The Countdown allegations

February 13th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

faces a mounting consumer backlash after Labour MP accused the supermarket company of using ‘‘Mafioso’’ tactics demanding cash payments from Kiwi suppliers.

For the second time in as many days the Australian-owned company issued a statement defending its actions, yesterday ‘‘categorically’’ rejecting Jones’ claims.

Using parliamentary privilege, Jones said Countdown management was demanding cash payments from Kiwi businesses on the grounds that its Australian shareholders were not happy with prior profitability.

‘‘They are demanding of Kiwi businesses payments, backdated cheques, and recompense, sir, for the losses the supermarkets assert they suffered last year,’’ Jones told Speaker David Carter in Parliament.

‘‘If they don’t pay these cheques, they are being told, ‘no shelf space into the future’. In any other country, sir, that’s blackmail. That is extortion.’’

Jones said suppliers had sworn him to secrecy and were living in fear, having been told by Countdown ‘‘if you breathe one word of this, we will blacklist you’’.

Describing the tactics as ‘‘Mafioso’’, Jones said they were the type of behaviour that fictional gangster Tony Soprano would be ‘‘very proud of’’’.

Following the claims Jones delivered a letter to the Commerce Commission asking for an investigation into New Zealand’s supermarkets, something Labour has promised if it wins the election.

When this was first reported I was sceptical of the claims. However:

Minutes after Jones made the statement, , chief executive of the Food and Grocery Council, issued a release saying that the organisation was aware of ‘‘a number of incidents’’ where members had been asked for retrospective payments.

‘‘We have raised our general concerns about this practice with the supermarket chain involved. This is a serious issue that is new to the New Zealand grocery sector and we view it as an unwelcome development.’’

This suggests to me there is a very real issue here, and Shane Jones *may* have done a public service by highlighting it.

While I guess you can argue any company can ask any other company for more money, having a customer demand suppliers hand over money based on some sort of retrospective discount is very dubious. Now Countdown have denied the allegations and the manner in which they have asked may not be as Jones says, But the statement by Rich lends credence to the allegations that what is happening is undesirable – it may or may not be legal – but it stinks.

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72 Responses to “The Countdown allegations”

  1. lolitasbrother (703 comments) says:

    We are going to stand up for New Zealand, now. It is time .

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  2. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. Viking2 (11,491 comments) says:

    The best decision I made a few years ago was to never ever again be in a business that required me to deal with the ferral, dishonest rat pack that supermarkets employ.

    The interesting thing about so many f their employees was that it was a completely incestuous industry with many couples working for the opposite groups.

    Whoever allowed Woolworths to swallow Foodtown should have all thier assests removed and then be sent to Ethiopia or some nice place.

    did NZ consumers no favours at all.

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  4. mikemikemikemike (325 comments) says:

    So you didn’t believe it until a National’s affiliate made comment? How long has National known about this complaint? and why were the public made aware of it by an opposition MP Regardless of the outcome, this smacks of corporate protectionism doesn’t it?

    Of course, I’m jumping the gun as to whether or not this is actually true – but if it is I think its a bad look for the government

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  5. wikiriwhis business (4,019 comments) says:

    If Winston had said anything it all would have been relegated to conspiracy theories and I’m waiting for the trivialists to appear

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  6. rangitoto (247 comments) says:

    Whale was blogging about this long before Jones raised it. I guess Jones is a fan of whaleoil

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  7. wikiriwhis business (4,019 comments) says:

    Why do so few Kiwibloggers complain about corporate greed ?

    Half the reason this country has been allowed to be infiltrated

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  8. alloytoo (546 comments) says:

    @mikemikemikemike

    Whaleoil’s been onto this for a few days now.

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  9. Bovver (173 comments) says:

    Fuck you’re a whiny little Fabian Ross69, DPF never implied Jones is dodgy (however his past actions speak for them-self), WoG has been posting about this for the last couple of weeks.

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  10. Harriet (4,988 comments) says:

    If the economy is going to do so bloody well in the near future – then cashflow on both sides of this equation shouldn’t be a problem.

    There is no issue here. Rich is being silly to go further with it.

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  11. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    @mikemikemikemike – “this smacks of corporate protectionism doesn’t it”

    What a pathetic accusation – what Shane Jones has done, if proven to be wrong will end up costing someone a lot of money and business, which will have ramifications. He is offering no proof and no genuine examples of this happening. Now he has incited the dumbass mob, which from looking at Countdown’s Facebook page is in full-flow mode with their pathetic little vendettas.

    Because of the idiotic way Shane Jones has handled this, there is not a single supplier in the country who would come forwards to help the case now.

    The way Rich has approached it is the correct way – if it is proven correct then it can be spoken about publicly.

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  12. mikemikemikemike (325 comments) says:

    @alloytoo – fair point. My second question remains – why has National been so hush about it?

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  13. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    Katherine Rich has always acted professionally.

    Shane Jones may be in a wee bit of trouble. He tweeted some comments just after he spoke in the House. They were subsequently deleted but they are still circulating on other forums.

    Parliamentary Privilege does not cover Twitter. Ouch. If Countdown are ruthless as they are accused of being ,and the comments are defamatory them I would imagine Mr Jones is another opposition MP in the doe does.

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  14. big bruv (13,935 comments) says:

    Kiwis might piss and moan about this but they will still go to supermarkets because they are inherently lazy. We could always do what our grandparents did and visit the local Butcher, Baker, Grocer etc to get our shopping, in nearly all cases the produce will be better (certainly the case when you are purchasing meat) and although it might cost a little bit more you can actually speak with the owner of the business.

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  15. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Shane Jones = dodgy

    That is all.

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  16. alwyn (427 comments) says:

    While watching the TV coverage of Shane Jones in Parliament I was struck that this seemed just like the Labour/Green plans to crush the power companies by bringing in ther “sole buyer” proposal.

    Here is the price. If you don’t sell to us we will prevent you selling to anyone. If you aren’t nice to us we will put you out of business.

    Is Progressive’s approach where the left got their idea?

    The Supermarket chains everywhere in the world are very tough to deal with, although I have never heard of retrospective discounts before. This tough approach, as done in Australia with milk, is normally applauded by the left who demand to know why the Government in New Zealand don’t force down the price of milk here to match the price in Australia.

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  17. srylands (410 comments) says:

    This whole supermarket thing will never get traction with voters. In the urban centres people have access to multiple outlets – not just supermarkets – selling them higher quality food than at any time in history. In a week it will all blow over. The Facebook thing against the Australian supermarket chain will die quickly.

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  18. Tautaioleua (309 comments) says:

    It’s not over until the fat lady sings. There is a strong case against countdown for breaching the Trans-Tasman Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement.

    If so, countdown might have to compensate suppliers for any loss, and restore kiwi products on Australian shelves. This miserable defeat would send shock waves through its customer base too, rendering the business bankrupt in no time at all.

    :-)

    We can only hope. In the meantime, Pak ‘n Save and New World for the win.

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  19. peterwn (3,277 comments) says:

    An issue which concerns me is local management may be trying to include retrospective payments in an accounting period just closed which is basically misleading to the Head Office in Sydney and hence shareholders in Woolworths (WOW:ASX).

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  20. alloytoo (546 comments) says:

    @mikemikemikemike

    National’s been quiet about your wife beating as well, for the same reason.

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  21. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Fuck you’re a whiny little Fabian Ross69, DPF never implied Jones is dodgy

    DPF said when Jones made the allegations he was “sceptical”. But now that a former National MP has raised similar concerns, DPF is no longer a sceptic! Funny how there’s no mention of Rich’s politics in this post.

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  22. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    Question 2 today:

    Hon SHANE JONES to the Minister of Commerce: Is he aware of demands being made by the Countdown supermarket group for retrospective payments from New Zealand suppliers, with threats Countdown will not stock their products?

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  23. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    @Tautaioleua

    “There is a strong case against countdown for breaching the Trans-Tasman Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement”

    The CER agreement doesn’t apply to private individuals and companies.

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  24. alwyn (427 comments) says:

    Poor old mikemikemikemike.

    You have only just heard about this have you?
    Whaleoil has been talking about this for three weeks now. Why don’t you give him credit for bringing the matter up?
    Oh, of course. He’s a National Party supporter isn’t he? Can’t give them credit for anything can you? Just ignore him and try and claim the Jones has found out this “secret” and that National supporters have ignored the matter.

    What a load of b**s you are spouting.

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  25. mikemikemikemike (325 comments) says:

    @alloytoo – really? that is the best you can come up with. Take your small man syndrome elsewhere sir.

    P.S. – my wife loves the beatings, she said she’d rather a hiding from me than be anywhere near you or your scum family any day.

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  26. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    @ross69

    Jones made his allegations in parliament, under parliamentary privilege, gave no sources or corroborating evidence, and refused to repeat his comments outside the house. It is quite reasonable to treat them with caution.

    Then the head of the Grocery Council backs up the allegations, outside the house. That gives the allegations some credence.

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  27. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    My second question remains – why has National been so hush about it?

    Ummm.. because the Government should not make huge sweeping comments that could do enormous damage to privately owned businesses, unless it is sure it has got its facts absolutely right?

    (But being an extreme leftist and Labour / Greens supporter, you probably can’t see any problem with Government making statements that damage people’s businesses…??)

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  28. freethinker (691 comments) says:

    I guess Countdown will be looking at the buying trends of their loyal one card shoppers to estimate the level of damage.In the short term I favour a boycott to demonstrate that Joe Public does not approve of bullying tactics.

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  29. Bovver (173 comments) says:

    Ross69, show me in the post where he referred to Shane Jone’s by name

    “When this was first reported I was sceptical of the claims.” This was 1st reported by Cameron Slater.

    “DPF said when Jones made the allegations he was “sceptical”. But now that a former National MP has raised similar concerns, DPF is no longer a sceptic! Funny how there’s no mention of Rich’s politics in this post.”

    Typical Fabian, make shit up and then whine about it. The truth will set you free.

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  30. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    P.S. – my wife loves the beatings, she said she’d rather a hiding from me than be anywhere near you or your scum family any day.

    Nearest you’ve come to making an intelligent comment on this thread.

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  31. corrigenda (142 comments) says:

    Supermarkets have been using stand-over tactics against market gardeners for years. Nothing new there.

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  32. mikemikemikemike (325 comments) says:

    @RRM – I’m nowhere near extreme left, if you actually knew me you’d probably know that I vote to the right. If you read my post, I noted I was possibly jumping the gun, however if it Cameron has exposed it, then Shane Jones made a speech about it – and it then proves to be true. having the Government of the day (the Nats) being the last to comment on it, is probably a very bad look given the reputation of corporate cronies etc etc that is all I said.

    If it turns out to be true, Labour may actually have been able to get a hit in.

    That is all I said.

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  33. Paulus (2,633 comments) says:

    I suspect it is only a few of Countdown’s individual buyers who are paid on sales – I do not expect to find that it is widespread, and certainly not known company policy.
    I do not think we should go overboard.

    Likewise the Australian buy Aussie – the greatest loser will be the Aussie supplier who will have to bend to a monopolistic buyer and will get deeper stuffed on price with no alternative (ie NZ) supplier of their Brand foods, as it only applies to that, and most are labelled “Australian and Imported” contents anyway which can include any other country – eg China.
    Let it run – it will not last.

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  34. Bovver (173 comments) says:

    The only hits Libour get in are the ones to themselves.

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  35. anticorruptionnz (215 comments) says:

    while were on the subject how many companies are owned by Australians. why do they have Aussie Pride and we don’t promote buy Kiwi.

    we are too busy allowing international corporates to set up in NZ buy our land ,our businesses , and then we whinge when they don’t deal with us on our terms.

    look at our malls how many of the shops are NZ owned? and how many of them are Aussie.

    we allow foreigners to buy our land one day we will wake u and be totally enslaved to foreigners, they will own the land and outnumber us . Kiwis on poor wages cannot compete with the rich foreigners who can out bid us on anything.

    Our laws are antiquated and the laws which prohibit such action are equivalent to a slap across the wrist with a wet dish rag, if that.

    we need a buy and support Kiwi made and kiwi companies and boycott Australian shops .. when count down was bought out by the Aussies the range of products reduced dramatically.

    Go Pak and Save and New World let freeze the Aussies out.

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  36. dirty harry (504 comments) says:

    Countdown suck anyway as a general rule…their seafood is always old , their meat and chicken way too expensive and their general goods way dearer than Pak n Save.

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  37. Tautaioleua (309 comments) says:

    It’s funny you should say that, queenstfarmer.

    Talley’s is preparing a case against Countdown using the agreement. They have money coming out of their ears, surely they can afford a decent legal team too?

    If you’re so confident that it doesn’t apply to private companies, why would Talley’s even bother with this case? wouldn’t their legal team advise against it?

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  38. alloytoo (546 comments) says:

    @mikemikemikemike

    TMI

    You just had to say you don’t understand discretion, you didn’t have to demonstrate it.

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

    I actually wouldn’t be too surprised if this was a “policy”, the supermarkets in general are very hard on suppliers in general, the smaller you are the harder they push. Within reason, this brings wins for consumers, but they certainly can go too far though we have yet to see if this is correctly reported.

    I would think that now it is out in public, any supplier who had been subject to such tactics could pretty safely say so, any attempt by the supermarket to not stock that suppliers product would be de-facto evidence of the allegations being true. Though, can someone enlighten me, is this tactic actually illegal ?

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  40. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    ‘‘If they don’t pay these cheques, they are being told, ‘no shelf space into the future’. In any other country, sir, that’s blackmail. That is extortion.’’

    Fuck off that’s not extortion. In any country.

    It is basically saying, we didn’t make enough profit last year, so the price you guys pay (discount you give us on your products) to be stocked on our shelves will be increased this year.

    Here is what probably happened:

    CD – Hey, the shelf fees are increased this year
    SUP – Why are you increasing the price?
    CD – We didn’t charge enough last year, and so didnt make a profit.
    SUP – That’s not fair.
    CD- Its in the contract. We negotiate prices every year.
    SUP ~ Hangs up, calls Labour

    And Shane Jones paints it as Countdown demanding “back dated cheques” to cover last years losses. Because he is a lying prick and knows his idiot supporters are just gagging for some reason (real or fake) to continue to hate the people they already hate.

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  41. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    while were on the subject how many companies are owned by Australians. why do they have Aussie Pride and we don’t promote buy Kiwi.

    Because the policy doesn’t make sense.

    As Eric Crampton put it, “If your friend and neighbour sprays you with blood while bashing himself in the head, you don’t bash your own head in revenge.”

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  42. Scott Chris (6,155 comments) says:

    Kimble the part you’re conveniently ignoring is the fact that SUP can’t say ‘fuck you we’ll supply someone else then and take our customers with us’ because Progressive Enterprises holds too dominant a position in the market. Thought you liked free markets :/

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  43. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    @Tautaioleua:

    “Talley’s is preparing a case against Countdown using the agreement.”

    I presume you are referring to this: “Talleys is understood to have lodged a complaint with Australia’s competition authorities, and has lobbied the Government to lodge a formal objection under CER.”

    So Talleys is not taking a case against Countdown (I presume you mean their Aussie parent company). They are asking the Govt to make a formal objection under CER (if there are grounds), because you can’t sue a private person or company for “breaching” CER.

    Put it this way: if I declared my personal policy to only buy NZ made, I would not be breaching CER. But if the Govt declared that it would now only buy NZ made, that would be a breach of CER and the Aussie Govt could object.

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  44. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    I for one like the cheap, high quality food we get from our supermarkets.

    It is hard to believe it is in the interests of supermarkets to squeeze their suppliers so hard they go out of business.
    Where then would they get their goods because if this really happens who would be silly enough to invest in the same business.

    We need some hard facts here, not hearsay, apocryphal stories or urban myths.

    I suspect most of this is little more than hot hair and just more Shane Jones exaggeration and histrionics.

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  45. Kimble (4,440 comments) says:

    the part you’re conveniently ignoring is the fact that SUP can’t say ‘fuck you we’ll supply someone else then and take our customers with us’ because Progressive Enterprises holds too dominant a position in the market.

    And that’s illegal? No. Is it extortion? Fuck no. Shane Jones might as well have stood up in Parliament and declared that in other countries this behaviour is called Genocide.

    If you and Shane Jones want to whine that the price is too low, then go ahead, I dont give a shit. But don’t try and defend the labeling of this behaviour as extortion. It’s not.

    Shane Jones (and now you) are defining extortion so as to capture any time a company that has significant market share attempts to get a lower price from their suppliers to avoid a loss or as low profit as they experienced in the previous year.

    Based on what he said in Parliament, there is no story here outside of “dey truken ar jerbs!”

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  46. Tautaioleua (309 comments) says:

    queenstfarmer,

    John Key has also made comments alluding to a possible breach of the agreement but maintains that it’s debatable and requires further investigation.

    If the agreement concern private companies, why all this speculation? surely there’s a case to be heard here.

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  47. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    :shock: Suppliers have to pay supermarkets for the privilege of being stocked by a glamorous institution like Countdown?

    Shows how little I know about how it all works.

    But I guess that explains why a dozen free range eggs are cheaper at my local dairy in the Wairarapa than they are in the big supermarkets with their alleged “economies of scale”…

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  48. Yogibear (366 comments) says:

    Kimble and Scott Chris – Epic Beer’s Luke Nicholas has blogged about access to supermarket shelves and in particular, the likes of the big boys being able to buy space.

    The commercial realities is the big suppliers can be on a equal footing with the supermarkets. Progressive are going to look pretty silly if they can’t stock Fonterra’s milk and cheese, Cadbury chocolate or Watties products.

    So how does Epic and a bunch of other small suppliers actually survive? They don’t compete on economies of scale, instead they compete because of quality and customer demand. Epic doesn’t need to be at eye level and be 3 six packs across because it is quality.

    The consumer wins through cheaper prices for bland crap, and choice for those that don’t pollute their bodies with inferior product

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  49. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    the part you’re conveniently ignoring is the fact that SUP can’t say ‘fuck you we’ll supply someone else then

    If that is the case then can someone explain how a boycott of Countdown would help those NZ suppliers who are allegedly being strong armed?

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  50. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    @Tautaioleua

    I would expect the Govt to have a look at whether there is something under the CER agreement that could help the situation. If there is, that’s great news. But it needs to be a Govt-to-Govt agreement.

    The Australian Govt cannot come to my shop and demand that I have to buy and re-sell Australian goods against my will (or they will sue me), any more than NZ can to Australian shops.

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  51. Nigel Kearney (1,019 comments) says:

    Unless I misunderstand, this is nothing more than an absolutely normal negotiation of the price for future supplies.

    If you buy some goods from me for $100 and you subsequently believe a fairer price would have been $90, you might either:

    A) Ask me for $10 back and say you won’t buy from me any more otherwise. Then after getting the $10, offer to buy more goods from me at $90; or
    B) Just insist on a price of $80 next time

    If they had chosen B, there would presumably be no story. But in fact there is no material difference between A and B.

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  52. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    So whats new The supermarkets and oil companies have been screwing kiwis for decades with the tacit support of all Governments and government agencies. Governments and government agencies are scared shitless to tackle them. That’s the ones who haven’t been bribed to turn a blind eye.
    If it aint so why hasn’t any Government ordered a open Commission of Inquiry with 3 retired High Court Judges who can compel witnesses to give evidence on oath.
    Why haven’t government agencies gone looking for Whistle Blowers and giving them protection ( yep they need it given the Mafia that run supermarkets and oil companies) and guarantees of anonymity. Tell you why. Cause they know they would find some very dirty stuff has been happening.

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  53. johnwellingtonwells (137 comments) says:

    I am going to take my grocery receipt into Countdown and ask them for some money back or I won’t shop there again

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

    jww, I suspect that they will give you the answer that some of their suppliers can give Countdown…”Sorry you feel that way, but no refund”. Easier for Countdown, you’re one of many thousands of customers, for their suppliers Countdown may just be one of two major customers.

    The best way to stop this sort of behaviour isn’t obsessive regulation but competition. Prevent monopoly/oligopoly behaviour and let the customers sort it out, as they soon will. The only government involvement needed is in the prevention of cartels/oligopolies. And one does need to recognize that when there are a number of companies selling essentially identical items into a market that over time those items will tend to offered at more or less the same price. That’s a major reason why petrol for example costs more or less the same from all retailers, there’s no good reason to discount beyond a certain level as your costs are almost always pretty much the same as everyone else’s.

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  55. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Kiwis might piss and moan about this but they will still go to supermarkets because they are inherently lazy.

    Not all supermarkets are bad. The owner of pak n save on my old town was beloved by the community and his employees, who all spoke of him in glowing tones.

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  56. johnwellingtonwells (137 comments) says:

    Ed – sarcasm is the sole of wit

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  57. safesally (47 comments) says:

    I wonder how much Foodstuffs is donating to Labour’s election campaign?

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  58. flash2846 (287 comments) says:

    So the unions don’t like Pack’n’Save and New World because they cannot get a commie collective agreement due to the Foodstuffs structure which is akin to franchising and Countdown are known to pay their staff more than the Foodstuffs group.
    It doesn’t make sense that a Labour fool would attack the owners of Countdown. Another stuff-up perhaps.

    Countdown prefers a trans Tasman label ‘Select’ which is mainly made in Australia and Pack’n’Save etc. prefer ‘Signature’ branded product. So no drama here.

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  59. Pete Burdon (19 comments) says:

    Countdown (Progressive Enterprises) need to get out front on this. A quick statement of denial is not enough. A real person needs to be addressing concerns and putting a sincere human touch on it. The fallout will depend on how they respond. Not sure if someone will be on Campbell Live tonight.

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  60. MH (762 comments) says:

    this ties in nicely with the fake Marmite shortage conspiracy,beep the Aussies and take vegemite off the shelves before this escalates further. We can then negotiate from a position of strength,no need to blacken our reputation.

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  61. David Farrar (1,899 comments) says:

    Why I said Rich backing the assertions up lends credence is nothing to do with the fact she is a former National MP. It is the fact she is not an MP, but leader of a respected industry group. When an MP says something under parliamentary privilege you wonder if they are confident in their facts and it is just about headlines. When someone external corroborates it (and uses less emotional language) it definitely makes it more credibly.

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  62. Reid (16,520 comments) says:

    When someone external corroborates it (and uses less emotional language) it definitely makes it more credibly.

    I’ve heard on the grapevine for a long time they squeeze the supplier’s margins to the bone and pile it on when they apply their own markup, simply because they can. As someone said above this is also what oil companies do and since they’re vertically integrated no-one hears about it but you can tell when the price rises overnight from $20-30 bbl to over $150 and now approaching $200 bbl without any discernible change in the supply-demand equation that’s what they’re doing and naturally the media watchdog who is supposed to bark doesn’t so the consumer gets to pay 400-500% premium for what? Nothing. And that’s the capitalist system in operation in oil, today.

    They implemented the anti-trust laws in the US to break the Standard Oil monopoly but sadly the duopoly and multi-opoly wasn’t calculated by congress then or now but something like that is what we need to return the supermarket situation in NZ to genuine as opposed to faux competition, on the grounds unfettered capitalism (quelle horreur) has failed, yet again, to produce the goods not only for the consumer (via the high mark-ups) but also for the suppliers.

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  63. cha (4,036 comments) says:

    Lots of smoke…..

    The ACCC chairman is investigating allegations that include:

    persistent demands for additional payments from suppliers, above and beyond that negotiated;

    the imposition of penalties that did not form part of any negotiated terms of trade;

    threats to remove products from shelves or otherwise disadvantage suppliers if claims for extra payments or penalties are not paid;

    failure to pay prices agreed with suppliers;

    discrimination in favour of homebrand products.

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/accc-to-investigate-coles-woolies-20130214-2eg16.html

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  64. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    I am against regulating this sort of behaviour. Unfortunately it is the free market – if you don’t like Countdown’s terms, you don’t have to do business with them. You can deal with their competition only, or set up another retailer to compete with them.

    That said, I have no problem with people kicking up a stink about it and applying moral pressure. I think Countdown should be fair to suppliers and not dick them over just because they can. Long term it is not good business practice for them. Countdown knows there is only a limited retail market for food suppliers and they exploit that. I am opposed to the “there oughta be a law” crowd on this issue, but Countdown should realise that their power and control is not necessarily a permanent thing. If enough suppliers get pissed off, they will organise and default.

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  65. Reid (16,520 comments) says:

    Unfortunately it is the free market – if you don’t like Countdown’s terms, you don’t have to do business with them.

    This is the point Blair. It’s not the free market. It pretends to be the free market but it’s not.

    Duopoly situations aren’t free market, they’re cartel territory. Just because the public thinks that all the different brands = competition, does not mean competition is real.

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  66. Left Right and Centre (2,986 comments) says:

    Big Bruv – I heard someone on the radio saying the same groan inducing phrase ‘I’m prepared to pay a little bit extra to buy NZ made’.

    Fuck me – a little bit more my arse !!

    It’s fucking shitloads of cash more – I couldn’t buy all the shit I buy if I had to stick to NZ made.

    And your point concerns going to butchers and greengrocers. Yep, I go to local greengrocers. And I enjoy that they know who the fuck I am and we have a laugh. That’s great. I don’t go to butchers. How is a butcher going to compete with $21 for 5kg of chicken wings ? I don’t fucking think so. Quality ? Oh, I’m sure it’s all top shelf at the butchers. Top price too. I can’t fucking afford the top shelf shit so that’s me out. We’d all love to be downing baby lamb shank tenderloin riblets or whatever the fuck it is for $4 000 per kilo but that’s not an option for everyone – hahaha.

    A little bit extra means for eg to buy NZ made tinned fruit or tinned anything – you’re looking at 50c – $1 more per tin. That adds up in a hurry. So I can eat tinned creamed corn, beetroot, peaches and tomatoes that come in from outside, or not eat them.

    Tin of Budget peaches from China at my pak n save ? $1.06. Watties ? $1.50. I’ve used three tins in one day some days. Bang. $1.30-$1.50 difference. People on low incomes can’t fuck around making Watties rich – if they can’t compete on price then fuck off. Bad luck.

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  67. KH (695 comments) says:

    Most of us in business deal as best we can for the best price. It’s ok for us to do so, but the supermarket chain situation is unacceptable. Because for many suppliers there is nowhere else they can sell their goods.
    Markets need to have some rules to ensure they are really markets.
    Time to break up these monopolies. The two chains should be broken up into small units.

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  68. Left Right and Centre (2,986 comments) says:

    Dear flash666 / safesally (both the same person)

    PAK’nSAVE idiot. Pak n Save would be close enough. There’s no ‘c’ in it. Have you ever been to a NZ supermarket moron ?

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  69. BlairM (2,341 comments) says:

    *This is the point Blair. It’s not the free market. It pretends to be the free market but it’s not.*

    What part of it is NOT the free market? I make Canned Bollocks, Countdown offers to sell my Canned Bollocks in their stores. Countdown pays me a certain amount of money (the wholesale price) for my supply of Canned Bollocks. If they don’t pay me enough and it’s no longer profitable for me to make and sell Canned Bollocks to them, I am free to stop doing it. Nobody is stopping me from selling my Canned Bollocks elsewhere, selling them online, selling them at PaknSave… whatever. I don’t have a right to have my Canned Bollocks in Countdown’s stores, and if I did, there would cease to be a free market.

    You can have an opinion that what Countdown does is bad business practice, or it is immoral and unfair, but they are free to offer whatever wholesale prices they please, and suppliers are free to accept or reject them. But I think they will lose out from these tactics. Nobody is forcing anybody to make Canned Bollocks at a loss. If Countdown want to piss off their suppliers, it will not end well for them. People will vote with their feet.

    Ultimately what Countdown does is driven by their customers. If you don’t want cheap groceries, by all means tell them to overpay their suppliers.

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  70. Left Right and Centre (2,986 comments) says:

    Lots of downticks from the Flash666 / safesally et al DS fucktard noddy.

    flash666 / safesally probably works at Countdown screwing the suppliers and asking to be sucked out in exchange for premium shelf space.

    Why do you need multiple accounts mate ?

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  71. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    Nothing would surprise me

    YOU know they will (probably) be doing the same to their Aussies suppliers

    STD Ripp off Practice of the Various MAFIAS trying to control Aus

    the place is about as Corrupt as maybe (insert any other country maybe I N D I A)

    Travelling tip photo graph all rental cars
    they pretend they get a scratch and try Bill you $400 or 2k

    ANother classic is trying to make you pay for someone else damage to a rental property

    They are classics

    It is all going on and More

    Listen to the words of it’s a long way to the Top

    Gettin Ripped Off Under paid

    That is what doing anything here is like

    If you want to do Business here

    YOU HAVE TO INVADE AND TAKE OVER

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  72. Left Right and Centre (2,986 comments) says:

    flash / safesally – Why do you need multiple usernames child ?

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