DAY 3: Can you get your five a day on $5 a day?

Over five days, Newshub reporter Scott Palmer visited five different food stores to see if creative consumerism could stretch $5 into three meals a day.

DAY 3: Otara Markets

The Otara Markets have been around since 1976, providing the community with fresh and healthy fruit and veggies straight from the grower.

It was obviously going to be a food-shop heavy on the healthiness.

I arrived to find a giant carpark filled with stalls. The prices were cheap - but with only $5 to spend, the selections were tough.

I decided on bananas for breakfast and lunch. For dinner, I got a massive bag of potatoes.

We had enough carbohydrates - time for dessert.

I was contemplating a nice selection of oranges, when my eye was drawn to a large stalk of sugarcane.

Sugarcane? They make sugar out of that right? Sweet! And so I decided to spend my last dollar on a stick.

Regrets set in when I got home and decided to try a piece. It was tougher than I thought.

I hacked at it with a kitchen knife, but only managed to blunt the blade. You need a hacksaw to get into this.

Finally I managed to peel a section to eat - and my regrets increased. I wanted my $1 back!

Breakfast: Bananas

Lunch: Bananas

Dinner: Potato chips

Dessert: Sugarcane


7/10 Ease: Not too bad. Again, the drive was longer than going to the local supermarket, but the savings on food prices made up for the petrol cost.

7/10 Variety: This place had a large selection, as long as you wanted fresh fruit and vegies. Not a lot else.

6/10 Meal satisfaction: I may have shot myself in the foot with the sugarcane wildcard, but even so a diet of bananas and potatoes can only go so far.

7/10 Viability: The Otara Markets are the best place to go to buy a lot of healthy things if you have over $20 to spend. But for the $5 a day test - not so good.

What factors are making it hard for Kiwis buying food?


Inflation has surged this year. Inflation in the first quarter of 2017 is currently running at 2.2 percent, and one of its main causes is unusually high food prices.

Whether at the supermarket, the grocery store, or the takeaways, prices seem to be higher than the previous month.

Low wages

Advocates for the living wage have put the figure needed for 2017 at $20.20 an hour.

The living wage is about an extra $5 an hour compared to the official minimum wage of $15.75 set by the Government, and is defined as income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life.

With so many Kiwi workers earning below this, people can't afford to live on the wages they receive.

Rental prices

The wallet-burning cost of Auckland and Wellington has been highlighted once again as they jointly ranked the 16th most expensive cities to live in the world.

The Economist Intelligence Unit's Worldwide Cost of Living Survey covered 150 cities, with Wellington climbing 26 places since last year's survey and Auckland 22 places.

Rental prices in Auckland are up 4 percent than where they were a year ago and almost 24 percent higher than in 2001.

Increasing food prices

Vegetable prices were up 10 percent last month - with a lettuce costing up to seven dollars.

Two months of record rainfall destroyed entire fields of crops, and now new crops of spinach and lettuce are being dumped on.

And the extra rain could hamper new crops, pushing prices up even higher.

China - our largest export market for sheep meat and second largest for beef - is expected to increase its demand to at least 2020.

Rabobank's report, China's Animal Protein Outlook to 2020, forecasts an 800,000 tonne growth in beef and 50,000 tonne growth in sheepmeat going to China.

This is expected to prevent meat prices from falling.

Population growth

New Zealand is growing and fast. With population growth at 2.1 percent over 2016, we've reached our fastest rate of growth since the mid-1970s.

Annual net migration rose to 71,305 in the 12 months ended January 31 2017, eclipsing the record 70,600 set in calendar 2016, Statistics New Zealand said.

People arriving as permanent and long-term migrants outnumbered those departing by 128,290 to 56,985 in the latest 12 months - also an all-time high.