Sallies stretched as winter bites us hard


Queenstown’s Salvation Army is helping up to four people a week with basic living essentials - including food,
clothing and blankets.

It says families and individuals are struggling to stay afloat because of financial constraints.

Sallies community worker Hine Marchand says it often has to pick up the shortfall.

Requests for support vary - from rental payment assistance to foodbanks, while others are finding it hard just to cope with bills.

“Many people are just sitting on the margin.

“They are employed, but if they have two or three kids who get sick and have to pay a doctor’s bill they get stuck.

“They can’t catch up - especially in winter time.

“That is tough for parents and the choice isn’t always easy.”

Marchand reckons many people move to the resort without considering what they’ll be faced with.

In reality she says accommodation and job opportunities are limited and salaries often don’t match the cost of living.

“Families are then placed in a tough position financially and the stress that goes with that.

“But, they don’t seem to understand exactly what Queenstown is like and how different it is.

“Physically and emotionally that pressure can take its toll.”

A number of those asking for help have come from the North Island, others from areas like Christchurch
where Marchand reckons jobs are easier to find.

The Sallies aren’t able to pay accommodation for everyone who comes to its door - but an alternative
is buying a bus ticket home, or encouraging people to go back to live with family members while they get re-established.

It isn’t only Kiwis looking for help - often backpackers and migrant workers put up their hand for support.

Often it’s a case of getting to New Zealand with no spare cash for emergencies, or even enough money for a return flight home.

She isn’t under any illusions.

“Queenstown is a party town. Often people need to budget - if I don’t have the money I need to go on food
and rent, then I can’t afford to go out.

“We offer support, but in some cases people need to be more realistic.”

Marchand can’t force people to change spending habits but says people need to have more of an understanding of choices versus consequences.

Those who do come to the Sallies are assessed on a one-to-one basis. 

But, she stresses they can only help so many people.

“We are a hand-up, not a hand-down organisation.

“We work with people to find the best solution for them.

“What will work for one person isn’t necessarily the right decision for another.”

Marchand says fundraising in its family stores is an essential part of being able to deliver these services to
the community.