The New Zealand government has released a discussion paper outlining a potential code of conduct that supermarket operators will need to follow. It will also appoint a commissioner to hold the industry to account. It is part of a wider response to the Commerce Commission’s market study, which found that the supermarket duopoly was making $1 million a day in “excess profits” in New Zealand.
However, a new supermarket code that aims to benefit suppliers is not a silver bullet to solve the profit woes of vegetable growers, industry representatives say. John Murphy, chairman of Vegetable New Zealand, said although there was an imbalance of power in the bargaining power between supermarkets giants and vegetable growers, there were many links in the supply chain that affected grower profits.
Murphy said placing blame on supermarkets had become “an obsession” and that there was more to the market than just challenges around how Foodstuffs and Countdown operated.