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Coalition talks should feature supermarket reform

New Zealand First has one thing absolutely right in its manifesto, in promising to "force the supermarket duopoly to divest themselves of their distribution centres and cool-stores."

Today's announcement that new entrant Supie is in voluntary liquidation is terrible news. Terrible for the staff, the investors, the customers, and especially the brave founder, Sarah Balle. But given the ferocity with which duopolists Foodstuffs and Woolworths Australia defend their ground, its no surprise.

What is significant is Balle's statement earlier this year that Supie faces pushback from multiple suppliers demanding that it increase its retail pricing. That's yet another sign of a dysfunctional, broken market. (Never mind that it's illegal.)

New Zealand First has had the courage to promise to address this huge price impost head on. Other parties haven't.

But now's the moment. Its time our incoming government demonstrated to the community that it understands the difference between the vast majority of businesses that operate and thrive in competitive markets, and the tiny but immensely profitable handful that have destroyed competition to give themselves unlimited power to manipulate prices.

Lets get agreement that on this issue New Zealand First has got it right and make it a feature of the coalition accord. It would be the biggest blow possible in dealing with our runaway cost of living crisis.


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