A $20 million drop in food grants made to struggling families is because of hurdles introduced by the Government, community groups say.
The Social Development Ministry said the fall was because fewer people were applying for them.
Figures released under the Official Information Act show special needs grants for food have gone from $56.5 million (548,802 grants) in the 2009 - 2010 year to $36.6 million (351,691) grants in the 2013 - 2014 year.
But community groups said people now had to show they had taken reasonable steps to manage their money after receiving two payments in any 12 month period, and that was discouraging those in need from applying.
There's a simple way to see who's right here: has need dropped? The best proxy is probably foodbank parcels, but that's not something the government keeps statistics on. But there is some data: in 2010-11, the Auckland City Mission handed out 9,000 food parcels. According to their front page, that tally is currently over 11,000. So no, need hasn't dropped - and if anything, has grown. And thanks to National's cost-cutting WINZ is failing to respond to that need.
The purpose of our welfare system is to make sure that nobody in New Zealand goes homeless or starves, and that everyone can enjoy a dignified life regardless of the vicissitudes of fortune. National has basicly given up on that goal. But if government isn't going to do this, then we really have to ask what the fuck its for, and why we're paying a pack of wankers in Wellington fat salaries to ignore the country's problems.