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Otago families are being hit hard under this Government with rent rises coming on top of other costs of living increases, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

“I’m shocked that rents in Otago have gone up $27 a week in the past year, under this Government, and that’s on top of petrol taxes and rising food prices.

“That adds up to $1404 a year that people will have to find from somewhere and cutting back on essentials will be the only option for some.

“People tell me they are struggling to make ends meet. Food banks are noticing an increase and some say they’re even seeing people they wouldn’t normally expect to use their services.

“The Ministry of Social Development is also being forced to support more families with the number of hardship grants jumping by 54,000 in the past 12 months.

“I’m concerned about the strain this is putting on families and as we approach Christmas I worry about the stress that many people will be feeling.

“It’s disappointing that a Government which claims to be prioritising New Zealand’s lower-income households has now turned its back on these families.

“A raft of poorly thought through policies are behind the recent spike in rents, including extending the bright-line test, ring-fencing of losses, more burdensome regulations, and the threat of a capital gains tax.

“One third of New Zealanders don’t own their own homes, so these Government policies are hitting huge numbers of people in Otago.

"I call on the Government to rethink some of its strategies, start putting families first and giving those on lower incomes some respite.”

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