Government cuts leading to continued hardship for tens of thousands | The Salvation Army

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Government cuts leading to continued hardship for tens of thousands

Winter Appeal 2024
Posted July 4, 2024

The coalition Government’s cuts to social services are leading to continued hardship for tens of thousands of New Zealanders and The Salvation Army cannot keep up with demand.

In the first six months of this year alone, The Salvation Army has provided food assistance to more than 60,000 New Zealanders.

The increased cost of living and recent Government decisions means The Salvation Army Winter Appeal, launched this week, is more important than ever.

The Salvation Army's National Director of Community Ministries, Jono Bell, says inflation, changes to social support and housing insecurity have created the perfect storm for poverty.

“These complex issues impacting people’s wellbeing, along with Government decisions, has led to increased hardship for tens of thousands of New Zealanders. People on the lowest incomes are not getting the increases in income to keep pace with rising expenses.

“And the harsh reality is that we don't have enough funds to service the need we're seeing on the front line.”

The Salvation Army has had to cut its food response by 25 percent across the country from 1 July as it does not have the funds to keep sustaining the demand.

“This Winter Appeal we’re asking generous Kiwis to step up and support people who are doing it tough in their community,” says Jono.

Donations support The Salvation Army’s community-based social services that provide crucial help and hope for struggling families. These lifesaving services include supported accommodation, foodbanks, financial mentoring and counselling and addiction services.

Since 1 January, The Salvation Army has distributed more than 38,830 food parcels and provided food assistance to 60,873 people.

Over the same period, The Salvation Army helped 1,167 people and a further 1,935 dependents through their Transitional Housing Programme. It also provided 33,733 social work sessions.

“We are seeing the absolute worst on the frontline,” says Jono, who has worked at The Salvation Army for nearly two decades.

“And it’s worrying when people who are working and studying to get ahead can’t afford adequate housing. Whole families living in damp, single garages because of the rising cost of living having to battle indoor flooding when it rains and caring for desperately sick children because of the damp.

“The issues are complex, and they need a thoughtful, long-term solution. The Government needs a cross-sector plan and strategy towards food security because we know it isn’t going to go away. This is something The Salvation Army is more than happy to get behind because we’re on the frontline, so we know what the problems are, and we also know what the solutions look like.”

The Salvation Army is already putting effort into long-term solutions for food security and sustainable housing; however, it sees people needing immediate support.

But providing that immediate support is getting harder, as The Salvation Army faces huge demand and increasing cost pressures.

"We aren’t immune to increasing costs and with the level of demand continually so high, our Winter Appeal is critical to meet demand for the basics in life,” says Jono.

More information about the Winter Appeal, including how to donate, is available on The Salvation Army website at:

The Salvation Army Territorial Media Officer, 021 945 337, email: (The Media Officer responds to enquiries from media outlets and journalists. If you would like to donate, are in need of help, or have some other non-media-related enquiry, please call 0800 53 00 00.)