Cost of living package will help Taieri residents

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Constituents who attend my clinics in Balclutha and Milton have a range of issues. More recently, there has been an obvious increase in anxiety as people struggle with the cost of living.

I asked the Reserve Bank governor this month in the finance committee how much of this was due to international events such as the war in Ukraine. He responded that at least a third of it was the direct cause of those events, along with around another third also impacted by international supply chains.

That means inflation is not something we can mainly control here in Aotearoa New Zealand. However, the Government has moved to help take the pressure off.

We’ve just released this year’s Budget, which sets out the next steps in our plan to build a secure future for New Zealand.

This includes a cost of living package which will help ease the pressure for people here in Taieri.

Right now, the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Our effective health response protected our economy through Covid›19, and we’ve pulled through better than almost anywhere else in the world.

But we know that, despite these positive indicators, things are tough right now for many families, as global inflation affects prices here at home.

That’s why, in this year’s Budget, we’ve included a comprehensive cost of living package.

This package includes a new temporary payment to help Kiwis earning up to $70,000 a year with higher food and power bills.

It also includes an extension to our fuel tax cut, reduced road user charges and half›price public transport for a further two months, and we’re permanently halving public transport fares for people on low incomes.

Alongside these measures, we’re taking action on supermarkets to make sure Kiwis are paying a fair price at the checkout.

It is important we do what we can to take the hard edges off the global factors that are affecting us here in New Zealand, and these practical measures will help families here in Taieri and across the country.

Of course, as we do this, we’ll continue to carefully manage the books — and our careful fiscal management means we return to surplus quicker than National did after the global financial crisis.

There’s a lot more in the Budget that will benefit people here in Taieri, and if you’d like to know more, I’d encourage you to check out labour.org.nz/budget2022