Beneficiaries hit hardest by rising rents – Stats NZ Media and Information Release: Household living-costs price indexes: June 2018 quarter

Beneficiaries hit hardest by rising rents – 26 July 2018

Beneficiaries faced the highest inflation in the June 2018 quarter (up 0.5 percent), Stats NZ said today.

In contrast, Māori had the lowest (up 0.2 percent), followed by superannuitants (up 0.3 percent).

Price rises for rent (up 0.7 percent), petrol (up 3.2 percent), and electricity (up 1.7 percent) were the main contributors to inflation for beneficiaries in the latest quarter.

“With rent making up almost 30 percent of household expenditure for beneficiaries, rent increases this quarter affected this group more than any other household group,” consumer prices manager Geraldine Duoba said.

Lower prices for subscriber TV, second-hand cars, and audio-visual equipment were the main contributors in lowering inflation for Māori in the June 2018 quarter.

“Price falls for subscriber TV helped keep inflation low for all households. However, it was the superannuitants and lowest-spending households that received the greatest benefit,” Ms Duoba said.

Many superannuitant households are also low-spending households, which explains why both were strongly affected by the fall in subscriber TV prices.

Vegetable prices help lower annual inflation for all household groups

In the past 12 months, all households have had some relief from the high vegetable prices in 2017.

“Vegetables had large price increases in 2017 because New Zealand growers lost crops due to poor weather,” Ms Duoba said.

“With better weather conditions in the year to June 2018, prices have dropped to be more in line with what we expect for this time of year.”

Moderate spending households had the largest annual increase in inflation (up 2.2 percent). Inflation for this group was driven by higher prices for petrol (up 10 percent), mortgage interest payments (up 8.1 percent), and cigarettes and tobacco (up 11 percent).

The highest-spending households faced a 1.8 percent increase in the year ended June 2018. This was driven by price increases for mortgage interest payments, petrol, and accommodation services. The lowest-spending households had a similar level of inflation (1.9 percent), driven by increased prices for rent, petrol, and dwelling insurance.

Explore living-costs in New Zealand in more detail using our interactive app.

For more information about these statistics:

About 3 percent of home transfers go to overseas people – Stats NZ Media and Information Release: Property transfer statistics: June 2018 quarter

About 3 percent of home transfers go to overseas people – 27 July 2018

In the June 2018 quarter, 2.8 percent of home transfers were to people who didn’t hold New Zealand citizenship or resident visas, Stats NZ said today.

“The share of home transfers to overseas people fell from 3.3 percent last quarter to 2.8 percent this quarter,” property statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.

“However, the number of home transfers to overseas people rose from 1,083 in the March 2018 quarter to 1,116 in the June quarter.”

The total number of home transfers in New Zealand increased to 39,627 in the June 2018 quarter.

In addition to the 2.8 percent of home transfers to ‘overseas people’, a further 8.0 percent of home transfers were to people who held a resident visa, meaning they were not New Zealand citizens but could live in New Zealand permanently.

“These could be people who have lived in New Zealand for many decades and chosen not to get citizenship, or they could be people who have only held a resident visa for a very short time,” Ms McKenzie said.

Eleven percent of transfers were to companies and other corporate entities. Information on the ownership of these corporates (by New Zealanders or overseas people) is not currently available.

“Over three-quarters (78 percent) of home transfers were to New Zealand citizens in the June quarter,” Ms McKenzie said.  

“We can say confidently that 2.8 percent of home transfers were to overseas people in the June quarter. However, it is less clear how many corporate buyers might have had overseas owners.”

See table 1 of Property transfer statistics: June 2018 quarter (Excel) for numbers and percentages of home transfers by affiliation.

Over 1 in 5 inner city Auckland home transfers to overseas people in June quarter

In central Auckland (Waitemata), home transfers to people who didn’t hold NZ citizenship or a resident visa reached 22 percent (321 transfers) in the June 2018 quarter. This compares with 19 percent (225 transfers) in the March 2018 quarter.

“In the Auckland inner city, over 1 in 5 home transfers were to overseas people in the latest quarter, and only 45 percent were to New Zealand citizens,” Ms McKenzie said.

The share of home transfers to people without NZ citizenship or resident visas fell for Auckland as a whole – to 6.5 percent (741 transfers) in the June 2018 quarter. This compares with 7.3 percent (678 transfers) in the March 2018 quarter.

Frequently asked questions

How many ‘foreigners’ are buying New Zealand homes?

It depends how you define ‘foreigner’. In the June 2018 quarter, of all home transfers:

  • 78 percent were to at least one New Zealand citizen.
  • A further 8.0 percent were to at least one NZ-resident-visa holder (someone who can live and work in New Zealand for as long as they like).
  • A further 2.8 percent were to people who held a student or work visa (1.0 percent), or were none of the above (1.8 percent).
  • The remaining 11 percent were to corporate entities only (which could have New Zealand or overseas owners).

When we talk about transfers to ‘overseas people’, we mean the 2.8 percent of transfers where none of the buyers were NZ citizens or resident-visa holders (excluding transfers where all the buyers were corporate entities). We focus on this measure because it aligns most closely with the definition of ‘overseas person’ in the Overseas Investment Act 2005.

Why do you talk about ‘transfers’ not ‘sales’?

A transfer is not the same as a sale. Transfers often involve a sale, but there are many other possible reasons for a transfer (such as marriage settlements, the death of a family member, boundary changes, and trustee changes).

Every sale is a transfer, but not every transfer is a sale. We refer to the parties involved as buyers and sellers for simplicity.

We know the number of transfers to overseas people because this information is collected on land transfer tax statements, which cover all types of transfer and not just sales.

How many of the corporate entities have ‘foreign’ owners?

Information on the ownership of corporate entities (by New Zealanders or overseas people) is not currently available, as it is not collected on land transfer tax statements.

How are trusts captured in these statistics?

We count a trust based on the visa or citizenship status of its trustees. If at least one trustee holds NZ citizenship, then the transfer is counted as a transfer to a NZ citizen.

Aren’t there lots of people missing from these numbers?

We have information about the visa status or citizenship of virtually all people who transfer property in New Zealand. The only uncertainty is around the ownership of corporate entities that transfer property.

In addition to statistics about the visa status or citizenship of people who transfer property, we also publish statistics about their tax residency. The tax residency statistics include a large category for parties that are exempt from stating their tax residency on a land transfer tax statement (eg because the transfer involves their main home). The visa and citizenship statistics are not affected by this exemption, because these people are still required to state their visa or citizenship status.

Tax residency is not the same as nationality. We advise focusing on the statistics about visa or citizenship status (also known as affiliation).

How much New Zealand property is owned by ‘foreigners’?

We do not currently have a register of property owned by overseas people. These property transfer statistics measure overseas involvement in property transfers in any given quarter, but not the total amount of property owned by overseas people.

What is the net change in ‘foreign’ ownership of New Zealand property?

We don’t produce a measure of the net change in property owned by overseas people.

If you subtract seller statistics from buyer statistics to calculate a net change in home ownership, it is important to note that:

  • between the time of buying and selling a home, owners can move between affiliations (eg a work-visa holder could become a resident-visa holder or NZ citizen)
  • some types of affiliations may sell many newly built homes (eg corporate entities).

Therefore, net changes for a given affiliation could be understated or overstated.

For media enquiries contact: Melissa McKenzie, Christchurch, 03 964 8439, info@stats.govt.nz

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

For more information about these statistics:

Fuel lifts imports to new June high – Stats NZ Media and Information Release: Overseas merchandise trade: June 2018

Fuel lifts imports to new June high – 25 July 2018

Higher fuel imports pushed the value of total imports to $5.0 billion in June 2018, Stats NZ said today. This is the highest imports value for a June month.

The increase in total imports was led by petroleum and products (up $257 million). Fuel imports were up $300 million while crude oil fell $35 million in value. Total imports rose $573 million in June 2018 when compared with the same month last year.

Vehicles, parts, and accessories fell $14 million in June 2018 when compared with a year ago. Passenger motor cars were down $45 million.

“Following the discovery of stink bugs on four vehicle carriers in February, we saw two record values for car imports in April and May,” acting international statistics manager Dave Adair said. “This June quarter has the highest value for car imports on record, despite the lower value in the June month.”

Meat and edible offal lead exports rise

The value of exports rose $217 million (4.6 percent) in June 2018, led by meat and edible offal (up $58 million). Lamb was the biggest contributor to this rise, with exports to China up $26 million.

Kiwifruit and preparations of milk, cereals, flour, and starch also contributed to the exports rise.

These rises were partly offset by milk powder, butter, and cheese (down $84 million). Milk powder exports were down in value ($162 million or 25 percent) and quantity (32 percent) due to falls across a range of key markets, including large falls to Algeria and China. However, milk fats including butter exports were up $93 million.

Trade balance

The monthly trade balance was a deficit of $113 million (2.3 percent of exports), the second deficit for a June month in the last decade.

Seeking your feedback on new visualisation

New Zealand’s largest exports to the world is a new visualisation that shows New Zealand’s main exports to the world on a ‘chalkboard’. Stats NZ is seeking your feedback on how useful this visual is to you, and any suggestions on how it can be improved. To send your feedback, click on the feedback link provided on the page.
For more information about these statistics:

Trade shortfall tops $4 billion in June year – Stats NZ Media and Information Release: Overseas merchandise trade: June 2018

Trade shortfall tops $4 billion in June year – 25 July 2018

The value of annual imports rose $374 million more than exports, pushing the June 2018 annual trade deficit to $4.0 billion, Stats NZ said today. This is the largest trade deficit for a June year in a decade.

Compared with the June 2017 year, the trade deficit this year widened as all major import and export groups increased.

 “The last June year surplus was in 2014, driven by high dairy export values,” acting international statistics manager Dave Adair said. “Exports dipped in 2015 leading to a deficit, which has widened since due to steadily rising imports.”


In the June 2018 year, New Zealand imported $59.6 billion worth of goods, up $6.0 billion from the June 2017 year. This was led by $24.0 billion worth of intermediate goods, up $3.0 billion from the June 2017 year. Petroleum and products (excluding petrol) led the intermediate goods rise, up $850 million. This was followed by parts of transport equipment, up $416 million, and parts of plant and machinery, up $413 million.

Petrol and avgas is a smaller group and has been the most volatile over the past years. This group rose in 2018 but is still 29 percent lower than 2014, due to falls in 2015 and 2016.

More dairy products exported in June year

In the June 2018 year, New Zealand exported $55.5 billion worth of goods, up $5.6 billion from the June 2017 year. Dairy products led this rise (up $1.7 billion) followed by meat and edible offal (up $1.0 billion), and forestry products (up $740 million).

Seeking your feedback on new visualisation

New Zealand’s largest exports to the world is a new visualisation that shows New Zealand’s main exports to the world on a ‘chalkboard’. Stats NZ is seeking your feedback on how useful this visual is to you, and any suggestions on how it can be improved. To send your feedback, click on the feedback link provided on the page.

Stats NZ Report: International Visitor Arrivals to New Zealand: June 2018

International Visitor Arrivals to New Zealand – The latest edition of International Visitor Arrivals to New Zealand: June 2018 (IVA) is now available on the Stats NZ website.

IVA is a monthly report produced by Stats NZ and sponsored by Tourism New Zealand. It contains detailed tables and graphs of monthly and annual data, showing the number and characteristics of visitor arrivals. IVA provides information in addition to the visitor arrivals information released two working days earlier in the International Travel and Migration: June 2018 release. In particular, airport information released in the IVA is not included in the international travel and migration statistics.

Visitor numbers retreat in June – Stats NZ Media and Information Release: International travel and migration: June 2018

Visitor numbers retreat in June – The number of visitors to New Zealand in June 2018 was 212,200, down 17,800 from June 2017, Stats NZ said today.

Visitor numbers were down this month compared with June last year, when New Zealand hosted the British and Irish Lions Rugby tour. Between 3 June and 8 July 2017, the Lions tour boosted visitor numbers from the United Kingdom and Ireland. Typically, New Zealand has between 6,000 and 7,000 visitors from Ireland and the UK each June, but this ballooned to about 23,400 last year.

In June 2018 compared with June 2017, the largest drops in visitor arrivals were from:

  • United Kingdom, down 15,700 to 5,900
  • Australia, down 7,100 to 98,800
  • Ireland, down 1,200 to 600.

The total number of visitors in June 2018 is still higher than the 196,200 visitors two years ago.

Annually, visitor numbers continue to increase.

There were 3.79 million arrivals for the year ended June 2018, up 138,700 (3.8 percent) from the year ended June 2017.

Boost in visitors from Asia

A boost of 12 percent in visitor arrivals from Asia helped offset the fall in arrivals from other countries.

Compared with June last year, Asia was the only region to see a rise in visitor arrivals to New Zealand this month. The largest increases in visitor arrivals from Asia were:

  • Indonesia, up 1,900 (37 percent)
  • China, up 1,200 (7 percent)
  • Malaysia, up 800 (24 percent).

Kiwis take more overseas holidays

Asia also experienced strong growth as a tourist destination for New Zealanders, along with Fiji and Australia. For June 2018 compared with June 2017, the largest increases in departures for overseas holidays were to:

  • Fiji, up 5,900 (34 percent)
  • Australia, up 2,500 (3 percent)
  • China, up 2,500 (26 percent)
  • Indonesia, up 2,300 (39 percent).

Overall, 288,500 Kiwis travelled overseas in June 2018, with 100,600 visiting Australia. Other popular destinations were (by number of departures):

  • Fiji, 23,200
  • United States, 21,900
  • United Kingdom, 17,700.

More detailed information on visitor arrivals including age, length of stay, and country of citizenship can be found in International visitor arrivals to New Zealand: June 2018 to be published on 24 July at 10:45am.

Annual net migration down 7,400 from peak in 2017 – Stats NZ Media and Information Release: International travel and migration: June 2018

Annual net migration down 7,400 from peak in 2017 – Annual net migration eased slightly to 65,000 in the June 2018 year, as fewer migrants arrived and more left, Stats NZ said today.

Migrant arrivals were 129,500 and migrant departures were 64,500.

Annual net migration for the June 2018 year was down 7,400 from a record high of 72,400 in the July 2017 year.

“An increase in migrants leaving, particularly non-New Zealand citizens, continued to be the key factor in lower annual net migration,” acting population insights senior manager Michelle Feyen said.

“A decrease in migrant arrivals also contributed, but net migration still remains high by historical standards.”

In the June 2018 year, non-New Zealand citizen migrant departures were up 21 percent from a year ago to 30,900, and up 1.2 percent from the May 2018 year.

Migrant arrivals dipped below 130,000 for the first time since the April 2017 year. Both New Zealand and non-New Zealand citizen migrant arrivals decreased for the June 2018 year.

More New Zealand citizens are leaving the country long term than returning. In the year ended June 2018, there was a net loss of 1,800 New Zealand citizens, partly offsetting the net gain of 66,800 non-New Zealand citizens.


New online tool

Tourism and migration data visualiser is Stats NZ’s new online tool for tourism and migration figures. Use this tool to easily create simple graphs showing international travel trends.

Estimating migration – classifying border crossings with incomplete travel histories

In the near future, Stats NZ will use an outcomes-based measure to formally measure migration. An outcomes-based measure is more accurate than the current intentions-based measure (see Outcomes versus intentions: Measuring migration based on travel histories). However, the outcomes-based measure requires 16 months of complete border-crossing information, resulting in a 17-month lag before final estimates can be released. Stats NZ is working towards producing a provisional measure of migration that will ensure a timelier statistic.

Results from work so far show that most border crossings can be classified before 16 months are up. The remaining records can be classified (to short-term visitor, short-term New Zealand resident traveller, or long-term migrant) based on other variables such as age, sex, visa type, and citizenship. This estimation has the potential to change so provisional data will be published with uncertainty intervals, and will be subject to revision as the outcomes of travellers become more certain.

First results of the provisional estimation are expected to be published from late August.

Text alternative for Permanent and long-term migration, year ended June 2018

Diagram shows arrivals of non-NZ citizens 97,700 down 0.5 percent; and departures of non-NZ citizens 30,900 up 1.2 percent make net migration gain of non-NZ citizens 66,800.

Arrivals of NZ citizens 31,900 down 0.5 percent and departures of NZ citizens 33,700 up 0.6 percent make net migration loss of NZ citizens -1,800.

Result is total net migration of 65,000.

Note: Figures may not sum to totals due to rounding. Percentage changes are indicative of the June 2018 year compared with the May 2018 year.

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

Stats NZ release notification

Below you can find Stats NZ’s information releases for the next week. For more information about these releases go to Insights and make your selections in the drop down options.

20 July 2018
International travel and migration: June 2018
View recent International travel and migration releases

23 July 2018
Internal migration estimates using linked administrative data (date has changed)

Global New Zealand: December 2017

25 July 2018
Household labour force survey estimated working-age population: June 2018 quarter
View recent Household labour force survey estimated working-age population releases

Overseas merchandise trade: June 2018
View recent Overseas merchandise trade releases

Our release calendar has a full list of release dates for official statistics.

Information releases include the latest statistics for the subject, with a summary (in the Key facts section), statistical Tables, and links to metadata and related information.

M = a media conference will be held for this release.

Housing costs lead annual 1.5 percent inflation – Stats NZ Media and Information Release: Consumers price index: June 2018 quarter

Housing costs lead annual 1.5 percent inflation – 17 July 2018

The consumers price index (CPI) inflation rate was 1.5 percent in the June 2018 year, mainly influenced by higher prices for housing, Stats NZ said today. This follows a 1.1 percent annual inflation rate in the March 2018 year.

For the June 2018 quarter, the inflation rate was 0.4 percent.

The largest contributor to inflation was higher prices for housing and household utilities, up 0.9 percent this quarter, and 3.1 percent in the year to June 2018.

Regions catching up in construction costs

In the June 2018 quarter, construction prices in Auckland and Wellington rose 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. For the rest of the North Island, prices were up 1.2 percent – twice as high as the major centres.

Housing-related costs:

  • rents rose 0.8 percent in the June 2018 quarter and 2.5 percent in the year
  • construction of new dwellings (excluding land) rose 1.1 percent this quarter and 3.9 percent in the year
  • electricity prices rose 1.7 this quarter and 2.9 percent in the year.

“New Zealanders are paying more to keep their homes running,” prices senior manager Paul Pascoe said.

“Rates, property maintenance services, and home insurance are all higher than they were this time last year.”

Higher premiums, fire service, and earthquake levies across the year all contributed to an 18 percent increase in dwelling insurance in the June 2018 year.

Petrol prices up, but cheaper home entertainment

Petrol prices rose 3.2 percent in the June 2018 quarter, but this was countered by lower prices for used cars and home entertainment. Used car prices fell 3.3 percent, while subscriber TV and audio-visual equipment fell 7.2 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

“It was cheaper to buy a used car this quarter as dealerships looked to move some stock, but that was offset by higher running costs,” Mr Pascoe said.

“With implementation of the regional fuel tax on 1 July, Auckland consumers will experience higher prices next quarter.”

The national average price for a litre of 91 octane reached $2.06 in June 2018, with price movements varying across the regions. Wellington and the South Island had significantly higher inflation than Auckland and the rest of the North Island.

Home entertainment prices fell in the June 2018 quarter, with better value audio-visual equipment and lower prices for subscriber TV.

“Subscriber TV is in the top 25 largest items in the CPI, and includes pay TV and streaming services,” Mr Pascoe said.

“Sky TV’s recent changes to their packages and pricing influenced this quarter’s result.”

According to Sky TV’s 2017 annual report they had 778,776 subscribers in December 2017.

2018 Census will deliver reliable data for New Zealand – Stats NZ Media Release

2018 Census will deliver reliable data for New Zealand – 12 July 2018

New Zealanders can be confident the 2018 Census will produce accurate and high-quality data which can be relied on by communities and decision-makers, Stats NZ said today.

“The digital-first approach we used for this year’s census exceeded our expectations, with more than 82 percent of census responses coming in online,” Deputy Government Statistician Denise McGregor said. “What is even better is the fact that online data is high-quality data.”

To complement the online campaign, 2018 Census field teams made almost one million household visits to encourage and support people to complete census forms, whether online or on paper.

“However, we did experience a drop in our overall participation rate, which is a long-running trend statistical agencies around the world are grappling with,” Ms McGregor said.

“Despite this reduction, Stats NZ will produce a high-quality dataset by making use of reliable government data to fill in gaps.

Stats NZ has been using this imputation approach to fill in census data gaps since 2001, in line with international best practice.

We are not alone; other national statistical organisations have also been developing, trialling, and using methodologies designed to use admin data to complement and replace census data so we can learn from our colleagues.

Acting Government Statistician Kelvin Watson says New Zealanders can have confidence in Stats NZ’s commitment to providing a robust and reliable census dataset.

International experts to review 2018 Census operation and methodology

The 2018 Census imputation methodology has been discussed with a group of international census specialists, including members from the US Census Bureau and the UK’s Office for National Statistics. This peer review will continue as the methodology develops.

Stats NZ is setting up an independent panel of data and statistics experts to assess the census results as they come out and to give confidence in the results.

In addition, we will have a full independent external review and will work closely with the State Services Commission on this, including the development of the terms of reference.

This review will be undertaken once the census dataset has been completed and the findings of this review will be reported to the Government Statistician and to the State Services Commissioner.

Stats NZ brings forward release of updated population estimates

The government makes its funding decisions, such as how to allocate district health board (DHB) spending, based on Stats NZ’s subnational population estimates, which factor in migration patterns, and birth and death rates to provide a statistically robust estimate for how the population has changed since census night.

“Stats NZ has traditionally not released updated population estimates until many months after census results are released,” Ms McGregor said.

“After this census we will release this data earlier than we have for previous censuses.”

Revised census release date to have little impact on Representation Commission boundary review

Stats NZ has been working with the Electoral Commission and Land Information NZ to assess the impact of the revised census release dates.

It was expected the Commission’s boundary review would begin in March 2019, so this may be delayed by several weeks.

The boundary review will take place over a six-month period, which means even on this slightly revised timetable, the boundaries will still be confirmed before the end of 2019, and well ahead of the 2020 General Election.