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The government's annual 10 per cent hike on cigarettes and tobacco was most keenly felt among the country's poorest, resulting in a higher cost of living for beneficiaries and Māori.

Stats NZ figures show the cost of living for beneficiaries rose 0.6 per cent in the three months through March, and rose 0.4 per cent for Māori. The national average increase in the cost of living for the period was 0.1 per cent.