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Christchurch – Monthly card spending on New Zealand’s medical and other healthcare services reached a record high last month.

Spending on medical and other healthcare services was $261 million in June 2020, up 20 percent from June last year, Stats NZ says. Healthcare services include GPs, specialists, physiotherapy, optometry, ambulances, and dental care.

“New Zealanders couldn’t make face-to-face health care visits during lockdown, so they had to wait until June to return to doctors, dentists, and other specialists,” Stats NZ retail statistics manager Kathy Hicks says.

“Spending on healthcare services during the level four lockdown in April was almost non-existent. However, there was a slight recovery in May as we moved through alert levels three and two.”

Meanwhile, spending on long-lasting goods such as furniture or cosmetics continued to rise in June, following a bumper May.

Durables industries reached record highs for any June month. Furniture, electrical, and hardware retailing had the largest dollar value increase, up $159 million (27 percent) from June last year.

Hicks says the increase in spending on long-lasting goods could still be the effect of pent-up demand following alert levels three and four, when retailers were mostly shut.

“New Zealanders might have been using the wider shopping options on offer at covid-19 alert levels two and one to buy equipment to help them work better from home or hardware for do-it-yourself jobs.”

Restricted border measures continue to impact hospitality, with accommodation affected more than restaurants, bars, and takeaways.

Spending at restaurants, cafes and takeaways, including food and beverage, is nearly back up to pre-covid levels but is still down 2.4 percent on the June 2019 level.

Spending on accommodation, including hotels, motels, and camping grounds, is still at low levels, down 33 percent on June 2019. This reflects the lack of international visitors as a result of covid.