Average Kiwi household cost of living leaps 7.7% in 12 months
May 3, 2023

It’s trying times for many Kiwi households as costs keep on going up and up...

Recent reports in the press, including this article in Stuff (thanks for the image above), have highlighted the ever-increasing pressure on the everyday Kiwis pocket as the cost of living for the average household increased by 7.7% in the 12 months to March 2023, according to figures released by Stats NZ.

Each quarter, the household living-costs price indexes (HLPIs) measure how inflation affects 13 different household groups, plus an all-households group.

It is different to the consumers price index (CPI), which measures how inflation affects New Zealand as a whole.

Higher prices for interest payments, grocery food, rent, and fruit and vegetables were the main contributors to the HLPI increase for the quarter ending March.

Some of the increases in costs have been huge and between March 2022 and March 2023 prices for interest payments increased 38%, rent increased 5.4%, grocery food increased 12% and fruit and vegetables increased by a gigantic 21% as a combination of weather events and increasing other costs like haulage, wages and insurance filtered down to the products on the shelves.

“Food prices increased by 12% for the average household, which was the main contributor for most household groups,” consumer prices manager James Mitchell said.

The 7.7% yearly increase followed an 8.2% increase in the 12 months to December 2022.

The cost of living for beneficiary households increased 6.7% in the 12 months to March 2023 but that is not keeping pace with the rate of increases in costs.

“This was due to higher prices for rent, interest payments, grocery food, such as eggs and cheese, and fruit and vegetables,” Mitchell said.

Rent makes up about a third of beneficiary household expenditure. This compares with 13% for the average household, and 5% for highest-spending households.

The cost of living for Māori households increased 7.5% and super annuitant households 7.1%, while highest-spending households’ cost of living increased 8.7% and the lowest-spending households 6.9%.

The quarterly change was all households was 1.8%, beneficiaries was 2%, Māori 1.8%, super annuitants 1.5%, highest-expenditure household group 1.6% and lowest-expenditure household group 1.9%.

Asked to comment about the rising costs of living, NZ Compare CEO, Gavin Male said “It’s trying times for many households as costs keep on going up, but it is incredibly frustrating when you see this happening and know that hundreds of thousands of households are still paying too much for broadband, power and finance.”

Male continued “the process of reviewing your broadband or power bill takes literally MINUTES and could save you HUNDREDS in a year.  We regularly see kiwis switching to some of our exclusive plans on broadband that knock $40 a month off their bill.  That’s $480 a year, which is a huge amount of money.  I would implore every household to spend a few minutes looking at their bills and comparing what’s out there.  It will make a massive difference to the money in your pocket.”

Kiwis can compare their bills for free on the suite of NZ Compare sites or call the team and discuss on 0508 226672.  You may be surprised what you can save.