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Spat over living cost continued in Parliament

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Oct 19 NZPA - Labour and National continued their spat over the cost of living today with both sides claiming in Parliament the other has their figures wrong.

Data from Statistics New Zealand released yesterday showed the annual inflation rate is the lowest it has been since March 2004 -- at 1.5 percent.

However, the consumer price index rose 1.1 percent in the September quarter, led largely by a 2.4 percent increase in food prices.

Finance Minister Bill English yesterday compared the current annual inflation rate, 1.5 percent for the year to September, to the 5.1 percent under the previous Labour Government.

He also released figures which he claimed showed real after-tax wages had risen under National (from minus 1 percent from December 2006 to September 2008, to 9 percent in September 2008 to June 2010).

Labour finance spokesman David Cunliffe said the inflation rate was a further blow to those left worse off by National's budget tax switch.

The debate continued today with rowdy behaviour on both sides of the debating chamber.

As Mr English explained figures he said showed people were better off under National Mr Cunliffe shouted "the square root of your birthday".

"Why would Kiwi families care about the square root of his housing allowance or some other number concoction, when what they know is that every week they are finding it harder to make ends meet," Mr Cunliffe said.

Mr English said many people would be finding more money in their pay packet as a result of the reduction in income tax.

As things went on Speaker Lockwood Smith threatened to throw Labour leader Phil Goff and his deputy, Annette King, out of the debating chamber over their heckling.

Mr Goff said Prime Minister John Key was giving his usual "litany of rubbish".

Mr Key wasn't concerned though. He said he would run through the facts and allow people to make their decision at the ballot box next year.

"This is what mum and dad are going to look at and I think I know the way they're going to vote."

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