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As Jacinda Ardern arrives back into New Zealand, she returns to a country in the middle of a cost of living crisis, with worse to come for New Zealand mortgage holders, National’s Finance spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

“As the Prime Minister stepped off her plane yesterday, Kiwis are bracing for the sixth interest rate hike in a row from the Reserve Bank this week. Many are lying awake at night worrying about how they are going to afford their mortgage repayments,” Ms Willis says.

“Not in decades have New Zealand interest rates risen as steeply and quickly as they have under Prime Minister Ardern.

“According to the latest data from the Reserve Bank, the average two-year fixed mortgage interest rates have now hit their highest level since February 2011, with worse likely to come.

“Around half of mortgages will come up for repricing over the next 12 months. Many New Zealanders will face severe hikes in their mortgage payments as a result.

“For example, a borrower who fixed their mortgage at 2.7 per cent in 2020 will now face refixing their rate at over 6 per cent. If they had a $500,000 mortgage that means finding around another $16,000 for interest costs each year - a whopping $310 more per week.

“In February 2021 Jacinda Ardern promised to ‘tilt the playing field towards first home buyers’, but now, recent first-home buyers find themselves on shaky ground, with many holding debts bigger than their homes are worth, desperately trying to work where they will find the thousands of extra dollars needed to serve their sky-high mortgages.

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“The Prime Minister must answer to New Zealanders for Labour’s inflationary programme of runaway spending and restrictive immigration settings which have left the Reserve Bank no choice but to twist the interest-rate screws ever tighter.

“New Zealand needs strong, careful economic management and fiscal responsibility to get us through this difficult period.

“National would rein in wasteful spending, stop adding new costs and taxes, refocus the Reserve Bank on price stability, let Kiwis keep more of what they earn, and remove bottlenecks in the economy like Labour’s overly restrictive immigration settings.”

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