15 Feb 2013

Food price rises predicted to continue

10:15 am on 15 February 2013

Consumers are being warned to expect food prices to keep rising until the middle of this year.

Statistics New Zealand figures show prices increased 1.9% in January, the biggest monthly increase since July 2011.

Prices were 0.8% higher than in January 2012.

Bank of New Zealand economist Doug Steel says prices can be volatile from month to month but he expects them to keep rising until June.

He says after four months of consecutive falls, the recent rise is a catch-up and increases of the scale recorded in January are unlikely to happen again this year.

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock says farmers have had to battle extreme weather in recent months and this has contributed to the increase.

Meanwhile, Diabetes New Zealand is lamenting the increase and says healthy eating needs to be made easier.

Its spokesperson says there is a diabetes epidemic in New Zealand and taking GST off fruit and vegetables would be a step towards tackling it.