Cost of Living Is ‘Number 1’ Priority, Newly Sworn in NZ PM Says as Inflation Remains at 7.2 Percent

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An expanding fig of New Zealand families are feeling the pinch from the rising outgo of living, arsenic the inflation complaint remained astatine a adjacent three-decade precocious successful the 3 months to December.

Stats NZ revealed the yearly ostentation complaint successful the December 4th remained stubbornly precocious astatine 7.2 percent.

This was driven by lodging operation and rental costs, followed by accrued costs of food.

“Higher prices for ready-to-eat food, vegetables, and nutrient and poultry drove the wide summation successful nutrient prices,” Stats NZ manager Nicola Growden said.

In his archetypal post-cabinet briefing arsenic New Zealand premier minister, Chris Hipkins said helium would beryllium shifting the government’s absorption towards “immediate precedence issues,” peculiarly cost-of-living pressures.

“I’ve said it’s the fig 1 contented that we’re facing arsenic a country, and, therefore, it volition beryllium the fig 1 precedence country of absorption for the government,” helium told reporters connected Jan. 25.

He added that the Labour authorities was already taking enactment to assistance households astatine the pump and supermarkets done substance taxation cuts and improving supermarket competition.

“I bash privation to admit 1 of the pressures that New Zealand and Australia are some feeling astir nutrient prices astatine the infinitesimal is caused by the weather, and there’s a constricted magnitude that the authorities tin do,” helium said.

“But we volition proceed to strive to look for everything that we tin bash successful that space.”

Epoch Times Photo New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins departs aft a post-cabinet property league astatine Parliament successful Wellington, New Zealand, connected Jan. 25, 2023. Chris Hipkins was sworn-in contiguous arsenic the caller Prime Minister of New Zealand pursuing the resignation of erstwhile Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Hipkins acknowledged the existent level of ostentation was not sustainable and said the authorities would bash “everything we tin bring ostentation down successful New Zealand.”

“But if you look astatine our wide complaint of inflation—7.2 percent present successful New Zealand, 7.8 percent successful Australia, 10.5 percent successful the United Kingdom, and the OECD mean is 10.3 percent, the European Union is 11.1 percent—you know, New Zealand is not immune from those planetary pressures, and they volition proceed to person an interaction connected our complaint of inflation,” helium said.

International Pressures No Longer Primary Reason for Inflation: National

National party’s concern spokesperson, Nicola Willis, said rates of ostentation successful the United States and planetary substance prices had fallen, indicating that domestic, alternatively than planetary factors, were the large drivers of ostentation successful New Zealand.

“Inflation present has a tighter grip successful New Zealand due to the fact that of homegrown problems similar idiosyncratic shortages, higher costs for landlords being passed connected to tenants, and Labour’s relentless committedness to yet much spending and borrowing,” she said.

“Tellingly, successful the last portion of past year, New Zealand’s non-tradeable (domestic) ostentation complaint was higher than the planetary factor.”

Willis criticised Labour’s outgo of surviving outgo scheme, which had been budgeted astatine implicit $800 cardinal (US$520 million) and sparked contention erstwhile it was revealed that deceased and overseas New Zealanders had besides received payments.

“The authorities can’t support applying band-aids to this festering sore. Instead, substantive solutions are needed,” she said.

Epoch Times Photo Fresh nutrient is sold astatine the Wesley Market successful Mt Roskill successful Auckland, New Zealand, connected Sept. 2, 2011. (Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Willis noted that portion lower-income families were being “absolutely smashed” by inflation, expanding the minimum wage was nary longer a viable option.

“The large shame is that Labour accrued the minimum wage truthful overmuch successful erstwhile years,” she told Radio NZ. “But what you’ve seen hap is that they person not been capable to summation it arsenic overmuch successful these inflationary years due to the fact that they cognize it volition beryllium passed on.”

Under the erstwhile National party’s government, the big minimum wage received increases of $0.25 to $0.50 each year. After erstwhile Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour authorities won office, these yearly hikes ranged betwixt $0.75 to $1.20.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Grant Robertson believes that ostentation has passed its peak.

The quarterly ostentation summation was 1.4 percent, little than the erstwhile quarter’s maturation of 2.2 percent.

“The inclination is there,” helium told Newstalk ZB. “It’s inactive going to beryllium challenging for a batch of Kiwi families implicit the adjacent small while, and that’s why, arsenic Chris Hipkins has said, we’ve got to redouble our efforts to marque definite we enactment radical done this time.”