Statistics NZ to monitor massage, craft beer prices

Been keeping a close eye on the cost of getting a massage? So has Statistics NZ.

Massages, craft beer, football club memberships and renting a place through Airbnb have all been added to the basket of goods and services used to determine the cost of living in New Zealand.

"New Zealand used to be called a country of rugby, racing, and beer - but spending patterns are changing and Kiwis are increasingly keen on craft beer, body massages at beauty spas and football club memberships," says Stats NZ prices senior manager Jason Attewell.

Other items whose costs will help determine the Consumer Price Index include:

  • herbs and olives
  • flavoured tea
  • clothing alterations
  • Uber
  • blenders and juice extractors
  • hearing aids
  • physio fees
  • headphones
  • cellphone cases
  • zoo tickets
  • and pet insect treatment.

Out of the basket are:

  • sprouts, taro, spring onion, canned corn, luncheon and cottage cheese
  • wallpaper
  • antacids
  • mp3, DVD and Blu-ray players, and DVD hire costs
  • TV set-top boxes and external hard drives
  • home phone line connection charges
  • holidays in New Zealand
  • prams
  • and cheque book fees.

"People are changing what they buy to keep up with changes in technology, and as a result, we're removing several items from the CPI basket," says Mr Attewell.

"These items are still available to buy, but New Zealanders just don't spend as much on them."

Kiwis spend about half their money on housing and food, so these items are weighted heavily when it comes to working out inflation and the cost of living.

Some items have had their weightings increased, reflecting either increased spending, growing costs or both - such as cigarettes, property rates, insurance and new houses.

Others have decreased in importance, including energy costs, petrol, phone, internet services and computers, often due to falling costs.

"We added the electric lightbulb to the basket in the 1920s, televisions and record players in the 1960s, microwaves and car stereos in the 1980s, and MP3 players and digital cameras in the 2000s," says Mr Attewell.

"As these items go out of fashion they are removed from the basket."

The basket is updated every three years.