As the country approaches the election, interest rates, policies, and petrol prices are dominating the conversation. The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee is expected to keep the Official Cash Rate (OCR) unchanged at 5.5% in its upcoming decision. This decision aims to provide some breathing room and assess the impact of previous rate hikes on inflation and interest rates. While interest rates continue to trend up, the Reserve Bank will closely monitor their movement before making any further adjustments. The average floating mortgage rate currently stands at 8.62%, but savers can benefit from a decent average six-month term deposit rate of 5.78%. Although the June quarter GDP figures indicate minimal growth in the economy, it is unlikely to significantly impact the OCR decision. However, hints of future rate hikes may be included, especially if inflation remains stubborn. The global oil price surge, coupled with a weak New Zealand dollar, has led to soaring petrol prices. In Auckland, the cheapest 91 petrol is now $2.82 per litre, with prices exceeding $3 per litre in many areas. Experts warn that prices could reach $3.50 per litre by Christmas, indicating that relief at the pump is unlikely anytime soon. With less than two weeks until the election, all parties have released revised fiscal plans and unveiled most of their spending promises. However, both National and Labour have kept some funds reserved for unannounced pledges, suggesting the possibility of small announcements in the coming days.