Help with food is available, but the problems for many people living in New Zealand is becoming serious.

As New Zealand enters its third week of lockdown, Kaniva News has been contacted by large numbers of people seeking help for overstayers who fall outside many of the provisions of government assistance.

Many overstayers are in extremely difficult situations and their friends have pleaded for help.

One woman texted us to say she, her husband and seven children were renting a sleep out in South Auckland.

She said their rent payment had been stopped when the lockdown began, but the landlord warned them to start paying their rent again next month.

She said  they did not know where to get that money from because they had lost their jobs and did not have access to government subsidies or financial supports. 

Many of the people who contacted us had large families and asked for help with food.

Food

Help with food is available, but the problems for many people living in New Zealand is becoming serious.

The Salvation Army said more and more families were struggling to buy groceries due to the Covid-19 lock down.

“Our individual and corporate partners are being very generous in helping us help those who are struggling. We are calling on those New Zealanders who are in a position to help, to keep our food banks stocked by donating to The Foodbank Project, our online foodbank, at https://www.foodbank.org.nz/ ” Assistant Territorial Secretary for Mission, Captain Gerry Walker said.

“They can also place non-perishable items in our purple bins at Countdown Supermarkets.”

The Auckland City Mission has a consultation service for the provision of family food parcels.

All consultations are now completed by phone.  If callers need a food parcel, they should call 09 303 9200 to arrange for a phone consultation.  They will be given a time to collect the parcel and instructed how to pick up.

Family food parcels can be collected from the following locations:

The mission’s distribution centre in Grafton. Monday – Friday 9.00am – 3.00pm.           

Nga Whare Waatea Marae, Favona Monday – Friday 10.00am – 2.00pm

People living in the Auckland region can also  call the Auckland Council Emergency Management Team for a food parcel on 0800 22 22 96 if they are in isolation and have no access to other support networks or if they are unable to afford groceries.

Outside Auckland people can check the foodbank directory at : https://www.foodbank.co.nz/foodbanks for the location of their nearest food bank.

People in need are advised to call to make an application for emergency food assistance. People are asked not just to turn up at the foodbank because it puts everyone at risk.

A national list of whānau Ora Covid-19 support partners can be found at http://pasifikafutures.co.nz/covid-19-support/. The site provides the names and contact details of a range of organisations.

Pacific providers that are funded to provide support to vulnerable Pacific families have been supporting overstayer families and will continue supporting them.

Tongan Mormon churches have made their Kau Matu’a Offices in every stake open to all members of the public if they need helps such as food and groceries.

Covid-19 testing

Minister for Pacific Peoples William Aupito Sio said it was important for Pacific individuals and families who were overstayers to  get tested if they have any of the symptoms for COVID-19 or if they think you have Covid-19.

Covid-19 symptoms include  a cough or fever, a sore throat or shortness of breath and loss of sense of smell

“Our expectation as Government is that you will be served and tested for Covid-19 regardless of your legal status, including if you are an overstayer here in New Zealand, when you visit either a Community Based testing station, a GP clinic or any of our hospitals,” Hon. Sio said.

“We must collectively as a country.

“Please remember you can always call Healthline for free from a mobile or landline on 0800 358 5453.

“You can be referred by Healthline or your GP for a free COVID-19 test.

“Many of these Community Testing Stations also allow you to drop in, in person for a free test when you fit within public health’s expanded criteria without an appointment.”

The Minister said health workers at the Testing Stations would be moving around to support people while they waited so as not to be with any person long enough to be at risk of Covid-19.

Health workers who were taking the swabs for testing would be wearing full PPE – mask, gloves, gowns and eye protection.

Patients would be given written advice about when to expect their results and what to do next. Most results would be sent out via text message, with other options available to people who don’t have a mobile phone. The expectation is that test results would take up to five days to be available.

It should be remembered that Community Testing Stations were only for testing.  They would not provide medical care or assessment.

“If any of you are feeling sick or unwell enough where you would normally seek the advice of your doctor you should contact your GP and schedule an appointment please,” Hon. Sio said.

The main points

  • As New Zealand enters its third week of lockdown, Kaniva News has been contacted by large numbers of people seeking help for overstayers who fall outside many of the provisions of government assistance.
  • Many overstayers are in extremely difficult situations and their friends have pleaded for help.

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