More pain coming for squeezed middle

The cost of living crisis is set to get even worse, with ASB today signalling the average household could be $150 worse off a week by the end of this year, National’s Finance spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

“With inflation already at a 30-year high and forecast to keep climbing, wages not keeping up with costs, and interest rates set to bite, struggling Kiwi families are becoming increasingly short of cash for the essentials.

“It’s not just petrol prices that are going up – food, housing and borrowing costs are soaring too. Many families will be facing difficult choices in the year ahead.

“For some, the increase in the cost of living will be much more than $150 a week. Things are going to get particularly tough for young families who had to take on large mortgage debt just to get their feet on the property ladder.

“The Government’s only response has been the re-announcement of already scheduled changes to benefits and a three-month petrol tax tweak. Those measures will provide small relief for some, but won’t help the vast majority of Kiwis who are worse off under Labour.

“The Government must set a very high bar for any additional spending. At a time when Kiwi families are being forced to tighten their belts, so too should the Government.

“Labour needs to rein in their big new spending plans to take some pressure off prices and interest rates, and then deliver meaningful tax relief to the squeezed middle.

“National’s proposal to reset the tax brackets for inflation back to where they were in real terms in 2017 would mean that someone earning $55,000 a year would pay $800 less tax. It would also mean another $546 for a couple on NZ Super.

“When inflation is the highest in three decades, now more than ever is the time to adjust tax brackets for inflation and give Kiwis some of their own money back.”