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Government ramps up spending on welfare, food support for vulnerable Kiwis

The Government has boosted its spending on welfare assistance and food delivery around New Zealand, with a number of Kiwis struggling to feed themselves during lockdown.

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In some areas, demand for food banks has soared by 900 per cent. Source: 1 NEWS

Demand for food banks in some areas have spiked 900 per cent and the number of people receiving food grants from the Government has tripled compared to this time last year.

Today Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare announced another $30 million support package, on top of a previous $27 million boost in March.

The money will be used to help support local foodbanks, community food organisations and other welfare providers, as well as funding emergency accommodation and Civil Defence food parcels.

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Through the Civil Defence packages, particularly vulnerable people can contact their local emergency management group for deliveries where they're otherwise struggling.

"This additional funding will ensure local authorities and CDEM Groups will be well placed to increase immediate Covid-19 related welfare support needs through multiple channels," Mr Henare says.

"Moving to Alert Level 3 next Tuesday is the best decision for lives and livelihoods and New Zealanders have helped us get there. In turn we will support those who need assistance."

Mr Henare says the package is to support areas with significant need, identifying South Auckland and other low socioeconomic communities and rural areas as those with a growing number of people who are desperately in need.

In South Auckland today, queues for Mangere Budgeting Service snaked around the corner as people waited hours for assistance.

"Some of them have waited two hours, we're having to go out with trollies of food feeding them," Mangere Budgeting Services' Darryl Evans says.

Demand was so high, people were eventually stopped from joining the queue for fear food would run out.

"Today was manic, it's the busiest day we've ever had," Mr Evans says.