Standards of living for the poorest and most vulnerable New Zealanders are being eroded by rising prices for basic living costs, while National has stood idly by, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.
“Statistics New Zealand data released today is cause for concern, showing rising prices for the basics such as rent, electricity and food are pushing the higher cost of living for the lowest income brackets.
“Meanwhile, this same set of statistics reveals the cost of living actually fell for the highest earning group.
“Since National came to office, the lowest income earners have faced a rate of inflation that is 73 per cent higher than the highest income earners. Superannuitants have faced a rate that is 89 per cent higher.
“The Government’s own data confirms what we have known for a long time: National’s economic plan provides greater benefit for those at the top. National is promising tax cuts that will hand $400 million to the top 10 per cent of income earners.
“More Kiwis are going backwards under National. Labour Cost Index figures show that two-thirds of New Zealanders last year got a pay rise that was less than the rate of inflation, or no pay rise at all, meaning their real incomes went backwards.
“At a time when rents are rising by five per cent a year, electricity by 4.2 per cent and food by three per cent a year, National’s plan fails New Zealanders who need a boost to their incomes the most.
“There is no point to economic growth that does not improve the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.
“The Government should not claim that an increase in the numbers children living of low income families is ‘more positive news’. After nine years, it’s time for a fresh approach that shares prosperity with all New Zealanders,” says Grant Robertson.