Rising cost of fuel taking its toll on Far North communities

For those in our most remote communities, prices at the pump are hitting pretty hard.

For those living in the Far North like Bridget, it can cost up to $111.52 for half a tank of petrol

Bridget lives in New Zealand’s most northerly settlement of Te Hapua.

Every day she spends $50 on petrol to get to her job as a bus driver.

“It takes me about an hour to get to Kaitaia so that's about an hour each way and with the price of petrol it is putting a lot of pressure on myself.”

She works 30 hours a week and is the main provider for her four teenage children and her disabled husband.

“For my family it would actually go across the board it’ll affect me with my food my grocery shopping, my clothing even come down to medical costs for my husband.”

In the Far North, the average income is less than $30,000 a year. The rising price of petrol, just another pressure.

“We got a definite problem up here and it's power petrol and poverty,” says Ricky Houghton, chief executive of He Korowai Trust.

Unlike the main cities, public transport isn’t an option, because there isn’t any in the Far North.

“The families that we work with live in rural isolated communities it's really hitting them in the pocket and they're telling us they can't afford to buy basic food,” says Mr Houghton.

“They can't afford to pay for basic energy costs or power and now they can't afford to pay for petrol.”

It’s not just petrol prices, a four per cent increase in the cost of freight for Far North businesses means customers will have to pay more for their groceries and other house hold goods.

“We’ve had quite a lot of price increases from transport and other companies,” says Bells Produce owner Jeff Moore.

“So were going to have to add those price increases on.”

People in the Far North says they simply want the government to get rid of taxes on petrol.

“We’re asking for their help and saying, ‘hey take the petrol tax off please’,” says Mr Houghton.

Bridget is now looking to leave the family homestead in Te Hapua and is among dozens of others trying to find a home in Kaitaia.  

For many, the price increase means they aren’t able to put as much food on the table. Source: 1 NEWS

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