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CPI increases 0.4 percent in March quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  17 April 2013

Consumers Price Index: March 2013 quarter  –  Media Release

The consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.4 percent in the March 2013 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. There were increases for cigarettes and tobacco, food, rents and newly built houses, petrol, and prescription medicines. These were countered by seasonally lower international travel prices, better value telecommunication services, and widespread discounting for furniture, appliances, and audio-visual equipment.

Cigarette and tobacco prices rose 12 percent, following a 10.86 percent increase in excise duty in January. “Higher cigarette and tobacco prices caused two-thirds of the March 2013 quarter increase in the CPI,” prices manager Chris Pike said. The CPI less cigarettes and tobacco rose 0.2 percent. 

Petrol prices increased 1.5 percent in the March 2013 quarter. Increases for housing rentals (up 0.7 percent) and newly built houses (up 0.9 percent) were influenced by rises in the South Island, particularly Canterbury.

Pharmaceutical products increased 9.3 percent, reflecting an increase in prescription charges (from $3 to $5 for fully subsidised medicines) that came into effect in January.

International air fares (down 9.9 percent) and package holidays (down 10 percent) had seasonal falls. Prices for telecommunication services (down 1.4 percent), furniture and furnishings (down 2.9 percent), and audio-visual equipment (down 4.4 percent) all fell in the March 2013 quarter. The falls for furniture and audio-visual equipment were influenced by widespread discounting. About one-third of the prices collected for furniture and furnishings, and more than a third of the prices collected for audio-visual equipment, were discounted in the March 2013 quarter.

Annually, the CPI increased 0.9 percent in the year to the March 2013 quarter, due to increased prices for cigarettes and tobacco (up 12 percent), electricity (up 5.2 percent), rentals for housing (up 2.2 percent), purchase of newly built houses (up 3.3 percent), and local authority rates (up 4.3 percent). These movements were partly offset by decreases in the price of telecommunication services (down 7.2 percent), audio-visual and computing equipment (down 12 percent), and fresh milk (down 7.7 percent).

The CPI measures the rate of price change of goods and services purchased by New Zealand households. Statistics NZ visits 3,000 shops across New Zealand to collect prices for the CPI and check product sizes and features.


For media enquiries contact: Authorised by:

Chris Pike 
Wellington 04 931 4600
Published 17 April 2013

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
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