Standardista Macro writes:
An excellent article on Tui Motu on food security in New Zealand.
CHRIS FARRELLY reflects on the hope of the City Mission to realise the Maori proverb: Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi. With your food basket and my food basket, the people will be well.
For the three weeks leading up to Christmas, hundreds of people queued for food parcels every day outside the Auckland City Mission. Some slept on the footpath overnight, waiting up to nine hours in all weathers — in the glare of the public and the media — on one of Auckland’s busiest streets. They were days of shame, questioning, generosity, gratitude and pain. In those three weeks the Mission gave out 4,677 food parcels — 64,000 individual meals.
Each individual in the queue was part of a greater family unit. There were always children involved somewhere. Usually they were waiting at home with another family member, but sometimes — desperately — they stood in line with their mothers.
Next to the Salvation Army (nationwide), the Auckland City Mission is the second largest charitable distributor of food in New Zealand. Through our assessments and research last year, we learned that for families receiving our food assistance on average each family member had just $21.94 per week available for grocery items, including toiletries, cleaners and other items. That is $3.13 per day.
This is food insecurity and food poverty and it is widespread. The University of Otago 2016 Food Survey estimates basic weekly food costs are $64 per week for a man, $55 for a woman, $67 for an adolescent boy, $40 for a five-year-old and $27 for a one-year-old.
Food insecurity is the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food on a day-to-day basis, and an assured ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways, for example, without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, begging or stealing as other coping strategies.
The rest of the article examines the responsibilities of Central Government – which as the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, recently noted – that governments are in danger of failing in their duty “to project” under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (IESCR), which states that all citizens should have access to an adequate diet without having to compromise other basic needs.
As the article points out – the problem of food insecurity is especially difficult for Māori and in complete contravention of the country’s obligations under Te Triti.
In our country Te Tiriti o Waitangi offers an added dimension of protection for Māori and protection of their treasures — of which food is one of the greatest. We cannot focus on food insecurity without addressing the terrible reality that those suffering most are Māori, and as such Te Tiriti is being violated. And the problem has deep-seated roots; in his book Whaiora Professor Sir Mason Durie has linked food insecurity for Māori to early colonial policies.
It was this very real canker that lies at the heart of our society that lead Metiria Turei to campaign on the real need to eliminate poverty in this country. We need to continue to press hard for social justice to roll down like a river, and in doing so –
As we address the unjust issue of food insecurity in Aotearoa New Zealand, we must ask what gifts are we bringing in our food basket and how can we enable others to contribute in a way that restores voice, dignity and mana.
I recommend reading the whole article here.