Grocery Watchdog Announced by Government

David Clark announces new role to manage the grocery sector - Grocery Commissioner

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark has today announced that the Government will be establishing a Grocery Commissioner to hold the sector accountable.

“Global factors continue to drive up the cost of living around the world and high grocery prices are making it hard for New Zealanders right now. Which is why the Government has taken a range of steps to take the pressure off immediately, while also tackling the underlying problem in the supermarket sector - which is lack of competition.” Said Clark

The Grocery Commissioner will act as a referee in the sector, keeping the supermarket duopoly honest and blowing the whistle when they suspect problems. They will keep a close eye on how the reforms for the industry are implemented, hold annual state-of-competition reviews and ensure that kiwis are getting fair deals at the checkout.

The legislation to establish the new role is expected to be introduced later this year, and the first commissioner will be appointed immediately following the bills passing.

"By placing this role in the Commerce Commission, it will have access to a wealth of information when it comes to economic and competition regulation, fair trading, consumer protection and the grocery sector itself."

Clark also opened consultation for the mandatory Grocery Code of Conduct, a measure that hopes to prevent the imbalance in bargaining power that major retailers currently have over suppliers.

"This is especially important for the small, artisan brands and the emerging start-ups that want to get their products on shelves. We want them to feel empowered and we also want consumers to have the added variety when they go to the supermarket."

The draft consultation paper was developed with input from an advisory group that includes representatives from major grocery retailers, suppliers and consumers. It is available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website now and is open to feedback for five weeks.

Updates will continue as the Government progresses with other actions and reforms in the grocery sector.