INDEPENDENT NEWS

Student food banks – a summer reality again

Published: Fri 15 Oct 1999 11:21 AM
University students associations are looking at establishing food banks again this summer to cope with the number of students no longer eligible for the Community Wage-student due to government restrictions.
"It is disturbing that once again students association are going to have to pick up the shortfalls of government policy" said Karen Skinner Co-President of the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA). "Hundreds of students were forced into the humiliating position of relying on food p
arcels in order to eat last summer, now it looks like we will face this again."
The government policy change in the 1998 budget means that only students who receive an allowance during the term time are eligible for the Community Wage – student (Emergency Unemployment Benefit) over summer. It was estimated that 10,000 students were unable to receive any form of income suppor
t over summer if they could not find work.
"This adds to the embarrassing reality in this country – that some people do not have enough money to eat or feed their children, while the rich enjoy tax cuts.
"Last summer we had students forced to live in their cars, over crowded flats with extra people who could not afford their rent, students dropping out of study to go onto the dole. The most disturbing case was a flat full of women forced to go to an escort agency – desperate to get enough money f
or food and rent" said Ms Skinner.
"It is hard enough for most students to manage during the term time when at worst the student loan scheme is an option. Over summer students have no help – apart from their student association food banks.
"It’s time for a change, and we hope that a new government will realise the true impact of these extreme policy moves" concluded Ms Skinner.
ends

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