Why we need the ‘Kiwi food subsidy’ at a State owned ‘Kiwi Kai Super Market’

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Dear Jacinda, history is calling

The lie of neoliberalism is that unregulated markets lead to competitive utopia.

They don’t.

They lead to an elite corporate oligarchy who ensure their dominance via duopoly or monopoly. A plutocratic cartel who amputate monopoly rentals from the economy and call it business.

The brutal strength of the State is required to step in and break up such cartels when they bubble to the top and that’s exactly what the Commerce Commission must demand in its reports on the Supermarket duopoly in NZ.

Countdown and Foodstuffs about to find out what’s in the regulator’s trolley

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Countdown and Foodstuffs will find out next week whether they may have to sell off some of their stores or change their businesses to help make way for a new supermarket company.

Price controls on some “essential items” such as fruit and vegetables and cheese, might even be on the table, Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said.

The Commerce Commission is due to publish its draft market study into the $22 billion groceries industry on Thursday.

Duffy said it was a “no brainer” that the regulator would recommend new mandatory rules that will give more rights to food suppliers in their dealings with supermarkets.

Just like we created Kiwi Bank (and should expand it) to break up an Aussie banking cartel, we should force Countdown and Foodstuffs to sell stores to the Government so the Government can inject actual competition into the super market industry with a strict policy on local producers getting better prices, with staff paid the living wage and customers getting cheaper prices.

So what if the Supermarket duopoly have to share their $22billion annual market with us New Zealanders? Shouldn’t we be feeding us?

Let’s be clear, this isn’t socialism, this is the State forced to repair capitalism once again by intervening in a broken market.

Farmers get ripped off, customers get screwed and staff are run ragged.

All so Australian corporations get to clip the ticket?

Fuck that.

Government should enter into a deal with Iwi to stock a new chain of Government/Iwi Supermarkets that champion local produce at better prices for the consumer and

We need a kiwi subsidy on all local produce to recognize that producers have already used water and created local climate changing gases to create their product and as such consumers have already paid a price just to get the product to their table.

We should feed the 5million here first before boasting about feeding 40million world wide!

Calls to ‘feed the 5 million first’ before exporting NZ food

People are going hungry even though New Zealand produces enough food to feed 40 million – and it’s spurring calls for the country to “feed the five million first”.

Almost 40 percent of New Zealand households experience food insecurity, while 19 percent of children live in households that experience food insecurity.

Poverty researcher Dr Rebekah Graham said while working on her thesis on food insecurity, she interviewed a woman who walked for 90 minutes each day to get a free community meal.

A state owned 3rd supermarket chain would do more for providing a cheaper means of living to all kiwis who have food security issues. It would do more for welfare than any single PM since Savage.

History is calling Labour. To date you have had nothing to show beyond crisis responses. We still have 190000 kids in poverty, over 22000 on emergency housing lists, growing inequality and a climate crisis with no real solutions.

A state owned supermarket chain that radically forced competition on base level cost of living for a vast swathe of New Zealanders would be a legacy worthy of Labour.

We need to be kinder to individuals and crueler to corporations.

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76 COMMENTS

  1. …’ We need to be kinder to individuals and crueler to corporations’…

    Indeed.

    And screw the Australian banks. Who invited those vultures here in the first place? What scumbag treasonist neo liberal saw the opportunity for vast wealth by buying into Australian interests anyhow? Was it YOU Douglas, or YOU Shipley or the ‘behind the scenes’ and equally as craven Richardson?

    Its time to repudiate all those long gone political treasonous scammers.

    And look after our own.

    100% AGREEMENT.

  2. It’s a no brainer, our food retail industry simply rips off the consumer. Massively.

    But Kiwibank is a bad example. It’s like the government want it to slowly die off, it’s the unheard of bank. When the Big 4 Aussie banks shut up shop in small town NZ, so do Kiwibank rather than try and gain business. I’m told by a source within the banking world that Kiwibank is poorly run and having seen our Minister of Finance, in action, the Big 4 are all that matters, and it’s no surprise that Kiwibank looks directionless.

    And that’s the real trouble in introducing competition, we require a government to tilt the table for that to succeed and sadly, we have this useless market knows best Labour government and it talentless cabinet.

    We the people will continue to be ripped off.

    • seems to be working for Putin in just telling International corporations to fuck off and taking over operations…but we can stop at handing it out to ‘friends’ it will be all good.

    • Supermarkets in NZ are working on 100% Mark Up and 50% Gross Profit that’s what happens when you allow two 2 food suppliers to control the distribution of food in NZ. Grower gets $2 per kg and the Supermarket sells for $4-$5 per kg, the Grower gets $2 less costs and the Supermarket gets $2-$3 for doing nothing.

      Very difficult for new entrants to enter the industry, the Commerce Commission stuffed it up for the average consumer IMHO.

      • @ Hongi Ika

        Also they sell these ‘specials’ but in many cases supermarkets put up the original price 30% and then pretend it’s a special of 25%… so on special you are now paying 5% above the original price. Not sure how they get away with it.

        In spite of enormous profits supermarkets offer their workers a 0% pay rise to unions. Then they are responsible for a large amount of migrant ‘supermarket manager’ jobs and they and their families need housing, health care, schooling and welfare top ups in NZ.

        Supermarket owners banking super profits, NBR Rich List shows
        https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/106288425/supermarket-owners-banking-super-profits-nbr-rich-list-shows

        Funny enough there are many people itching to work at supermarkets including a doctor as in the past they were a good source of part time work in every area of NZ. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-01-22/5000-queue-for-supermarket-jobs-in-nz/1219128 To avoid worker shortages NZ employers technique to avoid paying workers more and keep huge profits is lobbying the bovine government to keep more low paid workers piling into NZ which also is very profitable for those that control the food industry. (and it isn’t the farmers!).

        Because of this lack of interest in the food side, the safety of food is now dire in NZ supermarkets, from mislabeled foods, to poor hygiene, many products are expired still not the shelves, rotten fruit etc. And that’s in Auckland! Like the housing crisis this will spread to the provinces…

  3. Every single word of this rings true, loud and clear.
    (Now, just have to find one of those endangered species, a politician who might actually listen…)

  4. Kiwibank is not popular and is no meal competitor to main banks . Even the government does not use it In the past state run entities have proved to be wasteful and poorly run like Kiwi rail. The supermarkets need to have a watchdog to stop profiteering and bullying staff and suppliers but to think the government could do it better is not a dream as it would soon become a nightmare.

    • Trevor – Yep, the supermarkets very much need to have their monopoly broken, so that ordinary people can afford to buy healthy food again, and suppliers and staff not be exploited.

      But the notion of state owned or state controlled supermarkets is very much the stuff of nightmares. Govt’s policies and ineptness have caused the current status quo, and suggests the incompetence which keeps us cold in winter, gives free water to China, and has people homeless. Better with Iwi control than the people’s reps.

      • Just think about it for 2 seconds and take your ideology hat off.

        Do you not think that if the profits were so exceeding good, then any business person would have done this a long time ago? And since no one has, why haven’t they?

        I’m not completely up to speed with the running of a supermarket, but I would assume that they extremely complex and ridiculously expensive to set up, and managing that many staff would be a nightmare. Yes the owners do make a tonne of money, but from the ones I have meet, they work shockingly long hours, are highly driven and have an extremely high stress thresholds.

        Like I said, if it’s so easy, then why isn’t anyone who has a few bob in the back pocket doing it? To me there are few barriers to entry, apart from cost and to be honest, suppliers would be happy to have an alternative.

        Let’s we forget how successful Kiwibuild is…or was, because we don’t talk about it anymore.

    • Nz rail was run into the ground and small time investors were fleeced in a privatization disaster . Fay Ritchwhite in what looked suspiciously like insider trading sold out before the asset stripped and maintenance neglected mess fell apart.

      “Mr Richwhite and Midavia Rail Investments, a company owned by him and Sir Michael, agreed to pay $20 million to settle a five-year-old insider trading dispute with the Securities Commission without admitting liability.

      At the centre of the case was Midavia selling $63 million worth of Tranz Rail shares in February 2002 when Mr Richwhite was a Tranz Rail director.”
      https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/161039/Richwhite-and-Fay-make-big-rail-profit

      BNZ Privatized ,,,, and Bailed out ,,, and
      then sold cheap to the Aussieshttps://businessdesk.co.nz/article/the-life/looking-back-bnz-part-7-the-final-twist-nab-grabs-bnz-at-a-discounted-price

      Air NZ — Privatized and bailed out ,,, two or three times now ??

      Electricity ,,, Privatized ,, large price increases and Aucklands 5 week power black-out.

      PPP’s —- Serco —- and remember Nova-no-pay?

      Anyway the ‘private sector’ is often worse running former Govt services ,,,, their private greed proving more expensive than public service ‘inefficiencies.

      Although I would not want the Govt to start owning supermarkets ,,,, I do think part of business should be ensuring food security for ALL New Zealanders ,,, and there is 101 ways you could go about that.

  5. Just get rid of gst on food or at least fruit and veg in the short term. 15% off will go a long way to helping those in need. I can’t see how this would be an unpopular move. Not sure how growers and marketers (or the tax take) would be affected but other countries seem to manage this ok. Building a supermarket chain across the entire country will take time that some don’t have but I like the idea in principle. The devil will be in the detail. Would be worth it just for NAT/ACT to complain about socialism causing lower food prices. For shame!

  6. Imagine if the supermarket duopoly had the same greedy business model as Fonterra, where New Zealanders pay the highest international price possible for products even if products are grown or manufactured next door to the supermarket, and even though New Zealanders pay twice again with the industry pollution to create these products and where a foreigner owns the land of manufacture.

      • Fake mince made down south costs more than the farmers get paid. I expect it’s cos the soya bean content imported from you know where costs a bob or two.

  7. Still, the 15% GST needs to be removed from basic, AO/ NZ grown foods: All fruit and veggies grown here, cheese and some dairy products that are produced here, our own honey; local homegrown foods should not be taxed.

    Even if there were a really cheap supermarket, rural people cannot always get to them. Some of us only ‘go to town’ every few months or so. Essentials in the meantime have to be bought at expensive prices at the tiny struggling rural dairies. Lose the GST on all our basic, homegrown foods!!

    John Key raised the GST to 15%. Over in Aus they only have a 10% gst, and it is NOT put on foods and essential services. Why are we so “exclusive”, so ready to feed off the poorest among us? There’s a dark side to NZ, and part of it is seen right there.

  8. I never thought I would defend a bank but….
    The reason Kiwibank is crap now is because the government wants it like that.
    People forget that Jim Anderton pushed for the creation of Kiwibank in the face of resolute opposition from Helen Clark and the Labour Party cabinet.
    People have also forgot that from the moment Kiwibank went into operation other banks reduced interest rates, bank fees and produced a wider range of loans.
    Then everything changed…and everything remained the same.
    Jim Anderton and Alliance died. Helen Clark’s Labour only entrenched our monetarist policy and a disillusioned voting public elected Bill English’s National Party.
    Some may remember the secret taping of Bill English where the ‘Double Dipper from Dipton” admitted the government secretly wanted to be rid of Kiwibank.
    So let me shout this!
    THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT WANT A SUCCESSFUL KIWIBANK!
    and
    THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT WANT SUCCESSFUL STATE OWNED SUPERMARKETS!
    Labour is not a socialist political party anymore.
    If capitalism admits socialism works better for the public as a whole then the dominoes all collapse and their argument that private enterprise works better than the state is shown as faulty.
    Mind you as long as capitalism continues to fund political parties( contributions, donations, directorships) it will not matter because the elected servants will continue to do as their paymasters order.
    Anyone for a revolution?

  9. Our supermarkets are not an “Aussie duopoly”. The Foodstuffs group is a cooperative owned by the NZ store owners of Four Square, Pak’n Save, New World etc.
    Woolworths (formerly Progressive Enterprises) is an Australian based public company. If you have Kiwisaver there’s a good chance you’re a part owner. They run Countdown, Fresh Choice, Super Value and Woolworths in NZ.
    Perhaps some examples of government owned and operated supermarkets to bolster your case would have been helpful Martyn. The trouble is they tend to be less efficient, any cost savings (due to reduced profits to a hypothetical owner) are more than made up for in waste and inefficiency. That appears to be the pattern anyway.
    The government used to have to force people to use the railways they were that useless. Your freight would takes days longer than in should have and often be lost, stolen or broken, no one could care less. Compared to our modern courier and freight companies they were abysmal, although, to be fair, state owned courier post are pretty good. A supermarket business is massively complex and the net margins are quite tiny. How are the supermarket selection, quality and prices in the socialist countries – Cuba for example. I don’t think it would work, not without massive tax payer subsidies anyway.

  10. We also need to actually take, and check, our till receipts. I have caught Pak n Sav out several times with dishonest specials pricing around end of aisle displays.

    • My Mum always did that in her last years, and double checked when she got home. I wasn’t into it – still cannot – and sort of cringed and hid (pretended to be absorbed in the glossys) while she was having it out with them. But, she got stuff back or $s off, way more often than not.

  11. Kheala – All gst off all foodstuffs pronto – keep it simple, and give the politicians less to argue and time waste about. We desperately owe it to children to get decent food into them. Even the price of a cabbage is obscene.
    Unwashed spuds are selling at $1.00 a kilo cheaper than washed potatoes, and the dirt hides the brown scabies-like skin growth which I’ve been getting on my home- grown ones. As you probably know, some veggies such as carrots, onions, and potatoes are now bred to not store well.

    GST on imported foodstuffs is a separate issue, worth looking at later, separately, possibly part of CER, possibly disadvantaging Kiwis, but I don’t know. Few years ago I walked past streamside Nelson lemon trees dripping their fruit abundantly along the ground while Wellington shoppers were buying them imported from California at 50 cents each.

    Government’s refusal to plant state houses out with fruit trees is pretty damning – it should be done when the foundations are laid, but it’s not – some trees eg apples do pretty well with benign neglect. The Housing Minister should be getting this done , or the Children’s Minister, or do they all tiptoe around avoiding each other’s pronouns ?

  12. We also need to actually take, and check, our till receipts. I have caught Pak n Sav out several times with dishonest specials pricing around end of aisle displays.

    • Same with The W. I bought fry pans on special, which were scanned at the non-reduced prices, and I had to make a trip right across town to get it rectified. Specials/ reductions sometimes need to be entered manually, and not all staff do this.

      Wherever there’s a supermarket display of specials, eg canned tomatoes or b beans, a visit to the home shelving shows that more often than not, there are cheaper alternatives available than the reduced line on display. I’ve yet to encounter a new product special which has been ok – last week, plain awful pork and cabbage dumplings, which I’m glad I’d not intended giving to any guests, and the faux mince was for masochists or those without tastebuds.

  13. And what would IWI have as an input into a govt owned/run supermarket as you propose Martyn?
    Signs in Te Reo as well as English…or just saying its
    a ‘joint’ venture?
    Just curious as to what added value IWI input would have, not saying they wouldnt be at the decision table…but for what reason?

  14. This government is more interested in housing pro terrorists who apparently lived here as a baby until 6 years old, and now suddenly the NZ citizen card is thrown out, and a NZ rescue mission underway. Movie Alert!!! https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/isis-terrorist-bride-suhayra-aden-and-her-children-to-return-to-nz/MCHFHKTT4KKGLN64RTO3O3VCBU/

    No other government seems interested in having this person and her kids back. No doubt the rest of the alleged terror cell can piggyback on her return, after all, they are the father of these children and it would be a crime not to let the terror whanau into NZ just like the foreign fishers with Covid and the delta variety that’s in NZ water! Sarcasm. Should chew up at least 2 million in lawyers fees alone.

    House please! there is another foreign family in need of a NZ house and our PM is keen to have another ‘NZ citizen’ housed here after she renounced her OZ citizenship for the terrorists.

    Pity there isn’t NZ government willpower to house people who are not attracted to terrorists, have reasonable cultural affiliation to NZ, and actually live and work in NZ!

    • SaveNZ, I almost always agree with what you’re saying. But in this case, that girl has nowhere else to go and no-one to turn to. It’s a ‘human spirit’ thing.

      • @ Kheala, The ISIS bride should apologise to OZ because essentially that is where she grew up and called home. We already have the 501’s that our government love, now we get the ISIS terrorist brides too!

        It’s getting too crazy in NZ, many are paying taxes for this type of person who is idealised by the woke.

        I’m not saying shut her out of the west, I’m saying an apology to OZ is in order or spend the rest of her time at the refugee camp. The refugee camp is becoming alarming close to many families in NZ in emergency housing, who have done nothing wrong but get shunted out because so many foreign nationals can call NZ home and get welfare here!

          • Sadly Neokindness seems absent for those who actually live in NZ. Even child torture victims. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wn7O75J150

            The NZ Government spends 20 million on defending itself when found guilty on child torture charges by the UN.

            However in the case of the ISIS bride, she spent most of her life in OZ and doesn’t seem to be a victim apart from from her own decisions. Like the 501’s NZ government always wants to house and support any foreigner who has a NZ connection, while not being supportive of people who actually live in NZ and have productive lives or are grossly abused here and denied justice. It is the gross discrepancy that I disapprove of.

            NZ is becoming a Mecca for foreign weirdos and matrimonial hook ups, Family dysfunction, Covid deniers, climate deniers, labour scams, ISIS brides, Meth mobsters, foreign lovers from people who work/live overseas for decades, then seem to come here just for 5 minutes to get NZ citizenship for matrimonial partners…

            Look at this case, the lady who is from Iran but now a NZ citizen has a husband from the Middle East who was supposed to pay her a $212k dowry but their marriage date to separation was only a few months…. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/high-court-rules-nz-man-doesnt-have-to-pay-212000-dowry-to-ex-wife/LAYMR4OGA66NW2K7KWYA64WO5Q/?&ref=recommended They both now live in NZ…. this pensioner from China who never worked in NZ brings in a 60yo after he gives her $10k after an 11 day online romance https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/376220/10k-11-days-and-one-failed-deportation This guy is suing the immigration minister because his husband isn’t getting his visa through fast enough but spent most of his life working overseas … https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2021/07/22/legal-action-taken-against-minister-of-immigration/ This guy got NZ citizenship as a baby and came back as an adult to defraud NZ https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/121302846/colour-drained-from-real-estate-agents-face-as-he-realised-hed-been-defrauded-of-120k-in-sim-hijacking-scam

            If you wonder why there is not enough money and no investigation for real victims in NZ, or for nurses/doctors salaries, or wonder why NZ has a housing and pension crisis and needs to build more prisons and our justice system is overflowing, then think about why Labour is keen to encourage and set these precedents for these practices in NZ!

            People with skills are leaving for OZ because NZ wages are poor, the woke have taken over and government woke/neoliberal decisions make no sense anymore! We only seem to encourage the crazies and unemployable back.

            And the discrepancy with OZ vs NZ wages is growing alarmingly.

            Lollipop workers in OZ can earn more than CEO’s in NZ. OZ pays NZ IT graduates over $200k while NZ celebrates the unpaid internment ships for our IT workers. Only 2% of NZ workers are earning an OZ graduate level salary in some cases!

        • “Terrorist” is an arbitrary label put on her by those with certain agendas. She is not the one making trillions of dollars via the MIC.

    • Also, some of the worst terrorists are right here at home, some of them sitting in banks and mortgage offices and into debt-recovery, and in all those industries where they know they are harming the environment and the planet, and are exploiting people directly or indirectly, and are doing everything in their power to cover their tracks, to stay out of sight and out of mind.

      • They couldn’t give a damn about the future, or our children’s future, let the survival of planet earth, and are the epitome of the consumerist hedonism which is destroying our so-called civilisation – and too stupid to know that we’ll all go down together.

  15. Clearly we need State Owned everything. Everything run by the state just runs so much better. In fact, we need to be like Cuba. Or East Germany back then. Or Angola. Those were the good old days!

  16. We need something similar for electricity, – a non-profit or low marginal profit system! – They can take enough to cover all costs, pay all wages and secure a buffer, but power supply generally should be treated as an essential service – at least up to certain amounts used. Instead, some of the BIG users are being subsidised!!!! – Rio bloody Tinto. It should be the other way around.

  17. How about a Coop society or something like that aimed at in particular, regional produce. Not Iwi owned or run but truly equal representatives with a community flavour and good knowledge of the food industry and people’s needs. Food and what people eat is really diverse as is to an extent, producing it, so why not introduce a range of voices with something to offer.

    Of course, it’ll never happen but GST needs to come off food. This is how it is in pretty much all decent countries and needs to be the same here. Increase GST on luxury goods, take it off food and basic essentials, education. It works elsewhere so why not here!

  18. Winston and NZF were going to get rid of GST on food but got into power and forgot about it, Shane Jones too busy with his Provincial Growth Fund.

  19. ” They lead to an elite corporate oligarchy who ensure their dominance via duopoly or monopoly. A plutocratic cartel who amputate monopoly rentals from the economy and call it business ”
    And that’s why the Commerce commission like the petrol investigation will mouth sweet nothings and only ask for the minimum from the corporate giants to make it look like they are taking action to satisfy the ignorant hobbits that something might be done.
    I predict that in a years time the will be no change whatsoever in the legalised rort of kiwi consumers.
    Business as usual and more sweet propaganda from the predictable neo liberal establishment.

  20. Blinky – Co-op is a good idea, if the powers that be, allow it. We all know that gst burdens low income folk, but that seems to be the way that the government wants it – I mean the New Zealand government. If other countries like the UK have no gst/ vat on children’s clothing, we should be able to do likewise, but this is not a
    very good or safe country in which to be a child, as evidenced at so many different heart-breaking levels.

  21. Our dear leader cannot even bring herself to stop scumlords making 30% tax free capital gain on EACH of their spare properties… in a single year…. if it means kids won’t have to live in motels and you really think she cares about the price of our food, as if she actually cares. All this phoney cares about is getting re-elected. If that means she has to fawn over the rich, thats what she will do. We all know that now. Poor people and poor kids are simply collateral damage. Not important enough to be concerned about.

    • You’re on to it. Putting her image up beside Savage is a joke. Ardern is closer to Key than Savage. She says the nice things but makes things worse.

  22. Oh Fuck No! Labour will fuck that up too!

    But I agree that price-fixing must be addressed and food prices need to be regulated and forced downward.

  23. Interesting assumption that the farmets/producers, staff and end customers are getting screwed. Does the author of this article really have some qualified insight into the industry, or is most of this made up?

    I agree that we need a 3rd supermarket chain, to keep Foodstuffs and Progressive ‘honest’, however, leaving this to the government, to run their own chain is just a recipe for desaster, and the government is likely to screw this up (one of their habits).

    Another option would be for the government to encourage a well known and well established overseas chain like eg Aldi to enter the NZ market. Why reinvent the wheel (ie letting someone without knowledge create a chain) when there is already plenty of knowledge and expertise out there that we could tap in to?

    And here is the other thing….. The customers demand diversity of product, so they are quite happy to see yet another “me too” on the supermarket shelves because they want to use a product of their preferred brand, rather than spend LESS money on a product of another supplier. If Aldi ever made it into this country, then the customers will give the chain a hard time as they expect their usual lridicts at bugger all money. However, this is not how Aldi work, and this is not how a 3rd chain would be able to undercut the existing 2 players. Therefore, to reduce poverty is also in our own hand as a consumer. Are we prepared to swap Nescafé for Alcafe ? Ask yourself that question whilst you’re sipping your next cup.

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