A case of quality versus quantity

The soaring cost of living is the most common complaint I’m hearing these days.

And with just cause.

Families are being hit in the pocket as every day costs likes food, fuel, utilities and housing costs spiral. Petrol alone has risen a whopping 30.7%.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures released by Statistics NZ on January 27 showed annual price inflation (the difference between the December 2020 quarter and the December 2021 quarter), hit 5.9% — up from 4.9% in the September quarter. 

It was the biggest annual rise since June 1990 when inflation hit 7.6%.

While the Prime Minister refutes her government’s billions of dollars in spending on COVID-19 has led to this record inflation rate, National is calling for Finance Minister Grant Robertson to rein in his spending so he isn’t adding fuel to the fire.

Simon Bridges, our Finance spokesperson says:

“The 5.9% is a thief in New Zealanders’ pockets, making us poorer. With wage growth of only 2.4%, New Zealanders are going backwards, and it is the least well off Kiwis who are hurt the most.

“Parents will have to put food back at the supermarket, workers will only be able to partly fill up at the petrol station and there is even less hope for young people trying to buy their first home.

“Grant Robertson needs show he understands this pain by reining in his spending. “Spending has been 40% higher throughout his time as Finance Minister than it was under his National predecessors, and this year he is planning to raise that to a staggering 68% more at $128 billion, with $6 billion in new spending.”

National isn’t calling for no new spending, but we want a greater focus on the quality of it and pulling back on the big numbers Robertson is planning to spend in 2022.

Big spending now will just push inflation higher hitting Kiwis in the pocket twice, as the Reserve Bank will need to hike up interest rates, to take the heat out of inflation.

We don’t believe Robertson’s usual slick inflation response which blames the huge rise solely on international forces, which doesn’t explain our domestic inflation.

Meanwhile in the same period, our Australian neighbours have only faced a 3.5% rise.

There are many ways the Government can curb the rapidly rising costs.

Easing the tax on fuel is one that could offer immediate relief.


The year ahead

The full effects of Omicron’s spread in the community are largely unknown as I write.

It’s brought the cancellation of several annual events, many of them rural, which is a real blow to organisers.

Throughout February is a series of He Waka Eke Noa meetings for farmers to share their views during the month-long consultation process and I’ll be at some to listen.

For more information, visit the website — www.dairynz.co.nz/environment/climate-change/he-waka-eke-noa/have-your-say/

I’m also keen to be out and about in the community as much as COVID rules will allow.

If you are hosting an event you’d like me to attend, email me — [email protected]