New Zealand is the land of milk and honey - if you have the
money, food bank staff say, as meat and milk hit record
Statistics New Zealand data released yesterday revealed in
the year to June, food prices increased 1.2%, resulting in
the highest price since July 2011.
In June, vegetable prices increased 8.9%.
Meat, poultry and fish prices increased 3.6% - the largest
monthly rise since July 2011.
Prices manager Chris Pike said the vegetable price increase
was influenced by seasonally higher prices for fresh
Higher meat prices - chicken up 9.9% and beef up 5% - were
due to less discounting, he said.
Dairy product prices also increased - butter was up 7.7%,
yoghurt 3.6%, cheese 0.8% and fresh milk 0.2%.
In the year to June, fresh milk was up 11%, cheese 12%,
yoghurt 7.2%, and butter 12%.
In the same time, the meat, poultry, and fish group increased
2.8% and reached its highest level. Beef was up 6.9%, lamb
20% and chicken 2.4%.
Beef had charged to its highest prices, 3.1% higher than its
previous peak in April, but lamb was 14% below its peak price
of August 2011.
OUSA food bank advocate Philippa Keaney said international
students were ''flummoxed'' by the cost of food in New
''They had no idea it was going to be so expensive.''
The high cost of meat and dairy surprised the students, who
expected it to be cheaper, due the strength of the primary
industry in New Zealand.
The high cost of cheese was a common complaint from many
international students, she said.
Before arriving, many students had been oblivious of the cost
for ''standard provisions'' in New Zealand and some needed
food bank bags.
''I expect we will see more of that with international
students,'' Ms Keaney said. About 20 food bags had been given
in the past three weeks, ''which is quite high, considering
the past two weeks have been semester break''.
The association encouraged students to shop away from
supermarkets and investigate alternative vegetable
suppliers.chief executive Gillian Bremner said demand in the
food bank had doubled in the past nine months.
''For many people who are struggling, the ability to buy meat
and vegetables has always been an issue.''
The most affordable meat was mince or sausages but fresh fish
was ''beyond our clients'', she said.
Many spent their limited income on cheaper food that ''filled
the tummy but lacked nutrition''.
June food price rise
Vegetables: up 8.9%
Chicken: up 9.9%
Beef: up 5%
Butter: up 7.7%
Yoghurt: up 3.6%
Cheese: up 0.8%
Fresh milk: up 0.2%
Fruit down: 0.5%
Bread and cereals: down 0.3%
Average retail price for the cheapest available 2-litre
blue-top milk: June 2014, $3.62 June 2013, $3.19