Pressure on Govt to ease the pain of rising inflation

Source: 1News

The steep rise in inflation - the highest increase in 32 years - is hitting the pockets of New Zealanders hard.

The consumer price index - which measures the cost of goods - increased by 5.9 per cent over the 12-month period from Dec 2020 to Dec 2021.

Construction costs for new homes rose 16 per cent, petrol rose 30 per cent and food increased by 4.1 per cent.

The dramatic increases in everyday living costs have made renting and making ends meet tough, even for those with good jobs.

"We used to have a takeaway every now and again, now we have to cut it out because it's very, very expensive at the moment, so now we encourage everyone to develop life skills, cooking at home," quality inspector Roberto Jordan said.

Those life skills are handy for his 18-year-old son Jared, who like his older brother, can't afford to move out of home.

Roberto Jordan told 1News when he first moved to Botany in 2007, there were eight fellow Filipino families in the local neighbourhood.

Now just one of the eight remain, the others relocating to Brisbane and Melbourne in Australia.

"I guess [they moved] primarily because the cost of living there and acquiring a property or a house is more attainable than here.

Jordan said despite having a good job working for Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, the family were still trying to get a foot onto the property ladder, 17 years after arriving in the country.

The latest numbers show it won't get easier any time soon. The last time inflation was this high was 1990, when Auckland hosted the Commonwealth Games.

Blame a cocktail of reasons - supply chain disruptions leading to a shortage of goods, demand running hot in areas like construction, and rising international oil prices - but for those on the ground, the reasons don't matter.

"What we know is that we can't get the same amount of food for the same amount of money. Our wages have stayed the same, but the cost of living has gone through the roof. Unfortunately, the people at the bottom, we're the ones that suffer the most," Buttabean Motivation's David Letele said.

Letele told 1News there was a "tidal wave, a tsunami, a never-ending need" for food parcels.

Consumer NZ has had increasing complaints about fuel and grocery prices.

"I think there is a ground swell of opinion - this market is not delivering good results for consumers and companies need to take more of a social context in thinking about how much they charge rather than how much profit they can make," Consumer NZ's Jon Duffy said.

To relieve some of the pressure, unions are calling for further increases to the minimum wage. Some retailers are calling for a reduction in GST, the Greens want a wealth tax, National want to cut Government spending and fuel taxes, while ACT wish to see a tax cut for middle income earners.

But Finance Minister Grant Robertson said on Thursday the Government believed the current tax system was "operating in an efficient manner".

As the cost of living continues to rise, the calls for the Government to do more will only grow louder.