Prices post-lockdown: what’s up and what’s down?

Latest figures show it’s cheaper to fill up the tank with petrol but you’ll pay more to get a haircut.

20jul prices post lockdown hero

In the year to June, the cost of living rose 1.5 percent. We look at what’s happened to the price of goods and services over the past year, and how they’ve been affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Going down

Petrol prices

Down 13.5%

Global demand for oil dropped in the wake of Covid-19 travel restrictions and the price we paid for petrol at the pump also fell.

In the three months to June, petrol prices were down 12 percent and dropped 13.5 percent year-on year.

The average price for a litre of 91 was $1.83 in June, down from $2.09 in the previous quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand data.

Since then, increases in petrol excise duty have kicked in. Excise duty rose 3.5¢ on 1 July. On average, the increase is expected to add about $35 to $40 a year to fuel bills for a household with one vehicle.

Clothing and footwear

Down 2.6%

Buying shoes got cheaper, with prices down 10.3 percent for the year. Women’s and kids’ clothing also fell in price, though not as dramatically (less than 2 percent). The cost of men’s clothing was up slightly (0.3 percent).

New cars

Down 1.6%

If you’re in the market for a new car, buying one got a little less expensive. New vehicle prices dropped 1.6 percent in the year to June.

On the flip side, the cost of vehicle servicing rose 2.9 percent and vehicle parts were 4.4 percent more expensive. Prices for used cars didn’t change.

Swapping four wheels for two pedals? Expect to pay a little more for a bicycle: prices were up 0.3 percent over the year.

With some public transport services available free during lockdown, overall prices for passenger transport dropped 2.9 percent in the three months to June.

Household items

Down 1.2%

If you’re looking for furniture or appliances, you’ll be happy to hear prices have dropped. Major appliances were down 6.3 percent for the year and small appliances dropped by nearly 2 percent.

However, if you want to get goods repaired or hire appliances instead of buying, you’ll pay more (6 percent).

For everyday items, the picture is mixed. Soap, toothpaste and surface cleaners were up slightly in the past three months while laundry detergent dropped in price.

The pre-lockdown rush for toilet paper didn’t majorly affect price. In June, the average price for a 12-pack was $6.37, compared with $6.35 in March.

Going up

Food prices

Up 3.7%

If you think your food bill is climbing, you’re right. Food prices rose 3.7 percent in the year to June.

Vege prices saw the biggest hike (13.2 percent). Meat, poultry and fish were also up (4.5 percent), along with milk, cheese and eggs (4.3 percent).

We also paid more for bread and cereals (5.3 percent) and dining out (up 4 percent).

A few things were cheaper. Fruit was down 5 percent. Coffee, tea and other hot drinks also dropped (2.3 percent).

Housing and utilities

Up 3.2%

Housing costs have been the biggest contributor to the increase in the cost of living over the past 12 months. Both homeowners and renters have seen costs rise.

Property rates were up 5.1 percent while rent jumped 3.4 percent.

If you were selling your house, you were also paying more for using a real estate agent (5 percent).

On top of housing costs, electricity (1.3 percent) and gas (1.7 percent) prices increased, making your monthly power bill more expensive.


Up 3.1%

Insurance costs keep on rising. The biggest jump over the past year was for contents insurance (7 percent) followed by health insurance (5 percent).

Even though most of us were off the road during lockdown and claims were down, the cost of car insurance has also risen, up 1.1 percent in the three months to June.

Only a few insurers – AA, MAS and Tower – have pledged to pass on cost reductions resulting from lower claims costs.


Up 2.6%

There’s good news and bad news on the accommodation front. In the three months to June, hotel and motel prices fell 14 percent as lockdown stymied travel plans. However, prices were still 2.6 percent higher than this time last year.

Personal care

Up 2.1%

Your post-lockdown visit to the hairdresser likely cost more than you paid at the same time last year. All up, the cost of a haircut rose 4.1 percent in the year to June.


Up 1.2%

A trip to the garden centre has also got pricier, with the cost of plants and gardening supplies up 4.2 percent for the year.

Buying books (7.9 percent), and magazines and newspapers (5 percent) also comes at a higher price.

If you’ve got a pet, you’ll be opening your wallet a little wider as well. Pet products were up 1.8 percent. Taking the hound to the vet jumped 2.7 percent.

There’s slightly better news for sports buffs and anyone heading into the back of beyond. The cost of sporting and camping gear dropped 1.1 percent.

Data sourced from Statistics New Zealand Consumer Price Index (CPI) and show figures for the year to June 2020. The CPI measures household inflation, and records changes in the price of goods and services.

Stay in the know

Keep up-to-date with Consumer's latest news, investigations and product and service reviews, plus join the Consumer panel with invitations to take part in surveys.

Member comments

Get access to comment