Since the day we came into Government, we’ve worked hard to lift wages and reduce cost pressures facing New Zealanders. But we know the rising cost of living, driven by worldwide inflation and the war in Ukraine, is making things particularly tough right now. That’s why we’ve stepped up our efforts.
Here are just six of the ways we’re supporting New Zealanders:
Cost of living package to ease the pressure on low and middle income Kiwis
The majority of New Zealand families now have more money in their pockets, thanks to our recent cost of living package which provided support to those who need it most. This included improvements to Working for Families, which saw more than 340,000 families better off by an average of $20 per week. It also provided significant income boosts for students, and around 855,000 superannuitants.
Immediate relief to get Kiwis through the global energy crisis
Like the rest of the world, New Zealand has felt the impact of the war in Ukraine through increases at the petrol pump. That’s why we moved quickly to cut fuel excise by 25c a litre, change road user charges, and introduce half price transport for three months. We know this won’t solve everything, but if we can reduce the cost of getting around, then right now we should do that, and we are.
Increasing incomes for hard-working New Zealanders
Since taking office, we’ve worked hard to lift the incomes of New Zealanders. We’ve steadily boosted the minimum wage – bringing it to $21.20 per hour. We’ve delivered the largest pay increase for nurses, teachers and principals in over a decade. We’ve passed also passed the Equal Pay Amendment Bill to ensure people who perform work of the same value are paid the same, and we’re implementing Fair Pay Agreements, which will improve wages and conditions and support our economic recovery.
Tackling the root causes of price increases
We believe that New Zealanders deserve a fair deal. That’s why we’ve committed to taking action to boost competition within grocery market, to ensure Kiwis aren’t paying too much. We’re also making sure consumers get a better deal through changes to the electricity market, and following our successful market study into fuel, we took swift action to address both competition and pricing.
Reducing the pressure on parents
We want New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child, and we’ve implemented a range of policies to reduce pressure on families with children. We’ve rolled out free, healthy lunches in schools and boosted thousands of families’ incomes through the Families Package. We’ve made going to school cheaper by removing donations at more than 90% of schools and scrapping NCEA fees. We’ve also extended free GP visits for children under 14, and more. All of this work has helped to see child poverty reduce against all nine official measures.
Rolling out our Winter Energy Payment
We’re rolling out our Winter Energy Payment, which will help around a million Kiwis with their heating bills through the colder months and ensures they can stay warm and healthy with less stress. This payment means people are less likely to have to budget all year to be able to heat their home over the winter months, and the chances of them ending up in hospital because of cold, damp living conditions are lower.
There’s no silver bullet to fix the cost of living pressures – but we know that, when taken together, these measures are helping to make a difference. As our economic recovery gains momentum, we’ll continue to ensure that no one in New Zealand is left behind.
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