Release: National hiking transport costs for families and young New Zealanders

Weekly expenses will grow for more than 1.6 million New Zealanders as the Government ends free and half price public transport fares tomorrow.

“National’s scrapping of free public transport for children 5 to 12 and half-price discounts for ages 13 to 24 will make life more expensive for families with kids and young New Zealanders,” Labour transport spokesperson Tangi Utikere said.

“In the middle of a cost of living and climate crisis, this will make it harder to choose affordable and sustainable transport options.

“The Labour Government made free and half-price fares for young Kiwis permanent to give them one less worry as they went about their daily lives – be it attending school, helping them get to work, or simply just getting around town.

“By removing this subsidy, the Government is putting further burdens on students, pressured families and working Kiwis, who will all be paying the price of National’s tax cuts for landlords.

“This proves that tax cuts are an empty promise with the rising costs that National is putting on New Zealanders.

“Using National’s own tax cut calculator, someone in their early-20s that takes the bus each day and earns the average wage for the demographic could be worse off by more than $70 a fortnight.

“For parents this will really hit their back pockets. Not only will they now have to find extra money to pay to get their under-13s to school, but possible cuts to the free school lunch programme would also cost them an extra $33 per week per child.

“They’re also reducing access to free prescriptions adding another cost for those in need.

“National is focused on unaffordable tax cuts that could leave some worse off, and not focused on helping people with the cost of living as they promised during the election campaign,” Tangi Utikere said.