Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's use of the phrase "being fleeced" with regard to petrol prices is very disappointing, and I wonder if it is intended to divert attention away from her own Government's decisions and responsibilities.
Let's look at some facts. Out of 160 countries, New Zealand has the 28th highest price for petrol per litre, only slightly behind the UK, France and Germany. Or put another way, 130 countries pay less than NZ.
But let's go a step further, and compare the price we pay for petrol as a percentage of our average wage after tax. On this table, we are almost at the top,
For example, as a proportion of our spending power, we pay twice as much for petrol as Australia.
So the truth is that the current price is hurting NZ far more than almost every other country, due to our relatively low level of disposable income. We are a low-income economy, with an average take-home pay packet similar to Spain and Canada, and below the average for the OECD.
We just do not have the disposable income to be able to absorb these prices.
And to put that right is something well and truly in Jacinda's court. Any reduction in prices coming from petrol companies are not going to make a huge difference.
Only the Government can do that, by looking long and hard at its tax take, and other priorities in its overall fiscal spending.
Fighting the more powerful
Regarding your article on Tracy Barr-Smith (News, October 13).
A lot of money from the public is raised for cancer research and cures and Pharmac should make available these cancer curing drugs at no cost.
New Zealand is in a sad condition because of these powerful companies that could help but choose not too. You have our support and prayers, Tracy.