As the cost of living crisis crunches home, community services have stepped in to support the vulnerable across the Upper Clutha.

Last month alone, Food for Love made about 160 meals from donated food, with a budget of $200.

Food for Love founder Bex Sarginson said they were doing the best they could, but the need was getting bigger.

“We don’t know how much longer we can keep doing what we do,” Ms Sarginson said.

Food for Love volunteers have made 1000 more meals so far this year than last year.

The organisation operates on a confidential system, where locals nominate people who would benefit from food support that week.

Ms Sarginson said people from every walk of life were being nominated.

“It could be someone living in the area with no family support . . . for financial reasons, and unable to feed their family,” she said.

Despite wages increasing over the past year, one contributing factor has been annual consumer price inflation moving from 3.3% in June 2021 to 7.3% by the same month this year.

The median salary across the Upper Clutha area was $48,724 ($937 per week before tax) in the 2018 census.

In a June Stats NZ report, the national income had increased to $52,884 ($1017 per week).

MoneyHub founder Christopher Walsh said different economic groups would be impacted by increasing inflation.

“It is really, really difficult for low wage earners because so many of their essentials, which I would say is the cost of living, have been going up and that’s where their money’s going to. There’s very little left afterwards,” he said.

For middle income earners, the impact was higher mortgage rates.

“Inflation is leading to higher interest rates which is leading to mortgage pain,” he said.

Mr Walsh was unsure of the impact of inflation on top wage earners.

“Things have gone up in price, but they [top wage earners] are not cutting back so much generally,” he said.

The Official Cash Rate (OCR) changes increased the price of borrowing , with property prices dropping.

The price decreases of property in much of New Zealand had been something unfamiliar to some of those [top wage earning] people, he said.

The QV House Price Index revealed the average New Zealand home had decreased in value by 5.5% in August.

But the value of Queenstown Lakes District homes increased by 1.5%.

The average house price across the district presently sits at $1,691,291, a 18.6% increase across the past 12 months.

Tenancy Services reported the weekly median market rent in July was $650 in central Wanaka, $573 in Albert Town, $588 in Luggate and $550 in Lake Hawea.