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Families package 'will make a difference to children in poverty'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Government’s announcement of the $5.53 billion Families Package yesterday will have a significant impact on the lives of many of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people - our children, says Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly.

"The Families Package is a deliberate attempt to reach families who are struggling the most," Mr Farrelly says. "It will put cash in the pockets of people who desperately need it."

The Families Package is projected to lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021. According to the Child Poverty Monitor, which was released last week, 135,000 Kiwi kids - 12% of all children in New Zealand - regularly go without the things they need, and a further 6% - 70,000 children - are living experiencing even worse hardship.

Over the past week and a half since the Auckland City Mission started distributing Christmas emergency food parcels and gifts, over 2,000 needy families have come into the Hobson Street Drop-In Centre for assistance. The majority of those waiting in the queue for help are women with children, says Mr Farrelly, and they are exhausted and under immense stress from trying to survive in the face of inadequate resources.

"The number-one thing these families tell us would help them to improve their lives right now is having more money," he says.

Mum-of-three Ashley, who lives in Glen Innes, is among those who stand to benefit from the Families Package. After paying board and other bills, there’s hardly any money left over for food and power, she says. She has brought her one-year-old son with her to the City Mission because she can’t afford childcare. She’ll receive a modest food parcel, WINZ special needs grant, and Christmas presents for her children after waiting in the queue for several hours. "I wish I didn’t have to come here," Ashley says. "But we’re lucky there are places like this, where there are services to help."

"We see families like Ashley’s every single day at the City Mission," says Mr Farrelly. "Her story is heartbreakingly familiar to us. And while the Families Package will make a difference to her life and the lives of her children when it kicks off, families living in poverty are still in desperate need of help right now.

"Poverty doesn’t take a break over Christmas, and it doesn’t stop while the Government sorts out the finer points of the Budget," he continues. "While the Families Package is a welcome step in the right direction, we still need your help to be there for Aucklanders in desperate need, particularly children, over the holidays and into the New Year."

The City Mission is accepting donations at A donation of $65 will give a family of four enough to eat over Christmas. Donations of new and unwrapped children’s Christmas gifts can be dropped off at the City Mission’s Hobson Street Drop-in Centre at 140 Hobson Street, Auckland CBD or at many local libraries across Auckland.

The Mission’s annual Christmas appeal is running until 15th January 2018.

- 80 per cent of the Mission’s operating costs are funded by donations.

- The Mission needs your help to provide 8,000 children with Christmas presents this Christmas.

- Last year the Mission distributed almost 13,000 emergency food parcels to individuals and families in need. 4,000 of these were distributed in December.

Please donate to the Mission’s Christmas Appeal today at

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