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Māori, Pasifika over-representation in child poverty stats 'heart-breaking' - South Auckland foodbank staff

Staff at a South Auckland foodbank say the latest child poverty statistics don’t capture the brunt of the Covid-19 hardship and say the over-representation of Māori and Pasifika in the data is "heart-breaking".

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Staff at Buttabean Motivation foodbank in South Auckland say latest child poverty statistics don’t capture the brunt of hardship that came as a result of Covid. Source: Breakfast

Buttabean Motivation foodbank staff member Fuatino Laban said the child poverty statistics released yesterday which showed 11 per cent of children (125,200) were still living in material hardship, a 2.2 per cent drop from the previous year were “skewed”.

The report said 19 per cent of Māori children were in material hardship as well as 25.4 per cent of Pasifika children based on household surveys taken in the nine months up to March 2020, where all face-to-face meetings ceased due to Covid-19.

“During the winter was so hard, families coming through asking for blankets, heaters, using clothing to sleep under,” Laban told Breakfast.

“Those figures are a bit skewed because we don’t capture the whole essence of the pandemic.”

Laban said they were seeing more families at the foodbank, with a number of the same whānau from March 2020 before the pandemic.

“We’re still seeing no improvement, yes the stats might look better, I know the Government has a lot of initiatives, we need to hasten the work,” Laban said.

“There needs to be something done urgently, especially for our Māori and Pasifika because they’re the ones that are overrepresented in those statistics.”