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Healthcare tops list of Kiwis’ concerns

Healthcare costs, rising house prices and water quality have emerged as Kiwi consumers’ biggest worries for the future in our latest survey.

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Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said 68% picked healthcare costs as their biggest concern. Home ownership costs and water quality were close behind.

“Two-thirds of consumers named home ownership costs as the most pressing issue. That was on par with the level of concern about water quality at beaches and rivers, showing the importance of the environment to consumers,” Ms Chetwin said.

“Concern about home ownership was more pronounced among renters. 77% of renters picked home ownership costs as their biggest concern, along with worry about their level of savings and investments.”

Our survey also found a significant proportion of consumers were struggling with day-to-day living costs.

24% of consumers were finding it difficult to manage on their household income, 39% were ”getting by” while 35% were living comfortably.

A third of consumers had cut back spending on essentials in response to rising living costs, 17% had lived off their credit card to cover a gap until payday while 11% had deliberately missed paying a bill by the due date.

The majority (73%) reported their household bills had increased last year. The price of power was the biggest cost of living concern: 63% were concerned about what they paid.

Food and grocery costs were the second biggest cost of living concern, identified by 62%, followed by home and contents insurance (60%).

“Not surprisingly, income had a major influence on how consumers were coping with everyday expenses,” Ms Chetwin said.

Among consumers earning more than $150,000, 76% were living comfortably. In contrast, among those earning $40,001 to $60,000, just under a quarter felt they were comfortably off.

Renters were also more likely than home owners to be struggling with living costs and cutting back, she said. 50% of renters had reduced spending on essentials in the past 12 months compared with the average of 34%.

Our cost of living survey was a demographically representative survey of 1024 New Zealanders, aged 18 years and older. The survey had a margin of error of +/-3.06%.

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