Banking on foodbanks for poverty alleviation? : a critical appraisal of Palmerston North foodbanks' development practices : a thesis presented in (partial) fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University
Foodbanks entered New Zealand's voluntary welfare sector in the early 1980s when structural adjustment programmes, introduced by the fourth Labour Government, resulted in an increase in poverty amongst certain groups in New Zealand society and concurrently placed greater responsibility on the voluntary sector for the provision of welfare services. While previous foodbank research has focused on examining the issues related to the utilisation, development and growth of this voluntary welfare provider throughout New Zealand, this thesis aims to take such enquiry a step further by analysing the effectiveness of Palmerston North foodbanks' development practice in the alleviation of poverty in New Zealand society. It achieves this task through the application of a theoretical model utilising contemporary development theories and approaches to the data obtained through fieldwork with four Palmerston North Foodbanks. These are: the Salvation Army Foodbank, the Palmerston North Foodbank, the Saint Vincent de Paul Foodbank and the Saint Mary's Foodbank. The conclusions deduced from this process will show firstly, that development theory (traditionally reserved for the analysis of development practice in developing countries) is appropriate to the analysis of Palmerston North foodbanks' development practice and secondly, that although the majority of these foodbanks display some features of the community development mode of development practice referenced in the theoretical model, the mode of development practice most dominantly used is a relief mode. This relief mode of development practice is ineffectual in the long term relief of poverty. The challenge issued is for foodbanks to move towards the articulation of an alternative development mode of development practice which seeks not only to effectively alleviate the very real poverty experienced by foodbank clients, but also to sustain this alleviation.