The pressure seems to be on as locals fear inflation is never going to ease in the Clutha district.
The consumers price index for the year to the end of March rose by 6.9%, the largest movement since a 7.6% annual increase in the year to June 1990.
One of the main drivers of inflation was from transport, influenced by higher prices for petrol and second›hand cars, according to the Stats NZ website update released on April 21.
Lee›Anne Michelle, of the Clutha Budget Advisory Service, said money was no longer going where it used to go, with people struggling to be able to afford fuel and food.
She said people were using more of their wages to buy fuel and ultimately dipping into their grocery spend to be able to afford fuel, so they could not afford as much food as they needed for the week or fortnight.
‘‘People still need to be able to get to work, so they need fuel. ‘‘But they also need food, so they’re struggling to live their everyday lives because they’re buying less groceries than they need until their next payment,’’ she said.
‘‘We’ve got people, including couples, coming in asking what they’re doing wrong.
‘‘We’re beginning to see the middle›income squeeze, meaning people who would normally have average financial income are also being hit by this substantially and taking the brunt of inflation.’’
She said the cost of living payment in the works with the Government would only provide a band aid for the short term, and did not resolve the situation after the three months were over.
Ms Michelle said the Clutha Budget Advisory Service, in its partnership with KiwiHarvest, was seeing more demand in the district for free food bags given out each fortnight.
Mayor Bryan Cadogan expressed his solidarity with the district.
‘‘We know that the escalations we are seeing haven’t been in our economy for 20 years.
‘‘The competition in the grocery market ismeant to bring savings, so we can hope the dynamics will mitigate against some of the present challenges.
‘‘From a council perspective, I am very thankful we’ve held our 4% rate cap, which remains fundamental because rates are now a big component of annual expense and it is quite critical that we continue to hold it as is,’’ Mr Cadogan said.
‘‘Our thoughts go out to everyone and we as a council will continue to play our part to keep our unemployment rate as low as possible.
‘‘We know there is a challenge and we’re doing everything we can to support our district.’’