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New supermarket watchdog a fairer deal for Kiwis?


Te Whanganui-a-Tara – A new grocery commissioner is to be appointed to hold the supermarket industry to account.

A draft code of conduct has been released for consultation which will ensure suppliers get a fair deal

This follows a recent ban on supermarkets blocking competitors’ access to land to set up new stores.

12 of commission’s recommendations to increase competition now complete or under way

In its next step to get a better deal for shoppers, the government will establish a grocery commissioner to hold the sector to account and ramp up competition, minister of commerce and consumer affairs Dr David Clark says.

The new industry watchdog will be based in the Commerce Commission, and will help keep pressure on the grocery sector, by providing annual state-of-competition reviews.

Global factors continue to drive up the cost of living around the world and high grocery prices are making it hard for New Zealanders right now.

So, the government has taken a range of steps to take the pressure off immediately while also tackling the underlying problem in the supermarket sector which it says is lack of competition.

The grocery commissioner will be a referee of the sector, keeping the supermarket duopoly honest and blowing the whistle where it suspects there is a problem.

They will maintain a close eye on how government’s reforms for the sector are implemented and ensure kiwis are getting a fair deal at the checkout.

By placing this role in the Commerce Commission it will have access to a wealth of information when it comes to economic and competition regulation, fair trading, consumer protection and the grocery sector itself.

The legislation to establish the role is expected to be introduced later this year and the first commissioner will be appointed following the Bill’s passing.

This is the latest in a suite of measures the government is taking to get better outcomes for New Zealanders at the checkout and follows the passing of legislation last week that bans major supermarkets from blocking their competitors’ access to land to set up new stores.

This is important for the small, artisan brands and the emerging start-ups that want to get their products on shelves. Government wants consumers to have added variety when they go to supermarkets. 

the draft code of conduct consultation paper has been developed with input from an advisory group that includes representatives from the major grocery retailers, and from groups that represent suppliers and consumers.