On the third and final day of AAAP’s beneficiary impact at Mangere organisers were stunned by the size and desperation of the crowd waiting for our help this morning.
“When we arrived around 7am we discovered hundreds outside. People had been here overnight, sleeping in cars and on the street,” says AAAP spokesperson Sue Bradford.
“Because of limits on how many people Work & Income can see in one day (around 250) we were forced to start sending people away from very early on, including a large family who had driven all the way from Whangarei to get a food grant and others with babies in their arms who had walked for miles to get here.
“It is shocking that in a comparatively well off country people are reduced to these levels of despair and need.
“It is atrocious that local Work & Income offices won’t provide food grants and other benefits as a matter of course to people who clearly fit criteria for assistance.
“All of us at AAAP are deeply saddened by having to turn away so many hundreds of people.
“This is a result of policy and culture imposed from the Cabinet on down aimed at keeping as many people on the minimum support possible.
“I wish that Anne Tolley and John Key could be here this morning to see the true face of what their welfare and housing policies are inflicting on so many people.
“AAAP calls for a complete overhaul of New Zealand’s social security system so that people receive enough to live on and get their full entitlements from Work & Income as a matter of course.
“In the long run we need a progressive UBI (Universal Basic Income) and a government commitment to decent jobs, adequate housing and affordable education for all.
“We are here at Mangere until later this afternoon: Pukapuka Community Centre, 24 Canning Cresc, Mangere, next door to the Mangere Work & Income office.”