Digital lifestyle changes NZ inflation barometer

Mon Oct 6, 2008 10:36pm EDT
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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The digital age has caught up with New Zealand's inflation barometer, with music downloads and car satellite units replacing old technology television sets and writing paper.

Statistics New Zealand said it has given the consumer price index, the key measure of inflation, a facelift to reflect changes in what households spend their money on.

That will see the index track prices of digital music downloads, on-line auctions, cut flowers and heat pumps.

But that's at the expense of traditional cathode ray tube television sets, video cassettes, photographic film and wood burners.

The government agency has also altered the weighting of various groups that make up the index, increasing the influence of food and household spending, which are taking up more of domestic spending.

The consumer price index was last reviewed in 2006 and the changes will come into effect in the third-quarter release on October 21.

(Reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Valerie Lee)