“The day Jacinda announced she was stepping down we learned of rising food inflation and increasing dependence on welfare. Today Chris Hipkins has a baptism of inflation with the consumer price index showing inflation is stubbornly frozen at 7.2 per cent for back to back quarters,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Hipkins needs to show what he’ll do differently. Because what Labour’s been doing ain’t working.

“After six months of sky-high cost increases there’s no end in sight. This inflation rate is above expectations, as other countries turn the corner more mortgage pain is on the way because Adrian Orr has not been taken seriously. Interest rate rises to date have had no effect.

“There’s always a human cost to this sort of economic mismanagement. Household budgets have already been crushed. Yesterday Stuff reported on a family who might need to sell their family car to keep a roof over their young family’s head as their interest repayments have increased by $450 per week already.

“Since inflation first hit 7.2% in June 2022, the bank has more than doubled the OCR from 2 to 4.5% and mortgage rates have followed. That hasn’t worked so we can expect greater hikes as people are trying to pay for a summer of record food prices and get back to school with new uniforms, stationery, and bring-your-own-devices.

“As usual Labour will blame rest of world, Vladimir Putin, and anyone else they can think of. But in truth inflation would be much worse were it not for oil prices moderating from last year’s high of $115 per barrel to $80 now.

“Inflation in New Zealand is now being driven by government red tape and regulations. Two recent examples include the egg price shock caused by chicken welfare being put ahead of human welfare and 102 houses being held up because Labour’s freshwater policy defines a paddock with a drainpipe as a wetland.

“Meanwhile Grant Robertson remorselessly spends not just taxpayers’ money today but future taxpayers’ money as he racks up $106 billion of debt in the last three years. When I asked Robertson in Parliament what he planned to differently, he couldn’t give a single example.

“More than ever New Zealand needs ACT’s fully-costed Alternative Budget that reduces government spending without touching frontline services, reduces the deficit that causes inflation, and reduces taxes so people keep more of their money to fight cost increases.

“Unfortunately Grant Robertson is addicted to spending and the only good news for people squeezed by the cost of living crisis is that we know the election is only 262 days away.”

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David Seymour