Food Inflation

June 12th, 2008 at 6:38 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ released the May 2008 monthly food price index results today, and it confirms what everyone knows. I’ve graphed below food since the last election. It has been trending up almost constantly for the last three years.

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82 Responses to “Food Inflation”

  1. francis (712 comments) says:

    I’m watching Close Up trying to get the grocery man to admit that while margins have not changed, the stores are making more money from the same food. If margin is 2% at $1 cost, arguing margins is not effective when cost jumps to $2. The same margin doubles return.

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  2. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Suppose someone here is going to blame the Government for this too, and claim National has all the solutions! They are equally to blame.

    Try looking at the price of oil – a consequence of supply lagging behind demand. The Greens predicted would happen about now 15 years ago, but no other political party cared to address by developing transport and energy sources to reduce oil dependence. I hate to say “I told you so”, but the “business as usual” approach from both Labour and National has left us with a much bigger problem than if Green messages about oil being a finite resource had been heeded back in the 90s.

    Oh, and the other factor is the supermarket duopoly. Nats here should surely agree that having only two players in the grocery market isn’t a real competitive environment, and that we need stronger laws to ensure genuine competition.

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  3. big bruv (13,928 comments) says:

    Toad

    “and that we need stronger laws to ensure genuine competition.”

    Jesus!..is it the Greens intention to legislate EVERYTHING that happens in our life?

    No Toad, as much as you might hope rising prices will drive the voting public toward the Green party as “the only ones able to save us” the reality is that higher prices and more pressure on the housekeeping budget will drive voters to the Nat’s.

    The Greens offer no relief and the public know that the Greens want higher taxes, either way that is not good news for your party.

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  4. jafapete (757 comments) says:

    Fair point Toad. They’ll probably say that the RMA’s to blame. Does anybody seriously think that it would be different under National?

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  5. Nomestradamus (3,344 comments) says:

    Toad:

    [W]e need stronger laws to ensure genuine competition.

    Brian Gaynor, a reputable business commentator, has a useful column here. His observation on the recent Warehouse proceedings (going to the Court of Appeal, I believe):

    This is the third time in recent years that the commission’s attempt to create a more competitive supermarket environment [by blocking a proposed business acquisition] has been overturned by the Courts.

    Toad, you seem to be suggesting that the Commerce Commission hasn’t been doing its job, but they’ve blocked proposed supermarket mergers in the past. What specific parts of the Commerce Act 1986 would you change (look at sections 27, 36 and 47 particularly), and what would those changes be? Bear in mind that a “substantially lessening competition” threshold for business acquisitions was introduced a few years back.

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  6. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    bruv, your beloved “market forces” are dependent on there being a genuine market. That involves a competitive business environment. When there are only one or two players in the game there is no genuine competition.

    We’ve witnessed that with the likes of Telecom and Transrail/Toll, who could charge whatever they bloody well liked, offer poor service, and got away with it. I’m pleased to see (differing) Government intervention in both of these areas, because in each case it will result in better service to consumers.

    The Foodstuffs/Woolworths duopoly is no different. They offer no genuine competition – just a few “specials” each week to get the punters in the door, but they effectively operate as a cartel.

    What’s more, they use standover tactics against local producers, forcing them to drop supply prices under threat of sourcing grocery products produced offshore by cheap labour and/or with overseas government subsidies and with significant greenhouse gas emissions in the case of those that are air-freighted.

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  7. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    This is a very serious problem for many NZers.

    In my case, as I like to eat the occasional meal, I’ll be starting a veggie garden soon – once I can figure out which end of the spade goes into the ground.

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  8. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    Food banks in Christchurch are empty and WINZ food grants are smoking. Give the tribe another billion caustic Cullen.

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  9. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Nomestradamus, I haven’t worked with the Commerce Act in any detail recently, I have to admit, so can’t answer your question right now re sections that should be amended or how they should be amended – offering that advice would be particularly unwise after a few wines over dinner and with little recent familiarity with the Act.

    I’m not suggesting that the Commerce Commission hasn’t been doing its job, but the number of legal challenges being successfully brought against its decisions by corporates proposing to lessen competition would tend to indicate that the legislation it operates under might need to be strengthened.

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  10. big bruv (13,928 comments) says:

    “jafapete (533) –3 Says:

    June 12th, 2008 at 7:52 pm
    Fair point Toad. They’ll probably say that the RMA’s to blame. Does anybody seriously think that it would be different under National?”

    Yep, according to the latest polls about 52% of the voting population!

    The thing is Jafa, if your lot are going to take the credit for the strong economy of the last seven years (which happened in spite of Labour not because of Labour) and boast about how they have reduced unemployment (when their actions and policy have not made an ounce of difference) then you have to take the blame for the bad things that happen.

    Poetic justice I think it is called.

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  11. Nomestradamus (3,344 comments) says:

    Toad:

    Fair enough – glad that “food inflation” isn’t affecting your wine consumption :)

    I think there are two distinct issues in play here:

    First, what the relevant competition thresholds should be. I’m familiar with this area of the law, and have seen arguments for and against the current “substantially lessen competition” threshold (which is a tougher threshold than the “dominance” test which previously applied). Take it from me, reasonable minds can differ over how the relevant market should be defined, and how to perform the economic modelling in any given case, let alone what the ultimate conclusion should be. I have some experience in this area. I don’t think it’s commercially realistic to ask for a tougher test than “substantially lessen competition” – say “lessen competition” – and this is why I’m particularly interested in your views on how the test should be reformulated.

    Second, if we establish that the relevant competition threshold (however it is defined) isn’t triggered, then why should target company shareholders be deprived of their right to vote on the proposed transaction? Yes, I have The Warehouse shareholders particularly in mind here, but it’s a significant issue in the context of any sizeable business acquisition.

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  12. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Toad: Is there any evidence that the margins made by supermarkets in NZ are out of line with other similar countries? It was my understanding that the problem here was the input cost of the food, not the markup in the supermarkets (despite your desire to tie this to an opportunity to introduce new regulation on the market). In fact, if what you say is true and supermarkets are driving down prices they pay to suppliers, then that would surely be even better for consumers? Unless, as I say, you have evidence that margins are increasing.

    BTW francis, depends whether you are calculating margin as a percentage or in absolute dollars. If in percentage, then it doesn’t change. If in absolute dollars, of course it does, but so does it when your $ sales go up in any of a myriad of other ways. And if the average family’s bill is staying the same (perhaps they have no more money because the govt taxed it all off them?), then sure some items get more expensive, but we either buy less of them or have to buy some other things that are less expensive to make up for it. If the average shopper’s total spend doesn’t go up, then the absolute dollar margin doesn’t go up either. In fact, if they have to drop the few luxury goods they previously could afford, then the absolute margin may go down as they shift from high margin goods to lower margin goods (baked beans are well known for having almost zero margin for example, whilst fresh fruit and veg have quite high margins).

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  13. big bruv (13,928 comments) says:

    Toad

    I could not give a toss if cheap products are air freighted half way around the world, those who face increasing pressure each and every week feel the same way.
    Being a “Greene” might have been trendy for a while but given that many people are feeling the pinch I suspect they are now somewhat indifferent to the (increasingly communist) messages we keep hearing from Comrade Norman.

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  14. Paul Marsden (998 comments) says:

    …Wonder how long before the global anarchy against rising food and fuel riots, take’s shape in NZ?

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  15. Paul Marsden (998 comments) says:

    Pehaps the rest of the world is saying even a precursor to Armageddon..??

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  16. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    kiwitoffee said: I’ll be starting a veggie garden soon – once I can figure out which end of the spade goes into the ground.

    Not sure if you’re taking the piss!

    We moved to our new house just under a year ago (downsizing after the kids had flown the coop) and there was no garden at all, so had to start from scratch in mid-winter (with variable success).

    A couple of tips:

    1) To break up clay, use some gypsum (calcium sulphate) – real cheap a your local garden supply shop. You only need 2 or 3 handfuls per square metre, and a puggy clay, with some added compost, can become a friable soil good for growing veges.

    2) Don’t overdo the compost. You’ll grow great lettuces, but not much else. Veges that need to fruit or heart don’t do well in near pure compost. Too much compost is the recipe for having cabbages the size of brussel sprouts and pumpkin vines sprawling all over the place that don’t set any pumpkins.

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  17. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    The Government should stop trying to force Bio-fuels onto the public. If there are real cost savings from including Bio-fuels in the fuel mix then the market would voluntarily add them in. Instead the Labour government wants to force oil companies to add Bio-fuels to the mix so it can be seen “to do something” ™ on the sustainability front.

    The increase in food prices reflects the global market. Live with it (Or literally not).

    Is someone trying to tell me that the Labour government hasn’t put the average New Zealander on a good economic footing to afford these price rises in food after nearly nine years of economic good weather? As along as Labour didn’t fritter away the good years pursuing reckless income redistribution I’m sure New Zealanders are going to be as sound as a pound.

    Cullen did what you say? Oh dear! :-)

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  18. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    big bruv said I could not give a toss if cheap products are air freighted half way around the world

    Not even if the governments of origin had subidised their production, bruv?

    While I acknowledge that some foods (eg rice) are not economic to grow locally, there are a lot of others (eg corn and wheat) that are.

    Problem is, there’s too much money in dairying, so the Canterbury Plains (that are totally suited environmentally to corn and wheat production) are being converted to dairying, with the resultent draining and eventual salination of the aquifers that will create the Canterbury Desert where nothing will grow.

    Short term gain for long term pain, methinks!

    And why the hell we are importing pork from Canada is completely beyond my comprehension. Bruv, you will understand the conditions it is produced in there (and, unfortuantely, to a lesser extent, here). At least if all domestic pork is produced here, we can regulate (oops, there’s that word again) the animal welfare aspects of its production. Import it form overseas, and you have no idea whether sow crates were involved.

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  19. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    toad: those evil Canadians again. Bloody foreigners, cannot trust them.

    I’d ask the question why dairying is so profitable? Perhaps because we are so much better at it than anyone else in the world? If you follow the economics of relative advantage, it doesn’t really matter if we are good at growing corn, so long as we are better at dairying. And of course, my favourite bugbear of US subsidies on grain and corn production are big influencers – if we could get them to stop doing that it would change the economics a lot. Unfortunately the Greens aren’t usually at the forefront of arguments for freer trade (including removal of subsidies and protectionism from the US and Europe).

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  20. Paul Marsden (998 comments) says:

    Bio-fuels is complete and utter bullshit. Mankind needs food, not fuel-oil to survive. Besides, oil will never run out. Since most Asian economies are net importers of fuel, which they need to produce cheap products for export, the demand for oil will soon taper off and oil prices will stablise . Bio-fuel mania and investors in the futures market, is what’s fucking up the world.

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  21. Ed Snack (1,883 comments) says:

    Poor Toad, thinks that the government taking over the railways, AGAIN, will result in a better service. Which planet did you say you were from Toad ? I presume you are old enough to remember rail before privatization, and you think Toll was bad ! Talk about selective memory. Not only do governments run things badly, they inevitably exploit their position far worse than private industry can. In some cases regulations (like the Commerce act) can help, but often just introduces new rorts. Supermarkets here are actually reasonably competitive, the profits made by either firm are not outstanding and have at times over the past years been quite poor.

    You know something else, you don’t have to buy from them ! But with goverments you rarely have such a choice. Remeber rail, if it went over 40 km it was not allowed to go by road, had to be by rail back then. Even then, rail was a waste of resources and could not compete even though it not only had a monopoly, but it sucked money from taxpayers to boot.

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  22. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    OECD rank 22 kiwi, the Green Party have negotiated into the Biofuel Bill sections that should preclude the use in New Zealand of biofuels produced from unsustainable sources or that are made from crops grown on land that is suitable for food production.

    So at least New Zealand will not be likely to be contributing to the global food v biofuel problem you so articulately describe.

    Surely you can give the Greens some credit for that. Labour would not have gone there, and nor, I am sure, would National, on their own.

    Checks and balances such as this are one of the really good things about MMP.

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  23. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    If food prices get much higher I reckon the Greenies should open up their veggie gardens to all of us – or maybe we can go a help ourselves, yunno like they do with wealth sharing welfare.

    We could call it green sharing!

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  24. big bruv (13,928 comments) says:

    Toad

    We have had this little chat before, while I do not wish to sound like a “rich prick” I will always purchase quality over local stuff, take tomatoes as an example, I am yet to find a kiwi grown tomato that tastes like anything other than water, frankly they are crap, if I could purchase Italian tomato’s I would not give a shit how many air miles they traveled to get here.

    We only eat organic chicken and pork Toad, while I am dubious about any improvement in taste over farmed chicken and pork I just cannot bring myself to eat either of them knowing the disgusting conditions the poor things have to suffer when farmed intensively, you know you would have my full support to ban battery farming.

    I am not sure that I see any problem at all when there is a lot of money in dairying although I do agree that we must find a way to stop the bastards polluting the waterways and rivers (real Green issues, perhaps you remember when your lot used to stand for them)

    I guess what I am saying is that country of origin is not a big one for me, I am more interested in quality.

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  25. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Ed Sanck said: I presume you are old enough to remember rail before privatization, and you think Toll was bad ! Talk about selective memory.

    I am indeed, Ed. It wasn’t good then, I admit. But Prebble’s “Save Rail” actually turned out to be “Destroy Rail”.

    I could once get a train from Auckland to Tauranga, Rotorua to Auckland, Christchurch to Dunedin etc. It wasn’t public ownership that forced me to now fly those routes (with resultant greenhouse emissions), it was asset stripping by a private company.

    Ed, the fallacy in your argument is that you argue that because the Government mismanaged rail once, they always will.

    My argument is that if a service is a natural monopoly (as rail is) it should be in public ownership, or at least be highly regulated, to ensure there is an adequate service and that it does not rip people off.

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  26. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Hey Toad, can you ask all your green friends to leave a sign in your gardens warning where the magic mushrooms are. (i dont particularly want them on my toast)

    cheers

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  27. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    big bruv said: I am yet to find a kiwi grown tomato that tastes like anything other than water, frankly they are crap, if I could purchase Italian tomato’s I would not give a shit how many air miles they traveled to get here.

    Agreed, bruv, even the ones I grow don’t taste as good as Italian ones. But I buy my Italian ones in a can bruv, which will be sea freighted (which I’m cool about re greenhouse emissions) rather than air freighted fresh.

    BTW, good point about eating only organic chicken and pork bruv – me too!

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  28. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    I’ve graphed below food inflation since the last election. It has been trending up almost constantly for the last three years.

    To be fair it’s been trending up for decades over all manner of left-centre-right governments.

    Graphs like this, combined with the knowledge of interest rate increases and high fuel prices, shows our CPI to be a completely farcical and irrelevant measure of the decrease in consumer spending power over time. The reduction in spending power as experienced by most NZers (the ‘real’ CPI?) is probably closer to 10% at the moment.

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  29. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    Toad, are you still in a pursuit of the elusive good oil. Markets don’t act in isolation. There just isn’t enough “sustainable” bio-fuel available in the marketplace so the most likely source is palm oil from Indonesia or corn based Bio-fuel from the good ole USA. Even sugar cane from Brazil is hardly nature’s goodness writ large.

    Maybe you should stick to banning the chemical element chlorine when not busy eradicate carbon dioxide.

    Gaia sheds a tear for your misguided believes.

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  30. reid (16,509 comments) says:

    Has it occurred to anyone to look into the speculators? The price of oil, food and water is rising because of them. Take oil. It’s estimated the price of a barrel of crude out of the ground in the ME is $15. On the market it’s $130. It’s not justifiable based on security concerns, we still have large reserves, and the sea lanes are as secure as they were 3 years ago. So why the sudden rise. That’s what you need to look at – the why.

    The root cause of this extremely unusual and sudden rise in the price of food, oil and soon water, is speculators: hedge funds and derivatives traders backed by guess who? Banks. Why? Well gee, ever heard of sub-prime? They have to recoup their losses somewhere.

    Wheat has risen 180% in the last three years, rice 50% in the last three months. This is not a result of natural market forces.

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  31. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Patrick Starr said: Hey Toad, can you ask all your green friends to leave a sign in your gardens warning where the magic mushrooms are.

    I’m told they grow best in Taranaki, but are a species that is not easy to grow horticulturally (although there may not have been much R&D done on that) – essentially, you find them where you’ll find them.

    That said, magic mushrooms don’t really interest me. A bottle or two of good chardonnay is a much better option than psychoactive drugs (even though it does make me type significantly slower, with less inspiration, and occasionally less accurately, when posting).

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  32. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    Patrick the greens are permanently high on their political egos. They couldn’t work in the real world, as they’re a slow growing genetically modified Utopian freakshow sub species.

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  33. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    OECD rank 22 kiwi said: Toad, are you still in a pursuit of the elusive good oil. Markets don’t act in isolation. There just isn’t enough “sustainable” bio-fuel available in the marketplace so the most likely source is palm oil from Indonesia or corn based Bio-fuel from the good ole USA. Even sugar cane from Brazil is hardly nature’s goodness writ large.

    Not sure what you are on about. Maybe you have misinterpreted my post. I actually agree with everything you say above – apart from the weird bit about chlorine that I don’t understand!

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  34. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    OECD you must have heard Dr Patrick Moore as well- Co-Founder of Greenpeace talking about Greenpeace wanting to ban chlorine on an international scale. He pointed out to them its a chemical element found in the periodic table.

    When we heard him on GGWS we couldn’t stop laughing. Reminds me of Sue Kedgley wanting to ban water

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  35. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    I would vote to ban water if it helped to eradicate the jellyfish greens.

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  36. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    d4j said: Patrick the greens are permanently high on their political egos. They couldn’t work in the real world, as they’re a slow growing genetically modified Utopian freakshow sub species.

    d4j, please be nice to me for a change. Pretty please! With sugar on it!

    Would you want to be the one to persecute me to the extent that I become mentally ill and end up on a SICKNESS BENEFIT?

    Oh dear, big bruv wouldn’t want that. He might hold you personally responsible.

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  37. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    toad – do green tree huggers grow crops with hoodies on them ?

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  38. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “d4j, please be nice to me for a change. Pretty please! With sugar on it! ” – what colour is the sugar?

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  39. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    touche toad :)

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  40. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    Green sugar Patrick for their herbal concoctions. What else can explain their insanity?

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  41. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    brown sugar

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  42. kiwitoffee (383 comments) says:

    Toad at 9.01pm

    No, I’m not joking at all and thanks for the tips. I will be joining the veggie garden brigade and I need all the help I can get!

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  43. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    reid: not true. Every barrel of oil is sold to a refinery. The speculation cannot drive up the price – once the oil is removed from the ground it is either sold to a refinery, or someone must stockpile it. There is no evidence of increases in stockpiling other than in China ahead of the Olympics. The speculation you are talking about is all paper money, and zero sum – for every speculator making money there is one losing money – they never get money from the end consumers.

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  44. JohnMacc (60 comments) says:

    Toad’s theories are most amusing this evening.
    1) Apparently NZ’s supermarket duopoly is driving the global phenomenon of rising food prices
    2) Greens are really keen on competition
    3) We’d feed the world and lower food prices if countries stopped producing what they’re relatively good at and trading with each other, and instead focus on producing what they’re not so good at as an import substitute.
    4) theories 2 and 3 are somehow consistent

    Great tips for the garden tho – I’ve gotta cut back on the compost if I want good head…

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  45. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    JohnMacc said: Great tips for the garden tho – I’ve gotta cut back on the compost if I want good head…

    Nah, you just gotta be nicer to you partner! And give her/him some too!

    On the substantive topic, we in NZ are good at dairy. No question – we do it better and cheaper than almost anywhere.

    But my question is can we do the same for another 20 or 50 or 100 or 300 years? Given that we are draining aquifers that can never be replaced to do it in some parts of the country.

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  46. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Patrick Starr said: If food prices get much higher I reckon the Greenies should open up their veggie gardens to all of us – or maybe we can go a help ourselves, yunno like they do with wealth sharing welfare. We could call it green sharing!

    Actually. Patrick, got some plans. My vege garden is only enough to feed my household, and since I have limited land, probably always will be.

    But I live right next to a large Council reserve that is totally unused land in grass that the Council (somewhat too infrequently in summer, given the fire hazard) mows.

    Looks to me like the ideal location for a community garden that could produce enough veges to feed several hundred nearby households.

    But suppose I have to try to take the initiative to make it happen, rather than rely on the initiative of those we elect who should be doing it (but never will, without a heavy push).

    Such is the life of a Greenie.

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  47. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    Toad – If we all compost our own toilet as per what the Green Party would have us do then there will be plenty of water for Daisy the cow.

    Not sure how the composting toilet would work though once meat is banned and we all go on a raw food diet with a nice cup of our own tinkle to both orally test our wellness in the morning and wash down a delicious meal. Yum yum.

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  48. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Funny, in Canberra at present, and I think I saw a set of allotments the other day (a la UK) when heading out bush. Sounds like a good idea, and really, like everything else, if you rely on government to do it then it will never happen. Local is always better than central, private individuals pushing is always better than some bureaucrat deciding that maybe we need allotments and maybe we should set up a working party to report back in 4 years time.

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  49. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “Actually. Patrick, got some plans. My vege garden is only enough to feed my household, and since I have limited land, probably always will be.But I live right next to a large Council reserve that is totally unused land in grass that the Council (somewhat too infrequently in summer, given the fire hazard) mows.Looks to me like the ideal location for a community garden that could produce enough veges to feed several hundred nearby households.”

    Now let me try that from my perspective

    “Actually. Toad, got some plans. My salary is only enough to feed my household, and since I have limited time in a week, probably always will have. But I work next to a another large company that is always looking for employees (somewhat too frequently in summer, given the surfs usually up and the greenies are usually kickin back).Looks to me like the ideal location for most greenies to get a job that could produce enough income to get them off welfare and feed their households.”

    Great thing this sharing aye Toad. You greenies get a job and I help myself to all your vegies to make up for all the years I’ve paid for you guys

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  50. Mike (158 comments) says:

    Patrick Starr
    Hey Toad, can you ask all your green friends to leave a sign in your gardens warning where the magic mushrooms are. (i dont particularly want them on my toast)

    Could you point out to me which of the national MP’s are pedofiles\catholics, I think they are a bit bigger risk than mushrooms..


    Patrick Starr
    Reminds me of Sue Kedgley wanting to ban water

    I think you’ll find that was Nationals Jacqui Dean, Sue Kedgley’s secretry wrote back saying she was too busy.

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  51. natural party of govt (461 comments) says:

    Food inflation is a global phenomena at the moment.

    Its odd how DPF seems always so oblivous to global trends.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24127314/

    Of course, fuel inflation is pretty high right now too, damned Liarbore government.

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  52. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    According to the NZ Herald, “Price shockers – petrol, food hit new heights”, consumers are taking a pummeling in New Zealand. When do those tax cuts kick in again? Time for people to talk to their bank managers about getting an increase on their mortgages to tide them over. Should be no problem with New Zealand’s sound as a pound rapidly appreciating house prices.

    What’s that you say? Oh, Oh dear! :-)

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  53. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    I love this quote from the NZ Herald regarding the shocking petrol price increases, “It’s too much for the motorist to bear”.

    The Labour government of the last nine years has been “too much to bear” as well. Some problems are easier to solve than others.

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  54. reid (16,509 comments) says:

    PaulL:” reid: not true. Every barrel of oil is sold to a refinery. The speculation cannot drive up the price”

    Just google “oil price speculation” Paul.

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  55. a3catlady (58 comments) says:

    Not wishing to be a “food inflation” denyer, I struggle with the increasing cost of fewer groceries every week BUT both TV1 and TV3 mananged to make total dicks of themselves over this last night. With both networks using the now out of season lettuces and tomatos to illustrate price increases and the now in season mandarins and kiwifruit to illustrate price decreases – they are idiots, of course vegetables that are out of season will cost more and that which is in season will cost less.
    LEASON to shoppers – buy fruit and veges that are in season they cost less. AND yes alternatively frow your own, it costs even less again.
    Good to see riots around the world over food and oil prices – that is how some of the international issues will get addressed, it really doesnt make a terrible lot of difference what we do here, changing the government while I consider a MUST DO item on our list, wont change the international factors affecting oil and food currently. The best most of us can do is grow our own.

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  56. dad4justice (8,238 comments) says:

    Indeed, one should just join GG and start the big plantathon.

    http://www.guerrillagardening.org

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  57. ghostwhowalks3 (368 comments) says:

    Why do the networks only seem to go to two of NZs most expensive supermarkets, Foodtown Grey Lynn or New World Victoria park

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  58. big bruv (13,928 comments) says:

    Are you serious Ghost?, do you really think that the networks are part of the vast right wing conspiracy and it is all part of the plan to bring down dear leader?

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  59. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    reid: google for moon landings and the internet will tell you they are fake. Your point? The basic economics tells us that speculation cannot impact the price of physical oil unless someone stockpiles said oil.

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  60. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    Why do the networks only seem to go to two of NZs most expensive supermarkets, Foodtown Grey Lynn or New World Victoria park

    GWW advances a compelling reason as to why there isn’t rampant food price inflation. Forget graphs, evidence and widespread consumer pain. It’s media manipulation!

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  61. Colonel Masters (409 comments) says:

    Nice to see Sainsbury actually trying to get a straight answer out of somebody for a change. He is usually very lightweight.

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  62. Colonel Masters (409 comments) says:

    1. We keep being told that dairy products here cost the same as (or more than) those around the world as we have to “match” what the overseas market is prepared to pay.

    Why then is oil so cheap in Saudia Arabia? Surely their local people should be paying the same price as what their overseas customers are prepared to pay?

    2. We also keep being told that the public cannot get any special treatment when farmers are doing well, unless we also want to help them when they are doing poorly.

    Can somebody please recall this comment next time there is a drought or a flood or a frost and farmers cry poor and ask for a government (taxpayer) handout?

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  63. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    1. Tax/subsidies. The Arabs own the most sought after commodity globally and have been bailing out international investment banks from their own ‘kiwisaver’ funds. They have a wee bit more cash than NZ. Comprende?

    2. There hasnt been much of that coming recently.

    3. Get a job mate I’m sick of subsidising your bludging lifestyle.

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  64. unaha-closp (1,165 comments) says:

    Toad,

    I could once get a train from Auckland to Tauranga, Rotorua to Auckland, Christchurch to Dunedin etc. It wasn’t public ownership that forced me to now fly those routes (with resultant greenhouse emissions), it was asset stripping by a private company.

    Damned asset stripping corporates forcing you to fly and leaving no green alternative.

    http://nakedbus.com/

    Corporates stepping down hard on you forcing you to waste jet fuel without any alternative.

    http://www.intercity.co.nz/

    Oh no, not a single alternative.

    http://www.callabus.co.nz/

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  65. Colonel Masters (409 comments) says:

    3. Get a job mate I’m sick of subsidising your bludging lifestyle.

    Huh? Was that directed at me?

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  66. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Sorry Mike, it was Sue Kedgley

    “In 2001 a staffer in Green MP Sue Kedgley’s office responded to a request for support for a campaign to ban dihydrogen monoxide by saying she would be “absolutely supportive of the campaign to ban this toxic substance” if she had enough time, which she did not.”

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  67. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    only if your a commie :)

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  68. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    sorry

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  69. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Patrick, it was Jacqui Dean who fell hook, line and sinker. Sue Kedgley’s office were a bit more obtuse.

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  70. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    The country made a mistake exempting Fonterra from the Commerce Act monopoly provisions when it was set up.
    Then we could have been a little more sure local pricing was fair (though we would still have had a duopoly of Kiwi and Fonterra).

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  71. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Fonterra is in general a disaster for farmers. As to why so many of them keep supplying Fonterra when they have alternatives, buggered if I know. The directors and managers of Fonterra have a well documented history of wasting money, which is paid for by both consumers and farmers.

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  72. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Half of the “poor” live in houses with big sections. Get growing your own veges and get some chickens. We do the former and are soon to get some chooks. Stop buying ready made foods. Buy fresh. I spend $150 a week for 2 adults and 2 kids (10 and 13) and I could do with losing weight! It is not hard but takes effort and is very rewarding growing your own food. Trouble is doing things for yourself has been bred out of many New Zealanders.

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  73. keithng (22 comments) says:

    Jesus christ, David – you’ve tracked, on a monthly basis, the percentage increase from the previous year (i.e. 12 monthly comparisons for *each* month). That’s dodgy and you know it.

    And you’ve been selective in your time-scale. The FPI was at a virtual standstill in 2003-04, and it was still well below long-term trends in 2005. Tracking the growth trends and arguing that things are getting worse misses the point – yes, we’re experiencing a price shock, but the period of low price increases *buffers* us from the current price rise. And, to a lesser extent, it’s simply cyclical.

    [DPF: It is annual food inflation on a monthly basis. Annual inflation is what most people refer to. And if you check the Stats NZ website you'll find they only go back to 2005. I don't have access to the full data series, so used what Stats had available.]

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  74. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    keithng: did David do the graphs, or is he just using the available data series?

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  75. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    PaulL Maybe so, and Im sure many other folk who don’t make it their business to ban everything also fell for it. So What?
    The Greens however do make it their business to save the planet from everything they don’t understand. This was a classic example of that. “absolutely supportive of the campaign to ban this toxic substance”
    – I didn’t mention Jacqui Dean, (or any other of the thousands of people who fell for it) – Mike did

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  76. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    Food prices. The nemesis of dimwitted thugs in government everywhere from Vietnam to Venezuela………..

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  77. Mike (158 comments) says:

    No the point is Sue Kedgley didn’t fall for it, the letter didnt even get to her. Jacqui Dean went the whole hog and wrote to a select committe, stop trying to distort the facts.

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  78. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Mike
    The facts are; “absolutely supportive of the campaign to ban this toxic substance”
    read it and weep!

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  79. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Patrick, the facts also are that:
    – Sue didn’t do anything personally about it, her staffer did
    – Jacqui Dean personally fell for it

    Not a lie, but definitely sin of omission. Why pick on Sue? The reality was that it was a prank looking for a bit of a laugh at someone’s expense. Sue wasn’t the person who the prank caught.

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  80. reid (16,509 comments) says:

    PaulL: “reid: google for moon landings and the internet will tell you they are fake. Your point? ”

    Ever heard of options, Paul? Ever heard of commodities markets and futures trading Paul?

    If you don’t think speculation is having a major effect on both food and oil prices, have a look into Markets 101.

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