More than two-thirds of Kiwis say their incomes are not keeping up with the cost of living, despite more than half shouldering more work, a new survey has found.
"I feel undervalued and underpaid," said one worker in the survey, which was conducted by the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) last week.
"It's harder to make ends meet and each week is a struggle and paying power bills is getting harder each month," said another in the survey, which canvassed 1195 respondents.
Another person worried for the "future of their kids and grandkids".
More than 70 per cent of workers in the survey said their incomes were not keeping up with the cost of living, the CTU said.
That's despite more than 55 per cent saying they were doing more work.
"We've known for a long time that work in New Zealand and our employment law aren't up to scratch but on every single metric we surveyed on we've found that many more people think it's getting worse than better," CTU President Richard Wagstaff said.
"Our work is one of the biggest parts of our lives, it's an indictment on us as a nation that for too many people, it has become so unfulfilling. It's hard to see how people or the economy can do well when working people's mood is so low," Wagstaff said.
Another worker who took part in the survey said they worried for families with children to feed.
"It's getting so hard and I see children coming to school hungry and the pressure on parents is so hard," the worker said.
Someone else said that 90 per cent of their weekly pay went on rent and food.
"The gap [between income and costs] is widening at an alarming rate. We can't afford to live well in our own city. My children have to move from Auckland," another respondent in the survey said.
The latest available household living-costs price index found that the bottom 20 per cent of households by spending saw living costs rise 2.2 per cent in the year to September.
The index, released by Statistics New Zealand in October, found living costs went up 1.9 per cent for households with the most to spend, which had benefited from a decrease in tertiary education costs resulting from the government's fee-free first-year policy.