New Zealand Labour Party

Emergency food grants rocketing under National

More and more Kiwis are going hungry under National with hardship grants for food jumping 14 per cent in the last year alone, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.

“That’s a damning indictment of how Bill English’s government has let things get worse for those most vulnerable in our society.

“Hardship Assistance Grants for food are given to Kiwis on the very lowest incomes who have no money left after paying for the basics like rent. They soared by nearly 14,000 in the year to last December to 112,000.

“In the past four years, Work and Income has dished out an additional $2.8 million in grants.

“That’s a sad commentary of the Government’s handling of the economy and how it prioritises the well-being of the poorest in New Zealand. Kiwis are doing it tougher and this government has no plan to help.

“Over the Christmas period we heard stories of foodbanks around the country experiencing unprecedented levels of demand. Foodbanks are often a last resort for people who can’t even get assistance from Work and Income. No family in New Zealand should be going without food in the 21st century.

“The basic needs of any family are shelter, food and warmth, but under this government inequality is growing as the Oxfam report this week showed. Families are being forced to live in garages and cars, and children are living in cold, damp houses because their families are unable to heat their home.

“National can’t even get these basics right – a Labour-led government will tackle rising inequality in New Zealand, by getting more people into jobs through schemes like Ready for Work, making it easier for people to upskill for higher paying jobs and restoring the Kiwi dream of owning your own home through KiwiBuild.

“It’s clear that it’s time to change the government,” says Andrew Little.

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