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Heather du Plessis-Allan: MSD should continue My Food Bag trial

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 9 Dec 2019, 4:35PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: MSD should continue My Food Bag trial

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 9 Dec 2019, 4:35PM

Well, Gail doesn’t like the idea of My Food Bag being given to beneficiaries.

Gail is a beneficiary herself and she got given the Bargain Box My Food Bag. She complained to One News last night that it makes her feel ‘controlled’.

Gail’s complaint is that there isn’t enough food, and her daughter can’t eat the food because she’s gluten free.

“It didn’t meet my daughter’s requirements,” she told One News.

But Gail left out a really important part of the story here, which is that Gail doesn’t have to take the My Food Bag option. If she doesn’t want it, she can take standard hardship grant, which is enough money to cover groceries for the week.

I’d hate it if MSD canned this trial on account of Gail's complaint. This is a good idea.

Yeah, it may sound a bit weird. I think My Food Bag is the kind of thing you expect busy young professionals to buy, it’s not the kind of thing you associate with some of the poorest New Zealanders.

But it actually has the potential to solve a huge problem for some of our poorest kiwis, which is getting to the supermarket. This is a big worry for the Sallies, because the inability to get to supermarkets is why people end up buying extremely expensive food from predatory mobile food trucks.

These are people that cruise around the neighbourhood selling food to poor people. $29 for sugar, $10 for tomato sauce, $35 for milk powder. So My Food Bag goes some way to solving that problem. These families don’t have to go to the food, the food comes to them.

I know is borderline patronising, telling people how to eat and what to eat, and I don’t think they’re getting everything right. Some of the meals require tools like blenders, and I don’t know that My Food Bag can assume the poorest new Zealanders own blenders. I also don’t know how this stacks up economically: My Food Bag will want to make a buck off this.

But, it’s early days. It is a trial. MSD assures us it’s adjusting as it goes. Again, I’d hate to see this good idea trashed because it doesn’t suit Gail.

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