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New Zealand PM Chris Hipkins Calls Cost of Living an “Absolute Priority”

Chris Hipkins was sworn in as Prime Minister on Wednesday morning by the Governor-General in Wellington

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Hrishita Chatterjee
Hrishita Chatterjee
Covering culture and trending topics

NEW ZEALAND: After chairing his first cabinet press meeting, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has promised to look into the cost of living issues.

Hipkins, however, has yet to provide new measures to implement the same. On being asked by one of the reporters in the conference, he said that he was “not going to start making announcements only a couple of hours into the job.” 

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“Immediate priority issues” concerning New Zealand should be prioritized, including cost-of-living pressures, as new statistics in New Zealand revealed after data was aggregated for three months up until December that the country’s inflation remained static at 7.2%. 

A few reasons for the prevalence of this figure are the increase in household costs such as rent and maintenance, rising food costs, and building costs. 

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“New Zealanders will see in the coming weeks and months that the cost of living is right at the heart of our work program,” the newly elected Prime Minister said. 

He added, “It is the number one priority that we are facing as a government, and they will see tangible evidence of this.”

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The economy was the most important area of focus in his first meeting, as he promised to “reprioritize, refresh, and refocus the government’s work” to take action against the “bread and butter” issues.

The new PM, who believes that he would not take his job casually, says that he is “energized and excited by the challenges ahead” but is also aware that his work will not show immediate results.

“They are the sorts of things you need to do to make sure we have got fair prices in the supermarkets,” he said.

The universal half-price public transportation and fuel tax cuts ending on March 31 would not concern the new PM. The cut-price fares starting on April 1 were extended in August and might run until January 31. 

The government’s challenges to immigration settings were one of the prime areas of focus as well. These settings were altered last year to permit international nurses and midwives’ immediate residency and to discuss the high supermarket and gasoline prices.

Hipkins took office shortly after former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stepped down after leading the country through difficult times, including natural disasters, a terrorist attack, and the COVID-19 pandemic, despite her Labour Party’s struggles in the polls over the last two years. 

Also Read: Jacinda Ardern Resigns as New Zealand’s Prime Minister 

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