Choice will be fuel or food

The chief executive of Presbyterian Support Northern, Bonnie Robinson, said struggling families will be forced to choose food over fuel.


The organisation helps families through budgeting, social work, food security and other support programmes.


Robinson said it's preparing for increased demand in food banks when the fuel tax cut is removed at the end of June. "People need fuel to get to their jobs, and for many of those who use our services, when fuel prices go up, food costs are the only thing they can trim."


She said the cost of living sees very little left over after paying the rent, the utilities, doctor, petrol, school uniforms and fees. "The families we work with are struggling with the rising cost of living, and those struggles worsen or create other problems in their lives.


"Our services are running at full capacity, and need is high. "At our food bank in Auckland, we are already starting to stock up on the essentials in preparation for a surge in demand." She said the Mt Roskill foodbank feeds more than 100 families each week and is urging the Government to address the cost of living crisis in more detail.


"Social service providers can provide food and clothing but if we want people to be able to do it themselves, that’s in the hands of the Government.


"What we want when they are looking at those things is that the most vulnerable are taken into account. They [the Government] should be looking to what Australia is doing and asking can we learn from that? - how is it done elsewhere and how can we learn from that?"


Robinson was referring to Australia's move to take GST off certain basic food items, meaning healthy food is more affordable resulting in an overall cheaper grocery bill.


"It’s all about the basics - cheaper groceries should be available no matter what’s going on in the economy."

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