Food insecurity is an urgent problem that governments must solve.
“The hungrier the hunger, the more anxious,” said Helen Robinson, a missionary from Oakland City.
“Thousands of us don’t have enough money to buy food.”
she should know Over the past decade, the demand for City Mission food parcels has increased year by year.
“We went from 9,000 to 65,000. The number of people suffering from food insecurity is enormous.
“Food prices rose 12% in the year to April, the biggest increase since 1987.”
Robinson hoped last week’s budget proposals might help.
So does Susan St. John, an economist and spokesperson for the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).
The budget is the biggest opportunity for policymakers, St. John said. They can change the system that keeps Whanau impoverished. You can also choose to keep the status quo.
“The 2023 budget was short-sighted,” she says.
“We could not give money to families struggling to meet basic living expenses.
“This budget was supposed to enable a reformed and effective way of working for families.
“It’s disgusting to hear that ‘if you give low-income families enough income to feed their families, it will lead to inflation.’ says.
“Poverty was robbing the family of their dreams, and there was little budget to change this.”
Policy changes may have an effect
St. John’s recommendations for immediate mitigation include two things:
- The Workers’ Tax Credit (IWTC) is incorporated into the family tax credit, making one payment for all low-income children.
This would be a highly targeted and highly effective way to reduce child poverty, she said. We provide a higher level of support only to those who do not currently have an IWTC.
St. John says it will cost about $500 million a year.
Another of her proposals addresses the low- and middle-income poverty trap in paid work.
- It is necessary to raise the standard for income subsidy reduction and reduce the reduction rate from 27% to 20%.
Now they face an impossible “reversal,” she says.
If you earn beyond a very low threshold, you may only receive a few cents on your dollar. This is because income support has weakened (reduced) very quickly in some areas and continues to fall into the poverty trap.
Kate Prickett of the University of Victoria is also concerned that the budget doesn’t make systemic changes for families.
She is the director of the Roy Mackenzie Center for Family and Child Studies.
Prickett said the goal of lifting children out of poverty has not been met.
“We have no intention of exacerbating child poverty without implementing bold measures to help families left behind.”
She suggests helping with:
- Working households swaying at the poverty line
- Families in the Pacific who contribute to the economy and community but may be less eligible for assistance due to lack of residency status
- Families who are unable to work or whose work may be limited due to care needs (e.g. Warnow with disabilities)
This week’s budget is woefully inadequate, she says.
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https://cathnews.co.nz/2023/05/22/food-insecurity-not-fixed-with-budget-crumbs/ food insecure, budget short and starving