Rising electricity prices pushed up both the prices received and paid by New Zealand producers in the quarter to the end of March, while the cost of capital goods fell slightly, the government statistics agency announced Friday. The output producers price index (PPI), which measures prices received, and the input PPI, representing the prices paid for goods and services, both rose 0.8 percent in the March quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. \"Higher electricity generation prices contributed to increases in both the output and input PPI,\" prices manager Chris Pike said in a statement. The electricity and gas supply output price index was up 12.5 percent and the input price index rose 15.1 percent in the March quarter. The higher prices for electricity generation and retail were due to lower lake levels after a severe drought and spot-market conditions. The output index for dairy product manufacturing rose 5.7 percent, following six consecutive quarterly falls since the September 2011 quarter, driven up by higher export prices for milk powder. Meanwhile the cost of purchasing new capital items fell 0.1 percent in the March quarter, according to the Statistics New Zealand capital goods price index (CGPI). The CGPI was driven down by a 0.9-percent fall in the plant, machinery, and equipment price index, and a 1.7-percent drop in the civil construction price index. These were partly offset by rises in the residential buildings index (up 1 percent) and non-residential buildings index (up 0.5 percent). In the year to the end of March, the CGPI rose 0.8 percent.