Greens urge more support for vulnerable families in lockdown

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Green Party calls on the Government to urgently provide relief for people and families doing it tough, as a new report from the Salvation Army shows the need for emergency food parcels and welfare support escalating.

“Now more than ever, COVID-19 has shown us how much how much we rely on each other,” says Ricardo Menéndez March, Green Party spokesperson for Social Development & Employment.

“The need for emergency food parcels has grown as families who rely on food in schools programmes struggle to put food on the table, and as the emergency benefit for migrants ended this week.

“Whānau facing food insecurity are less able to stay at home and play their part in our elimination strategy.

“As the Salvation Army says, ‘food hardship is always a symptom of other issues facing that person or whānau’ and the easiest, most direct way of helping is to ensure whānau have enough income.

“We support the urgent call from the Salvation Army today to bring forward the April 2022 benefit increases immediately, to make housing hardship grants more easily available, introduce rent freezes, and to ensure migrant workers have access to the emergency benefit.

“Our Government partner should focus their resources on those families who disproportionately feel the impacts of lockdown, and ensure our communities are supported for the current and any future outbreaks. The tools that would ease food insecurity immediately are already in the toolbox.

“We acknowledge the hard work our charitable organisations are doing, but the Government should step up and not let people rely on volunteer efforts to have enough food on the table”.

“Bringing forward benefit increases and extending the emergency benefit for migrants are common sense approaches to supporting our communities right now.”

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