Auckland City mission admits it’s not about poverty


Another bit of native advertising in the NZ Herald proved to be enlightening

Auckland City Mission will provide Christmas lunch to more than 2600 people this year, a more than 25 per cent increase on the 2000 meals they served last year.

On Christmas Day the Auckland City Mission will host its annual lunch and celebration at Auckland’s Viaduct Event Centre.

Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson said they had already distributed just over 2000 tickets for the lunch time celebration, but would also prepare 600 takeaway meals for those who missed out on tickets.

“At the mission, we believe no one should have to eat alone on Christmas Day. It is not about poverty – it is about the spirit of Christmas, and about celebrating with each other.”

I guess this is why they are having such a huge shortfall on their donations this year – people are  actually starting to understand the Auckland City Mission isn’t about poverty.  This was very clearly observed when they handed out food parcels to people without any kind of vetting or requirements to enter a budgeting program.

Personally I have no problem with the Auckland City Mission using donated funds to make people’s lives happier with the “spirit of Christmas”, but I suspect those that used to donate were expecting the City Mission to perform some sort of reasonable triage in terms of actual need.

Ms Robertson said Christmas was always the mission’s busiest time of year.

“We are always overwhelmed by the level of need we see at this time of the year. However with the support of the community, through donations and volunteering we are able to meet this need.

“This year has been incredibly tough but the community has come behind us. I would like to thank each and every volunteer for their help and all the people who have donated to make Christmas special for everyone in our community.”

Since the beginning of December, the City Mission has distributed emergency food parcels to hundreds of families in need.

At least 7000 gifts have also been distributed to families, so every child has a present to open on Christmas Day.

The mission also provided gifts to other Auckland community groups to distribute to the families they work with.

“We are always overwhelmed by the level of need we see at this time of the year”.

Replace need with greed, and I think you’re closer to the mark.

Until the City Mission tightens up on the way they just indiscriminately spread around their resources, the 70%+ shortfall of donations won’t be a one-off occurrence.  People are simply redirecting their financial support to organisations that are seen to be targeting true need.


– NZ Herald


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  • Pluto

    City Mission, for all it’s good intentions of helping those worse off, and no doubt hoping people will reciprocate by taking only if they truly need, must come to realise its “customers” have been bred into a “take all you can” welfare entitlement mentality.

  • Hollyfield

    I have been thinking about this general concept for a few months now regarding the lunches in schools programmes. Hone Harawira and others, by proposing to provide free school meals for kids are admitting that giving those families more money directly won’t increase the likelihood of the kids being fed breakfast and lunch.

    Regarding the City Mission, I think they should charge a small/reasonable amount to the people who just need some company on Christmas Day. Many (especially older people who are not after a handout) would gladly donate as they picked up their meal.

  • GoingRight

    Yes the sallies will be getting their usual donation from us plus the amount we used to give the city mission. Agree there must be some sort of triage system, and a desire to change the entitlement attitude, and that goes for all beneficiaries of any hand outs. Attitudes have got to change.

    • Eddie

      Sallies have a bad attitude – their stance on LGBT is terrible. I don’t give to them for that reason – it feels like giving to a branch of more peaceful Hamas.

      • mommadog

        They are a Christian religious group that don’t hide that. Its the core of the Sallies – so while you may not agree with their stance at least they are honest about it.

      • Priam

        Thanks for letting us know the sallies take a stand against perverts. They are on the side of God with that.

  • Rod

    If it is, as they say, a need to cater for those who don’t want to eat alone, what is wrong with those attending for that reason making a reasonable payment for the meal? A bit like those who have a pre-Christmas lunch at a restaurant with friends, and pay for it. Perhaps those there for the occasion and able to pay may like to subsidise those who really are in need.

  • I blame the NZ Herald and Campbell Live for the City Mission’s woe’s.

    Firstly they pimp any kind of sob story they can find – which usually turns out to be only a fraction of the real, true story – and after WOBH has exposed the lazy and deceitful, not only does this turn off volunteers and donors… but the bewildered who don’t read WOBH and only the Horrid, will believe themselves to be in a “Worse” situation than those pimped by the Horrid… so armed with entitlementitis – they waddle up to the City Mission for more free hand-outs. Some from even as far away as the next closest city!

    So then the City Mission gets inundated with bludgers instead of those with the real need, whilst those that can and do donate, elect to funnel their charity to a more needy cause – without the bludgers that the Herald & Campbell Live encouraged.

    …and that is the law of unintended consequences. The Horrid and Campbell Live might be free to angle a story however they choose – but they aren’t free of the consequences they have directly contributed for the City Mission.

    • mommadog

      And we will have to watch it all on the TV news again tomorrow night (for those brave enough to watch) as they do the routine “here I am at the mission giving away lunch to the poor” story.

  • Aucky

    Hopefully lessons have been learnt for next year. My family supported the City Mission for twenty plus years at both funding and volunteer levels. Society has changed but the Mission hasn’t. We could see the changes coming some years ago and stopped voluntary work then three years ago the systemic Christmas bludging kicked in and we have now ceased all support. It seems that Auckland has finally woken up and the Mission has to change or die.

    Our hard earned dollars go to charities that are accountable.

  • Mark

    (edit,note too self,try to be less publicly curmudgeonly) Sigh, “we believe no one should have to eat alone on Christmas Day.”
    I for one am going to thoroughly enjoy eating alone on Christmas Day,I’ll likely ride alone & relax in from of the tv alone watching what I want,may even live recklessly & drink alone! Once I have removed all sharp objects (this may take hours),put on my life jacket floro vest & helmet & fastened the seatbelt on my lazyboy.

    I hope that those working & partaking at the City Mission,get what they seek from Chistmas Day,somehow I am sure the Sallies will enjoy their day more.

    • As a fellow Oiler, I’ll drink a toast to you Mark, and to everyone home alone this Christmas.

    • LabTested

      I had Christmas alone last year & it was bliss.

      I have a large family & trying to co-ordinate with my 4 brothers/sisters, their partners, partners families (who need to organise other dates), not to mention exs who have joint custody of kids & now adult Children – we end up having family Xmas on any day within a week of the 25th when all can be gathered.

      Last year it was all done & dusted by Xmas day which I spend alone. It was fantastic.

    • Wallace Westland

      I’ll be having Xmas lunch at home alone as I do every year and I’ll
      be perfectly happy. I’ll have seen my kids in the morning and given them
      their pressies. I wont hang around long, I have no desire to spend time
      with my ex wife or her partner.

      This is my pig headedness and I indulge it.

      I have no intention of depriving my kids of a happy day by making them do
      alternate Christmas with me when they have all their cousins and family
      to look forward too.
      Nor will I be wallowing in self pity. I have a nice lunch planned and plenty of movies to watch, the fridge is full of beer and the liquor cabinet has been refreshed.BRING IT ON! :)

      • EveryWhichWayButLeft

        I’m much the same… I get to spend the morning with my boys and we’ll do our traditional ham and eggs Christmas breakfast before I drop them off at their mums at lunchtime.

        From then on it’s blissful alone time for a week that I’m really looking forward to. All I’ve got planned is some indulgent dinner menus (mostly involving roast lamb, New York cut sirloin or home-kill bacon) and a large stack of books to read.


  • HunuaRanger

    I used to (back in the day) be a regular supporter of the ACM with both time and money until I realized something…

    From the mission’s report.

    “Overall, 70 cents of each dollar the Mission spends is accounted for by salaries/wages and staff-related costs, reflecting the labour-intensive nature of the Mission’s work”

    Never again.

  • Paranormal

    I drive past the Mission most days and see the obese individuals lining up for their handouts. There certainly doesn’t appear to be a lot of poverty happening there.

    Although it was interesting to hear that recipients are only allowed 6 food parcels in a calendar year. So whilst they are not giving based on need, they are limiting what can be received.

    • mike

      Is that 6 food parcels per household, or per family or per person? And how do they monitor that?

    • Aucky

      So six parcels a year from the Mission, a couple from the Sallies, a couple more organised by the CAB…………….

  • NotLen

    Lets face it. Giving to places like the City Mission is all about making those that give feel good. The “needy” are just there to assuage the ego of the donors.

    The same with the volunteers help serve the lunch on Christmas day.

  • Greg M

    As a central city residents that speaks with “homeless” people every day, I have noticed one thing this year. 95% of the city missions clients are useless bludgers. There, I said it. What annoys me is that the bludgers are taking support and resources away from the 5% who genuinely need it, and aren’t getting enough.
    I’ve purchased a dozen cans and I’m having a few with our local streeties this evening, I enjoy their company, and it’s a little thing I can do to put a smile on a few faces.

    • Nic C

      Kudos to you Greg

    • Mark

      I am going to give some credit to Lifewise Hub & Merge Cafe. I no longer grab a breakfast there because my situation has changed. However the staff do work hard at making the streeties aware of the communities behavior expectations & enforcing that where they can.
      I’ll step over my smiling homeless guy sleeping in my doorway again this evening after work,thanks to you Greg. Merry Christmas :)

  • CheesyEarWax

    Well I hope the freeloaders at the City Mission will give back some day, but i doubt it. Like feeding pigeons, they’d only come back for more.

  • R&BAvenger

    They are the author’s of their own funding shortfall. take a leaf out of the Salvation Army’s book and get real. You are enabling ‘child poverty’

  • kloyd0306

    How about a few qualifiers?
    1) If you drove to the mission – no parcel
    2) If you have a smart phone – no parcel
    3) If you have a flatscreen TV – no parcel
    4) If you smoke – no parcel
    5) If you have turn sideways to get through the door – no parcel

    • Betty Swallocks

      I think those criteria alone would be enough to precipitate another crisis – a storage crisis at the City Mission when they run out of room to store all the undistributed food parcels.

    • damm good thrashing

      If you turn up at the city mission – no parcel.

  • cows4me

    I saw an item on the box a fair while ago about a city mission in a large city in the US where people were lining up for a Christmas diner. A reporter was asking them about how they felt about the mission and how they came to be in the queue. Quite a few stated that it was the failure of capitalism that had brought them to the missions doors. The fact that a large corporate had sponsored the meal went totally over their heads.

  • RAS

    This reminds me of a Peter Bagge comic in Reason magazine

  • They confuse level of need with level of want.

  • Chrish4

    2600+ is more than 30% up on 2000, not just “more than 25%”, guess the maths was too difficult for them??

  • Karma

    “We are always overwhelmed by the level of need we see at this time of the year”.

    Shouldn’t that be “level of want” ?

  • dgrogan

    Unfortunately, bludging is becoming more tolerated in society, not less.
    Yesterday in Lambton Quay, I was staggered to see a street beggar (on any day, you will see 3 or 4) texting on his mobile phone. I kid you not!