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Going hungry in New Zealand | it’s not on!

Trevor McGlinchy

Executive Officerphoto of Trevor McGlinchey

New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services

 

“Not having enough food means I have no energy and getting food consumes my thoughts” **

Not knowing where your next meal is coming from, or “food insecurity”, in a country like New Zealand is not on.  We are a food producing, first world nation.  Yet food insecurity is a reality faced by too many of us.The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, the Auckland City Mission and the Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit have been talking about the need for structural change to ensure new Zealanders don’t go hungry. The Peter McKenzie Project has provided a small seed fund to help extend this conversation.  We would really like to talk to food charities and organisations that seek the kinds of changes in New Zealand’s social and economic policies which will mean people won’t need to rely on charity to feed themselves and their families. If you want to be part of this conversation then please email us at: admin@nzccss.org.nz .

The last government encouraged a charitable response to food insecurity, choosing to work with charities to meet the needs of hungry school children through charity and social entrepreneur provided breakfasts and lunches.  Many other first world countries choose to feed their children through State funded school lunch programmes.

Families who struggle to put food on the table go to foodbanks, food rescue centres and other charities to try and make ends meet. The Salvation Army reported the numbers of food parcels they distribute continues to grow each year, from 34,000 parcels in 2008 to 63,000 in 2017.  Other members of the NZ Council of Christian Social Services also report a similar or even more dramatic increases in demand for food. Many community based and national organisations have grown to respond to this need and to feed the hungry amongst us.

Honestly, is it right that so many ordinary New Zealand families don’t know where their next meal is coming from?  The charitable provision of food has hidden the level of food insecurity in New Zealand.  It also hides the impacts on the wellbeing of those who suffer from it.  Our strong charitable response allows for a continuation of government policies which rely on charity to disguise the persistent lack of sufficient nutritious food for many New Zealand’s citizens. What is really needed is structural change that will ensure New Zealanders don’t go hungry.

Let’s start talking about the changes that are needed. We look forward to hearing from you.

**“Charlotte”, quoted in the Families 100 Project, Auckland City Mission, 2014

 

This blog has been contributed by a member of the ComVoices network

ComVoices is a Wellington based network of national community and voluntary sector organisations. It was established so that sector organisations would have a more powerful voice at Government level and in the community.

Click here for our websitehttp://comvoices.org.nz/