Protester's plea to minister
A hunger striker on his 27th day without food has written an open letter to Social Development Minister Paula Bennett pleading with her to stop "stalling policies" on food grants.
Sam is now into his 28th day of a hunger strike protesting the disgraceful manner Paula Bennett's new policies are hurting the hungry.
A beneficiary can apply for food vouchers but only 3 times before they are sent to a budget adviser. In Sam's case it was a 2 week waiting list to see the budget advisor before they would give him a food voucher. What exactly are beneficiaries supposed to do without any food for two weeks?
This entire exercise was made even more futile for Sam as he had already seen the budget advisor and the problem was lack of money to pay for the basics, not feckless spending.
No wonder he took to the WINZ office with a hammer from his wheelchair.
Why can't Paula end Sam's hunger strike and just meet with him and allow him the dignity of explaining to her how her policy is hurting those who are most vulnerable?
Paula could end this hunger strike by giving Sam the meeting he wants. While she avoids the issue of poverty, Sam gets sicker and 270 000 kids remain in poverty.
We can't measure child poverty, but we can monitor 30 000 'at risk' children? I love how Paula does everything except confront poverty