New Zealand’s rapidly rising cost of living is “absolutely a crisis”

cost of living is “absolutely a crisis"

New Zealand’s rapidly rising cost of living is “absolutely a crisis”, says Monte Cecilia Housing Trust CEO Bernie Smith.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that while rising living costs were impacting, she wouldn’t describe the situation as a crisis.

However, the Catholic Housing Trust CEO with first-hand real-life experience of hardship is pushing back on statements by the Prime Minister.

“From Monte Cecilia’s perspective, we’re working with hundreds of families every day who were already struggling to keep a roof over their children’s heads and food in their bellies, who are now being pushed well past the line.

“If that’s not a crisis, I don’t know what you’d call it.

“Between rent, food, fuel and other basic necessities, families are expected somehow to find thousands of dollars extra a year to cover the rising costs.

“That’s a tough blow for those of us who are doing ok, but for families who were already struggling, it’s crushing.”

Monte Cecilia has had to stop taking referrals earlier in the year after its waitlist grew to almost 400 families and the government restricted its ability to contract new homes from landlords.

Many New Zealanders agree with Smith.

On Tuesday a mum of five told Newshub AM she’s struggling after her family’s bills increased by $7000 in the past year.

One Reddit user said Ardern was “simply ignoring facts,” while another called it a “poor take” given food, petrol, rent and house prices were “skyrocketing.”

The cost of living has skyrocketed with Kiwis spending on average an extra $4000 to $5000 in the past 12 months on basics such as food, rent and fuel. The highest single item in the increase is fuel, with an extra $678 a year at the pump on average.

Speaking to Newshub’s AM, Ardern said that despite the escalating fuel cost, she wouldn’t be cutting tax on petrol.

“What we’re seeing right now is the impact of Covid and the recovery and of Ukraine,” Ardern said. “The increase we’ve seen at the pump, it’s been significant. It has not come from excise [tax], it has not come from government.”

AM host Ryan Bridge pushed Ardern to admit that if the government cut taxes on petrol, people could be paying half as much at the pump. However, Ardern replied: “If you remove excise, which every government has used, you basically remove your ability to maintain roads and roading projects,” she said.

Bernie Smith concluded, “It doesn’t matter that the cause is global because this isn’t about handing out blame – what matters is what we’re doing to help our most vulnerable families.

“Prime Minister Ardern has said that she expects things to improve over the course of the year and I hope she’s right, I really do, but families are being forced into poverty right now.

“We can’t afford to sit still and hope the situation improves – we need to act.”



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