Significant upward contributions in the year to the March 2011 quarter came from higher prices for transport (up 8.2 percent), housing and household utilities (up 4.0 percent), food (up 4.8 percent), and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (up 11.4 percent).
Petrol prices increased 17.1 percent in the year to the March 2011 quarter. Cigarette and tobacco prices rose 26.1 percent, reflecting two increases in excise duty on both cigarettes and tobacco in late April 2010 and January 2011.
New Zealand consumers price index (CPI) rose 0.8 percent for the March 2011 quarter from the previous quarter.
The transport group rose 2.5 percent in the March 2011 quarter, with a rise in petrol prices of 9.7 percent being countered by a seasonal fall of 9.2 percent in international air fares. Petrol prices have increased strongly over the past six months and at the end of March were only slightly below their peak in July 2008.
Cigarette and tobacco prices rose 9.4 percent in the March 2011 quarter, reflecting an 11.6 percent increase in excise duty on 1 January 2011.
Food prices rose 1.2 percent, with prices for grocery food up 1.1 percent and meat, poultry, and fish up 2.1 percent. The increase in grocery food prices reflects higher prices for bread and cereals (up 1.4 percent), and milk, cheese, and eggs (up 1.3 percent).
The March 2011 quarter CPI was not materially affected by the Christchurch earthquake on 22 February 2011.
The CPI measures the rate of price change of goods and services purchased by households. Statistics NZ visits 3,000 shops around New Zealand to collect prices for the CPI and check product sizes and features.