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2022 Budget Reaction: Big Hearts Connected World

“We are disappointed that, once again, this government has not increased its contribution to global efforts to halt the fall of families across the world into extreme poverty,” says Big Hearts organisations Anglican Missions, Christian Blind Mission, Christian World Service, Oxfam Aotearoa, Tearfund, Trade Aid, the Wellington Anglican Diocese, UnionAid and World Vision. 

“The hardship we experience is connected. Our response must be this connected, too. As a people, we are generous. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the Tongan volcanic eruption and the war in Ukraine, our agencies have experienced the generosity of everyday New Zealanders who want to share what they have with people who are suffering extreme poverty and the loss of their homes. 

“When will our government match our people’s generosity?” says Big Hearts organisations. 

On top of the climate destruction and the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine has had a ripple effect across the world, where communities across the globe feel the impact of rising food prices. Between April 2020 and December 2021 there was an 80 percent increase in the price of wheat alone, making food out of reach for millions of people. 

Big Hearts organisations continue: “In the words of Gabriela Bucher from Oxfam, ‘starvation is a political failure’. It is the result of governments across the world, like here in New Zealand, refusing to help people get the food they need to survive. 

“People in Syria have never been so hungry – three in five people in Syria do not know where their next meal will come from. Families in countries like Yemen and Ethiopia exist in famine-like conditions – every day wondering if they will have the very basic fundamental of life – food – watching their children waste away in front of them. One person every 48 seconds is likely dying of hunger seconds in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia,” say Big Hearts organisations. 

“Now more than ever, we need to pull together as one human family, so that we all make it through the triple crises of a public health pandemic, the global rise in cost of living and climate destruction.  

“As a high-income country, Aotearoa New Zealand is able to both support its own people through this hardship, as well as make a small contribution to help people who face starvation and deprivation across the world in low-income countries.” 

Notes 

There is a significant increase in the international development cooperation budget, but this is all comprised of last year’s welcome climate finance announcement. It is not overseas aid. There is a stated $75 million contingency for Pacific countries, but it appears that this comes from the existing overseas aid budget. Overall, there is no apparent increase in the overseas development assistance budget. 

Food prices were already high before the Ukraine crisis with an increase in wheat prices of 80 percent between April 2020 and December 2021. The FAO Food Price Index which tracks the international prices of food items, has risen to a new all-time high, exceeding the previous top of 2011. Additional price hikes and food inflation are likely, with inflation extending to fertilisers and energy.  

One person every 48 seconds is likely dying of hunger seconds in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, Dangerous delay 2: the cost of inaction | Oxfam International. 

Global crises, worsened by the economic turmoil of COVID-19 and more recently by the Ukraine conflict, have pushed food prices to an all-time high in March 2022 – up by 12.6 percent over February – which is putting food ever more out of reach for millions of people. See here

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