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Budget Must Respond To Skyrocketing Food Prices

Ann Hercus' shopping basket has skyrocketed in price by $25 since Labour came to office 18 months ago. On the eve of the Budget, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley has called on the Government to deliver relief for low and middle-income New Zealand families - who are struggling under the pressure of skyrocketing grocery costs.

National has today released an updated Ann Hercus Shopping Basket, buying the same 42 items Ms Hercus first bought in 1984.

"The price rises for those common grocery and food items graphically show why families doing their weekly shop are hurting," Mrs Shipley said. "The cost of the Ann Hercus Shopping Basket of goods has increased by 5.3 percent since September last year, and a whopping 25.3 percent in total since Labour became Government.

"This increase exposes the hypocrisy of Labour's promises to assist low and middle-income kiwi families. Wages have failed to keep pace with rising costs, and many low-income workers have been further hurt by the Government's refusal to give them access to health subsidies through the Community Services Card. Labour is hurting the very people it promised to help the most.

"During the 1990s National managed the economy in a way which benefited low-income families. In 1990 the Hercus shopping basket cost $115.02, by 1999 the same items cost just $97.37. By contrast the Hercus shopping basket now costs $122.02, up by $24.65 in just 18 months under Labour.

"While the Ann Hercus Shopping Basket is not an 'official' index it was Labour's own spin during the 1980s, which is now hurting them today. Those on low and fixed incomes are having their spending power severely curtailed under Labour.

"Labour's incompetent mismanagement of the economy is hitting kiwi families where it hurts, forcing many to cut down on the amount or quality of food they can afford for themselves and their children.

"Labour must deliver something tangible and substantial for people on low and fixed incomes in tomorrow's Budget, or it will have failed as a Government. The time for Labour-Alliance rhetoric and hot air is over," Jenny Shipley said.

NOTE: Shopping basket goods have been purchased at the same Wellington supermarket on all three occasions. Specials of the week have been included for each purchase.

Ends


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