Jacinda Ardern acknowledges cost of living crisis, will announce 'other options' to relieve impact

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted New Zealand has a cost of living crisis after last week declining to do so.

Ardern is now taking aim at skyrocketing petrol prices, promising an announcement of some relief for Kiwis before the end of Monday.

It comes amid massive supply chain issues in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, causing petrol prices to soar.

"You can call it a crisis, an emergency, a shock. The point is, we need to do something about it," Ardern told AM on Monday.

"We're looking at options to try and ease the particular impact of the energy crisis right now that we're seeing as a result of the war in Ukraine. We, as a Cabinet, need to discuss what the best mechanisms are.

"Within a couple of hours I'll be looking to announce the outcome."

Ardern, during her interview with AM a week ago, pushed back on claims the cost of living in New Zealand was a "crisis".

She said "all the way through" that interview she acknowledged there was "undeniably an impact for people right now" despite stopping short of calling it a crisis.

"Last week I was saying it's a problem and I'm still saying it's a problem now and the point is that we need to do something.

"The energy crisis that we're seeing out of the war is hurting people at the pump right now so today, at Cabinet, we are going to talk about some extra options. There's not too much more I can say about that now but at 4pm this afternoon I will look to announce the consequences of those discussions. 

"We are looking to move quite quickly because the impact of that war is happening quickly too."

Ardern acknowledged, however, the Government didn't have "many options" that allowed quick movement.

"Alterations to [petrol] GST - it takes a long time, it's quite complex to implement," she said. "There are other options, though.

"The increase we've seen at the pump... that's incredible so we know that we need to move as quickly as we can."

Cost of living increases in New Zealand have seen Kiwis spend, on average, an extra $4000 to $5000 in the past 12 months on basics such as food, rent and fuel. The majority of the increase is fuel, with an extra $678 a year at the pump on average.