Salvation Army braces for demand as CIRP benefits run out | The Salvation Army

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Salvation Army braces for demand as CIRP benefits run out

Man sitting with santa hat and covid mask
Posted November 16, 2020

Thousands more people may be without income and looking for work as Christmas approaches. Many of the 27,000 people who ceased receiving the 12-week Covid-19 Income Relief Payments (CIRP) may not have gone into paid work. The application period for CIRP ended last week (13 Nov), and only one in ten people who have already finished the CIRP stopped receiving it because they found work.

While some people have been able to transition onto the Jobseeker benefit, more than 20,000 may not have been eligible for other Government support.

Added to this is the extra 37,000 people who lost their jobs in the three months to September – the biggest quarterly increase since 1986 – bringing the number of New Zealanders unemployed to 151,000, 5.3 percent of the population.

This is expected to translate in a 20 percent increase in demand for Salvation Army support with Christmas food and gifts this year.

“Increasingly, our clients are severely stressed and anxious about how to get through the festive season, and, beyond that, what the future holds,” The Salvation Army Director of Community Ministries, Jono Bell, says.

Already, 92 percent of clients who use our financial mentoring service have incomes of less than $50,000 a year, with 22 percent earning less than $20,000 a year.

“The pressure on our clients and their whānau to make ends meet is enormous, and Covid-19 has added more uncertainty,” Jono says.

The Salvation Army offers immediate welfare support, food and housing, but our remit goes far beyond this.

We believe in giving people a hand-up, not a hand-out. We walk alongside people and offer practical support to improve their situations. We offer budgeting services, low- or no-interest loans and advocate on behalf of people to lift them out of spiralling debt. Our Positive Lifestyle Programmes help people make lasting change for themselves and their whānau. We support people into sustainable housing and we help people who are suffering with addictions. Most importantly, we really listen to people. We offer hope.

This Christmas, more people than ever need hope in their lives.

Give the Gift of Hope today. Here’s how:

  • Give a Gift of Hope online at
  • Donate securely through our website
  • Phone 0800 53 00 00 to make a secure phone donation using your credit card.
  • You can also donate via Internet Banking—The Salvation Army bank account is BNZ 02 0568 0091726 00. If you have a Supporter number, please enter this in the 'Reference' field on your online payment form.
  • Email us at to become a True Hero, to make regular monthly donations.

For enquiries contact: The Salvation Army Territorial Media Officer, 021 945 337, email:

Updated: 17 Nov 2020, 6:45am