Cost of living: Food prices grow by 6.8 percent, Stats NZ says

The latest food price index has been unveiled.
The latest food price index has been unveiled. Photo credit: File

New Zealand food prices rose again in May, with the cost fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat all recording notable yearly increases, Statistics NZ said on Tuesday.

Stats NZ's food price index for May showed food prices had grown year-on-year by 6.8 percent.

The April figure was 6.6 percent year-on-year growth.

As well as the yearly increase, the May index was 0.7 percent higher than April.

Food prices have been pushing up throughout this year, partly driven by the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Broken down by categories, Stats NZ said grocery food prices increased year-on-year by 7.4 percent, restaurant meals by 6 percent, fruit and vegetables 10 percent, meat, poultry and fish 7 percent and non-alcoholic beverages were up 2.7 percent.

Stats NZ said grocery food was the largest contributor to the overall price increases.

"Average prices for grocery food items like yoghurt, milk and cheese were all notably higher than they were in May 2021," said Stats NZ consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery.

"The increase in restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food was influenced by rising prices of eat-in lunch/brunch meals at restaurants."

Analysis shows New Zealanders have on average spent an extra $4000-$5000 in the past 12 months on basics including food, rent and fuel.

While meat, poultry and fish prices eased by 0.5 percent month-on-month in May, ASB senior economist Mark Smith expected the cost of beef and lamb to climb again in the near-future.

"We expect meat prices to recover in the coming months given strong export prices," Smith said.

He said the latest food price data was "broadly in line with expectations".

Cost of living: Food prices grow by 6.8 percent, Stats NZ says
Photo credit: Getty Images

Prices for new rentals up 3.3 percent - figures

In its separate rental price index, Stats NZ said prices for new rentals, or "flow" rental properties, were up 5.3 percent year-on-year - but down 0.8 percent compared to April. 

Prices for all rentals, or "stock" rental properties, were up 3.8 percent year-on-year but down 0.3 percent month-on-month.

The latest consumer price index figures released in April showed rising prices for rentals was one of the main drivers of New Zealand's 6.9 percent annual inflation.

On a regional basis, rental prices have increased year-on-year by 19 percent in Taranaki, 5 percent in Wellington and 2 percent in Auckland, Trade Me data shows.

Trade Me's own rental price index shows median weekly rent in Auckland was $600 in April.

The national median rent reached $580 in April, up 7 percent year-on-year, Trade Me said.

Compared to April last year, renters were coughing up an extra $40 per week - or just over $2000 a year.