Food parcel demand at Chch City Mission up 30% in past year

Source: 1News

The demand for food parcels in Christchurch has skyrocketed 30% in the past year, according to Christchurch City Missioner Corinne Haines.

The battle over the rising cost of living and prices at the supermarket check-out has heated up.

It comes as Kiwis around the country grapple with a cost of living crisis and record-high grocery prices.

"We are seeing people who perhaps wouldn't have come to a food bank before, people who're coming for the first time, people who actually have a reasonable salary, sometimes even two salaries in a household," Haines told Breakfast.

"But they just can't make ends meet now because of the increase in the cost of rent, the increase in the cost of petrol, the increase in food and other demands that are on them."

She said the issue will likely continue for sometime and the City Mission is desperate for any help.

"Never more have we needed help than we need it today."

She said lots of Kiwis move to Christchurch thinking it will be cheaper to live there compared to other parts of New Zealand.

"The problem is when they move from somewhere else to Christchurch, they also don't have a support network around them, they don't have families, they don't have friends."

READ MORE: Cost of fruit and vegetables rises by 10%

Haines also said finding accommodation in Christchurch can be difficult and rental prices have gone up.

"Rental prices have gone up say 4%, foods gone up 6%, petrol's gone up 30%.

"I mean all of those things mean when you move to a new city and you've got no resources, no base to start with and you've got nowhere to live, I mean who do you turn to but the people who look after the vulnerable people in the city?" she said.

David Verry of North Harbour Budgeting Services (based on Auckland's North Shore) told Breakfast the problem isn't exclusive to lower socioeconomic groups.

"The same thing as the city missions are seeing with the 30% increase in that year, we're seeing that same increase in the demand for financial mentoring.

"It's just quite prolific, people are suffering, we're talking about all the same things - the food prices, the petrol, the rent and the mortgages," Verry said.

He said the majority of his clients have jobs but financially they're "in trouble."

"They're in trouble not only because of the cost of living but again typically that comes with debts, the tragic thing we're seeing at the moment is that people are turning to their credit cards and to buy now pay later schemes to cover basics like food."

In May the Government announced its response to the Commerce Commission’s study into the supermarket duopoly of Foodstuffs and Countdown.

Supermarkets will be forced to allow rival retailers access to groceries at reasonable conditions and be monitored annually to check there’s enough competition.