“Kiwi families have been hit with a triple dose of bad news in the last 24 hours, with petrol prices, power prices and food prices all jumping sharply,” says Labour Leader, David Shearer.
“Just in time for the school holidays, petrol prices went up four cents a litre to $2.26.9 for 91-octane. That’s on top of the July 1 three cent increase courtesy of the Government hiking up petrol tax.
Now he might have a point about petrol taxes. But that's pretty much where Mr Shearer's complaint ends. We wonder if he understands the drivers behind fuel price rises. Here's what a BP spokesman said last week:
BP spokesman Jonty Mills said the company's last price rise had been on June 7, and since then the exchange rate had fallen from US80c to as low as US77c.
The decline in the NZ dollar had driven most of the latest price rise, although during the past four weeks the cost of refined product had also risen, he said.
The New Zealand economy is miniscule in size in comparison to those which drive the prices of fuel, especially the US economy. In reality, there is precious little that we can do to control fuel price rises domestically.
But it is not that long ago that David Shearer and his sidekick Russel Norman were calling on the Government to instruct the Reserve Bank to intervene to lower the value of the New Zealand dollar. Can you imagine the effect that would have had on prices at the pump?
Sorry Mr Shearer, but you can't have it both ways. Whilst the high New Zealand dollar made things tougher for exporters, imported goods such as crude oil were cheaper. And all the while Labour and the Greens oppose any moves towards oil exploration off the New Zealand coastline.
Wethinks Mr Shearer doth protest too much.