After days of Jones making allegations about the Australian-owned company in Parliament, Commerce Minister Craig Foss suggested an investigation into the entire ‘‘supermarket sector of New Zealand’’, although the regulator later confirmed it was only looking at Countdown.
‘‘The investigation will involve seeking a wide range of information from a variety of sources, including organisations from all areas of the supermarket sector,’’ the commission said in a statement.
Jones has been calling for an investigation into supermarkets since his tilt at the Labour leadership last year, but stepped up his campaign last week when he claimed in Parliament Countdown was using ‘‘Mafioso’’ tactics, accusing it of using blackmail and extortion against Kiwi suppliers.
Jones has done well to get this issue onto the political radar, and to now get the Commerce Commission investigating. I think he is in danger of over-reaching at times with some of his language and now that the Commerce Commission is investigating – the complaints should go to them.
But while Jones may have gone too far with some of his language, my understanding is that his central assertion around Countdown demanding retrospective payments from some suppliers is well supported.
We all wait with interest the work of the Commerce Commission.