Food security: 1000s of New Zealanders live on about $6.50 a day

Food shortage

Thousands of Auckland families are forced to feed themselves on about $6:50 a meal this winter, Auckland City Mission says.

Its Social Services general manager Helen Robinson (pictured above) said that, for many families, once they had paid rent, debts, power, transport and medical costs, there was little left to spend on food.

Robinson said that an economist’s assessment found that a family of three supported by a single breadwinner working a 40-hour week on pay just above minimum wage would have $6.43 per person per day for food.

“Which is simply, as you and I know, just not enough,” she told Breakfast host John Campbell.

People often pay the rent, electricity, send their children to school and pay medical bills, but end up having to reduce costs on food – including the kind of food and amount of it, Robinson said.

“Being food-insecure affects your physical health, it affects your mental wellbeing, it affects your ability to learn at school, relationships you have, it affects your spirit,” she said.

Statistics recently released by the Ministry of Health showed one in five Kiwi children were living with “food insecurity”, meaning there was an uncertain or limited amount of food available to them.

The City Mission is launching its annual winter appeal. It is trying to raise awareness and funds to support those facing insecurity about where their next meal comes from.

“Our appeal is looking to raise money to continue to run the services and support we provide to Auckland’s vulnerable citizens, we also want to try to raise awareness of food insecurity and how devastating, wide-reaching and long term the effects can be,” Robinson said.

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