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National can no longer ignore rising hardship

Labour Deputy Leader

National can no longer ignore rising hardship

Working families and the elderly are among growing numbers of New Zealanders floating on a rising tide of hardship while the Government sits back apparently helpless, Labour Deputy Leader Annette King says.

“News today that the Whangarei branch of the Salvation Army has recorded a 90 percent increase in demand for food parcels will shock no-one who has been listening and watching what has been going on in New Zealand,” Annette King said.

“It will perhaps shock the Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett and Prime Minister John Key who believe that food parcels are a lifestyle choice.

“Clearly John Key and Paula Bennett don’t live in fear of rising power prices, or rising rents, or the ever increasing cost of basic food, like many working Kiwis do.

“But now is the time they need to start listening because more and more people, including those who are in work and the elderly, simply cannot make ends meet.

“Those at the frontlines of this issue such as the Salvation Army, the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, St Vincent De Paul and the Budget Advice service have all seen massive increases in demand because of the rising cost of living.

“Recently Darryl Evans of the Mangere Budgeting services said that he had heard of cases of impoverished pensioners eating cat food.

“Do John Key and Paula Bennett really think people would eat pet food as a lifestyle choice? If not when are they finally going to admit that there has been a massive increase in hardship and begin to act on it.

“Or have they put ensuring all New Zealanders have access to healthy food in the ‘nice to have’ category that Bill English says New Zealand can’t afford.

“Labour however, believes we can and should do better. We will implement policies such as cutting GST from fresh fruit and vegetables, and making the tax system fairer.

“John Key gave tax cuts that benefited just 10 percent of the population. Its time he did something to help those who got nothing,” Annette King said.


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