The New Zealand CPI at 100: History and Interpretation
Very few New Zealanders have lives unaffected by the Consumers Price Index, or CPI. It is used by the New Zealand government to adjust student allowances, welfare benefits and superannuation; by the Reserve Bank to guide monetary policy; by the old Court of Arbitration, and by employers and employees, to negotiate wages; and by the media to inform the public about the effects of price changes on their standard of living. Some authors in this book document the New Zealand CPI as a history of conflicting machinations between unions, employers, public officials and lobby groups. Others view it as a mirror of domestic social norms and important international developments that eventually developed into a beacon with considerable public trust. Still others emphasise its technical evolution, from a crude selection of prices necessary for a just wage, to a modern indicator of consumer satisfaction and economic management. Whichever way you look at it, the CPI is a fascinating window into New Zealand's social and economic history.
Sharleen Forbes is Adjunct Professor of Official Statistics in the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington, and General Manager, Statistics Education, at Statistics New Zealand. She has been a member of the International Statistics Institute's Committee on Women in Statistics, President of the New Zealand Statistics Association, and Vice-Director of the International Statistical Literacy Project. Her current research interests include the uses of data visualisation tools for teaching and dissemination of official statistics, and the history of, and influences on, these statistics. Antong Victorio is a Senior Lecturer in Economics and Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington. He has an Honours degree in Economics from Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines, and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard. His research interests include the use of quantitative models in public policy; non-market insurance, altruism and intergenerational contracts; micro-simulation models in public economics; housing demand and urban economics; the economic consequences of school-leaving; and currency crises.