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Floods send vege prices soaring

The Queensland floods are being blamed for a massive increase in the cost of tomatoes, capsicums and cucumber during June.

The latest Statistics New Zealand Food Price Index shows food prices were up 1.4 per cent, led by a 12.2 per cent increase in the fruit and vegetables subgroup.

In contrast meat, poultry, and fish prices fell 3.2 per cent from their peak in May – the exception being lamb, which rose 1.2 per cent and is now at its highest-recorded level.

Statistics New Zealand said the sharp rise in the cost of fruit and vegetables was led by a 56.9 per cent rise in the cost of tomatoes, capsicums (up 43.7 per cent), and cucumber (up 35.6 per cent).

Lettuce also experienced a seasonal increase, rising 42.7 per cent following a 45.6 percent increase in May.

“Tomato and capsicum prices rose more than they usually do in June, reflecting a supply shortage caused by the January floods in Queensland,” Statistics NZ prices manager Chris Pike said.

Four of the five most significant price falls in the June food price index were from the meat, poultry, and fish subgroup, Statistics New Zealand said.

Poultry prices fell (down 8 per cent), with fresh chicken prices down 10.4 per cent. Beef prices also fell 3 per cent, influenced by an increase in the level of discounting on porterhouse/sirloin beef steak (down 7.1 per cent).

In the year to June 2011, food prices rose 7.5 per cent.

This included a 2.2 per cent rise in October 2010, when goods and services tax rose.

In the year to June fruit and vegetables were up 15.7 per cent, restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food up 4.5 per cent, non-alcoholic beverages up 8.1 per cent and meat, poultry, and fish up 3.5 per cent.

Vegetable prices rose 23.5 per cent and fresh milk prices rose 9.4 per cent in the year to June 2011.

– Homepage image / File photo,



Doug Bowker on 14/07/2011 1:57am

I don’t know where Statistics NZ get their data from but tomatoes are $13.50/kg where I am – that’s more like a 300% increase. Why blame Qld weather for something that can be readily grown in NZ? We never had this problem when Watties still had a hold on the market gardens around Gisborne.

David on 14/07/2011 4:37am

Hear hear Doug.
And just because Fonterra can get high prices for Dairy products overseas we pay a premium here. Lamb costs us a fortune due to the same reasons, hard to believe when this country is flooded with Lamb and Sheep.
I would suggest that given the room we all become self sufficient – grow your own veges before it becomes illegal as it is in some states in the US, and get a sheep, Goat and a couple of Cows as well. The day will come sooner than later when we all will regret not having done so.

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