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

SCOOP COVERAGE: CHRISTCHURCH MOSQUES TERROR ATTACK


Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Open White Nationalism

At one level, this has been the week that the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln – which once led a civil war that ended the slave economy of the South – has now defined itself openly as being the party of white nationalism.

By telling those four elected, American born and/or raised women of colour to “go home”, US President Donald Trump’s racist agenda has come out of the shadows. More>>

 

RNZ: Trades Hall Bombing Case Re-Opened, Evidence Released

The cold case has been reopened and the police have recently revealed more details about the bomb's components - including that it was wrapped in a 1977 edition of The Evening Post. More>>

Safety: Govt Targets Fewer Deaths On The Road

“Most roads deaths and serious injuries are preventable and too many New Zealanders have lost their lives or been seriously injured in crashes that could have been prevented by road safety upgrades,” said Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Rise Delay: Teachers Unions Plan Legal Action Against Novopay

Both of the teachers unions - NZEI and the PPTA - have confirmed they will be taking legal action against Novopay. More>>

ALSO:

Emission Statement: 'Consensus Reached' On Agriculture

Today the Government launched a consultation document, informed by the work of the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC), on how to bring agriculture into the emissions trading scheme, a key part of the Government’s plan to tackle climate change and reduce New Zealand’s emissions. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On What’s Wrong With Wellington

For many Wellingtonians, it hasn’t been the normal hardships – the workings of central government and the lousy weather – that have recently pushed their tolerance into the red zone. It has been the inability of local government to maintain even the basics. More>>

ALSO:

$1m Compensation Paid: First Gun Ban Event In Christchurch

The Police Minister says the first ever firearms collection event in Christchurch over the weekend was a huge success. But Stuart Nash had concerns about whether the participation reflected the number of weapons in the region. More>>

ALSO:

The Kids: Youth Parliament 2019 Event Kicks Off

120 Youth MPs and 20 Youth Press Gallery members have gathered in Wellington to attend the two-day Youth Parliament event ... More>>

ALSO:

Friends Like These: Foreign Minister To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. today for talks with senior members of the US Administration, and to attend the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Aussie Banks’ Latest Fee Hike Excuse

When the Reserve Bank sought feedback on its plans to require the country’s major banks to raise their capital reserves then you might have expected the banks to whine and complain. And so they have. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels