Govt acting to increase supermarket competition

“Food price data shows New Zealanders pay too much for the basics and today’s figures provide more evidence of why we need to change the supermarket industry, and fast," Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark says.

Stats NZ figures show food prices were 6.8% higher in May 2022 compared with May 2021. Grocery food prices had increased 7.4%, and fruit and vegetables are up 10%.

“Supermarkets currently earn $1 million a day in excess profit, that’s straight from the pockets of kiwi consumers and we have a plan to bring more completion and choice for New Zealanders,” David Clark said.

“The Government announced action against the supermarket duopoly two weeks ago and in that time we have made good progress.

“The Minister of Finance Grant Robertson met last week with Costco executives in Sydney to talk about its possible expansion into Wellington and Christchurch, and as recently as this morning I met with New Zealand’s third biggest grocery provider Night ‘n Day, where we discussed Government’s ongoing action to increase competition in the sector.

“Night ‘n Day chain has 57 stores, but a lack of access to wholesale groceries has been a major barrier when it comes to market expansion.

”I am reiterating my call on the supermarket duopoly to strike good-faith deals with their competitors to provide access to wholesale groceries, or regulatory measures will be put in place.

“The Government is not afraid to unlock the stockroom door to ensure a competitive market if the supermarkets don’t get on and do it themselves quickly.

“In any case, I aim to have a regulatory backstop finalised by the end of the year – but supermarkets would be well advised to organise their own agreements sooner.

“We’re also moving fast on the mandatory code of conduct, a unit pricing scheme and the establishment of an industry watchdog to keep supermarkets in the spotlight,” David Clark said.