The number of people needing hardship grants from Work and Income has more than doubled in the past two years.
In June 2008, about 24,500 people were getting a temporary additional support grant from Work and Income, which allows those with unexpected costs to get extra money for up to 13 weeks.
By last June that number had reached 53,000.
The Council of Christian Social Services says the recession may be officially over but unemployment is still rising and entire families are out of work.
It says those living close to the poverty line are having to turn to the state instead of family and friends for extra help.