18 Apr 2019

Access to hardship grants hits record high

2:29 pm on 18 April 2019

The number of people seeking assistance to eat and live has hit a record high.

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Photo: RNZ/ Rebekah Parsons-King

Figures from the Ministry of Social Development for the March 2019 Quarter showed that hardship assistance grants increased by $48 million in the past year.

They also showed the emergency housing grants went from $6.6m to $23m, and there were 70,000 extra requests for assistance for food.

National Social Development spokesperson Louise Uptson said the government promised to reduce child poverty, but more New Zealanders were struggling to live day-to-day.

"The Families Package they introduced last year was meant to help low income families and those families who were worse off.

"That absolutely hasn't worked when we've seen significant increases in people seeking help for food and housing."

More than $100 million was paid out in hardship grants by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in the last three months of 2018.

The benefit figures showed that more than 385,000 grants were made in the December quarter of 2018 - an increase of almost 95,000 on the same period the previous year.

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