'It’s just not enough' - University students feel effects of inflation

Record inflation is hitting our pockets hard, especially our students

25th July, 2022

Matt Manukuo in Dunedin

'It’s just not enough' -  University students feel effects of inflation

​The effects of inflation are being felt throughout the country, especially for students living in Dunedin. 

“It has been really difficult for our Pasifika students", says University of Otago Pacific Island Students Association President Elisepa Taukolo. 

"Because it means their rent goes up, the food prices go up, everything goes up, and with the support our Pacific students get from Study Link, it’s not enough."

With inflation reaching a record 7.3%, the cost of living becomes increasingly harder for New Zealanders. 

Taukolo says some students don't even know what supports are available. 

“Some of our students are going through a hard time and they feel like they can’t access financial support. 

“I try to cater to them and tell them you can reach out to these different organisations for support. There are many resources available for groceries and stuff, but for funding it’s difficult”. 

This comes after the Green Party student wellbeing report​, with more than two thirds of students saying they regularly didn't have enough money for food, clothing and bills. 

Pacific, Maori and disabled students were more likely to struggle in that area. 

Senior lecturer in the University of Otago’s economic department Dr Murat Ungor says inflation impacts everyone differently, but for low-income communities, including tertiary students, the impacts are more severe. 

 “Low-income people spend most of their income on necessities such as food, transportation, rent. If we look at the effects of inflation, food prices are increasing, rent is increasing. 

 “These are the items that these societies spend most of their income. Most of the money in their pockets goes to these items, which is why they feel it the most”. 

Dr Ungor says things will likely get worse before they get better, unless factors in the global economy change. 

“Inflation will still be with us this year; it can also rise to 8% sometime this year so it’s a very likely possibility. 

“If we can make progress, if there’s some kind of peace in the Ukraine war next year, if we can provide a solution for the global supply chain problems, and we can reduce the number of positive cases, then we can talk about the possibility of seeing better days."