'Very, very disturbing': Auckland City Mission food parcel demand soars

Demand for emergency food parcels is up more than a quarter - and it's going to get worse, according to the Auckland City Mission. 

Monday marked the first day of its Christmas drive and comes on top of the latest Child Poverty Monitor which shows 100,000 children don't get enough good food. 

"If you take food, education, housing [and] health, they are struggling in a way that no New Zealand child should," says Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft. 

Eden Park, for the first time, is home to this year's Auckland City Mission Christmas distribution centre. Demand is up 27 percent from last year - that's an extra 5000 food parcels. 

"It's frightening and very, very disturbing," says Auckland City Mission's Helen Robinson. 

She's overseeing the massive operation which has also expanded to two south Auckland marae. She says the need is greater than ever before. 

"Families here are brave and courageous and resilient; often people talk about a deep level of shame they experience by coming here. There are ordinary people here, just like you and me." 

Some queued from 2am to make sure they didn't miss out. 

"It's quite scary to think about how many people have been waiting and what the line looks like out there," says Eden Park Ambassador and former All Black Keven Mealamu. 

The Government has made reducing child poverty a top priority, but so far it hasn't made a dent. 

"There is more to do," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a post-Cabinet news conference on Monday afternoon. 

"We are looking to change the law to hold ourselves to account on child poverty - of course no one wants to see kids go without a healthy meal." 

The Children's Commissioner is guardedly optimistic things can change.

"We've had great economic growth in the last 15 years. GDP's gone up, but that hasn't trickled down to the 10 percent of kids that need it most." 

In the next couple of days, the Child Poverty Reduction Bill is due to be passed, with an aim to halve child poverty within 10 years. 

But that's little comfort for those that will go hungry this Christmas.