How is inflation hitting Pacific pockets?

How are our families feeling the pinch of inflation - we ask people directly, and those working on the frontline.

22nd July, 2022

Khalia Strong, Joseph Safiti & John Pulu

How is inflation hitting Pacific pockets?

​We asked people around Auckland's Manukau where they're feeling the pinch. Video /Joseph Safiti

It’s been a week focussed on inflation and the cost of living. 

The government got ahead of the Stats NZ announcement by extending half-price public transport and cuts to road user charges and petrol tax until the end of the year,  but these actions were seemingly trivial compared to the record 7.3 % inflation in the three months up to June, the biggest hike in 32 years. 

We spoke to locals around Manukau to see how it’s hitting their pockets. 

​Salvation Army social policy advocate ‘Ana Ika says they weren’t surprised by the inflation figure as they’d been already seeing the evidence on the front-line. 

“We see it before the numbers tell us. We see the hardship our families are going through in the community with people accessing our food banks, people accessing financial mentoring. 

“Wages haven’t really changed that much, income is still relatively low. So everything just keeps getting more expensive and there’s nowhere to draw from to be able to address those hardships.”

Speaking to John Pulu on the PMN Tonga programme, Ika says greater wraparound support is needed, to protect vulnerable families from making their situation worse in the long-term. 

“Our concern, especially for our Pasifika families is that if families don’t have the funds or finances to be able to address these costs, then they might tap into loan sharks and lenders.”

Ika says the government’s last Budget protected incomes for middle-class families, but says beneficiaries, families on welfare, jobseekers or people on disability allowances weren’t included. 

“Whilst we acknowledge the hardships are great for everybody...they don’t have anything left over - without inflation. And so, with inflation, it makes things even worse.

“Everyone is hurting but those that are right at the bottom are hurting the most because whilst other families can tap into some sort of savings or backup that they have, a lot of the families that we serve, including Pasifika families, don’t have those buffers.”