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New Zealand Production Statistics - March 1999

New Zealand Production Statistics - March 1999 quarter

Fewer Livestock Slaughtered

The total number of livestock slaughtered in the March 1999 quarter was 4.5 per cent lower than in the March 1998 quarter. Farmers concentrated on fattening their remaining stock following the drought-breaking rain which fell over the North Island during January. In contrast, the South Island regions of Canterbury and Otago again recorded a high number of livestock slaughtered, down only 3.0 and 0.1 per cent respectively. The continuing drought has left pastures bare and farmers with little choice but to destock.

Beer production fell 2.6 per cent between the March 1998 and March 1999 years. This decrease was due to an 8.2 per cent fall in the volume of tap beer produced. Tap beer has fallen every year since 1990, coinciding with increased publicity regarding drink driving. A move towards bottled and canned beer, as a result of recent discounting by breweries, may also have contributed to the latest fall. Production of canned beer was up 3.6 per cent between the March 1998 and 1999 years.

The number of cigarettes available for consumption during the March 1999 year fell 5.2 per cent when compared with the previous March year. This is the lowest recorded figure for a March year since the series began in 1974. In the May 1998 Budget the Government increased the excise tax on tobacco, with the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes rising 50 cents. Tobacco companies increased prices further in December 1998. The Consumer Price Index reports a 14.0 per cent rise in the price of cigarettes between the March 1998 and March 1999 quarters.

Ian Ewing

DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN

23 June 1999

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