Hunger in New Zealand: A Question of Rights?

  • Stephen Uttley


A. H. Boerma, a past head of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in introducing a collection of his speeches which he made in 1974 on questions of food, hunger and development, stated, ‘If human beings have a right to life at all, they have a right to food’ (Boerma, 1976). Whilst this may seem a self-evident assertion to which everyone could subscribe, during the 1990s New Zealand has seen a vigorous debate about such a proposition and its implications for both individual responsibility and government social policy In a food producing and exporting country such as New Zealand, little attention has been paid to questions of hunger, or indeed poverty, since the economic depression of the 1920s and early 1930s. It is only recently that issues of hunger, lack of access to food and a broader concern about poverty in general have entered into the public arena for discussion. This concern has paralleled a rapid growth in both the numbers of food banks and foodbank users since about 1990.


Food Security Welfare State Unemployment Benefit Food Bank Social Security Benefit 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

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  • Stephen Uttley

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