Fruit & Veges

August 11th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Got sent a spreadsheet comparing costs in the Hawke’s Bay of various fruit and vegetables between outlets and products. It shows that the difference between various retail outlets is far far more than the 15% . Some examples – all expressed as costs/kg:

  • Pumpkins – 94c at roadside vendor v $1.99 supermarket
  • Cabbages – $1.88 at roadside vendor v $4.43 supermarket
  • Brocolli  – $5.11 at roadside vendor v $9.97 supermarket
  • Tomatoes – $14.56 at supermarket fresh v $3.75 canned
  • Beans – $6.57 frozen v $3.75 canned
  • Peas – $5.23 frozen v $3.75 canned v $2.49 Pams Peas

Amazing there is such a huge price variation.

 

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52 Responses to “Fruit & Veges”

  1. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    How many of those roadside vendors would be paying GST anyway?

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  2. Other_Andy (2,553 comments) says:

    “Amazing there is such a huge price variation.”

    It’s called consumer choice.

    You want fresh, frozen or canned?
    You want the convenience of shopping for veges at the supermarket when you do your grocery shopping or don’t you mind going to a roadside stall?
    Do you want a NZ product or a product from overseas?
    etc.

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  3. pdm (842 comments) says:

    DPF – in the first line it should be either:

    in Hawkes Bay or in the Hawkes Bay Province.

    Never ever in the Hawkes Bay – do you say in the Wellington – no you don’t,

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  4. DeeDee (75 comments) says:

    Do kerbside vendors pay GST??
    I didnt think they had to.

    Anyway thats one of Labour proposals that I like – get rid of GST on fresh fruit and veg.

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  5. pdm (842 comments) says:

    mikenmild said – “How many of those roadside vendors would be paying GST anyway?”

    Probably most of them as they are attached to orchards or market gardens.

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  6. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Lets remember, the socialists have made different laws in different parts of the country. No smoking in Opotiki for instance.

    This of course will be remedied when slow creep catches up tot he rest of us of course as the socialists were too scared of the public to enact this apartheid nationally. Little bit at a time is how the cowards work.

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  7. Spoon (104 comments) says:

    Those comparisons are kinda bollocks.

    Pumpkins: I came through Central Otago yesterday. Roadside place had pumpkins at 4 for $10. Supermarket in Mosgiel was $2.99 each – seems very even for buying one rather than four at a time. I’d also wager that the guy selling them for 94c doesn’t have enough stock to supply supermarkets – whereas the place selling them at $2.50 might come closer.

    Tomatoes: That’s a totally different product. I bought some fresh tomatoes grown in New Zealand last night. $12/kg. Also bought some canned ones for 80c – which ones do you think I’m going to be using on my salad? Tomatos are out of season, and a lot of crops in Queensland were destroyed earlier this year leading to a massive reduction in supply. It’s to be expected they’re more expensive.

    Watties (I guess) peas vs Pams: So what? Premium product and all that. Certainly doesn’t tell me anything about supermarkets price gouging.

    The price on a heap of these things (especially in Winter) are set by supply and demand. If New World decided tomorrow to make tomatoes $2/kg, when I get there on Sunday afternoon to pick up my groceries there’d be none left. It’s set at $12/kg to ensure there’s enough to go around amongst those of us who are happy to pay that much.

    DeeDee: It’s worth noting that if we took GST off tomatoes tomorrow bringing the price down to $10.40 the demand would go up, and again, there’d be none left for me on Sunday afternoon. The net result would be New World nudging their price back to $12/kg to balance supply and demand again and pocketing an extra $1.60 themselves.

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  8. alwyn (408 comments) says:

    The appalling thing in Hawkes Bay is that the prices in the local supermarkets for fresh fruit and vegetables tend to be MORE than the prices in Wellington, even though much of the produce has been grown there. It also doesn’t seem to be as fresh.
    I think what must happen is that the produce is grown there, shipped to a distribution centre in Auckland and then shipped back to Hawkes Bay before it goes on sale.
    Incidentally why not try the same exercise in Wellington? There are a couple of markets that are open on Sunday morning you could try. There is one by Te Papa and another between Victoria and Willis street on Vivian St. Prices are normally between a third and a half of those in a supermarket. I could suggest the market at Porirua but I suspect it would be a bit early for you.
    On the other hand the markets aren’t available seven days/week and sixteen hours/day like the supermarkets so you certainly don’t get the convenience.

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  9. DeeDee (75 comments) says:

    Ever thought of growing your own tomatoes? Elderly couple down the road grow theirs in a big plastic tub on their backporch, we swap my apples and oranges for a couple of tomatoes every once in a while.

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  10. Murray (8,843 comments) says:

    Pdm if we’re going to be pedandtic its actually Hawke Bay. “Hawkes Bay” is a vocal convention. Look at an offical map.

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  11. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    It is like saying milk is $4.50 for 2l – maybe if you buy it at the garage.

    People need to

    1) Shop seasonally
    2) Use common sense

    then their food budget will go further. I have no time for the type of whinger who says they don’t have enough to feed their kids a healthy diet when I see them doing their shopping at BP.

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  12. lofty (1,305 comments) says:

    pdm, pdm, pdm…..a bit rich of you to pull up DPF over the use of “the Hawkes Bay – do you say in the Wellington – no you don’t,”

    You don’t mind using the wrong terminology yourself, do you pdm me old mate, eh, eh.

    The bay pal is the Bay of Plenty.

    Nothing to do with you lot in the Hawke Bay, and don’t you ever forget it. ;-)

    And Murray is quite correct, it is Hawke Bay. Thougft you would know that being a staunch magpie supporter.

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  13. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    alwyn

    There is also a very good produce market in Lower Hutt on Satrudays, at a more reasonable hour than the Porirua one.

    Murray – not quite, the bay is Hawke Bay and the province Hawke’s Bay. Doesn’t make sense but that’s how it is.

    And isn’t ‘the Bay’ Titahi Bay?

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  14. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    Lower Hutt Riverbank market on Saturdays. Cheap veges, fruit and eggs.

    Wanganui – Sat market. Also at least two wholesale vege marts in town

    There are always options – growing your own seems like a good start. Even if it is just pumpkins or silverbeet (at this time of year silverbeet is like a weed).

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  15. Scott Chris (6,013 comments) says:

    The data appears to have been compiled on a whim. About as informative as a NZ First press release.

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  16. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    To many stupid people.
    I NEVER buy fruit or veg from the supermarket.
    I’m in Auckland and always buy from a, and several, asian grocers.
    Last week as an example:
    Pumpkin: 45cents a kg, $1.50 supermarket $1.50kg
    Bok Choy: .85 for 2, supermarket $2.99 for 2
    Bananas: 1.35kg, supermarket $2.99kg
    Brocolli: $1.50 head, supermarket $3.50 head

    Can’t remember the rest, but you get my drift.
    So a big YES to Labours GST off fruit and vege, how the fuck would you ever know? YOU WOULDN’T PHIL YOU WOULDN’T

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  17. Spoon (104 comments) says:

    @DeeDee not sure who your question about tomatoes was directed at. I do grow my own veges and have a bit of stuff in the garden right now. Tomatoes, however, don’t grow very fast in the middle of winter in Dunedin, and I suspect even if I were trying to grow some they’d be buggered after every heavy frost anyway.

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  18. peterwn (3,233 comments) says:

    Wakefield Street markets (Willis St/ Vivian St/ Wakefield St block, Wellington CBD) – Sundays from very early am until early afternoon – guess that many buyers there can afford supermarket prices but are too canny to pay them.

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  19. nasska (11,065 comments) says:

    Hint to supermarket shoppers. If you want to know where the bludgers make the money start at the entrance. First department is fruit & veg, then the butchery, then deli/bakery/fish. Dry goods give a very low mark up so you are given the Tiki Tour through the profit makers first.

    Retailers actually employ psychologists to determine the placement of products in their stores.

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  20. Pete George (23,416 comments) says:

    A pat on the back for the local Countdown, they had two types of grape on special last weekend and for the first time I’ve seen they had samples out that you could try – grapes can be very hit or miss, the green ones were no good, the red ones very nice so we bought some without having to take a risk.

    The Farmer’s Market doesn’t have grapes at this time of year (hardly ever apart from occasionally having wine grapes). It has much more reasonable apple prices but it’s worth trying them first too, if they’re not coolstored at this time of year they are usually well past their best.

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  21. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Fruit and Veg has a good range of sellers to keep competition strong… If they all put their prices up too far… they now we cant grow our own.. and that’s what keeps it regulated.

    nasska 2.15pm. First is cash flow machines and lotto.

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  22. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    The data appears to have been compiled on a whim.

    Ummm, its a snapshot. So what?

    I think the point of the post was to show:

    Labour or the Greens are stupidly advocating the removal of GST on fresh fruit and veges.

    Their argument is that reducing the price will lead to greater consumption of better food, leading to reduced health costs, better social cohesion, and larger dicks for all.

    What I take from DPFs post: The differences in price within just a very small region, and the availability of produce at the lower prices, means that consumers arent that responsive to even very large price differences. So a 15% reduction in prices, is not likely to have any significant impact on the consumption of fresh fruit and veg.

    Further, the price drop is so important to Labour/Greens, that they will have to make sure prices actually do fall, and so will no doubt create an agency to ensure the full reduction in prices is passed on.

    What I take from DPFs post: It will be impossible for the agency to determine the “correct” price for any fresh produce because, as this small sample shows, there is no standard price.

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  23. Ed Snack (1,827 comments) says:

    Certainly in Auckland (but depends on where you live) find a local Fruit and Vege shop, I used to go to one in Dominion Road by Balmoral Road, fresher, better selection, and much cheaper than any of the local supermarkets.

    And yes, tomatoes should be relatively expensive right now, it is, after all, winter. You cannot really compare fresh and tinned though, quite a different product.

    Live as a grammar nazi, die as a grammar nazi eh Murray. The province is, as noted above, Hawke’s Bay, the geographical marine feature is Hawke Bay. It is locally common usage (but strictly incorrect) to omit the apostrophe, Lynne Truss would not approve.

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  24. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Eats, Shoots & Leaves!

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  25. tristanb (1,133 comments) says:

    Amazing there is such a huge price variation.

    It’s as if there’s more cost transporting goods into the supermarket, storing and displaying them, throwing out wasted product, paying staff to mana…… . .

    BREAKING NEWS
    I can get a free refill of Coke at Burger King, but it costs me $4 at a vending machine.
    I smell conspiracy and demand a government investigation. John Key assures me that “an inquiry will be made”.

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  26. pdm (842 comments) says:

    Murray said – “Pdm if we’re going to be pedandtic its actually Hawke Bay. “Hawkes Bay” is a vocal convention. Look at an offical map”

    Not correct Murray – the bay (sea area) is Hawke Bay the province (land area) is Hawkes Bay.

    Lofty – we will have to agree to disagree on that one – perhaps the result of Saturdays game at Rotorua could decide it for this week.

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  27. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    @Kimble: Well summarised.

    The issue is really that many folk simply aren’t educated about how to spend thriftily while ensuring healthy meals. It’s far to easy to pop in to for dinner or get a carb and meat heavy diet from the supermarket.

    GST off fruit and veg will do nothing at all other than increase compliance costs. The supermarket price will likely stay the same as it’s set at a price point (after all, you rarely see items for anything other than *.99 or *.49 per kg.)

    We need to be educating and empowering those most in need on how best to spend their money to ensure healthy outcomes. This could start with menu lists complete with a shopping list using basic seasonal items that are easy to prepare. Things like food in a minute adapted to not be purely a Watties advertorial (hell, even if it WAS still a Watties advertising technique it’d likely do some good). From there teach the basics of what makes a healthy meal and how to plan in advanced and stick to a shopping list. Many New Zealanders now simply have no idea about how to do any of this, and it will only become worse (see the UK for instance) unless we make a concerted effort to fix the problem.

    IMO target it at the kids say 7-8 years and up at school. Get them involved in the family cooking and meal planning – they’ll learn good budgeting skills as well as cooking and planning skills and will develop healthier attitudes towards food. The parents will take on the challenge if their kids are enthused about it once they see the benefits.

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  28. Griff (7,194 comments) says:

    Quality often counts more than price in this market cheap crap is rotten quickly or tastes like kaka fresh lasts longer and usually tastes better

    Problem with taking GST of fruit and veg is it creates loopholes for tax evasion and rorts, That and the cost of compliance and policing all add up to far more than the benefit received. Cheaper if you must is to just decrease tax very slightly or increase benefits by a few cents. Fruit and veg is pretty cheap in season just ask a lentil muncher how much their shopping is (organic veg and fruit not included)

    Once leftys get one exclusion there will be more

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  29. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    The issue is really that many folk simply aren’t educated about how to spend thriftily while ensuring healthy meals.

    I think it is more likely that people do know there is cheaper, healthier food out there, and probably know exactly where to get it, but cant be bothered. That place doesnt sell chips or chocolate (or at least those items are much more expensive there) or toilet paper. Or maybe that place doesnt have good parking. Or maybe it is too far away.

    You even acknowledge this your self in your very next line. Its far too easy…

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  30. Griff (7,194 comments) says:

    There is some effort in education to teach Basic life skills like cooking, budgeting, finance costs, etc Which is sadly often lacking for those who most need it.

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  31. Scott Chris (6,013 comments) says:

    Kimble says:

    “I think the point of the post was to show:
    Labour or the Greens are stupidly advocating the removal of GST on fresh fruit and veges.”

    Thankyou for clearing that up. The inference went right over my head. I agree that the GST-less F&V is a dumb idea.

    As far as the real current value of fresh F&V is concerned, best place to look is a Turners and Growers auction.

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  32. Griff (7,194 comments) says:

    Just another thinly disguised stupid election bribe with no thought as to benefit, cost or sustainability
    “politics”

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  33. Pete George (23,416 comments) says:

    Quality often counts more than price in this market cheap crap is rotten quickly or tastes like kaka fresh lasts longer and usually tastes better

    I used to think bulk for buck was all that mattered but have converted. I’d now rather enjoy a smaller nicer portion than a pile of bloating rubbish.

    The word “poverty” is used a lot, but why is “obesity” regarded as a major problem in this country and we hardly ever hear about starvation? How many really skinny people do you see (that don’t have eating disorders)?

    A few percent difference in tax, even if it actually changes selling prices, is going to make little if any difference to buying and eating habits. It would have to be a big change to do that, but that can only be done by big increases in taxes to undesirables, as has been done with tobacco. So all it will do is open the GST exemptions floodgate, and the people will keep getting fatter.

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  34. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Obviously we need a government inquiry, time to wheel in Sue. Where is the outrage, the poor are going hungry, how can the kids go to school without their Broccoli. Where’s Shonkey, he should be on to this, And taking GST of fruit and veg, oh please spare me. How many thousands of bureaucrats will be employed to insure the bloody 15% has been taken off the cost of every item of veg etc, it’s just stupid lefty bullshit working up the useful idiots.

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  35. Lord Montrose (10 comments) says:

    What expensive supermarkets some people go to.
    “Brocolli – $5.11 at roadside vendor v $9.97 supermarket” Hah!
    Brocolli was $2.50 at PakNSave a couple of days ago. I don’t buy it when it’s over $2. If everybody did the same as me the price would drop.
    PakNSave had beef schnitzel for $9.99/kg. I bought a couple of months worth. Next week it will be the usual $16.
    Superette nearby had excellent Pacific Rose apples for $1.50/kg.
    The problem is, most people buying food have no idea what it should cost. Buy it in season and when it’s cheap. Otherwise buy something else.

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  36. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    GST off fruit and veg will do nothing at all other than increase compliance costs.

    Quite. It’s a policy that is designed to appeal to do-gooders who don’t think too carefully about things.

    It’s sort of funny that such a policy is suggested as an election winner, or even suggested seriously. But it’s no longer funny when you consider that these sorts of things may actually end up being made into law.

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  37. gravedodger (1,541 comments) says:

    Removing GST from fresh fruit and veg is total bollocks.
    The Government could deliver a pack of seasonal produce to every one of the target group and it would rot on the back step.
    They wouldn’t eat it.
    They couldn’t cook it.
    There is no room in the fridge for it as where would they put the beer.
    Jesus Wept who would think that it was a good idea.
    Duh the socialists of course, nuf said.

    Roadside stalls have no Tax component other than writing off input GST against that produce that goes to a packhouse or market., it is a cash operation, their biggest cost is dishonesty and theft.

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  38. Viking2 (11,334 comments) says:

    Pete George (10,799) Says:
    August 11th, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I used to think bulk for buck was all that mattered but have converted. I’d now rather enjoy a smaller nicer portion than a pile of bloating rubbish.

    Well now Pete, any chance of applying that rule to kiwiblog. :lol:

    sorry Pete couldn’t resist the temptation. 8)

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  39. trout (932 comments) says:

    ‘GST off fruit and vegetables’ is just another fanciful slogan; the tax exemption cannot be successfully applied to seasonal product where there is fluctuation in price and where product is priced up (or down) to meet demand. These are PERISHABLE products that have a limited shelf life; stock must be cleared. NZ tomatoes are now around $14 a kg and lesser quality Aust. tomatoes are $8 a kilo but hey its winter – cabbage is real cheap.

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  40. calendar girl (1,213 comments) says:

    V2: Very clever. Loved it.

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  41. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Those price differentials are outrageous! I would expect no one would pay the higher prices…. unless they were interested in one-stop convenience, variety/choice, payment options, carparking, in-store specials etc

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  42. Rick Rowling (825 comments) says:

    I’m too fat. I really like cheeseburgers. But if a head of broccoli is 20cents cheaper without GST I’ll change my eating habits.

    Not.

    / agree that the crappiest fruit & veg is usually in supermarkets close to the best market gardens.

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  43. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    To cast a little perspective on things –

    Fruit & Vege in HB is cheap and plentiful at market gardens and road side stalls therefore the supermarkets sell bugger all and need to charge a premium to cover their carry costs. Bizarre isn’t it, the garden of the Nth Island and supermarket prices higher than the capital. Your smart punter buys local and direct.

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  44. noskire (837 comments) says:

    Well, there’s a “cafe” in Cromwell that charges $7 for ONE sausage roll.

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  45. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    Brocolli for $9.97 at the supermarket? Are you fucking kidding me. Even here in Auckland at Victoria Park New World they’re only $2.99 each.

    [DPF: the price is per kg]

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  46. Pete George (23,416 comments) says:

    That’s over the top noskire. But what are they like? I haven’t found a decent sausage roll for a long time.

    Can’t beat Macfarlane’s cherries though.

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  47. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    @gravedodger: “The Government could deliver a pack of seasonal produce to every one of the target group and it would rot on the back step.
    They wouldn’t eat it.
    They couldn’t cook it.
    There is no room in the fridge for it as where would they put the beer.”

    Agreed – indeed, I’ve had folk in said target group admit that quite readily. So what’s the solution? Education surely? Certainly no point giving them more cash as that won’t change anything at all. The adults are a lost cause, at least as a direct target. Instead target the kids while they’re still enthusiastic about life and _some_ of them will respond.

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  48. freedom101 (490 comments) says:

    How does Labour’s GST-free vege plan work where if a retailer offers a package deal – if I buy an onion for $5 I get a packet of chippies for 10 cents? The onion is GST free and the chippies have just over 1 cent of GST content! Whilst an extreme example, surely these sorts of games will be played.

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  49. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    Cheap veges may not last – but cheap veges still make great soups. Some brocolli that looks a little naff – Cook it up with a couple of spuds, some onion, salt and pepper and some blue cheese (about $3.50 from Pak n Slave) – mash or blend into a soup consistency and viola. A healthy meal for wht whole family for about $6.00 (maybe $7 if you buy a loaf of cheap bread and toast it up to go with it).

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  50. Elaycee (4,348 comments) says:

    Some posters should also consider the convenience factor.

    If I wanted to cut out all of the coupons from the paper / same from mailbox drops / go from store to store to get the best “buys” and then shop at one particular supermarket because they offer ‘x’ cents off petrol at the next (participating) Shell service station, then perhaps savings can be made.

    But I also happen to value my time, so I can’t be stuffed traipsing from store to store and then going to a market in an effort to save a grand total of $10 – $15 per week on groceries and fruit / veges. Apart from the waste of time, it would probably cost much of the amount ‘saved’ in extra fuel alone.

    If someone considers that pumpkin at the supermarket is expensive, then either drive to a roadside vendor to save a whopping $1.05 or simply don’t buy it!

    Its called choice.

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  51. Griff (7,194 comments) says:

    A family of four could live on fifty dollars a week. You can live on rice bit the poor want the advantages that working gives us no one need starve on a benefit they just chose to

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  52. ManukauMum (134 comments) says:

    For the best discussion of all the aspects of removing GST from fruit and vegetables read this:
    http://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/uploads/GST%20off%20food_Background%20paper_final%281%29.pdf.
    Its easy to read and covers all the major arguements for and against backed up with published research.

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