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Commerce Commission’s grocery sector submission

8 November 2021

The Commerce Commission’s consultation conference on its Market Study into the Retail Grocery Sector finished on 2 November.  HortNZ and Vegetables NZ have participated in the conference. 

HortNZ has until 23 November to make further submissions in writing.  In March 2022, the Commission will release its report.  This will inform the Government’s next actions and possible reform of the supermarket system.

The main focus of the conference has been on whether competition between the two main supermarket chains is working for consumers.  HortNZ did not submit on this question. Instead, the HortNZ submission focussed on whether there should be a supplier code of conduct, whether it should be mandatory, what it should cover and how collective bargaining could work. 

All conference participants agreed that there should be a mandatory supplier code of conduct.  However, there was not general agreement as to what it should cover and how it should operate. 

Two models were looked at: first, the prescriptive Australian model and second, the principle-based United Kingdom model.  We support a flexible a principle-based model, facilitated by an adjudicator, due to how dynamic the supply of fresh product is.  As far as collective bargaining is concerned, we supported it as an option but indicated we could not see helping with the supply of fresh product.

If you would like to understand more about the Commission’s study and HortNZ’s submission, please contact Mike.Chapman@hortnz.co.nz