Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Wellington — New Zealand has added craft beer to the basket of goods it monitors to measure inflation, reflecting changing tastes and consumer spending in the South Pacific nation.

"New Zealand used to be called a country of rugby, racing and beer but spending patterns are changing," Jason Attewell, senior manager at Statistics New Zealand in Wellington, said on Friday. "Kiwis are increasingly keen on craft beer, body massages at beauty spas and football club memberships."

Craft beer has surged in popularity in New Zealand, while high-speed internet has encouraged new web-based service,s such as Netflix, at the expense of older technologies. The statistics agency said DVD players and sewing machines were among items removed from the consumers price index (CPI) after its three-yearly review, and Uber rides and Airbnb accommodation were among services added.

Attewell said the agency was "introducing the sharing economy to the CPI to keep it relevant for New Zealand. We added the electric light bulb to the basket in the 1920s, TV and record players in the 1960s, microwaves and car stereos in the 1980s, and MP3 players and digital cameras in the 2000s," he said. "As these items go out of fashion they are removed from the basket."

As well as components of the basket, Statistics New Zealand reviews the relative contribution of the main categories within the CPI. Food now makes up 19.3% of the gauge, up from 18.8%, due to increased spending at restaurants and rising prices, the agency said.

Inflation was 1.9% in the year through September, near the midpoint of the 1-3% range the central bank targets. The fourth-quarter report is due on January 25.