Cost of living: Some New Zealanders working 70-hour weeks to survive as 'second-job epidemic' hits

The cost of living crisis has given rise to what some are describing as a "second-job epidemic".

Some Kiwis are being forced to take on multiple jobs just to afford the basics.

Dinah Peniata is one of those people. She moved to New Zealand from Samoa as a young girl in search of a better life, but now she's a single mum working three jobs - clocking more than 60 hours a week - just to get by.

"If this is how life's going to be, it's better for me to go back to the islands. But now I have kids," she said.

Despite working as a security guard, a waitress, and a nightclub bouncer, the mother-of-four struggles to make ends meet.

"After paying out bills and stuff, I live with nothing, or sometimes only $50," Peniata said.

"The situation we're at right now in New Zealand, everything is so expensive."

She's not alone. A 24-year-old Auckland woman, who Newshub has agreed not to identify, is working up to 70 hours a week as the cost of living soars.

She's taken up a part-time job at a supermarket on top of her full-time role at a finance company.

"It's unseen. A lot of people don't realise a second-job epidemic is going on."

Official data this week shows wages increased 3.4 percent compared to last year, as businesses seek to attract or maintain staff in a tight labour market.

But price inflation is more than double that at 7.3 percent, meaning wage growth is trailing behind the cost of living.

Peiata was grateful to receive her first cost of living payment from the Government this week.

"The payment, the $116, that will help, yeah, for my kids."

But she wants it expanded beyond just three months, a commitment the Government won't give.

"From a Government perspective, there's certainly been no conversation to date on that," Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said.

Auckland University economics Professor Robert MacCulloch believes politicians don't understand the cost of living crisis.

"I don't think any of, not just the major parties but any of our parties, have grappled with the depth of the shock," he said.

In these tough economic times, the only solution for some Kiwis is to work harder and longer.