The relationship between low income and food insecurity is significant, for it challenges the common perception that child hunger is a result of individual failing. Media reports and political rhetoric have placed emphasis on parental inadequacy and inept budgeting as the source of children’s food insecurity. Yet, cross-sectional survey research published by the Families Commission has found that low-income families with children do not differ from others in terms of food budgeting and meal-planning. Instead, the most important factor contributing to food insecurity is economic. These observations echo earlier research showing that as food is the sole discretionary item in the budget of many low-income families, it is often the only item that can be cut back during periods of financial hardship.
 Martin Anscombe, The Contemporary Political Dynamics of Feeding Hungry Children in New Zealand Schools (Master’s Thesis, University of Waikato, 2009).
 Claire Smith, Winsome Parnell, and Rachel Brown, Family Food Environment: Barriers to Acquiring Affordable and Nutritious Food in New Zealand Households (Wellington, NZ: Families Commission, 2010), 5.
 Charles Waldegrave, Peter King, and Shane Stuart, The Monetary Constraints and Consumer Behaviour in New Zealand Low Income Households (Lower Hutt, NZ: Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit, 1999).