A sharp spike in petrol prices at the end of 2017 will have angered Kiwi motorists, but it was offset for consumers overall by a drop in vegetables, new cars and household goods.
Data from Stats NZ released today found petrol prices were up 6.1 per cent in the December 2017 quarter.
"Petrol prices were up in the December quarter, following two quarters of falls," Stats NZ prices senior manager Jason Attewell said.
"Rising oil prices and a falling exchange rate pushed prices up sharply between July and November this year. The average price for 91 octane petrol hit $1.94 in the December 2017 quarter, up from $1.83 in the September 2017 quarter."
The worst hit regions for petrol hikes were Wellington and Canterbury, with prices rising by 7.1 and 6.8 per cent, respectively.
However, the New Zealand consumer price index was flat across the entire market, with an inflation rate of 1.6 per cent, and an overall price rise of just 0.1 per cent.
A drop in retail prices was responsible for this, with a drop in food prices of 1.7 per cent in the December 2017 quarter.
In particular there was a dramatic drop in vegetable prices of 19 per cent - with tomatoes, lettuce, and other salad foods among the cheapest.
New car prices were also down 6.2 per cent, and clothing prices dropped 1.8 per cent.
However, housing and household-related prices were a large contributor to inflation in the December 2017 quarter, influenced by higher prices for construction and rent.
Construction prices rose 1.3 per cent in the December quarter.
But even worse, in the year to December 2017, construction prices rose 5.3 per cent across New Zealand, led by a 6.5 per cent increase in Auckland.
Prices also rose 3.1 per cent in Wellington, and 5.8 per cent in the rest of the North Island.