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Body massages and Uber are in, DVDs are out, says Stats NZ

Friday 12th January 2018

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Statistics New Zealand has rejigged the consumers price index basket in its latest three-year review, adding body massages, Airbnb and Uber and removing DVD and Blu-Ray players.

"People are spending more online to rent a taxi, or a house for a night, and less on in-car satellite navigation and DVDs," Stats NZ said. The basket is a reflection of New Zealand society and how it has changed over time, said prices senior manager Jason Attewell. Stats NZ has added 15 new items and removed 23.  

"More people are going online to buy shared ride services, such as Uber, and shared accommodation services, like home-rental operators Airbnb and BookaBach," Attewell said. 

Among other things, people are spending more on craft beer and massages, so these are joining the CPI basket, he said. 

"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," Attewell said. According to consumer prices manager Matt Haigh, Kiwi households spend about $100 million a year on body massages. 

Other newly included items are olives, flavoured tea and bicycle helmets as well as accessories for cellphones like headphones and cases. 

Items that have been removed include in-car satellite navigation systems, DVDs and Blu-ray discs and MP3 players, as well as luncheon meat, cottage cheese and antacids, together with soft toys, prams and pushchairs. 

Within some items that remained in the basket, changes were also made. For example, within the new cars an electric vehicle has been included and within international flights, five additional destinations were added. Under taxi fares, the sample now includes ride-sharing services. 

Sewing machines were removed but clothing alterations are now in. "People don't have as much time to do things themselves and are prepared to pay others to do jobs for them," said Attewell. 

Housing and food continue to make up more than half of what goes into the CPI basket.

Stats NZ collects around 100,000 prices each quarter, visiting supermarkets, departments stores and clothing shops. It surveys 2,500 businesses including construction firms, medical centres and used car years. It also uses data from websites for things like streaming services. There are 701 items in the basket. 

(BusinessDesk)

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