National | Clean Energy

Poll-spooked Labour puts more pūtea in pockets in 'global energy crisis'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand is caught up in a global energy crisis.

Due to the conflict in Ukraine with Russia, economic burns are being felt everywhere, particularly with fuel prices surging to new highs around the globe, she told a press conference this afternoon.

"The impact of the war sits on top of the pain already caused by the pandemic," Ardern says. "With global supply chain disruption and increases in consumer demand causing high levels of inflation in many countries, including right here in New Zealand.

"We are in a wicked perfect storm that is impacting people's lives."

The plan to get more in the pocket 

Ardern outlined measures to tackle the crisis.

"On April 1, a sweep of measures will take effect that will see significant increases in the take-home incomes of the majority of Kiwi families.

"Some 346,000 families will see their income increase by an average of $20 a week. Superannuitants will see their incomes lifted by $52 a fortnight for a single person and $80 for a couple. In addition, a full-time minimum wage worker will see their pay lift by $48 a week.

"As well, childcare assistant income thresholds will also be adjusted."

May 1 will see the Winter Energy Payment kick off again which will affect over a million New Zealanders, "with families receiving over $30 a week, a total of $700 extra over the winter months".

The sudden announcement from the Labour government came only days after a poll showed National running neck and neck with Labour.

National leader Christopher Luxon and his finance spokesman, Simon Bridges,  have been arguing that living costs have become a crisis and that Labour policies were to blame.

Earlier today, Ardern agreed there was a major cost-of-living problem. Today's announcements were her response.