from the serious poverty many experience," says Associate Professor Susan St John, Economics Advisor for CPAG.

CPAG was disappointed by the initial response by the Government to the Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s recommendations, saying that announcements did not signal the courageous, transformational change that CPAG and many others had hoped for.

"Benefits have been indexed only to prices since the drastic cuts of 1991, and the abatement threshold for earned income has not moved in decades," says St John. "From 2020 benefits will be linked to wages at last, but they will not be increased as they so badly need to be. The earned income threshold is to be only marginally increased.

"A complete reset of the benefit system is needed to raise living standards of those on benefits to level that means they can survive without private charity and loan sharks."

CPAG says benefits need to be substantially increased, and the full Working for Families paid to all low-income families immediately so that all children can enjoy a healthy life.

"It is too late to wait for the response to WEAG. An emergency package is urgently needed before Christmas for all low-income families," says St John.

For more information download CPAG’s 2018 paper "What will it take to have a welfare system that is fit for families in the 21st century?"

Please Note: Auckland City Mission Social Services GM Helen Robinson is available for further comment. To arrange interviews please contact Claire Watson on 021 615243 or media@aucklandcitymission.org.nz


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Global Factors Facing TV3

Oaktree Capital gave MediaWorks a gallows reprieve in 2013 by pushing out its former Australian owner Ironbridge and facilitating a receivership-driven restructure that enabled MediaWorks to shed a burden of tax liabilities and international programme purchasing contracts. Oaktree eventually assumed 100% ownership of Mediaworks in 2015.

But here’s the rub. In May of this year, Oaktree itself was bought into by the giant Canadian firm Brookfields Asset Management... In the light of the Brookfields stake and the uncertain state of the global economy, Oaktree has come under pressure to shed and/or streamline the underperforming assets in its portfolio. More>>

 

'Armed Response Teams': Armed Police "Will Cause American-Style Shootings"

The Police Commissioner's announcement that squadcars of officers with automatic rifles will patrol New Zealand's streets is dangerous and unnecessary, according to the criminal justice community organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa. The ... More>>

ALSO:

Control Orders: Amnesty Says Don't Rush Terrorism Bill

"The problem is, we often see the word “terrorism” being applied broadly by oppressive regimes to detain innocent people who're simply rallying for a better life." More>>

ALSO:

Expert Reaction: $17 million To Fight Online Extremist Content

The Department of Internal Affairs will double its work investigating and preventing violent extremism online. Funding will also help bolster the Chief Censor's work to make fast decisions about harmful content. More>>

ALSO:

Could Do Better: Post-Sroubek Review Of Deportation Info

Ms Tremain acknowledges that the review highlighted some aspects of the process that can be improved and makes five main recommendations to strengthen the existing processes for preparing files for decision-makers. Those recommendations are: More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A New Book On The Leaky Homes Scandal

We all know that journalism is short of cash and under pressure from the speed, brevity and clickbait pressures of the 24/7 news cycle… but hey, given the right subject and a sufficiently stubborn journalist, it can still surpass most of the works of the academic historians... More>>

Regulation: Review Finds NZTA Road Safety Failings

The independent review, carried out by consultant agency MartinJenkins, lists at least 10 reasons for the failures including the agency being focused on customer service at the expense of its policing functions. More>>

ALSO:

Rod Carr: Climate Change Commission Chair-Designate Announced

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has today announced the appointment of Dr Rod Carr as Chair-designate for the Climate Change Commission. More>>

ALSO:

Compliance Complaints: 'Putting Right' Holidays Act Underpayment In Health

The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels