New Zealand official takes on supermarket-supplier tension
The bill, drafted by Green MP Sue Kedgley, would set rules for pricing and protect suppliers from anti-competitive trading practices, according to the New Zealand Press Association.
“At the moment, with just two supermarket chains in New Zealand, the buying power of supermarkets is so extensive they can dictate to, or even bully, suppliers. They can also play suppliers off against each other, passing excessive and unfair costs on to them,” she is quoted as saying.
New Zealand has two main supermarket chains, Foodstuffs and Progressive. In July, the Sunday Star Times, a local newspaper, reported that a Green Party survey found that supermarkets were pricing fresh fruit and vegetables 500 percent higher than the cost of production. Growers said that they were not receiving any of that profit.
At the time, Leon Stallard, president of the Hawke's Bay Fruitgrowers Association, told the newspaper that he was getting the same for his apples as he was paid 12 years ago – NZ 50 cents a kilogram – when the same apples were on supermarket shelves priced at NZ $4 a kilo.
"It takes us 365 days to grow the fruit. We harvest it, we take all the risk, and if it doesn't meet their specifications they throw it out and don't pay us," he said.