New Zealand households will be hit hard and fast with a "barrage" of price rises because of the new Emissions Trading Scheme, Consumer NZ has warned. Prime Minister John Key has already acknowledged that ordinary New Zealanders will bear the brunt of the scheme, but he said the Government's tax cuts in October would more than meet the extra cost. Many businesses, mainly fuel and energy companies, have begun charging their customers for the emission units the firms have to buy to offset greenhouse gases released as their goods and services are used. The Government estimates the average family will pay an extra NZ$5 a week in higher prices for fuel, electricity and general goods. However Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said the institute expected the impact to be far heavier. "Consumers are facing a barrage of price increases over the next six months," she said. Consumer NZ recognised the need for some kind of emissions trading scheme, "but we think this one is going to leave consumers and the environment short-changed". Taxpayers would also pay hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to businesses. Ms Chetwin said: "Consumers are being hit from all sides, and in terms of sending a signal to polluting businesses that they need to cut their emissions, we don't actually see this scheme does that."