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The number of food hardship grants paid out since the last election has more than doubled in Onehunga as everyday Kiwis are being hammered by the rising cost of living, Maungakiekie MP Denise Lee says.

“In the September quarter, 1228 food hardship grants were paid out from the Ministry of Social Development’s Onehunga service centre. That’s up from 539 per quarter when this Government came into office.

“The Government has tried to justify hardship grants as people getting what they’re entitled to, but time and time again, my constituents have told me they’re doing it harder under Labour.

“Rents are up an average of $55 a week because of the Government’s poor policy-making decisions, and petrol taxes have been piled on. The Government is completely out of touch with how its decisions are affecting everyday lives.

“In addition to the extreme rise in food hardship grants, Onehunga has also seen a 146 per cent increase in the number of benefit advances, and a 70 per cent increase in the number of emergency housing special needs grants.

“With Christmas approaching, this is a stressful and pressured time of year so these figures deserve closer scrutiny and quicker action from the Government.

“Maungakiekie families are doing it tougher under Labour. More and more New Zealanders are struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

“I recently saw the amazing work of the Onehunga ‘Embracing Homeless and Families in Need’ group to support those struggling, but we shouldn’t have to rely on these organisations to fill the gap.

“National will revive the economy. We will restore business confidence, ensure Kiwis get to keep more of what they earn and we will make sensible policy decisions that won't hit our families in the back pocket.  

“New Zealanders cannot afford this Government.”

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