New Zealand said on Sunday it is extending the duration of cuts in fuel excise tax, road user charges and public transport fares until the end of January, as families struggle with higher living costs amid strong inflationary pressures.
- NZ cut its fuel excise by 25 cents a litre in March, with the temporary measure due to end in August
- Petrol prices have risen worldwide since Russia invaded Ukraine
- Australia’s fuel excise cut is due to end in September
Petrol prices in New Zealand, like elsewhere, have risen sharply since Russia’s attack on Ukraine started in February, contributing to significant inflation.
Food prices rose 1.2 per cent in June, while they rose 6.6 per cent from the same month last year.
“There’s no easy fix for the cost of living, but we’re taking a range of actions to ease the pressure on families,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said in a statement.
The government in March cut the fuel excise tax by 25 cents a litre and road user charges “levied on diesel vehicle users” by as much for three months.
The temporary measure was extended again in May until mid-August.
Authorities flagged the changes will reduce the cost of filling up a 40-litre tank of petrol by more than NZ$11 ($9.99) and for a 60-litre tank by more than NZ$17 ($15.44).
The Treasury estimates the combined impact of policy will reduce headline inflation by 0.5 percentage points in the June quarter, Mr Robertson said.
But he warned inflation will likely “stay for some time at levels higher than we have seen in recent years” even as economists forecast it would peak in the June quarter.
On Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) delivered its sixth straight interest rate rise and signalled it remained comfortable with its planned aggressive tightening path to restrain runaway inflation.
RBNZ has forecast inflation peaking at 7.0 per cent in the second quarter of 2022, well above its target of 1 per cent to 3 per cent.
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