Seniors struggle as costs hit hard

Rotorua Daily Post 1 April 2008

As the cost of living continues to soar superannuitants are among the hardest hit in Rotorua. They have received a 3 per cent increase in national superannuation but that’s not enough to cover the growing costs of fuel, rents and interest rates, food and electricity… After tax, a superannuitant living alone will get an $8.81 a week increase to $277.06 a week.

Age Concern New Zealand chief executive Ann Martin said she fears they would see some real hardship cases this winter with rising petrol, electricity and rental prices causing problems. “It’s vital that older people can afford to keep their houses warm enough to stay healthy. “A senior living alone will receive $14,800 a year, could you live on $14,800 a year?” Mrs Martin said.

According to Statistics New Zealand data, in the year to February 2008 food prices rose 5.2 per cent across the board. Fresh milk prices went up 20.9 per cent, cheddar cheese went up 59.9 per cent and butter 91.2 per cent. The only downward trend came from fruit and vegetables that saw a 2.5 per cent decrease. Rotorua Salvation Army spokesman Rob Gardiner said they had seen a marked increase in the number of food parcel handouts compared with last year.