Thinking of emigrating to New Zealand and looking for a better lifestyle? You may be better off staying put and not risk becoming caught in a poverty trap.
An article in today’s Stuff highlights how outrageously expensive Auckland has become over the last two years, due mostly to a strong NZ dollar. Living costs have risen by almost 60%, outstripping wages by 13%.
Executives salaries in the largest city in New Zealand are lagging behind their contemporaries in other countries:
“Executives in Zurich, Geneva and Sydney are the best paid in the world after taxes, according to a survey by Swiss bank UBS – but Auckland workers are not flourishing to the same extent.
Though the survey shows wage levels – taking into account exchange rate effects – have risen over 45 percent in Auckland over the past two years, its living costs have risen by 58 percent over the same period.
Two years ago, Auckland was the world’s 43rd most expensive city of 73 surveyed, on 49.6 points, now it was ranked 24th, at 73 points…” more here
UBS didn’t survey any other New Zealand city but we suspect that it’s a similar story in Wellington. Auckland is likely to be a barometer for any reasonably sized of employment in the country.
It’s not all down to the strong dollar though. Rising food, fuel and energy prices also have had a signficant part to play. And it’s not just the executives that are doing it tough and falling behind, at the other end of the scale low income families are in dire straights.
Published research from the University of Auckland shows that low income families can’t afford to buy basic nutritious food for their children. The Child Poverty Action Group has called for more support for families and say the effects of poor nutrition are being seen in New Zealand’s hospitals every day.
The highest cost for families is rent, then electricity, transport and education. It’s far more than not being able to budget properly, its about having money left after the basic essentials for life have been met to afford luxuries like healthy food. It is now cheaper to buy cola in New Zealand than it is to buy milk
“Latest research from the University of Auckland supports recent claims that many low-income families are unable to afford even a basic nutritious diet for their children. A paper published in Nutrition and Dietetics in December 2010 found that low-income families may not be able to afford meals recommended by the national nutritional guidelines, especially if there are teenagers in the household whose meals cost a lot more.
In response to the findings Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) is calling on the Government to increase support for families so they are able to provide nutritious food to their children.
Professor Asher says, “In reality, rent is the highest cost faced by most families, closely followed by unavoidable expenses such as electricity, transport and school-related costs. This leaves little for a good diet, especially for older children who eat so much more.
Nutritious food for children is beyond the reach of many low-income families, especially those thousands of families ineligible for the full Working for Families package. This study clearly highlights that using food banks and purchasing cheap poor-quality food is not always a matter of choice. “
CPAG is calling on the Government to help all families better afford nutritious food by extending the In-Work Tax credit to all low-income families. The cost of basic food items have increased over the last year, exemplified by the rise in milk price – 9%. “We see the outcome of poor children’s nutrition in our hospitals every day. This problem can’t be solved just by budgeting, and will not go away through magical thinking.”
Spokesperson Professor Innes Asher email@example.com 021492262″ (Voxy)
In 2010- 2000 more children were admitted to hospital with poverty-related illnesses than during 2007-08
“What seems to have slipped below the radar is the fact that a crisis is occurring in our hospital admissions.
That’s the fact that medical conditions which occur more frequently for children living in poverty have been increasing over recent years – particularly for Maori and Pasifika children. Or that close to 250,000 children are living in homes reliant on the benefit for income…
…We’re talking about admissions for respiratory problems, infectious diseases, and other conditions with links to poor housing and economic hardship –all diseases of poverty which could have been prevented if children were taken to see a doctor earlier…“ Rahui Katene, MP for Te Tai Tonga
You may also find interesting:
Travel, food, and power prices push up CPI
“…Significant upward contributions in the year to the June 2011 quarter came from higher prices for transport (up 11.0 percent), food (up 7.0 percent), and housing and household utilities (up 4.4 percent). Petrol prices increased 20.1 percent, cigarette and tobacco prices were up 16.0 percent, and electricity prices rose 7.8 percent..” Statistics New Zealand 18 July 2011
No milk price inquiry but probes continue:
“The Commerce Commission has ruled out a milk price probe but is investigating claims that dairy giant Fonterra is misusing its market power.
However Prime Minister John Key said it was important that the Government continued with an investigation into prices, because many people struggled to afford milk…” Business Day 2 August 2011
Winter and disasters hit food prices:
“Families have been dealt a double blow today with the announcement that the cost of food has increased 7.5 per cent this year and petrol prices are rising.
Statistics out today show fruit and vegetables had the largest impact on food prices in June, rising 12.2 per cent.
The Green Party blamed the rise in GST last year for exacerbating the problem of food costs.
Child Poverty Action Group co-director Mike O’Brien says families can’t keep up with the rising costs and were increasingly utilising budgeting and food bank services… “Business Day 13 July 2011
Our other blogs:
“NZ: 100% Pure Rip-Off” (July 2010)
Immigrants Caught In Cold Poverty Trap (July 2010)