National | Budget

Community social services expect increase in demand despite Budget announcement

While the Wage Subsidy has been extended in today's Budget, more jobs are expected to be cut in the coming weeks.

Community help groups are therefore expecting to see an increase in demand for their services as families continue to feel the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Māngere Budgeting Service CEO Darryl Evans says, "We will see more redundancies, certainly in tourism and restaurants etc and possibly the retail sector so I was pleased to see today that there is an additional 3.2 billion in the wage subsidy but going back to food parcels we've seen numbers like we've never seen before."

Evans says they have distributed more food parcels each week than their usual busy time of the year, Christmas.  He believes that will continue for some time.

"Many went back to work in Level 3, so they've come and queued for in many cases for three to four hours. As I've said on the one Friday we had 798 people queuing in our car park, which is just we've never seen it," Evan explains.

This Budget, $32 million has been budgeted to go towards food banks like the one Māngere Budgeting has provided for eight years, largely with no funding.

"We've been a food bank that's traditionally never purchased food because we've had donations of food from local supermarkets like Pakn Save for example, through the last seven weeks we've been having to buy food, and we've been spending around $10,000 a week," says Evans.

It's not only the poor that Evans has seen reach out for financial services, or for food parcels.

"We've heard of many people and in actual fact some of my volunteers giving out food made comments about people driving into the car park in relatively nice cars, well two months ago most of those people were in full-time work and so they could afford the repayments on those very nice cars."

Evans, however, is confident that New Zealand will eventually recover, and become the "land of milk of honey".