New Zealand’s inflation gauge ditches sat-nav and DVDs for Uber and craft beer

Every three years, New Zealand reviews the items it includes in a basket of goods that it uses to measure inflation, which is also a gauge of the country’s changing habits.

The new inflation gauge reflects a country that, while still mad about rugby and beer, increasingly prefers the craft kind of beer and “body massages at beauty spas,” noted Jason Attewell, a senior manger at Statistics New Zealand. One item of alcohol that was removed from the list is liqueurs.

The other major change in New Zealanders’ consumption habits is that more and more people are sharing.

“Technology is having a really big impact on this CPI (consumer price index) review, and one of the things that we’re bringing in this time is the sharing economy,” said Matt Haigh, consumer prices manager. “Private accommodation rented from others” has been added as a new category in the CPI basket, which includes services like Airbnb, while the category “taxi fares” has been expanded to include Uber rides.

People are also spending more on accessories for technology, with Stats NZ adding headphones and cellphone cases to the basket of goods.

Some technology, meanwhile, has become well and truly dated in 2018. No longer included in the basket of goods are items like satellite-navigation units for vehicles, DVD and Blu-ray players, MP3 players, and DVD rentals. Sewing machines were also removed from the basket and replaced by “hem of trousers,” as more people pay for clothing alterations.

“People don’t have as much time to do things themselves, and are prepared to pay others to do jobs for them,” Attewell said.

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