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Families under more pressure as power, food prices rise

Families under more pressure as power, food prices rise

Higher power prices, housing costs and food prices are behind today’s inflation rise, putting already stressed families under renewed pressure, the Green Party said today

“Families are facing rising costs from food, power, and mortgages, or rents; and most are getting no wage increases,” Green Party Metiria Turei said today.

Statistics New Zealand said today the Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent in the June quarter, lifting the annual inflation rate to 1.6 percent. Power prices in the quarter rose 4.2 percent.

“Economists forecast that another interest rate rise is a virtual certainty this month, which will be the fourth hike since March,” Mrs Turei said.

“Workers, whether tenants or home owners, are copping it on all fronts.

“Just yesterday, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment data showed average residential electricity prices for the year ended March 2014 were 2.3 percent higher than for the previous year.

“They are now 22 percent higher than when National came to office.

“This month’s Household Income Survey showed that after housing costs were paid, the top 20 percent of earners' net income rose by $6500 under National while the bottom 20 percent saw their income drop, on average by $300. Half of the population saw no income rise at all.

"Housing costs have spiralled under National. More than a quarter of households - 27 percent - paid over 30 percent of their disposable income on housing. Many of the poorest families pay over half.

"This means families are stretched so far that they can no longer afford the basics. It means children going without good food, decent shoes and a bed of their own in order to make ends meet.

“The so-called ‘competitive power market’ has never worked. Demand is slack, if not falling, yet power prices are still rising,” Mrs Turei said.

“Power bills would drop by $300 a household under our NZ Power plan.

“The Green Party will also take steps to address the housing crisis. We won’t take a hands-off approach. We will build more affordable houses. We will fund others to build more affordable houses and we will take steps to protect tenants,” Mrs Turei said.

Ends

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