We’re breaking down different parties' policies on some of the biggest issues in Aotearoa right now. Here's the cost of living.
These are condensed summaries, to make it as easy as possible for young voters to get key, relevant information. Parties may have more policies, or there may be more information or more policy detail beyond what we have been able to fit in here.
There are links to the full set of a party’s policies at the end of each section if you want more details or to see where it sits in their policy portfolio.
National is promising a reduction in how much tax many New Zealanders would pay, particularly middle-income families.
- They say under their plan, a family with kids on the average household income of $120,000 would save up to $250 a fortnight, while a full-time, minimum-wage earner would save $20 a fortnight.
- This would be mostly achieved through adjusting tax brackets for inflation, aka increasing the amount you have to earn before you enter a higher tax rate, as well as a range of other supports such as a childcare rebate and tax credits.
- The plan is expected to cost $14.6 billion over four years.
- This would be paid for through a number ways, like ending the ban on foreign buyers for houses worth over $2 million then taxing those buyers at 15%, the emissions trading scheme, and cancelling public transport subsidies for young people and Total Mobility card holders.
Labour have promised a range of targeted subsidies on food and services, including
- removing GST from fruit and vegetables, which they say will save families around $20 a month
- expanding free basic dental care like annual check-ups, cleanings, fillings and extractions to everyone under 30 years old.
- increasing the amount families can access through the Working for Families programme.
The Labour Party has also been promoting the cost of living supports they have introduced while in Government, and that National has said they would remove, such as
- removing the $5 prescription fee
- twenty hours free early childhood education for two-year-olds
- free public transport for children under 13, and half-price for under 25-year-olds and community service card holders.
ACT proposes providing a tax cut on wages as part of their alternative budget, which they say would save the average full-time worker $1,236 a year in taxes.
Their cost of living policies largely focus on changes they would make to the NZ economy, including:
- removing all tariffs (a tax for importing goods into New Zealand)
- repealing the Resource Management Act to speed up the rate houses, businesses and farms can be built and changed
- removing employee protections such as Fair Pay Agreements, and re-introducing 90-day work trials.
The Green Party propose an income guarantee, which would ensure that every New Zealander, no matter their situation, was guaranteed a weekly after-tax income of
- $385 for individuals
- $770 for couples
- $735 for single parents.
They also propose an Ending Poverty Plan, which would provide a tax cut for everyone earning less than $120,000 a year. They say this would save 3.7 million New Zealanders between $16 and $26 a week.
They would pay for these changes with new taxes aimed at the wealthy, including a
- 2.5% wealth tax on assets like buildings and shares worth more than $2 million (for an individual)
- 1.5% trust tax
- 33% corporate tax rate
- new top income tax rate of 45% for people earning over $180,000.
New Zealand First:
New Zealand First’s cost of living policies focus on reducing government spending in order to reduce inflation.
They want to do this by refocusing government spending on what they call the ‘must haves’ instead of the ‘nice to haves’, such as
- stopping all spending on light rail and cycle lanes, and prioritising reducing traffic and improving roads
- limiting the lifetime entitlement of the jobseeker benefit to two years
- allowing people to use a portion of their KiwiSaver to pay down their mortgage.
They also have a range of policies aimed at easing cost of living pressures for some, including
- a 50% rebate on property rates for SuperGold card holders (retirees)
- looking into lifting the minimum wage for adults to $25 by offering a tax concession to businesses who do so
- removing income tax for anyone who earns less than $14,000 a year.
Te Pāti Māori:
Te Pāti Māori’s cost of living policies are:
- removing income tax for people who earn below $30,000 a year, and reduce tax rates for those earning less than $100,000
- removing GST from all food
- immediately raising the minimum wage to $25 and legislating an annual increase
- doubling the baseline levels for benefits and removing a range of obligations, sanctions and financial benefits for people on benefits.
They also have a focus on supporting students, with
- a universal student allowance that is double the current rate
- writing off the living cost component on all student loan debt, and developing a plan to write off all student loan debt for people who work in Aotearoa for five years.
Notes on our methodology
How we chose the parties: We’ve included the parties who currently have MPs in Parliament, (a.k.a. Labour, National, Greens, ACT and Te Pāti Māori) or those who recent polls show are likely to win one electorate seat or meet the 5% threshold to get into Parliament (a.k.a NZ First). Political parties need to get at least 5% of the party vote, or win at least one electorate seat, to get into Parliament.
These are condensed summaries: To make it as easy as possible for young voters to get key, relevant information. Parties may have more policies, or there may be more information or more policy detail beyond what we have been able to fit in here.
These summaries were accurate as of the time of publication: but parties can release policies right up until the day before election day, so some parties may announce policies after we have published.
How will these policies be paid for? Where possible we’ve tried to include information about what the parties say these policies will cost, and how they will be paid for, but not every announcement has that information.
Difference between election promises and government policy announcements:
Some of the things Labour has announced over the last few months are government policy announcements (where work can start on them as soon as they are announced), and some are election promises (where they only happen if that party gets elected). It all gets a bit confusing because both of these things can be referred to as policies, so where possible we’ve tried to indicate which is which.
Check out our other election coverage: