National | Carmel Sepuloni

$7 million boost in funding for food security networks

The government is continuing to strengthen the safety net for those who require food and essential goods, with a $7 million boost in funding for food security networks operating at alert level 4, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni announced Saturday.

The extra funding will help with the distribution of an additional 60,000 food parcels and 10,000 wellbeing packs, through providers such as those that are part of the Community Connection Service.

“There are providers and organisations right across the country who are working tirelessly to support our people, whānau and communities most impacted by the current outbreak,” Minister Sepuloni said. “This funding aims to help them meet the increase in demand and to support the tremendous effort that is going into keeping everyone safe.”

“Government is being responsive and continuously looking at how to support need as it arises so that for example people can continue to access food and other essential items like necessities for babies, sanitary products, and masks.

“As always, I’m keeping a watchful eye to make sure there’s enough funding for existing food providers, and the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) will continue to keep in close touch with them to ensure they’re supported to meet demand through any alert level changes.

“The Delta variant is a game-changer and has brought new challenges, including the large number of people who’ve become ‘close contacts’ and the need to self-isolate. It’s important we minimise movement so the virus doesn’t spread, which means whole communities that would normally pull together and support each other are much less able to do so.

“I want to remind whānau in need to keep using the wide range of support available through MSD. We’ve allocated extra money to existing services so people have timely access to immediate and longer-term support packages, in addition to a $2.8 million top-up last week.

“Aotearoa has felt the effects of Alert Level 4 before, and I know that given we have been here before, we can get through it again.” Minister Sepuloni said.