[16 April/Otago Daily Times]

Food prices in New Zealand rose 1 percent in March from February. Wet weather caused vegetable prices to rise 11 percent. After adjusting for typical changes, vegetable prices increased 9.5 percent due to rises in tomato, lettuce, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli prices according to Statistics New Zealand. Statistics New Zealand Consumer Prices Manager, Matthew Haigh, said vegetable crops were affected by storms in recent weeks. He noted that in February rising prices were due to a combination of humid weather and Cyclone Gita. In March, tomatoes rose more than 60 percent, lettuce increased by 20 percent, cabbage was up 50 percent and broccoli rose by 20 percent. Apple prices fell 16 percent in March. Overall food prices were 1.4 percent higher in March this year than last year according to Statistics New Zealand. The food price index accounts for about 19 percent of the consumers’ price index.