Cost of living: Rate of inflation continues downward trajectory to 5.6 percent - Statistics NZ

  • 17/10/2023

Annual inflation has continued its downward trajectory, providing some relief for Kiwis hit by the cost of living crisis.   

Statistics NZ said the consumer price index (CPI) was 5.6 percent in the 12 months to September, falling 0.4 percentage points from June's annual data. 

Tuesday's figures are the third quarter in a row inflation has decreased and the lowest it's been since December 2021.  

"Prices are still increasing, but are increasing at rates lower than we have seen in the previous few quarters," consumers prices senior manager Nicola Growden said. 

Prices were rising fastest in ready-to-eat food such as milk, cheese, eggs, bread and cereals. 

The next largest contributor was housing and household utilities, due to rising prices for construction and rents. 

Prices for construction increased 5 percent following a 7.8 percent increase in the June quarter. 

Rent also saw a rise, increasing by 4.4 percent while transport was the next largest contributor, driven by rising prices for petrol and domestic air transport. 

The CPI rose 1.8 percent in the September quarter, influenced by transport, housing and household utilities. 

Petrol and the purchase of new motor cars were the two largest contributors to the transport group, up 16.5 percent and 4.6 percent. 

"Petrol prices increased 41 cents in the September 2023 quarter, partly due to the end of the 25 cents per litre tax relief," Growden said. 

It comes after economist Cameron Bagrie predicted the CPI to remain around the six percent mark as it was a "lot more persistent". 

"A lot of that we can put down to fuel prices, end of the subsidy, rise in international oil prices, rates look like they're going to be up somewhere between 8-10 percent, which is partly a by-product of local authorities needing more money... so inflation doesn't matter whether you look globally or locally, it's proven to be a lot more persistent, sticky," he said. 

"That era of throwing money around like confetti is coming to an end, that era of incredibly low interest rates has come to an end. 

"So the growth we're going to need to see going forward has got to be of real substance. The danger is we tend to go for quick fixes in regard to growth which is just let a lot more migrants in, which is precisely what we are doing."