Nasty petrol price hike offset by lower retail costs overall, to end 2017

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.  

If you're in an area where you pay more than in the City of Sails, you may get annoyed by this.
Source: 1 NEWS

Christchurch City's water supply to be temporarily chlorinated

Christchurch City Council has approved the decision to temporarily chlorinate the city's water supply.

The decision follows an inspection last year which found the 103 underground well heads could be at risk of contamination.

According to Three Waters and Waste head John Mackie, the health of the wells hasn't changed but independent engineer testing has become more rigorous after the Havelock North outbreak.

Chief Medical Officer of health Dr Alastair Humphries recommended the water be chlorinated until upgrades can be made.

The Council voted in a clear majority to allow the decision but many councillors stressed the need for the supply to remove chlorination as soon as safely possible.

The temporary system will cost $850,000 and will take six to eight weeks before it is in place.

Council will give a start date for chlorinated water supply closer to the time.

Recent tests found the city's wells weren't safe from contamination, despite having the reputation for some of the best drinking water in the world. Source: 1 NEWS


Ninety-day trial period scrapped for most employees, as PM announces major workplace law shake-up

Jacinda Ardern has today announced a major shake up to New Zealand employment law, limiting the 90-day trial period for workers to those businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

In Wellington today, the Prime Minister, alongside Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, announced a new Bill to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000.

Its aim is to provide greater protection to workers, and lifting wages through collective bargaining.

Ms Ardern said the employment law changes would mean 70 per cent of Kiwi workers would no longer have the 90-day trial applying to them.

"Labour flagged during the election, and in fact for many years before, that it was our intention in government to restore fairness into our workplaces and balance into employment relations legislation in New Zealand," Ms Ardern said.

"It had been our contention that over many years the then National Government had eroded that balance and fairness in the workplace. We were committed to restoring that and that is what we're announcing today."

The PM said there is substantial anecdotal evidence that employees were working under unfair employment arrangements. Source: 1 NEWS

In a statement, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway elaborated on the changes.

"Wages are too low for many families to afford the basics. This Government believes everyone deserves a fair day's pay for a fair day's work," Mr Lees-Galloway said.

"We will also reinstate key minimum standards and protections to employees, such as the right to prescribed meal and rest breaks and limiting the use of 90 day trial periods to businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

"This legislation is the first step in the Government's commitment to creating a highly skilled and innovative economy that provides good jobs, decent work conditions, and fair wages.

"This is the start of a progressive programme in workplace relations which includes the passing of historic Equal Pay legislation, lifting the minimum wage to $20 by 1 April 2021, and the creation of a framework for Fair Pay Agreements.

"The legislation is expected to have its first reading in early February and I encourage everyone interested in this important legislation to have their say at the select committee process." 

Requirements for mandatory meal and rest breaks will also be strengthened in the employment law changes, after the National Government gave employers the ability to compensate workers for missed breaks.

The PM today announced in that 70 per cent of NZ employees will no longer have 90-day trials applying to them. Source: 1 NEWS

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