Wednesday, 24 August 2011

This from the Manawatu Standard: “Palmerston North foodbanks are only "just keeping their heads above water", with hundreds more, struggling families, needing the basics to survive.
Over the past six months, the city's foodbanks have seen a "huge" increase in the number of people requiring assistance, and foodbanks are fighting to keep their pantries stocked while fewer donations are being made.
The Methodist Social Services has seen an 18 per cent increase in people needing help this year. The Salvation Army has had a 10 per cent increase.
Methodist Social Services manager Nici Scott-Savage said "We now have 699 more mouths to feed," she said. "We're getting a significant increase in people who are working and not coping, so it's not just people on benefits anymore. She said foodbank supplies would only just "survive" until the annual food drive in November.
"Survival is the operative word. We will have to continue buying food though.
"I have just received a grant which will keep us going for a while longer."
Palmerston North's Salvation Army community ministries manager Kevin Richards said it was "frightfully" concerned about the lack of food being donated. "It is becoming increasingly difficult to find food," he said. "We are still able to give people the basics but it's definitely not easy. Things are pretty tight. Things are challenging, to say the least."
He said foodbanks used to rely on the goodwill of businesses and individuals, but as the economy has tightened, so has the stream of donated goods.
"It's getting tough out there, and we're now really looking at how we get through and how we make sure we have enough food to feed everyone. It's becoming increasingly difficult for us to do what we do."
It is ironic that while community services struggle to feed those below the breadline the government and local councils spend millions on a RWC which will bring no profit to communities but boost the international rugby body…it really does make one wonder where our social values lie.

The NZ Herald now supports my view about the hype around the RWC:
“The economic benefits of the Rugby World Cup may have been wildly overestimated by the tournament's backers, as the Reserve Bank hosed down expectations of a $700 million boost to the economy.
Some spending would have occurred anyway by tourists who would now be "crowded out" by cup visitors. And more of that spending would be offset by an increase in imported goods and services required to accommodate the extra visitors.
"Spending related to the tournament may just offset spending on other activities."
Mr Richardson said it was difficult to quantify any impact hosting the tournament would have on consumer confidence, "which could potentially increase general domestic spending".
He said the net impact of the tournament on both short and longer term economic measures remained to be seen.
Senior lecturer of law at AUT University Craig Dickson said the Reserve Bank's uncertainty over the tournament's economic returns was consistent with his view that while hosting the tournament here was a great idea for a number of reasons, "getting wealthy isn't one of them". "Clearly the downstream spend that is supposed to occur from all these tourists is very difficult to measure but overseas experience over a number of years would indicate that it is often wildly overestimated by the cheerleaders of these sorts of events."
Professor Dickson believed as few as 25,000 of the 95,000 visitors expected for the tournament were in addition to tourist numbers that would be expected in a non-tournament year. 95,000 visitors are expected during the Cup, but as few as...25,000 of these will be on top of normal visitor numbers.

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