13 Jan 2018

Craft beer, massages added to inflation basket

3:36 pm on 13 January 2018

The country's growing taste for the finer things in life has prompted Statistics New Zealand to adjust the basket of goods it uses to measure inflation.

A woman drinks a glass of beer at a restaurant (file)

Photo: 123RF

The consumer price index (CPI) measures price level changes of goods and services offered at the consumer market.

Statistics prices senior manager Jason Attewell said as tastes change, Statistics alters what it includes to measure rises and falls in the rate of inflation.

"We added the electric lightbulb to the basket in the 1920s, televisions and record players in the 1960s, microwaves and car stereos in the 1980s, and MP3 players and digital cameras in the 2000s. As these items go out of fashion they are removed from the basket," he said.

Spending patterns have shown New Zealanders' interest in craft beer, body massages at beauty spas and football club memberships has grown - so Statistics has added them to the CPI basket.

The beer brewing industry says New Zealanders' tastebuds are getting more adventurous than ever before.

Brewers Guild of New Zealand president Emma McCashin said at one point pale ale and IPAs were real craft.

"Whereas now a lot more mainstream drinkers are diving into that realm and your craft drinkers are getting more experimental with with sour beers and barrel-aged beers," she said.

She said the market was growing year on year, so it was not surprising they made the list.

Meanwhile the type of tech New Zealanders are investing in has also received an upgrade.

In-car satellite navigation, DVDs and Blu-Rays and MP3 players have been removed from the list and replaced with accessories like headsets and cellphone cases.

Emerging services were also reflected in the updated basket.

Mr Attewell said more people were going online to use services like Uber and Airbnb.

"We're introducing the sharing economy to the CPI to keep it relevant for New Zealand."

Sewing machines were also out of the inflation basket, but clothing alterations were now in, indicating people would rather pay to have these jobs done, than take the time to do them themselves, he said.