“Labour has done everything possible to push up the price of food and Kiwis continue to suffer with the largest annual increase in food prices in 32 years, ACT will reverse Labour’s changes,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“For the year ended December 2022 Stats NZ reports an 11.3 per cent increase in the price of food. This shows no signs of slowing down with a 1.1 per cent increase in just the last month.

“The Government has revealed today that there are 8,000 more people on a benefit and record food price rises. These two facts are connected. Prices are rising 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.

“The government should stop smothering food producers with bureaucracy and nonsensical rules. They have effectively decided chicken welfare matters more than the best and cheapest source of protein for humans in poor households.

“Egg prices are highlighted by Stats NZ as being a major contributor to these figures in December as producers prepared for draconian new chicken laws to be introduced at the start of 2023. January’s figures will likely be even worse as these laws come into effect.

“What is also needed is a reduction in spending by the government, and tax cuts so that working New Zealanders can keep more of their own money. 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.

“We look forward to the Government explaining how Vladimir Putin is responsible for rising prices in New Zealand supermarkets, or will they finally admit they've created the cost of living crisis with their own actions much closer to home.”

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David Seymour