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Costs Crippling Families – Urgent Attention Needed

17 March 2008

Costs Crippling Families – Urgent Attention Needed

Family First NZ is calling for an urgent assessment of the effects of raging price rises on low- and middle-income families.

“The demand for foodbanks is increasing, food and petrol prices are sky-rocketing, and mortgage rates are all adding to an increasing burden of financial pressure,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “This is putting horrendous pressure on many families who are also dealing with ‘beginning of year’ expenses such as school fees, uniforms, stationery, and sports fees.”

“When families are under financial pressure, this places pressure on relationships and the health and well-being of children.”

“The most difficult aspect is that it is not luxuries or discretionary items that are impacting the most. It is ‘essentials’ such as dairy products, breads, some meats, and most noticeably petrol. These are costs which low- and middle-income families have very little room to move on and have no choice but to absorb in some way.”

“Combined with increased mortgage payments and power costs - and no immediate relief in sight - the outlook is bleak for families, and they are hurting. Increasing their working hours and doing overtime simply places additional time pressures on families, and tax bracket ‘creep’, petrol taxes and the effective marginal tax rate (EMTR) on Working for Families is also penalising families.”

“It’s also a feeding ground for loan sharks to exploit desparate families,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Family First is calling for politicians to consult urgently with community foodbanks, budgeting advice centres, and welfare and community organisations to assess the true impact of cost rises on families. Any organisation working with families will be aware of just how difficult it is at the moment for families to make ends meet.

Families urgently deserve a break – and the most relevant break at this time would be a tax break or tax relief of some sort.



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