Cost of everything rising at fastest pace in 30 years

By Will Trafford

The price of everything is rising at the fastest rate in 30 years, with new figures from Stats New Zealand revealing inflation hit 5.9% in 2021.

The largest jump in prices was for housing materials, rent and petrol; New Zealand's not seen inflation of this level since the 1990s.

The increase represents a failure for Aotearoa’s Reserve Bank whose mandate is to keep inflation at half of today’s figures, at between one and three per cent.

National’s finance spokesperson Simon Bridges (Ngāti Maniapoto) branded the increase an "inflationary fire hurting every day New Zealanders".

“Parents will have to put food back at the supermarket, workers will only be able to partly fill up, and there’s even less hope for young people trying to buy their first home.” Bridges said.

Bridges says with wage growth half that of inflation at 2.4% and house price rises at record levels New Zealanders are "going backward" and places the blame in the hands of Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

Half Aussie's rate

“Robertson’s spending has been 40% higher throughout his time as finance minister than it was under National. This year he’s planning to increase that to a staggering 68% at $128 billion, with $6 billion in new spending,” he said.

“While elevated spending was appropriate through much of the pandemic, some easing off and greater focus on the quality of spending is now required.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has previously said inflation is a global issue as governments print and increase money flows to support economies amid Covid business closures and stay-at-home orders but Bridges says Robertson needs to explain why Australia's inflation rate is almost half that of New Zealand.

“If that’s a complete answer, then he needs to explain why the domestic part of New Zealand’s inflation is also rising and why Australia’s is considerably lower than ours at 3.5% over the same period,” he said.

“More importantly though, he needs to act by focusing on the quality of his spending and reining it in so that everyday Kiwis don’t keep getting burnt by price rises that far outstrip wage increases.”