“While Cyclone Gabrielle consumes the nation, today’s food price index is reality calling Prime Minister Hipkins. It confirms in numbers what people feel every day at the checkout every day, driven by an eleven per cent increase in groceries,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The day Jacinda stepped down as Prime Minister last month, Stats NZ revealed food prices had increased 11.3 per cent annually, and 1.1 per cent in just a month. When Chris Hipkins was confirmed as her replacement I said “Hipkins needs to show what he’ll do differently. Because what Labour’s been doing ain’t working.”

“It is just more of the same though, there’s been a change of PM but prices are still rising. Today Stats NZ has revealed a 10.3 per cent annual increase.

“Prices are going up in part because there are not enough people to work and produce food. Unemployment rates are low, but the labour shortage persists. There should be an uncapped RSE scheme so that there is not a shortage of seasonal workers every year.

“Hipkins has been unable to make the tough calls to tackle the cost of living crisis. He couldn’t bring himself to remove fuel and public transport subsidies that continue to drive inflation, and he is putting more pressure on production by further raising the minimum wage. Food prices won’t go down until he can take the pressure off producers and prevent wasteful spending.  

“As well as a reduction in spending by the government, Kiwis need more money in their pockets. ACT’s Alternative Budget shows how expenditures can be reduced by $7.2 billion without touching frontline services and taxes can be lowered so someone on the average wage saves $2,000 every year.

“Let’s hope the new Prime Minister stops trying to explain how Vladimir Putin is responsible for rising prices in New Zealand supermarkets, and finally admits they've created the cost of living crisis with their own actions much closer to home.”

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