New interactive map offers insights into regional spending – Statistics New Zealand

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Stats NZ has launched an interactive map that allows users to explore patterns of retail spending around the country.

In 2017, New Zealanders and visitors spent $92 billion at retail businesses within New Zealand, 6.8 percent ($6 billion) more than in 2016. Unsurprisingly, most of these sales were in those regions with the highest populations. Auckland, with its 1.7 million inhabitants, recorded $33 billion in sales in 2017, while the West Coast (population about 33,000) had just $0.6 billion in sales.

However, when we look at regional sales on a per capita basis, some interesting patterns emerge.

Our interactive map shows the annual per capita sales value for each of New Zealand’s 16 regions. It also shows how sales within a region are split between the four major retail groupings:

  • motor vehicles, parts, and fuel retailing
  • supermarket and specialised food retailing
  • accommodation and food services
  • other retailing (including non-store retailing such as catalogue and online retailers).

Per capita spending in a given region is influenced by factors like the median income of its residents, the strength of its local tourism industry, and the presence of non-store-based retail businesses (which are more likely to sell to shoppers outside their region as well as locals).

Regions with lower per capita retail spending tend to have lower median incomes, and a higher proportion of their retail spending goes to supermarkets and specialised food retailers, such as butcheries, delis, and liquor stores. Regions with higher per capita retail spends tend to have higher average incomes, and a greater proportion of their retail sales are from the accommodation and food services industry group, largely driven by tourists.

Extra Stats NZ funding will improve child poverty data – Statistics New Zealand

Source: Statistics New Zealand

New Zealanders can expect to see a clearer picture of child poverty as thousands more people are asked about how they are getting by, Stats NZ said today.

In today’s Budget, the Government announced that Stats NZ will receive an extra $25.7 million in new operating funding over the next four years.

The extra funding will enable Stats NZ to expand the Household Economic Survey from 3,500 households a year to 20,000 households, and to improve data analysis.

“Data from the Household Economic Survey will show the number of children in poverty and changes from year to year,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said.

“These improvements will support the Government’s plans to reduce child poverty.

“Stats NZ will have improved data at a regional level. We will also have data about Māori and other groups, which will enable better support for families.

“This data will help agencies, the government of the day, and the public to understand whether policies are helping to reduce the number of children in poverty.”

The Household Economic Survey measures the economic circumstances of randomly selected households across New Zealand.

Stats NZ will begin surveying the larger number of households at face-to-face interviews from 2 July 2018.

“I greatly appreciate the trust people show when they allow us into their homes to share their stories,” Ms MacPherson said. “As with all information that we collect, their data will be kept private, secure, and confidential.

“Getting a better understanding of the stories behind the data will make a real difference to reducing child poverty and improving the well-being of our children.”

Dairy and fuel push producer prices up – Statistics New Zealand

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Falling prices for dairy products and higher fuel costs have nudged producer input and output prices up, Stats NZ said today.

Overall, producer input prices (the costs producers pay) rose 0.6 percent in the March 2018 quarter. Producer output prices (the prices producers get for their goods and services) rose 0.2 percent in the same period.

In the March 2018 quarter, output prices for dairy cattle farmers rose 2.3 percent, while the price for dairy product manufacturing fell 7.0 percent.

Input prices for dairy product manufacturing rose 1.7 percent, mainly influenced by a rise in the farm-gate milk price.

“An increase in the forecast farm-gate milk price from $6.40 to $6.55 pushed up prices received by dairy cattle farmers,” business prices manager Geoffrey Wong said. “At the same time, dairy product manufacturers received less as whole milk powder and butter prices fell.”

In the March 2018 quarter, rising fuel costs affected both petroleum and coal product manufacturers, and farmers.

Input prices for petroleum and coal product manufacturers rose 7.2 percent due to higher crude oil prices.

However, the prices these manufacturers received (output prices) rose only 4.3 percent, reflecting higher diesel, petrol, and other non-crude petroleum oil prices. Fuel prices in the farm expenses price index (FEPI) rose 3.4 percent, influenced by a rise in diesel prices for farmers.

In the year ended March 2018, producer output and input prices increased 3.5 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. The FEPI increased 3.1 percent, while the capital goods price index (CGPI) increased 2.6 percent.

Crowded housing highest among Pacific peoples – Statistics New Zealand

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Around 4 in 10 Pacific people live in crowded homes in New Zealand and the rate is highest for people with Tuvaluan or Tongan ethnicity, Stats NZ said today.

Overall, around 1 in 10 New Zealanders lived in crowded houses in 2013, a rate largely unchanged since the early 2000s.

“Crowding, especially severe crowding, is linked with poorer health, higher rates of infectious diseases, and poorer educational outcomes for children,” senior analyst Dr Rosemary Goodyear said.

Living in a crowded house looks at ethnicity, and for the first time considers the well-being of people in crowded homes, using data from the 2013 Census and the 2016/17 General Social Survey.

“We found that people living in crowded households are less satisfied with life, and more likely to be short of cash for everyday needs or a visit to the doctor,” Dr Goodyear said.

In total, 398,295 people lived in crowded homes at the time of the 2013 Census; of these, 129,123 were in severely crowded homes. About half of all crowded homes were in Auckland; the highest rates were in south Auckland.

Crowding was highest for people with Pacific ethnicity (39.8 percent), followed by people with Māori (20.0 percent) or Asian (18.4 percent) ethnicity.

“People with Māori or Asian ethnicity were four times more likely to live in crowded homes than people of European ethnicity. Pacific people were around eight times more likely to be living in a crowded house,” Dr Goodyear said.

“Half of all crowded households where the oldest person had a Pacific ethnicity had more than six people under one roof,” she said. Crowding was highest among people with Tongan ethnicity (48.7 percent were in crowded homes).

Around one-quarter of people in crowded households (24.2 percent) rated their life satisfaction as low, compared with 17.1 percent for the total population.

People in crowded households were significantly more likely to say they did not have enough money for everyday needs (25.8 percent compared with 10.9 percent of the total population).

Almost 4 in 10 people in crowded households said they had postponed visits to the doctor because of the cost (24.7 percent postponed by a little and 13.1 percent by a lot). This compares with around 2 of 10 in the total population.

Read Living in a crowded house: Exploring the ethnicity and well-being of people in crowded households for the full report.

More up-to-date information on household crowding will be gathered from the 2018 Census, held on 6 March.

“Given rapidly rising housing costs in many parts of New Zealand in the past five years, crowding is unlikely to have improved, but we won’t have a clearer picture until 2019 at the earliest,” Dr Goodyear said.

What is a crowded home?
Crowding occurs when homes are too small for the number of people in the household. A home is ‘severely crowded’ if the people living there need at least two more bedrooms.

A couple with two boys or two girls aged under 18 years would need two bedrooms to not be crowded and meet the Canadian National Occupancy Standard used in this report.

If that family had another person living with them, they’d be a ‘crowded’ home. If their two-bedroom house had seven people living there, it would rank as ‘severely crowded’, needing an extra two bedrooms.

Cigarettes spark inflation for most household groups – Statistics New Zealand

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Price rises for cigarettes and tobacco had the largest impact on inflation for most household groups in the March 2018 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

“Like the March 2017 quarter, prices for cigarettes and tobacco have seen large rises due to the annual tobacco tax increase,” consumer prices manager Geraldine Duoba said. “The tax increase was implemented at the beginning of the year, bringing the average price for a packet of 25 cigarettes up to $35.14.”

Of the different household groups measured, Māori households saw the highest inflation in the March 2018 quarter (up 1.3 percent), compared with 0.8 percent for all households. This increase for Māori households was driven by higher prices for cigarettes and tobacco, and interest payments.

The lowest-spending households experienced more inflation than the highest-spending households in the March quarter, partly because cigarettes and tobacco are a greater proportion of their living costs. Cigarettes and tobacco make up approximately 3 percent of total household living costs for the lowest-spending households, compared to 1 percent for the highest-spending households. Price increases for rent (up 0.7 percent) and petrol (up 2.5 percent) made the next-biggest contributions to price rises for the lowest-spending households.

The introduction of the Government’s new ‘first year free’ policy for tertiary education had a dampening effect on inflation for all households. The highest-spending households received the greatest benefit because they spend proportionally more on tertiary education. These households also experienced the greatest effect from the seasonal price drop in international air transport.

The highest-spending households saw the lowest annual inflation (up 1.4 percent). Their costs were kept lower due to their proportionally higher spending on international airfares and tertiary education, which saw large decreases in the year to March 2018 (down 8.3 percent and 17 percent, respectively). The lowest-spending households, however, experienced higher annual inflation (up 1.8 percent).

The overall costs for Māori households increased 2.0 percent in the year to March 2018, which was driven by increasing prices for cigarettes and tobacco, and rent.

Increasing prices for rent (up 2.4 percent) had the largest effect on inflation for beneficiary households, while annual inflation for superannuitants was driven by price increases for insurance (up 7.9 percent).

Canterbury dairy herd rises as New Zealand total steadies – Statistics New Zealand

Source: Statistics New Zealand

The number of dairy cattle in Canterbury is continuing to rise, bucking a national trend of stable figures, Stats NZ said today.

Final numbers from the 2017 Agricultural Production Census were released today.

The total dairy cattle count dipped 1 percent from 6.62 million in June 2016 to 6.53 million in June 2017.

In Canterbury, dairy cattle numbers increased 3 percent from 1.27 million in 2016 to 1.31 million in 2017.

“The national dairy cattle total has stabilised since 2012; however, we’ve seen Canterbury numbers rise 9 percent over the same period,” agricultural production statistics manager Stuart Pitts said.

The total amount of land irrigated for farming is increasing, with 747,000 hectares of farmland irrigated in 2017, up 7 percent from 700,000 hectares in 2014. Canterbury is the main area for irrigated land, accounting for 478,000 hectares in 2017, up 12 percent from 429,000 hectares in 2014.

“Since 2014, an extra 49,000 hectares of Canterbury land has been irrigated – the equivalent of around 49,000 more rugby fields,” Mr Pitts said.

“Over the same period of time, Canterbury has seen a large drop in arable farming, particularly of the grains grown for stock feed.”

The amount of wheat and barley harvested in Canterbury dropped 19 percent (14,000 hectares) from 2016 to 2017.

Beef cattle numbers are rising after a decade of decline. The total number of beef cattle increased 2 percent from 3.53 million in 2016 to 3.62 million in 2017.

The national sheep flock showed little change between 2016 and 2017, easing from 27.58 million to 27.53 million.

Kiwifruit orchards are recovering from the hit they took during the PSA disease outbreak in 2010. The total canopy area of kiwifruit rose 7 percent from 11,000 hectares in 2014 to 11,700 hectares in 2017.

The battle between green kiwifruit and newcomer gold kiwifruit continues. There was a 28 percent hike in gold kiwifruit canopy area, from 3,700 hectares in 2014 to 4,700 hectares in 2017. Green kiwifruit canopy area eased 4 percent from 7,000 hectares in 2014 to 6,800 in 2017.

More than 52,000 farmers provided information for the 2017 Agricultural Production Census, which Stats NZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries carry out every five years. Smaller sample surveys are run in the intervening years.

Retail card spending falls 2.2 percent in April – Statistics New Zealand

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Retail card spending fell 2.2 percent in April 2018, following a rise in March, when adjusted for seasonal effects, Stats NZ said today. Large falls in grocery and liquor retailing and in fuel retailing contributed to April’s decrease.

“The fall in retail card spending is unusually large. It was driven by a drop in sales of groceries and liquor, as well as an unexpected dip in fuel,” business performance senior manager Peter Dolan said. “The drop in fuel sales was unexpected because petrol prices rose as much as 9 cents a litre during the April month.”

While these figures represent most retail spending, they do not cover all transactions in New Zealand, such as cash.

Card spending fell across three of the six retail industries. The largest movements were:

Consumables, including grocery and liquor retailing, down $72 million (3.6 percent) – more than reversing a $60 million rise in March (up 3.1 percent)
Fuel, down $17 million (2.9 percent)
Hospitality, down $9.0 million (0.9 percent).
Core retail spending (which excludes the vehicle-related industries) fell 2.3 percent in April 2018, after a rise of 2.0 percent in March 2018.

Actual retail spending using electronic cards was $5.1 billion in April 2018, up $39 million (0.8 percent) from April 2017.

Stats NZ looked closely at the unusual retail sales figures for April.

“These results may be affected by changes in consumer behaviour, payment methods, or the way the electronic card transactions were processed. We will continue to explore the data with our suppliers to further understand these movements,” Mr Dolan said.

Values are only available at the national level, and are not adjusted for price changes.

Holiday parks hopping for early Easter – Statistics New Zealand

Source: Statistics New Zealand

An early Easter helped lift holiday park guest nights by 25 percent in March 2018 – there were 188,000 more guest nights than the same month in 2017, Stats NZ said today.

“Two days of the Easter weekend falling in March this year was the most significant driver of guest night increases when compared with March 2017,” accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said. “Warm weather in March may have also been a factor.”

Total guest nights, including all accommodation types, rose 8.0 percent in March 2018 compared with the quieter March 2017, when the Easter holiday fell completely in April.

When the movement of the Easter holiday and other seasonal effects are accounted for, guest nights rose 0.7 percent in March 2018 from February 2018.

Holiday parks led the increase in guest nights. Kiwis spent 135,000 more nights in holiday park accommodation and international guests spent 52,000 more nights than the previous March.

“Holiday park guest nights often spike and fall in the months of March and April due to the movement of Easter. This month’s increase is similar to what was seen in March 2016, when all of Easter fell in the month,” Ms McKenzie said.

In the 12 months to March 2018, nights spent in holiday park accommodation numbered 8.2 million – 8.9 percent higher than the previous March year.

The accommodation survey collects data for guests staying in short-term commercial accommodation such as hotels, motels, backpackers, and holiday parks. Hosted and private accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and holiday homes, are excluded.

Takeaway and tomato prices up, but chicken cheaper – Statistics New Zealand

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Takeaway food and tomato prices rose in April, but chicken was the cheapest it has been in over 10 years, Stats NZ said today.

Overall, food prices remained steady (up 0.1 percent) in April. Higher prices for ready-to-eat and grocery foods were balanced by a drop for meat and many vegetables – except for tomatoes, which more than doubled in price in just two months.

Ready-to-eat food rose 0.7 percent in April, with prices rising for ethnic food (up 1.6 percent), takeaway coffee (up 0.7 percent), and takeaway pizza (up 1.0 percent).

“Prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food usually increase steadily over time; however, these items all rose more than usual in April,” consumer prices manager Geraldine Duoba said.

“The minimum wage increase of 75 cents to $16.50 an hour on 1 April may have been a factor, as labour costs make up a significant proportion of these businesses’ costs.”

Vegetable prices fell 1.6 percent in April. Lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower all fell strongly, following high prices in March. After adjusting for seasonal movements, vegetables prices fell 5.1 percent.

“While vegetable prices fell in April, tomato prices continued to rise,” Mrs Duoba said. “Tomato prices rose 41 percent this month, following a more than 60 percent rise in March.”

Chicken prices defy upward trend for meat
Meat prices fell in April, with poultry prices falling 4.5 percent.

A 1kg pack of chicken pieces was $7.63 in April, down from $8.16 in March, and $8.10 in April 2017. This was the lowest price since the series began in June 2014.

For the year to April, prices for meat and poultry increased 1.0 percent. Pork and lamb prices increased strongly with pork up 12 percent and lamb up 17 percent. These increases were offset by cheaper poultry prices, which decreased 6.8 percent in the latest year. Beef prices remained flat annually.

Marriage and divorce falling out of favour – Statistics New Zealand

Source: Statistics New Zealand

Statistics New Zealand reports that marriage and divorce are both far less common than they were 25 years ago, but married couples are staying together for longer, Stats NZ said today.

There have been around 20,000 marriages each year since 1992 (20,685 in 2017).

“The highest number of marriages and civil unions in the last 25 years was in 2008, when 22,275 couples celebrated,” population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said. “The lowest number was in 2013, when 19,425 couples celebrated.”

But with a steadily rising population, the general marriage rate has dropped. In 1992, the marriage rate was 18.3 couples per 1,000 people eligible to marry (or form a civil union from 2005), dropping to 10.9 couples in 2017.

Marriage rates are also decreasing in the United Kingdom and Australia.

The number of divorces has also decreased over the last 25 years. In 2017, there were 8,001 divorces and the divorce rate (number of divorces per 1,000 existing marriages) was 8.4. In 1992, 9,114 couples were granted a divorce, and the divorce rate was 11.9.

The decrease in the divorce rate coincides with a fall in the number of children affected by divorce.

People are marrying and divorcing later in life
In 2017, the median age of marriage or civil union was 32 years for men and 31 years for women. The median age has risen compared with 1992, when it was 29 and 27 years for men and women, respectively.

In 2017, the median age at divorce was 47 years for men and 44 years for women. This compares with 39 years for men and 36 years for women in 1992.

Couples are also staying married for longer (for those who end up getting a divorce). In 2017, the median duration of marriages and civil unions ending in divorce was at its highest in the last 25 years – 14 years, compared with 12 years in 1992.

Couples that married in 1992 had a 1 in 5 chance of being divorced within a decade. That rose to an almost 2 in 5 chance of divorce within 25 years of getting married.

Other marriage statistics released by Stats NZ include:

20,202 opposite-sex New Zealand couples and 486 same-sex New Zealand couples married or formed a civil union in 2017.
An additional 2,631 opposite-sex couples, and 507 same-sex couples from overseas married or formed a civil union in New Zealand in 2017.

Click here for a deep-dive into these statistics.