I've lost count of the number of news reports I've read about the increasing demand being experienced by the country's food banks.

Here's an extract from a typical story that appeared in the Marlborough Express just a couple of days ago.

Crossroads Marlborough Charity Trust reopened this week and had already seen new faces come in for food.

John's Kitchen, organised by the group, put on its first weekly free meal last night.

Trust chairwoman Yvonne Dasler said the charity was steeling itself for a busy year, as higher expenses put the squeeze on family budgets.

"There's a greater number of middle-class people coming in," she said. "The food prices are astronomical. I was in the supermarket a couple of days ago and two people in front of me had to put items back because they couldn't afford them. People are going without."

The ugly reality is that work alone doesn't ensure a docent standard of living in New Zealand. Even people in jobs are facing a constant difficulties putting food on the table, paying the rent, covering utility bills and so on.

This is something the Government has callously ignored by its appalling decision to put up the minimum wage a risible 25 cents. That works out at about ten dollars a week, before tax. It's actually about half the current rate of inflation

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson this afternoon announced an increase from $12.75 an hour to $13. How was this figure arrived at? Wllkinson didn't elaborate. Were any alternatives proposed? Who knows. Does she care about the misery she is inflicting? Probably not.

The Government is consigning more people to grinding poverty that they will be unable to break out of anytime soon.

The CTU have condemned the'increase'. That's all that can be expected from the hopeless Helen Kelly and co. There will be no resistance. The CTU have rolled over on everything else this Government has done and it's not about to change.

The CTU's only 'strategy' is to campaign for another right wing Labour Government in November.

It's a gutless response.


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