Broken housing market at the heart of unbalanced economy

New data shows rising rents are hitting people on modest incomes and beneficiaries in the pocket, while the cost of living for wealthier households is more manageable, the Green Party said today.

In the last three months, the cost of living rose 1.4 percent for beneficiaries and 1.3 percent for low expenditure households, compared to just 0.5 percent for high expenditure households, according to the Statistics NZ Household Living Costs Price Index.

“Under National, it’s getting harder for people on modest incomes to make ends meet, compared to people on higher incomes who aren’t facing the same pressures paying their bills,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The housing crisis continues to effect living standards and the data is clear that rising rents are hitting people in the pocket.

“The supposed bounty of Bill English’s economy isn’t being shared fairly. People at the top are doing well but a huge number of families are struggling and wages aren’t keeping up with rising bills.

“People could be earning an extra $7-8 an hour, or about $300 a week, if wages had kept up with economic growth since 1991, according to new research from Victoria University.

“A focus on high value jobs, like those in the ICT sector, and stronger workplace rights would see wages rise.

“Taxing housing speculators fairly with a capital gains tax (excluding the family home) would help rebalance the economy, bringing housing costs under control,” Mr Shaw said.

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