Food prices demand urgent action

The Green Party is calling on the Government to ensure that as a nation which produces enough food to feed 40 million people, everyone in New Zealand can put an abundance of nourishing, nutritious kai on the table.  

“People need liveable incomes and a grocery sector that puts the wellbeing of the communities and the environment before profits,” says Ricardo Menéndez March, spokesperson for commerce and consumer affairs.

Data released today from Stats NZ confirms that over the last 12 months the average price of food has increased by 7.4 percent. Fruit and vegetables have gone up even further, with prices now10 percent higher than they were one year ago. 

“Everyone should have access to an abundance of nourishing kai. But right now, we’re at the mercy of  international markets which put profit before people and giant corporations who are pushing the price of food out of reach for many families. 

“And we know the impact this is having. Even before the current cost of living pressures, more than one in four children living in some of the country’s worst-off families were going without fresh fruit and vegetables. Around one in five kids also said they were living in households where food runs out. Our recent people’s inquiry into student wellbeing showed that students often go hungry. 

“The evidence cannot be any clearer: there is an inequality crisis in New Zealand and people need immediate support to ensure they can access nutritious food for them and their families. 

“There are two very clear ways that the Government can make it possible for every family to afford the food they need now and in the future. The first is to immediately make the cost of living payment available to people on benefits as part of a plan to boost benefits to liveable levels. 

“The second is a long-term food strategy to ensure the people who produce, distribute and consume food – rather than the demands of global markets and profit hungry corporations – are at the heart of food systems and policies. Such a strategy should include plans to adequately invest in mahinga kai, farmers markets, urban food gardens, and publicly owned venues for growers to sell their produce to communities,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.