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Price Index News: April 2017

1.  On the horizon

Education fees in the CPI

The March 2017 quarter CPI will show price changes for the following education fees: 

  • tertiary education fees
  • adult and community education fees
  • primary, secondary and private school fees, donations, and uniform prices.

We show education price changes in the March quarter each year, which aligns with the start of the academic year.

Excise duty increase for cigarettes and tobacco

The March 2017 quarter CPI (to be released 20 April 2017) will show how the latest excise duty increase for cigarettes and tobacco on 1 January 2017 affected retail prices. The price change shown in the March quarter’s CPI should fully reflect the excise increase, depending on the timing of price rises in stores and when Stats NZ staff collected prices.

Each year, the government adjusts excise duty on cigarettes and tobacco. The latest update was on 1 January 2017, when excise duty increased 10.41 percent. This increase was based on a 0.41 percent rise in the 'CPI less credit services' index between the September 2015 and September 2016 quarters. The 1 January rise also included an eighth successive 10 percent increase, as set out in the Excise and Excise-equivalent Duties Table (Tobacco Products Indexation and Separate 10% Increase) Amendment Order 2016.

The excise duty is now 73.81 cents a cigarette, up from 66.85 cents a cigarette in 2016.

In the December 2016 quarter, excise duty made up about 60 percent ($16.71) of the price of a packet of 25 cigarettes (before GST). A packet of 25 cigarettes cost $28.82 (including GST) in that quarter.

Excise duty increases for cigarettes and tobacco
Date Excise duty (cents per cigarette) Increase (percent)
1 Jan 09 30.955 5.07
1 Jan 10 31.443 1.58
29 Apr 10 34.587 10
1 Jan 11 38.614 11.64
1 Jan 12 44.21 14.49
1 Jan 13 49.011 10.86
1 Jan 14 54.539 11.28
1 Jan 15 60.59 11.09
1 Jan 16 66.851 10.33
1 Jan 17 73.813 10.41
Note: On 29 April 201, excise duty on cigarettes rose 10 percent, while excise on tobacco rose 25.4 percent (tobacco first increased 14 percent and then another 10 percent).


Cigarette and tobacco prices increased 9.5 percent between the December 2015 and December 2016 quarters, including the excise duty increase in January 2016. Cigarettes and tobacco had a weighting of 2.83 percent in the CPI in the December 2016 quarter. Table 3.03 of Consumers Price Index: December 2016 quarter showed that the CPI excluding cigarettes and tobacco increased 1.1 percent in the year to the December 2016 quarter.

2.  Development updates

CPI review in 2017

We are continuing work on the CPI review 2017, as part of our Prices Innovation and Relevance programme. 

The purpose of the review is to maintain the relevance of the index by updating the: 

  • basket of goods and services
  •  expenditure weights

The latest data on household expenditure published in Household Expenditure Statistics: Year ended June 2016 is the basis for the basket and weight updates. We will complement the household expenditure data with industry and administrative data provided by businesses and government organisations.

Each time we introduce a new basket the CPI comes out one week later than usual.

We had previously announced that the 2017 review would be released as part of the September quarter CPI in October 2017. The November 2014 earthquake meant that people working on the CPI review were needed to get the CPI release out. This has meant that we have had to re-plan our CPI review work. We will announce the release date of the review shortly.

Ongoing updates

We recently completed the 2015/16 CPI rolling review of our postal survey collections to ensure prices are collected efficiently and continue to be relevant. As a result of the review, we reviewed the sample size and refreshed the samples for the health services, trades (electricians, plumbers, and painters), solicitor fees, and real estate fees for the December 2016 quarter’s CPI release.

For more information on the CPI review 2017 contact:

Katrina Dewbery or Alan Bentley
Wellington 04 931 4600 or 0508 525 525

Annual update of producers price index weights

Every year we update the industry and commodity weights for the producers price index. The weights come from the supply and use tables we produce each year as part of the New Zealand System of National Accounts.

The updates reflect changes in economy-wide income and expenditure, in particular the mix of products and the mix of industries. We reweight the industries at the New Zealand Standard Industry Output Categories level 4 and above (there are 118 level 4 industries).
See New Zealand Standard Industry Output Categories classification tables for details.

The next annual update will be released as part of the March quarter business price index release on 17 May 2017.

We welcome your feedback on experimental non-wage labour cost indicators

As a result of public consultation in 2015, we stopped producing the labour cost index non-wage and all labour costs statistics, and instead worked to develop new indicators for superannuation and fringe benefits.

On 1 November 2016 we released the experimental indicators on non-wage labour costs derived from administrative sources. The six-month period for you to provide feedback on these indicators will end on 1 May 2017.

We will use the feedback collected over the six-month period to May 2017 to determine the future of these indicators.

To give your feedback, go to Experimental non-wage labour cost indicators – Innovation site.

For further information about the experimental non-wage labour cost indicators, contact:

Matthew Stansfield
Wellington 04 931 4600 or 0508 525 525

3.  Release dates

Price index release calendar for the next three months

April 2017

13 April:        Food Price Index: March 2017

20 April:        Consumers Price Index: March 2017 quarter

May 2017

3 May:          Labour Market Statistics: March 2017 quarter

4 May:          Household Living-costs Price Indexes: March 2017 quarter

11 May:        Food Price Index: April 2017

17 May:        Business Price Indexes: March 2017 quarter

June 2017

1 June:          Overseas Trade Indexes (Prices and Volumes): March 2017 quarter (provisional)

14 June:        Food Price Index: May 2017

This issue of Price Index News was issued on 10 April 2017.

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