Food prices add to family burden

“News today that the price of fruit and vegetables is up again is a further blow for low income New Zealanders, said Su’a William Sio, Labour’s Spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs.

“Price hikes for fruit and veges come on the back of petrol price rises, more job losses and a Salvation Army report that shows that the Government has failed to address economic and social inequality.

“In the year to January, fruit and vegetables rose 5.9 percent with the price of kumara increasing by 98 percent and apples increasing by 21 percent. However, the Salvation Army has pointed out in its recent report that these increases may actually be more for your typical low income households as with less income such a household would be unable to afford some of the things regularly purchased by middle income households.

“Food is an enormous expense for families and with more price increases there is a tendency for many low income households to go without quality food stuff such as meats, vegetables, and instead are forced to purchase cheap junk foods. With wages stagnant and opportunities scarce, day to day living is an uphill battle.

“There are families in our communities with 3-5 children — all attending school— who’ll find these increases a kick in the gut as they struggle to pay for school uniform and stationery costs early in the year.

“These price increases in basic food stuff will hurt the most vulnerable kiwis the hardest. Child poverty remains resolutely stuck at about 20% of New Zealand children. This is a national disgrace.

“We have to fight against poverty and the Government has a responsibility to address the jobs crisis, income inequalities, and the need to provide more training, education and upskilling opportunities for all New Zealanders.

“We must overcome the growing inequalities between the wealthy and those on low incomes.

This is why Labour is throwing its support behind the campaign for a living wage. New Zealander’s who work hard deserve to earn a living that they can survive on”, said Su’a William Sio

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