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Inflation in New Zealand gained 0.4 percent on quarter in the second quarter of 2018, Statistics New Zealand said on Tuesday.

That was beneath expectations for 0.5 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous three months.

On a yearly basis, consumer prices climbed 1.5 percent - again shy of forecasts for 1.6 percent but up from 1.1 percent in the three months prior.

The largest contributor to inflation was higher prices for housing and household utilities, up 0.9 percent on quarter and 3.1 percent on year.

In the quarter, construction prices in Auckland and Wellington rose 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. For the rest of the North Island, prices were up 1.2 percent - twice as high as the major centers.

Rents rose 0.8 percent in the quarter and 2.5 percent in the year, while construction of new dwellings (excluding land) rose 1.1 percent on quarter and 3.9 percent on year. Electricity prices rose 1.7 on quarter and 2.9 percent on year.

"New Zealanders are paying more to keep their homes running," prices senior manager Paul Pascoe said. Rates, property maintenance services, and home insurance are all higher than they were this time last year."

Higher premiums, fire service, and earthquake levies across the year all contributed to an 18 percent increase in dwelling insurance in the year.

Petrol prices rose 3.2 percent on quarter, but this was countered by lower prices for used cars and home entertainment. Used car prices fell 3.3 percent, while subscriber TV and audio-visual equipment fell 7.2 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

"It was cheaper to buy a used car this quarter as dealerships looked to move some stock, but that was offset by higher running costs," Pascoe said. "With implementation of the regional fuel tax on 1 July, Auckland consumers will experience higher prices next quarter."

The national average price for a liter of 91 octane reached NZ$2.06 in June, with price movements varying across the regions. Wellington and the South Island had significantly higher inflation than Auckland and the rest of the North Island.