April 1 changes no consolation for squeezed middle

Incoming changes in benefits and the minimum wage will barely cover the rising cost of living and do nothing for hardworking, middle-income households not receiving government support, Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon says.

“New Zealand has a cost of living crisis and the Government is playing catch up.

“Spare a thought for the forgotten squeezed middle who are paying higher prices at the supermarket and petrol pump, have seen costs rise faster than their wages, but will get no relief from today’s changes.

“Labour is giving with one hand and taking with the other. Increases in benefits and minimum wage will be quickly eaten away by the rising cost of living. At the same time, they are planning to squeeze motorists further with increases to petrol costs from its biofuels mandate.

“Inflation is pushing more Kiwis into higher tax brackets and Labour is taking more money out of people’s pockets at a time when there is a cost of living crisis.

“A family with two kids on an average household income of $110,000 will get absolutely nothing out of this package as they don’t qualify for Working for Families entitlements. Under National’s proposal to inflation-adjust income tax brackets, they would qualify for a $1600 income boost.

“National believes New Zealanders should be able to keep more of what they earn. That is why we are calling on Labour to adjust tax brackets for inflation at the upcoming Budget and give hardworking Kiwis a break.

“New Zealanders are running faster just to fall further behind under Labour.”