Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Kiwis struggling with cost of living

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Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says many Kiwis are struggling with the rising cost of living. Times file photo Wayne Martin
  • By Simeon Brown, MP for Pakuranga

Even as Omicron continues to spread throughout our communities, Kiwis are becoming more concerned with the cost of living, as recent data shows the price of just about everything has gone up significantly over the last few years.

Data released just last week shows food prices have increased by a staggering 5.9 per cent in just the last year, the largest annual increase in more than a decade.

And it’s not just one type of food item making overall prices look worse than they are, with the cost for just about everything from fruit and vegetables to meats to beverages all going up over the last year.

If you weren’t already struggling to put food on the table, it also costs you more to even make the trip to the supermarket these days, with fuel prices reaching $3 a litre with no sign of slowing down.

And it’s costing more to keep a roof over your head too, with median rents across the country rising by $50 per week over the last 12 months, the highest yearly increase on record.

All of this comes as we face the largest inflation rate increase in three decades, 5.9 per cent from December 2020 to December 2021, a massive contributor to the greater cost of living.

With wages failing to keep up, it’s no wonder so many New Zealanders are struggling right now, with no relief in sight and no plan from the Government on how to address these significant issues.

What’s worse is that despite the Prime Minister’s promise to reduce child poverty, there are now around 37,000 more children growing up in benefit-dependent homes, meaning more Kiwi kids growing up in difficult circumstances.

The cost-of-living crisis is affecting everyone, but it’s the most at risk who are being hit the hardest. At a time when unemployment is low and businesses are crying out for workers, the Government should be looking at ways to get people off benefits and into work, something we all know will greatly improve a person’s quality of life.

Under Labour, too many people are falling behind and something needs to change. The Government needs to rein in its spending and focus more on quality, not quantity and implement a real plan to lift growth and productivity for all New Zealanders.

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