The Green Party is calling on the Government to urgently increase the support available for people who are struggling to afford to put food on the table.
Data released today from Stats NZ confirms the largest year-on-year increase in food prices for 13 years.
“The Green Party will never accept an Aotearoa where some people are forced to go hungry because they cannot afford to put a meal on the table. We are calling on the Government to immediately increase support so people can afford nutritious food for them and their families,” says Ricardo Menéndez March, spokesperson for commerce and consumer affairs
“There is little doubt that the ongoing inequality crisis is putting huge pressure on the ability of many to afford a healthy meal. There is no reason why we cannot ensure every family can afford the food they need now and in the future. The solutions exist to fix this.
“The first step the Government needs to take is to immediately boost people’s incomes, including those who rely on benefits to make ends meet. The Green Party is clear that everyone should have an income that is enough to pay the bills and live a good life.
“Even before the current cost of living pressures, tens of thousands of families were being forced to go without basic necessities. But as costs have gone up, incomes have changed very little. People are having to make what they have go even further. This puts families under extreme mental stress and forces people to survive on the cheapest food, which can make existing health inequalities even worse.
“The second step is to implement a high trust model to access food grants from Work and Income. The Government showed us that access to food grants can be improved, as they temporarily doubled the number of food grants you can have during the first year of the pandemic.
"People shouldn’t have to be put through dehumanising processes to prove their hardship and every decision scrutinised by Work and Income to access food grants. It simply doesn't make any sense if they are not enough to cover the cost of food.
“Finally, we need 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.