Dear Labour – Why we urgently need a State owned supermarket

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.

Commerce Commission: Supermarkets are making high profits, face little competition and charge high prices

The Commerce Commission’s draft report into competition in the supermarket sector has found that competition is not working well for consumers and the main problem is the structure of the New Zealand grocery market, in which new players find it hard to compete.

It found “persistently high profits” and high grocery prices compared to other countries.

The report suggests lowering some of the hurdles for new competitors, or, if that failed, creating another major grocery retailer.

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“If competition was more effective, retailers would face stronger pressures to deliver the right prices, quality and range to satisfy a diverse range of consumer preferences,” said commission chair Anna Rawlings.

This greedy duopoly between them take half a billion in profits every year!

Fuck them!

This is the bullying tactics they use against critics…

Supermarket boss: ‘So this is CEO asked to stop’

Leaked emails show pressure was put on Food & Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich to tone down her criticism of supermarkets as they came under regulatory scrutiny, a consultant says.

An email from Foodstuffs North Island chief executive Chris Quin to then Food & Grocery Council board member and Dairyworks chief executive Tim Carter has been posted online, in which Quin states “So this is ‘CEO has been asked to stop’”.

The comment appears to be in response to a forwarded message from Foodstuffs spokeswoman Antoinette Laird commenting unfavourably on an article Rich published in November on “competition problems” in the sector.

Hexis Quadrant partner Nick Hogendijk said the emails, which were part a chain of correspondence, showed Quin was asking why Rich had not been silenced.

…and look how they treat suppliers…

New World store owner spoke of trying to ‘break’ people, says suppliers’ body

The Food & Grocery Council has launched an extraordinary broadside on New World and Pak ‘n Save franchise owner Foodstuffs in the run-up to a Commerce Commission review of the groceries market.

Posting on LinkedIn the council’s chief executive, former National Party MP Katherine Rich, accused Foodstuffs North Island of threatening its members with “extreme demands”.

Rich also said an unnamed New World store owner had said its strategy was to “break people”.

“A member of one of the Foodstuffs North Island store committees has cheerily explained that their approach is to employ ‘the Walmart strategy …. push people until they break and then come back from there … and it’s working really well for us’,” she wrote.

…Covid taught us food security matters and a Supermarket chain that embeds a cheaper food security while supporting local supplies is a necessity to correct a broken market!

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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  1. Would this be run by the same government agencies that run kiwibuild and used to run Kiwi rail. I would not get this lot of ploiticians of either coluor to run a corner dairy let alone a supermarket.
    Having spent time in Melbourne if the government want competing they should contact Aldi and enable them to set up in NZ with tax breaks .

  2. Start a business to drive down food prices? So its citizens aren’t politely robbed every time they make a food purchase? Mate, Labour 2021 can barely tie their own shoelaces without layers of advice. And then they would do nothing. I am guessing most Labour MP’s resultantly wear jandals, loafers or have velcro straps on their footwear, they are that useless. Or have given up altogether and go barefoot.

    Yes good work, they called for a report. Labour are good at that. Damned good. Even do a really inspiring announcement. Phil Twyford was a past master at it. But doing the damndest thing about a report, in this case, food prices? Come on.

    Knowing these guys after 4 years of observation, Foodstuffs and Woolworths are as safe as house prices in NZ going up and there is nothing more certain than that! Labour Party guaranteed!

    But if the objective of the commissioning of this report was purely for the optics, then job done!

    • So exactly which party should we vote for to bring about all these miraculous changes? Please enlighten me.

      • C’mon Xray , a right wing troll just hates labour . ACT type Rhetoric without facts as usual.
        But I suspect that a state run supermarket would go the way of Jim Anderton’s kiwibank..following the big boys, closing down branches, Having robots answer the phone after its rung for an hour, no personal service and eventually no banking just a post office counter accepting letters and car registrations.

    • I agree, better take GST of all food , because GST will eventually be increased over time as COVID induced money printing will have the bean counters looking at increasing the tax take .

      • It’s a nice thought but there is absolutely nothing stopping NZ’s supermarket cartel quietly adding that 15% back on over a few weeks or months. Nothing. And they would!

        • So what? They’ll increase prices however they want anyway.
          Supermarkets are not the only food suppliers.
          “Remove the GST from essential foods!”

  3. When a cabbage becomes a luxury item while health wallahs preach to eat your daily veges, something is very wrong, but government is the last outfit I would now trust to run a supermarket. The moments it’s successful they’d flog it off – unless the Greens give it away free to China.

  4. It was jonky? Wasn’t it? Who ‘regulated’ farmers markets? Was it not the natzo’s, the farmers bestie so the natzo’s keep reminding them, behind redefining seeds etc as ‘controlled substances’ and also introduced new licensing requirements for pop-up farmers markets ?
    We gotta to U turn out of Loopy Town man.
    A state run supermarket might be a good idea but the problem is we have no State. What was once our state’s been destroyed by greedanomics and our farmers are hated on because Brawndo* dumbasses, makes things grow!
    Before we arse about with things like supermarkets we have to change the narrative and vector of our greater politic.
    Currently, our politic is capitalistic and a capitalist democracy will always become corrupted. We need to give socialist democracy with compulsory voting a go. What choice do we have? We can easily see how neoliberalism’s working out for us? We have hungry kids and we have farmers who can feed 40 million people living in terror at the rise of the OCR.
    Why? Well, it aint because we have a politic with OUR best interests at heart is it?
    labour and national are the same thing. Let that sink in, then act accordingly.
    *’Idiocracy’ is a film everyone must watch.
    The Guardian
    “Idiocracy: a disturbingly prophetic look at the future of America – and our era of stupidity”
    I liked the scene at the beginning where that guy’s sitting in his Big Softee Toilet/Lounge chair combo with cup holders sucking on a junk food mash coming out of a straw while watching ‘Ow ! My Balls ‘ ‘Merica’s favorite show, on a huge flat screen tee vee.
    I’m proud to say! I own it on DVD.

  5. It’s sort of a line in the sand when it comes to food control, if the labour govt do nothing- they are saying that that they are comfortable with a duopoly controlling the welfare and health of NZers. Who of us only buy sale or discount items when shopping? Still I would be surprised if the govt reverse the long march of neoliberalism, by adding another player in the foodshopping regime, at the moment we have a choice between Eastasia or Eurasia, if we get a ‘Miniplenty’ entity, we will just have a govt PR exercise. Food controls of some kind need to be created, but the solution might be by breaking the existing brands into there component parts.

    • Well now we have the US Multinational, Mega corp, inserting itself among locals in tiny AO/ NZ.

      I’m wondering if the entire recent discussion opened up by the govt and media was carried out to soften us up, in effect, so that we now see this US Giant as a Big Friendly Cuzzy-bro, here to save us from ourselves and our awful, terrible, no-good duopolies…

      Without that recent media welcome-mat intro, about how we in NZ urgently need to get free of evil duopolies, I for one would probably be feeling rather more reserved towards Big Costy-co-bro.

  6. I always defend the labour government – I maintain they could run a pub with no beer- or now you raise it, a supermarket without groceries – like Cuba or Venezela

  7. Everything LINO say and do is either a lie or is founded on a lie.

    Just how much longer the non-thinkers of this land are going to be fooled by endless propaganda spewed by Jacinda and company is an interesting question. I suspect only a few more months.

  8. A state owned Supermarket would be a disaster.
    Within a short time it would require tax payer subsidies.

    • Your prediction is founded on what.
      NZ has a very low tax intake which needs to be revised and made suitably progressive to fund social programmes, infrastructure, health, free education and prevent the accumulation of billions by the few offshore parasites including banks.
      Basic food subsidies may be a necessity as we move to widespread cooperatives.

  9. Those of us old enough can remember when State Insurance really was what it said – a State company set up to provide service without profit-gouging, and, by competition, stop the private Insurance companies from doing so.

    To my mind it worked well. Living in England, West Germany, and France before Rogernomics I remember thinking how New Zealanders at home got a much better deal for Insurance (and Electricity prices, as it happens) than people in Europe did.

    Even then, Righties used to blast State Insurance for being dreadful at paying out. I however found all claims I made were acted on promptly and fairly.

    Rogernomes in their ideological fervour condemned State-owned anythings, and promptly sold off State Insurance, privatising it. Same with Dept of Electricity.

    New Zealanders now pay as much or even more for Insurance (and Electricity) than our European counterparts. How very strange!

    • How true.
      New Zealand rail ran at a profit until Fay and Richwhite managed to bankrupt them.
      We had the most efficient electricity network in the world until it was broken up and sold by Douglas and his cronies.
      There is a place for strong state run enterprises particularly in a country the size of the UK with a population of only five million.

      • If only they could wrench back electricity from the cold, greedy clutches of the profit/ profit/ profit/ profit/ profit machine that’s strangling it now.

      • John you are right on the button.
        Corporatisation of our govt services strips profit from Kiwi grown infrastructure to feed the investor mob mainly based overseas.
        douglarse is a criminal planted into our somewhat defenseless political system which has been taken over by the power of big money. Kiwis are asleep with MSM feeding them shit and lies.
        Who controls MSM. Big Money.

  10. There has been a number of memorable criticisms concerning this matter over at least the last decade. If nothing occurred in that time there’s little reason to expect anything occurring going forward. Everything just getting progressively worse as expected.

    At best expect some pitiful fruitless naive measures put in place, or a timeline outlined for electioneering purposes. Most likely it seems criticisms of this matter are supposed to placate those suffering.

  11. Countdown seem a lot worse in my view – but rather than create a new supermarket, wouldn’t it be easier to stop all the monopoly and cartel behaviour of supermarkets, the intimidation of suppliers and work out why the food industry seems increasingly dysfunctional in NZ?

    From the farms and processing that apparently can’t get any workers (but lay workers off all the time) (freezing works, etc) – they need to accept responsibility of driving people out of the industry by refusing to pay people more for experience, poor conditions, lack of investment in their staff and constant layoffs. Many of the agricultural jobs previously considered careers but now are not. Agriculture and supermarkets did not seem to have so many worker issues 30 years ago when workers were treated better but now seem to be involved in the fake job for fake income schemes providing a nice little illegal earner that everyone turns a blind eye to.

    • Actually countdown is not the worst.
      Foodstuffs always has been from individual franchise owners wanting kickbacks to blatant blackmail are all stories I heard when I worked in the baking industry.

  12. The Commerce Commission’s draft report is now out and telling us what we already knew.
    I’ve been wondering though, who was it that gave approval for this duopoly to develop with successive takeovers?
    Could it be the Commerce Commission?
    I’m not sure I’ve heard anyone in the MSM ask the question, and, if it was the Commerce Commission – do they have any learnings going forward in this space?

    • Please don’t say “learnings” or karma will get you – if I don’t. When a man leaves the public service he leaves public-service -speak behind. Ditto to all other genders and the inbetweens. Thanks.

      • I’m mocking when I use it. As I am when I use shit like the business commentatorss’ “on the back of”, or begin sentences with “so” or “ultimately”.
        Ultimately they’re all the new “in the fullness of time” – in this space, going forward
        rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb

      • I almost forgot. There’s a new piece of spin looming: “Let’s be clear” to be used by public servants, politicians, marketers and spin meisters.
        All a sure sign you could be dealing with bullshit artists who seem to think waffle speaks louder than actions/

  13. You are right that the “free market” has been sold to us as a lie.
    A Free Market in economics refers to a market which has producers of a good free to enter and exit the market and ideally obtain a state of perfect competition whereby the customer gets the lowest priced good to buy.
    Hence regulation is ALWAYS necessary to obtain a Free Market to stop the bigger producers distorting the market with their economies of scale preventing new small players entering the market.

    Those who argued for no or little regulation were not arguing for true Free Markets, they were arguing to let the big players eat all the others.
    It was and is as you say, a lie. The conflation of a technical Free Market to “ free from regulation” was likely deliberate by many selling the lie, now most do not even realise it.
    Hence we have monopolies and duopolies or oligopolies everywhere in little NZ, in building products, food, power farm supplies, you name it. The markets are distorted and the consumer pays a higher price than they should.

    Free Markets and perfect competition are theoretical concepts that most definitely are not obtainable by cutting all regulation.

    • Is food expensive? Yes. Is a half billion dollar profit on a 22 billion dollar turnover high? Maybe, but this is minimal. Say you halved the profit to 250m, this would only save each NZer $1 per week. Yes, it’s an easy headline but it will save us FA. The main problem is the cost of running a business in NZ. Real estate increases, transport, compliance, labour costs have an impact not only at the supermarket level but the complete supply chain. I cannot see where a government run supermarket can reduce these basic costs, let’s face it if they became an active participant they would be a very small player compared to the big 2. Like the petrol debate the largest benefactor to this industry is the government though GST and other taxes.

      • “the largest beneficiary to this industry is the government though GST and other taxes.” (FIFY)

        Yes. They are the biggest beneficiaries!
        They are the benes. …every time a person buys a loaf of bread or a bottle of water, – the govt grabs its $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
        Only in NZ.

        And all this talk of Supermarkets profiting is a big “look over there” tactic.

  14. Hope I’m not banned from commenting here by Martyn like on Facebook without any explanation.
    I’m all for healthy competition and believe consumers have been robbed in NZ on food costs due to a monopoly of distributers and only having 2 supermarket chains. Past governments have done nothing to alleviate costs, and taking gst off essential food items, as some suggest, would be a beginning, but in reality the two food giant outlets, Progressive and Foodstuffs need to drop their margins.
    Otherwise I suggest people eat seasonally and buy from local farmers markets, spend elsewhere and send a message!

      • Remove gst off all foodstuffs pronto. Keep it simple, or they complain it’s too complicated. Possibly bring back bans on some imported processed nutritionally questionable food. Prosecute costly misleading packaging such as half-empty containers not due to contents settling.

        Urgently ban individual vegetables being wrapped in wasteful clingfilm plastic which clogs waterways and is choking birds, fish, and oceans to death.

        • Yes, – the plastic. I thought the end of plastic shopping bags was to be the beginning of the end for plastic crap in NZ. If only…

          • Kheala kheala Kheala That sanctimonious plastic shopping bag signalling has upped the purchase of alternatives – usually from the same supermarket – and corralled some into buying other plastic bags to line the kitchen tidy – usually from the same supermarket- although the $2.00 shops do have cute pink ones. People like me boycotting Stuff, have caused a run on the freebie community newspapers to use for various tasks – I’d be stuffed without them.

            The processes etc involved in plasticing a cucumber add to the cost.

            • I know, .. yep. I’ve been asking around for heavy duty paper bags, like we had when I was a child. No luck so far. I even went to Stationery Warehouse and lectured them about it – They should be supplying them – told them these would become a really big seller. Not interested.

              Instead, the govt have walked away from the mills that could produce such heavy duty paper bags. Meanwhile ever more plastic floods the market, is promoted on tv, and continues to junk up the planet.

      • If they had persevered and got it through, and made it clear that this came from them rather than from any other party, then they might well be in parliament today. Such a direct action, affecting everyone, immediately, especially the poorest, – they would be heroes for that!

      • What is more bizarre is that half the fruit & vegs in supermarkets, which are selling at prices that undercut local produce, – have been flown in from the other side of the planet!

        “Climate emergency” they say? What climate emergency are the govt dealing with then, if they have us buying in air-freighted crap from way around the world, while we cannot even afford our own local produce???

  15. I miss Three Guys ( Guebays ) before they were bought out by Foodtown pre Countdown days in 1993. It was no frills basic grocery shopping and very cheap.

    I very much doubt that while we adhere slavishly to the current economic imperatives of neo liberalism will anything actually change. These reviews like the fuel review will produce zilch in the way of anything substantial and only serve to send the message that if there is an inquiry and concerns are raised it will be conveniently ignored.

    Its all smoke and mirrors as the status quo will never allow any respite from the current plutocracy.

    • This WILL change. But not in the way most people expect or desire.

      With the global environment collapsing as a consequence of severe overheating [due to excess CO2 emissions], with the energy system in terminal decline, with out-of-control pandemics increasing costs whilst generating no benefits, with biodiversity collapsing, and with the Ponzi financial system being propped up via money-printing like never witnessed before, we have this to look forwards to in the near future:

      Higher costs for practically everything.

      Same size packages with smaller contents.

      Reduced quality.

      Reduced range.

      Items disappearing completely from supermarket shelves, never to return.

      All that brought to you by mendacious politicians acting against the best interests of the populace for decades, And the current LINO mob doing exactly the same as I write.

      Everything, including the welfare of the populace and the habitability of the earth, will be sacrificed to ‘the machine’, whichever political party pretends to lead.

  16. Slave Labour Party: ‘This housing shit is out of hand, let’s shift the focus to something else,’

    • We need a John A Lee to sway the public and force social change.
      There is no radical social program existing at present and privately controlled MSM will see to that. RNZ is controlled by corporate aligned players that is why we get US shit for news. Lies and more lies daily.

  17. John W
    Suggest you google Venezuela and you will read the true story of a country where millions of people have fled most to become refugees.
    Poverty and inflation in Venezuela at absurd levels.

    • Jphn,,, suggest you google (illegal) usa sanctions ,,,, as it would be dishonest or illogical to look at a country / economy without taking these economy destroying cruel illegal actions by the usa into account. … Venezuelas record in fighting and lowering poverty levels was impressive pre usa ‘make the economy scream’ sanctions.

      Imagine what a basket case NZ would be if the hybrid warfare actions of sanctions were applied to NZ.,,, we’d be a basket case and heading for the third world only marginally slower than NAT0 did to Libya.

      Also , the fact we do not have sanctions applied to NZ,,, proves Jacinda is no ‘ communist’.

      P.s any subsidized food / supermarkets are probably illegal under the TPPA if such measures threaten corporate profits ….

    • Fair enough John and don’t forget the illegal US sanctions causing much of the hardship including a US drone attempt to kill the popular president.
      Venezuela has been there before with US puppets feeding their wealthy investors at the common peoples expense.
      Cuba overcame the food crisis when their oil imports were cut by 90% but it took a while to adapt and form local cooperatives to grow food throughout cities and local land using old methods including oxen and horses. A lesson to us all with oil being phased out.
      The important things are not banks and stock markets but the hands on growing of food and education. Cuba did not neglect its state run free health system nor charge for education.
      Looking at the bigger picture is worth doing to find what is really going on.

      Communism is where the state owns everything and runs all services and owns all property.
      There is not a communist country existing but there are many levels of socialist thinking and services at all levels.

  18. Spent a considerable amount of time behind what was The Iron Curtain during the seventies.
    I have full knowledge of what communism is.
    Then it was mainly abject poverty.
    Since then things have improved with the stranglehold of communism broken.

    • shame you weren’t there for the 90’s John ,,,,
      “Under Yeltsin, Russia’s economy collapsed some 60%, the male life expectancy plummeted from 68 years to 56, millions were reduced to living on subsistence farming for the first time since Stalin as wages went unpaid for years at a time. Russia was on its way to going extinct—but about 3-5% of the population (plus or minus 3%) was making out like bandits. Probably because they actually were bandits.” ,,,,,

      and the screwing of Russia happened with a NZ twist ,,, of the knife ,,,”The Chandler brothers reportedly were the single biggest foreign beneficiaries of one of the greatest privatization scams in history: Russia’s voucher program in the early 1990s,”

      This video also touches on what happened to Russia ,,, freedom thatcher & Reagun style.
      The Shock Doctrine [2009] Documentary by Naomi Klein

  19. Its the bloody govt itself thats creating these monopoly/duopoly situations. They have known about this all along because they created it, this review will be just like all the others Labour has done since coming to office, big spend up to tell them what everybody already knows and then pick out the cheapest and most paltry offerings and tell everybody they fixed it.
    Take a look into this new 3 waters thing, currently rates cost about $500 a year, after this takeover by the govt its going up to $1600 a year. They have no intention of fixing duopolies when they are still trying to create them.

    • The COMMERCE COMMISSION allowed WOOLWORTHS AUSTRALIA to buy FOODTOWN which created the DUOPOLY of FOODSTUFFS and WOOLWORTHS AUSTRALIA, I am guessing there were a few backhanders going on with that arrangement ?

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