The calls come after it was announced that inflation had its biggest increase in 31 years – up 5.9% last year.
“Everything has gone up – whether it’s wood, steel, insulation and siding. Everything, buildings and gas stations,” said Master Builders Association chief executive David Kelly.
Annual inflation is the highest since June 1990, with housing and transport being the main contributors.
According to Stats NZ, new build home prices are up 16% from 2020, rents are also up 3.8% overall and fuel is up 30%.
Data from Stats NZ also revealed that 42% of Kiwis did not get a pay rise last year and if they did it was below inflation.
Tukaki said people’s only option shouldn’t be to line up at food banks and called for the price freeze to be in place for the next six months.
“We’re facing rising inflation, we’re facing rising house prices and even the price to fill up the car has gone up,” he said.
“Everything on the table or in the cupboard that consumers rely on hits the hip pocket and it’s not just families and whānau that worry me – it’s our elderly and disabled, those who are already struggling with low weekly rates of pay or income.”
Tukaki thinks price freezes might be needed for more than just the basics.
“Another lever we may need to look at is also freezing the rental market for a while and while these suggestions may not be acceptable to everyone, we need to have a conversation now about what is happening right now with a increasing rate of vulnerability in the community,” he said.
“And by the way, the stereotypical vulnerable whānau aren’t just those on low wages – I’m also talking about the massive rump of middle-class Kiwis who rob Peter to pay Paul every week in laboring debt.
“We at least need a much longer-term fiscal plan on the three key elements of our prudent fiscal policy: managing increases in the cost of living, raising wages and managing inflation.”