Newshub Nation: Warnings from Finance Minister Grant Robertson of scant economic relief in 2023 Budget

With the cost of living continuing to grind down Kiwi's spirits, there are warnings from Grant Robertson that people will not find much relief in this year's Budget.

The Finance Minister sat down with Newshub Nation's Simon Shepherd to discuss the state of the economy and the struggles Kiwis across the country are facing.

"We do know that a lot of New Zealanders are going to be facing mortgage stress this year," Robertson said.

"We've known that for some time as people go to refix their mortgages at higher rates."

Sixty percent of mortgage interest rates are going up in 2023, and when asked how they will afford it, Robertson alluded to the increases in wages many Kiwis will have experienced. 

"Wages in New Zealand over the last year have gone up by about 8 percent on average," Robertson said.

Additionally, Robertson believes that many New Zealanders have prepared themselves for the incoming interest hikes, and are thus better positioned to ride out the storm. 

"In the last couple of years, whenever I've been asked, I've always said to people, bear in mind when you borrow money for a house, the rate you borrow in it may not be the rate that you continue to pay it back it," he said.

The financial struggles that Kiwis are experiencing are no surprise.

They've been engineered by the Reserve Bank, via a higher OCR, to slow down the economy. 

"The Reserve Bank have a job to do to get inflation back down," Robertson said.

"At the same time," he added, "we have a job to get the balance right to support people.

"That's why today you're seeing significant increases in things like working for families, minimum wage benefits and so on."

Since the goal is to keep the economy slow while it recovers, cost of living support in May's upcoming Budget seems unlikely.

Robertson said "the Budget will focus around issues like cost of living, but we also need to cut our cloth as a Government.

"We've signalled very clearly that we have to start reducing that spending down so that we have some long-term sustainability here in New Zealand."

Budget 2023 is being delivered during a difficult time for New Zealand, in the wake of numerous natural disasters and with the long tail of COVID still having an impact.

Robertson said: "This is a Budget that will be about the basics.

"We get the bread and butter stuff right because that's what New Zealanders need as we go through this difficult period." 

While Robertson refused to confirm that 2023's Budget would have little in the way of cost of living support, he reiterated that "2023 is a tough year for New Zealanders".

Watch the full video for more. 

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