Posts Tagged ‘Cost of Living’
In information released by Statistics New Zealand today rising prices for petrol and diesel pushed the petroleum and coal product manufacturing index up to 10.5 per cent, with overall prices for NZ produced goods and services rising 1.4 per cent.
Some of the key information is below.
• The price index for goods and services used in meat and meat product manufacturing rose 5.5 per cent.
• The producers price index (PPI) for outputs rose 1.4 per cent.
• Output prices for manufactured dairy products rose 5.1 per cent.
• The agriculture, forestry, and fishing index rose 2.3 per cent, reflecting higher fuel prices.
The cost of living is increasing and shows no sign of stalling as the National-ACT-Maori Government struggles to find a plan to turn our economy around.
Hard working Kiwi families need a break in these hard economic times and need a government who is going to put them first, not their privileged mates.
Hard working Kiwi families have been struggling to keep up with the increasing cost of living under the National Government, and as the cold of winter bites, power bills aren’t the only things up with food prices increasing.
According to Statistics New Zealand, food prices rose up 1.4 per cent in June over May, and annually, food prices are up 7.5 per cent on a year earlier.
Fruit and vegetables have been hardest hit in June, rising 12.2 per cent. Tomatoes were up a staggering 56.9 per cent over their price in May, with lettuce and capsicum also up over 40 per cent on the previous month.
Labour promised to take GST off fruit and vegetables. If this policy were introduced the price of fresh fruit and vegetables would fall dramatically. Not only would Kiwi families have a cheaper grocery bill, but they would also have a healthier lifestyle.
It seems that hard-working kiwi families are being hit everywhere. GST rises, working for families’ cuts, kiwi saver cuts and arbitrary employment laws (90 day fire-at-will) mean that Kiwis are on tenterhooks as the costs mount during winter, a time when doctor visits are essential and power bills naturally increase.
When will the National Government give hard-working Kiwi’s a break?
Today in question time John Key showed how out of touch he is with the cost increases that he has imposed on NZ families with his early childhood education funding cuts.
Have a look and see what you think: Sue Moroney to the Prime Minister
Yesterday Otago University released data linking the increasing unaffordability of food with deteriorating mental health.
It’s a very good example of the need to consider the long term effects of government policy. Yes, we all understand that putting GST up without proper compensation for people on middle and low incomes is making life harder for kiwi families right now, but the long term effects are much more concerning.
National’s policies have not only increased inequalities, they are creating a problem for future governments by failing to keep people well and increasing future demand on all health services including mental health.
It might not be of much concern to John Key and co because it won’t be their problem. But someone will have to deal with it and we’d all be a lot better off (financially and socially) if we prevented the problem when we can see it coming rather than waiting for someone else to clean up the mess.
Campbell Live did a piece tonight on the cost of after hours medical care. Worth a watch.
The amount of money being charged right around the country that they are reporting is huge, including well over $100 in some places, and even $66 for a fourteen year old in Auckland.
When I raised in Parliament earlier this year the case of Linley Williams who had paid $41 for her 20 month old to get after hours care I was told by Tony Ryall that this was a particular problem on the Kapiti Coast. It seems it is a particular problem in a large number of areas!
Since I raised that case I have had a number of letters from people who have been charged astronomical sums for after-hours care. As Linley Williams and one of the people quoted in the story said the only option for many people is heading an Emergency Department, which clogs them up even further.
These kinds of costs on top of the rest of the cost of living increases with petrol, power and food is really putting the pressure on families.
I was interested in a small story that came through on email yesterday regarding the potential for saving energy simply by not wasting food. The American Chemical Society estimates that the US alone could save the energy equivalent of 35o million barrels of oil per year without spending a penny, or reducing quality of life, just by not wasting food.
It takes the equivalent of about 1.4 billion barrels of oil to produce, package, prepare, preserve and distribute a year’s worth of food in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that people in the U.S. waste about 27 percent of their food. That’s a huge potential energy saving.
Percentage of Various Foods Wasted in the U.S.
Fats and oils 33%
Sugar and other caloric sweeteners 31%
Meat, poultry, fish 16%
Dry beans, peas, lentils 16%
Tree nuts and peanuts 16%
I wonder how New Zealand would compare? I have to confess that I’m a bit of a food waster. Veges often end up in the compost bin because they go bad before I get to them. I also have to admit that despite my best intentions, I’m pretty shocking when it comes to eating leftovers! I always cook too much and quite a bit of it ends up in the bin.
So how can we reduce the amount of food that we waste? For starters we could get the supermarkets to sell vegetables that don’t go off within 3 days of purchase…
You saw it here first (well not quite first, but for the first time after the election), so a reminder as you look at the bill from shopping this morning that National campaigned explicitly not to increase GST.
The last few days in the electorate have been marked by an increasing number of people, of all political persuasions working out that the tax switch is going to see them no better off, and in many cases worse off. The GST increase, and the associated price increases are top of mind. In Wellington 6% increases in power bills and the increasing costs of bus travel will wipe out the meagre tax cut benefits for those on low to middle incomes. Everything from the increased cost of rates, rents, stamps and food have also been raised with me.
The NZ Herald had a feature story on this yesterday as well, and the experience of the family who have had the benefit of tax cuts wiped out by the government’s funding cut to early childhood education is another commonly raised issue.
The Sunday Star Times story today, though, makes clear the real problem with the tax switch
The real winners from the cuts are people earning more than $70,000 a year. Anyone earning $100,000, for instance, can expect nearly $70 more in their pay, making them $42 better off after paying that extra GST. For low income earners, the impact is marginal. Someone on $20,000 will be nearly $3 better off, while someone on $30,000 will be $6 richer.
No wonder John Key has instructed his MPs to try to sell the tax switch. The problem is people know their own budgets and costs, and no amount of spin will change that.
Before the last election the wage gap with Australia was John Key’s #1 issue. Key even went as far as to say that the ‘fundamental purpose’ of his government would be to narrow the gap. Listening to Gerry Brownlee and John Key in the House today and yesterday, apparently the problem has been solved already.
Yesterday Brownlee claimed that the gap ‘is certainly a lot less than it was when Labour was in office’ despite the fact that it has blown out by more than $50 a week since National took office. In the last quarter, according to official statistics, Australian wages have increased by $17 a week, compared to $3 for Kiwi workers.
Kiwi workers will fall even further behind from October when they will be paying a consumption tax (GST) that is 50 percent higher than in Australia. We have caught up with Australia in one respect though, when National took over we had a lower unemployment rate – they’ve managed to turn that around in 18 months!
So where is John Key’s plan? Smiling and waving for the cameras won’t get us there. As Annette King said in the House yesterday, “It’s time for the Government to stop kicking the tyres, put some petrol in the tank. start the engine and go somewhere!”. Couldn’t have said it better…!
Last week I missed this little announcement from Peter Dunne that the threshold at which student loan borrowers have to start paying back their loan would not be increased. To my knowledge this has never happened before, the threshold is usually adjusted each year so that it stays the same in real terms. National promised at the last election to keep the student loan scheme as it is (keep interest free etc). This amounts to a broken promise, even if it is a very small one.
The amounts we are talking about are not huge, it will probably cost every student loan borrower about $20-$40 a year. But it does set a worrying precedent. Given National’s promise not to touch the loan scheme a statement from Dunne that talks about the “very significant cost of this $9.6 billion asset to the Crown” and noting this change is intended to “lower the overall costs of the scheme to the Crown” is particularly worrying.
Figures released by Statistics New Zealand last week highlight the plight of some of our lowest income households. While those with mortgages are enjoying a bit of interest rate relief, those who are renting have seen their rental costs increase by 8.1 percent. Average total household income from all sources has increased by 5.6 percent during the same period.
Just under a third of Kiwi families rent the house they live in. Those on lower incomes are far more likely to rent rather than own the property that they live in, so they are the ones most likely to be feeling the pinch.
About 65 percent of those households earning $43,900 or less rated the adequacy of their income as ‘just enough’ or ‘not enough’. Around half our Kiwis households fit into this demographic. Over 70 percent of those households with an income of $86,700 or above rated their incomes as ‘enough’ or ‘more than enough’.
It’s been a tough year for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. The very first thing the new National-led government did was take away tax cuts for the lowest income earners so that they could give that money to those on the highest incomes. As unemployment has continued to rise, the Nats have been asleep at the wheel. Let’s hope they wake up next year!