Explaining the high prices of goods and services in NZ
New productivity research: Explaining the high prices of goods and services in New Zealand
The Productivity Commission commissioned Professor Norman Gemmell, the Victoria University of Wellington Chair in Public Finance, to compare consumer prices in New Zealand with those overseas and to explain any differences identified.
The report has now been released: Explaining international differences in the prices of tradables and non-tradables (with a New Zealand perspective)
• This report follows the one
published in March: The prices of goods and services in New
Zealand: An international comparison
• Also available are an infographic and 4-page summary (of both reports)
• Short link for any tweets: http://bit.ly/nzpri
Professor Gemmell is giving a public lecture today at VUW at 4pm.
Using World Bank data, Professor Gemmell shows that prices are relatively high in New Zealand compared to other countries. This is true for goods and services which face no direct foreign competition (non-tradables) and for those that are traded internationally or in competition with foreign goods (tradables).
It is impossible to say whether
relative consumer prices are “too high” without also
understanding what is driving these prices, as they may, for
example, reflect intrinsic costs of production in New
Zealand. However, they may also reflect a problem in our
markets, such as a lack of competition or access to
international markets in key areas. The report highlights
that where prices are high this may be due to a high cost of
capital, small population and low levels of skilled labour
per capita. It also shows that high non-tradables prices and
market access issues (including transport costs) lead to
higher prices of