Thousands more people are applying for emergency grants to buy food.
In the three months to the end of December 2016, almost 112,000 people applied to Work and Income for hardship grants to buy food.
That was an increase of almost 14,000 people, or 14 percent, from the same quarter in 2015.
Overall applications for special needs grants rose by 21 percent quarter to quarter.
However, the Ministry for Social Development said the emergency housing special needs grant was brought in and included in the data during that period.