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Empty Food Baskets. Food Poverty in Whangarei

The work and results reported here show a frightening picture for too many children in Whangarei.  The responses of the local communities as schools, community and social service groups provide support and assistance for families and children are clear and well documented and invaluable.  The challenge is for government to respond with a range of policies which will make a real and significant contribution to reducing child poverty.   

Download the full report here   

In a country that has long been a major food producer it is scandalous that so many New Zealanders report going without food in order to make ends meet.  The fact that this is the experience of so many New Zealand children makes the scandal even worse.  The effects of this lack of food (‘food insecurity’ to use the technical phrase) are seen by teachers daily in the school classroom and is experienced by children in both their educational achievements and in their relationships with their peers. 

One of the most tangible results of the growth in child poverty over the last two decades in New Zealand has been the increase in foodbanks and in school meal programmes and arrangements within schools to provide food for children.  This report adds significantly to the literature we now have in New Zealand about foodbanks, food shortage and food insecurity. 

One of the worst aspects of the growth in child poverty and in the numbers of children not having enough to eat has been the complete failure of government to respond sensibly and effectively.  The failure to put in place effective and appropriate policies to reduce child poverty tells us very clearly that children are not very important.  Words are easy, but actions (or perhaps here inaction) is a much clearer signal of how little children really matter, especially if those children are poor.  

The work and results reported here show a frightening picture for too many children in Whangarei.  The responses of the local communities as schools, community and social service groups provide support and assistance for families and children are clear and well documented and invaluable.  The challenge is for government to respond with a range of policies which will make a real and significant contribution to reducing child poverty.    

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