Protesters to descend on Parliament urging politicians to consider those less fortunate at Christmas

Protesters are planning to descend on Parliament on Tuesday.
Protesters are planning to descend on Parliament on Tuesday. Photo credit: Getty

Politicians are being urged to consider the thousands of New Zealanders that can't afford to celebrate Christmas this year as they sit down for a big lunch in homes that they own and provide "gifts for all of the family".

Protesters are planning to descend on Parliament on Tuesday to remind MPs of a recent survey by The Salvation Army where one in five Kiwis said they can't afford to celebrate Christmas.

The demonstration has been organised by the United Community Action Network (UCAN) after more than 40 welfare and poverty charities signed an open letter to the Government pleading for them to increase welfare in the lead up to Christmas.

"We saw… the Prime Minister saying that poverty was an issue which couldn't be combated even within a term," beneficiary and protest organiser Stacey Ryan told Newshub.

"I decided since they had campaigned on eliminating poverty I couldn't just sit back and twiddle my thumbs while they did nothing. Then somehow it's turned into a national movement."

Since the letter was released, another 30 organisations have put forward their support, growing the number of supporters to 70.

Ryan said it was important that the protest took place before Parliament breaks up for the holidays next Wednesday.

"They are all going to go to homes that they own and they are going to have big dinners and lunches and gifts for all of the family and I want them to see the faces and hear the voices of people who don't have that opportunity. The real people who are affected by the decisions that they are denying us."

She said she hopes the members of Parliament use the holiday to reflect on those who are less fortunate.

"I hope that they go home and they think about what is going to be facing a lot of New Zealanders over the next couple of months and that they realise one in five families won't be having a Christmas this year because they simply cannot afford it. 

"I want them to realise that thousands of people are relying on food banks and soup kitchens for their Christmas day meals. I want them to spend their time reflecting on all of the people who they could come back [to Parliament] and help."

The protest will take place from 2-4pm at Parliament where they will hear from the Green Party's Ricardo Menendez March and TOP's Jessica Hammond along with the leaders of multiple advocacy groups.

At the same time, protesters will arrive at Jacinda Ardern’s Mt Albert Office in an event organised by Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP).

"In response to the government saying they’re not going to raise benefits and low incomes this term, and in honour of our #LiveableIncomes vision, we’re holding pickets across the country for the people and families in our communities whose needs are continuously ignored," they said in a statement.