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Australian hissy fit at supermarkets

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 pm, February 5th, 2014 - 134 comments
Categories: food, john key - Tags: , , ,

Greywarbler had a comment that got away and grew on its own. Picked out of Open mike.

Australia again. I wish they would adopt an honourable and fair stance to New Zealand instead of using us whenever they want to gain advantage for themselves or throw a hissy fit.

Now they are discriminating against our food exports in two large supermarkets, one of which has a large store ownership here.

This behaviour has to be set alongside the predatory behaviour I think last year where they ran store promotions competing on lowering milk prices to some extent at least, deducted from their payments to their milk suppliers. No doubt this was not the suppliers would have agreed to. I understand it put a strain on their businesses. But when large fierce animals fight the smaller ones must retreat..

NBR today

The campaign by Australian supermarkets Coles and Woolworths has seen New Zealand produced goods stripped off supermarket shelves across the Tasman.

Big Australian supermarkets Coles and Woolworths are systematically removing New Zealand produced goods from their “house brand” labels simply for being non-Australian.

Frozen foods, cheese and fresh vegetables are among the products affected.

Radionz News today

Food exporters have accused Australian supermarkets of taking New Zealand products off their shelves in an effort to appear more patriotic.

They claim the move goes against the spirit of trade agreements between the two countries.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand and Australia have the most comprehensive bilateral free-trade agreement in the world.

But Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich said that is not stopping Coles and Woolworths from stripping New Zealand food from their supermarket shelves as part of a Buy Australia campaign.

She said exporters were scared to talk about the problem publicly in case they were blacklisted by the supermarkets.

The Labour Party’s economic development spokesperson, Shane Jones, said several exporters had raised the problem with him.

Prime Minister John Key said he would put the issue on the table when he meets Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday.

Neither Coles nor Woolworths were immediately available to give a response.

I wonder how our brave Don Quixote will fare (fear) to deal with the nasty tough back-stabbing Ozzies.

Seeing that Progressive here in NZ has been bought by Australian interests, Woolworths, it’s like trying to have their cake and eat it, in both countries.

Some background –

In 2010 there was this comment about Woolworths.

Woolworths imagined in their mind they were going to come into New Zealand and romp home, and to date they’ve had their head handed to them on a plate,” he exclaims.

Morris reckons Asian supermarkets now account for at least 5 per cent of sales in Auckland, but he concedes Foodstuffs and Progressive still have a huge stranglehold nationally.

In 2005, he estimated that between them they controlled 78 per cent of all retail food purchases in New Zealand.

Foodstuffs is, in fact, New Zealand’s second-biggest business behind Fonterra.

Tony Carter has headed the giant co-operative since 2001, after doing time in the family firm (Carter Group) and then working his way up to the chairmanship of Mitre 10. Carter, who incidentally is the brother of Agriculture Minister David Carter, admits few people seem to
appreciate its size.

Summary..

Countdown is a New Zealand full-service supermarket chain, owned by Woolworths Limited. Founded in 1981, Countdown is the flagship brand of Progressive Enterprises, Woolworths’ New Zealand supermarket subsidiary,
and
1948: Progressive Enterprises was established in 1949 by the Picot Family
1961: Progressive Enterprises became the parent company to Foodtown Supermarkets Limited.
(Foodtown between 1958-1961 owned by independents before Picot bought into it.)
1988: Progressive Enterprises became part of Australian business Coles Myer
1992: Coles Myer relaunched Progressive Enterprises onto the New Zealand stock exchange as a public company.

On 25 May 2005, it was announced that Woolworths Limited, one of Australia’s largest retailers, would be purchasing Progressive along with 22 Action stores in Australia. The deal was worth approximately NZ$2.5 billion and culminated in the official transfer of assets on 24 November 2005.

Store brands :
Countdown: 166 supermarket stores
SuperValue: 41 stores – convenience supermarket stores, run as a franchise
Freshchoice: 16 stores – Higher quality supermarket with a large range, run as a franchise
It operates online grocery shopping in the name of Countdown. [
(The Woolworths and Foodtown brands were phased out in early 2012.)

And still NZ owned is Foodstuffs –
Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd is a group of two New Zealand grocery and liquor retailers’ cooperatives based in the North Island and the South Island which collectively control an estimated 52% of the New Zealand grocery market. The group owns retail franchises 4 Square, New World and Pak’nSave, in-store private labels Pam’s and Budget, the Bell Tea and Coffee Company and a ten percent stake in The Warehouse.

Incidentally – Progressive recently bought a 10% share of The Warehouse Group, New Zealand’s largest retailer.

Greywarbler

134 comments on “Australian hissy fit at supermarkets”

  1. Nick 1

    The Greens and Labour were more than happy to implement Buy NZ Made after the 2005 election.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either reject protectionism and support international competitiveness and free trade, or recognise that if you want to shit all over the exports of other nations they have just as much right to shit over yours.

    • karol 1.1

      The imbalance is that Aussie corporates own a load of chains in banks, supermarkets etc, and siphon the profits over to Aussie. NZ needs more protections against Aussie businesses and exports than vice versa.

      • gem 1.1.1

        +1, and also Buy NZ Made was a marketing device which gave people a choice. It didn’t involve blocking exports.
        We are fast becoming a branch office of Australia; now increasingly in elder care and basic home help services, as well as retail, commerce and the media.

        • aerobubble 1.1.1.1

          Oh come on. NZ taxpayers fund Australian welfare benefits but not their own. Neither Lab or Nats cared when they were in power. Sure Clark could do anything since making the case against Howard about how free trade in employment would be harmed wouldn’t wash on Howard (as he a politician and lied about free trade).

          And therein is the problem. The NZ dollar is rising, because our great thick idiot of PM won’t take any measure that will alleviate the high dollar, and which is driving our produce out of
          OZ due to the higher cost. Of course Australian product will become cheaper in NZ. Its because
          we have free trade with OZ.

          Now ask yourself this. How is it that the right and its MSM mates were only recently lording how great it was that kiwis who moved to OZ had to suck it up. They don’t care about
          actual NZ citizens, if it makes the private media panel cheer inanely its a okay platform speech.

          So wonder why people turn off politics, its not about people. So why are you harping on about
          the unfairness of australia ownership. Its not like NZ doesn’t own OZ assets. The problem is not
          that OZ supermarkets are de-emphasizing NZ product, its that our government doesn’t manage
          NZ for the best, by investing in its people. aka child poverty, free tertiary education, removing barriers to wealth (putting a fair tax on property developers and housing).

          I thought when I first heard about the rigged supermarkets that finally we might have that debate, but really its not that at all, of course NZ exports are going to take a hit when
          Key does nothing about the higher NZ-OZ exchange rate.

    • Anne 1.2

      Pfftt to Nick…

      There’ no way tiny NZ with 4 million people is ever going to shit all over the exports of Australia… and it’s 20 million people.

      No. It’s selfish, childish bullying Big Brother behaviour from the “Land of the Plenty”. What I have come to expect from the Aussies over the years.

      • AmaKiwi 1.2.1

        The banker gets the interest on the loan, not the borrower. The landlord gets the rent, not the tenant. The business owner gets the profit on the sale, not the employees and customers.

        As a nation and as individuals we are constantly, chronically in debt. That’s why other people are getting rich off of us.

        What will change us from credit junkies to a nation of savers? Tell me that and I’ll tell you how to turn our economy around.

        • mikesh 1.2.1.1

          Getting rid of “fractional reserve” banking would be a start.

          • AmaKiwi 1.2.1.1.1

            Fractional reserve banking means banks can’t lend out all the money deposited with them. A fraction of the deposits must be kept as cash (or equivalent).

            What are you proposing? That banks be allowed to lend 100% of the money deposited with them of that they can’t lend any of it?

          • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1.2

            Gentlemen.

            The fractional reserve banking system has not been used in the western world for over 80 years.

            The concept of “loanable funds” which they teach undergrads in business school is an anachronism which is so out of date that it is essentially a falsehood.

      • Naki Man 1.2.2

        Yes couldn’t agree more, just like all their lies to try to keep our apples out of a Aussie
        They have us by the balls with their dirty rules.

      • Lloyd 1.2.3

        Its racism. Just like the policy on boat people.

      • aerobubble 1.2.4

        This has more to do with Key getting on a plane to meet Abbott and give kiwi taxpayers in OZ some relief from the harsh draconian tax laws that were introduce to hold back a rise in poor Maori jumping the ditch. Yes, you guessed it we’re talking again about Australia, all because of Howard racism and yet not dealing to the real issue, that our rightwing and theirs are in lock step.
        National is not a national party.

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      Loads of false premises there, Nick.

      Let’s start with the fact that the “free trade” trope was designed to financially benefit only the most powerful corporations in the world, which were of course the ones based in the most developed countries in the world.

      or recognise that if you want to shit all over the exports of other nations they have just as much right to shit over yours.

      It’s important that NZ maintains its own manufacturing and engineering base.

      Whatever else you said is irrelevant to that fact.

      • srylands 1.3.1

        “Let’s start with the fact that the “free trade” trope was designed to financially benefit only the most powerful corporations in the world, ”

        Free trade delivers the most benefit to the poorest in all countries.

        You are wasting your time. New Zealand will continue to champion free trade under any government. There is no alternative.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.1

          Free trade delivers the most benefit to the poorest few richest in all countries while increasing poverty for the many.

          FTFY

          And, yes, that is what reality shows us. Poverty around the world has increased under free-trade while the richest have got exponentially richer.

        • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.2

          “There is no alternative”

          That’s your lack of imagination and creativity speaking.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3.1.2.1

            I have a smidgeon of sympathy for the Aussie resident’s dogma. In the long term free trade would be a good. But until Earth has strongly enforced (the authoritarians should enjoy that) universal human rights, free trade is a mirage.

            PS: No longer a knucklehead, ashamed to wear that title, since it was bestowed by that stirrer of racist prejudice, The Right Honourable John Key, our Lying Prime Minister and Exploiter-of-Bigotry-in-Chief.

            • gem 1.3.1.2.1.1

              These corporate bullies aren’t worried about the ethics of free trade though. They’re using their market power and ignoring the complex web of economic and social ties between NZ and Australia.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Bollocks. They’re thrashing around in a pool of blood oblivious to the sharks. The sharks aren’t bigger corporate bullies, though.

                The sharks are stupid right drivel “policies”. Robots don’t buy enough products to keep the factories open. Funnily enough.

          • srylands 1.3.1.2.2

            No there really is no alternative.

        • mikesh 1.3.1.3

          In the 18th and 19th centuries the US built up its manufacturing base by imposing tariffs against manufactured imports of European origin. These days the US preaches free trade.

          • Lloyd 1.3.1.3.1

            The US manufacturers in the 18th and early 19th centuries also blatantly ripped off patented designs and manufacturing techniques of European manufacturers in a way that would make Hollywood and Microsoft executives burst blood vessels today.

            Dot Com would be a great business magnate in California by those 18th and 19th century US practices.

          • AmaKiwi 1.3.1.3.2

            That’s precisely how both Germany and Japan rebuilt their economies after WW II. You protect local industries until they are strong enough to take on the global big boys. Then you demand free trade so you can get into their markets.

            The breakfast buffet at my hotel in Raratonga had huge bowls of Watties tinned fruit. Why? “Free trade with NZ” made it cheaper for them to buy tinned fruit from NZ than to buy fresh fruit which was growing in everyone’s backyard.

            The Cook Islands aren’t strong enough to protect themselves, so we (NZ companies) take advantage of them.

            If most of what we export are commodities, we have no bargaining chips. We need a smart economy.

          • Tracey 1.3.1.3.3

            The key word is preaches not practices.

        • Tracey 1.3.1.4

          Can you post your link to peer reviewed research which bears out your comment that ft brings the most benefit to the poorest in all countries.

          Can you be sure to define benefits and free trade in this context as well.

          Tia

      • Polish Pride 1.3.2

        It is vitally important that NZ maintains its own manufacturing and engineering base.
        very very true

    • greywarbler 1.4

      Nick
      You sound as if you don’t like encouraging our own commerce and enterprise. You talk tough
      as if this is about war, not trade. Protectionism is not a dirty word. Only if you have swallowed the idea that it is fun to view the striptease of the global market show. A sexy idea, appealing to bold traders and pirates striding the world and making deals.

      But to get back to reality – we have an agreement with Australia, our neighbour. We have been trading for some time, and they are doing very well out of this country. We expect that we will be on most favoured nation terms, not find ourselves suffering a denial of service situation.

      I think that the executive from Buy NZ Scott Willson explains the situation well and answers your points in the NBR article by Jamie Ball.

      “The Buy NZ Made campaign is about celebrating the excellence of New Zealand products,” Buy NZ Made’s PR and marketing executive Scott Willson says.

      “We have no intention of taking a protectionist stance by suggesting that people avoid products that aren’t New Zealand made.
      “Consumers can buy things that aren’t made here if they wish. What we do promote is that we make a lot of great products in New Zealand, our business people are world-class and we should be very proud of that.

    • Tracey 1.5

      ” The Labour Party’s economic development spokesperson, Shane Jones, said several exporters had raised the problem with him. ”

      BUt he kept it to himself

  2. Tigger 2

    Buy NZ is nothing like removing goods from shelves. Nothing.

    Expect more like this from Abbott’s Austalia in the next three years.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    I should say that our Aussie cousins know a lot about acting in the national self interest.

    Us Kiwis should learn a bit more of that from them, instead of being neoliberal apologists like Nick.

    btw, excellent post, GW.

  4. cricklewood 4

    I can count myself as one who uses the chinese super market. My local has a butchery and fresh vege at a fraction of the price of countdown. High quality meat like nz pork fillet can be had for $11.00 a kilo which equates to three meals for us. Id estimate that it saves $30 a week for equivalent but lesser quality food from countdown. Id recommend anyone popping in for a look excellent service and high quality produce at fair price. Only by dry goods from countdown these days…

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Meat from countdown used to be pretty good with the specials. But I haven’t bought much meat from them for a long time. Buy it in bulk at the mad butchers, or pak ‘n’ save, and freeze it.

    • David H 4.2

      I love those Chinese markets. They are the only place to get decent sauces as Countdown only seems to carries that Watties rubbish. But usually I make my own sauces, I just finished a Cherry Tomato, Garlic, Chillie and Lime sauce Will go great on my Meatloaf.

      • greywarbler 4.2.1

        David H
        Couldn’t be more NZ made! Are you a dyed in the wool NZ too?
        You sound like modern man, at one time men wouldn’t know any sauce other than tomato or worcestshire and would never consider making it.

        • David H 4.2.1.1

          Not quite. But my Sauces are, when i make them, and i got a heap of Beefsteak tomatoes on the vine as well, so the rain is welcome, but the humidity not so much.

  5. xtasy 5

    BUY NEW ZEALAND MADE, do not buy AUSTRALIAN made, well they will get second choice, before CHINESE MADE!

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    What we’re actually seeing here is how weak the “free-market” leaves small countries. We’ve become dependent upon those exports and if the companies keep our produce off their shelves for a longish time we are going to see a large drop in our GDP and current account balance. This will result is even more unemployment and failing businesses and there’s nothing we can do about it.

    This is one of the reasons why I think we should be growing our manufacturing base while shrinking our exports. Make it so that we’re no longer dependent upon exports.

    A good article by Frank Macskasy covering this over on TDB.

    • gem 6.1

      It’s not only our leaders’ faith in NZ to manufacture goods that has all but disappeared, but even our ability to oversee basic services such as housework for elderly people. As these providers gain critical mass, they will secure more and more of these public sector contracts. It is insane that we would worsen our current account deficit (through profit outflows) based on the fallacy that we do not have the administrative ability to manage these basic services within NZ.

    • greywarbler 6.2

      And why we should have nothing to do with TPP. Possibly with every new idea or concept we tried to develop we would easily break some contract or limitation of either Australia or USA, and Oz would be as hard on us as the USA.

      It is my feeling that everything is up for grabs by entrepreneurs in the global market. They might even sell you the air you breathe. And if you think this is silly hyperbole, think about some Chinese cities that are badly polluted. A small mask and a backpack flask of breathable air, would probably be the safety pack that everybody wants to have on hand as a basic aid.

      We have been carved up by the big countries, and our small-country politicians have been caught up in the world hype, ooh we are so important, we are in the OECD, we have sat in the UN, been on the Security Council. Mike Moore took his obssession and pushed for a WTO? position, with the same dedication as one of our rowers to get into the Olympics, I think it was Fergusson. They had to find a cheap place to stay, to be present and ready to push their plan forward.

      Sometimes though that enigmatic saying applies – Be careful of what you wish for, you may get it. (And find that you had no how it could turn out to be a dud.) We got free trade and cheaper clothes and toys. Hooray. A future as a respected working citizen. Thumbs down.

      • Anne 6.2.1

        We have been carved up by the big countries, and our small-country politicians have been caught up in the world hype, ooh we are so important, we are in the OECD, we have sat in the UN, been on the Security Council.

        Small man syndrome.

        • greywarbler 6.2.1.1

          Anne
          Yes you could say that. But some small men and women are really feisty, they try harder. But perhaps it’s a matter of perspective, this small country syndrome, and though we might be feisty sometimes, are we seeing far enough, thinking widely enough, magining a scenario that extends us without being too risky, I remember someone making the point that each person draws on their own experience, so you get deeper knowledge but narrower viewpoints from each specialist. Perhaps we have too many farmers giving their opinions at a leadership level.

          Was it CV who mentioned Sutch, he had good ideas, and we have a number who I hear about often but they don’t seem be able to break through.

      • Tracey 6.2.2

        Puts me in mind of these lyrics

        Well as I drive then I begin to see,
        The lazy trade their dignity
        At the root of the conspiracy,
        Is the corporate claim on all our needs.
        Down goes the small man’s dream,
        The franchise rise and provide.
        America how do you like it.
        This is how it will be.
        Goodbye I’m leaving now,

        lizzie west
        Sometime

        • greywarbler 6.2.2.1

          Tracey
          Sounds like lizzie was driving west out of town to Walmart’s giant carpark and cogitating on the small towns’ boarded-up shops on the way.

    • karol 6.3

      Heh. Like the cartoon about the “invisible hand”. However, I also think Macskasy misses something: yes private businesses can focus on selling what ever they want in a capitalist, free market system. But, the focus on stocking Aussie made wouldn’t work if there wasn’t quite a bit of support for that attitude in Aussi. And that is where the government can take a leading role.

      • greywarbler 6.3.1

        karol
        Yes the cartoon was good. Worth a look at The Daily Blog – Frank Macskasy.
        Dylan Horrocks – drawn and quarterly
        http://www.drawnandquarterly.com/shopCatalogLong.php?st=art&art…‎
        Dylan Horrocks is clever, funny, and very, very good at making comic books. His characters grab you and haunt you and even make you worry for them.

        But I can’t imagine that TPP can just be bypassed by private companies.
        And it could be that there is a residual irritation about NZs in Oz. I’m not sure why but I’ve picked up some strange things – like some people not knowing that the NZ in ANZAC is to do with us being in the fight alongside them. The Queensland government after Ansett, and all the dirty, nasty stuff over that, decided not to welcome NZs or something of that nature. Then noticed a drop in visitors, ooh we are down percentages on NZ visitors, money is being missed here, and the negativity was dealt with. But that it was so readily aroused makes for thought and wonder.

        We too are dependent on Oz for much of our trading and tourism. It’s a worry about such unreasonable business behaviour when the government has left us with so few areas of enterprise we can operate in. And do we have any protections against Australians coming here and utilising our country’s social services? Soon areas over there won’t be liveable. We don’t need any more demand for houses by new settlers. Not till we have got thousands up. And at the moment our wonderfully disorganised internal supply system has not enough wood set aside from exports for our needs. In this land of plenty….. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvPUBwU9nTI

        • karol 6.3.1.1

          The first ANZAC Day that I spent in Aussie, I was amazed at how they completely ignored NZ’s role in it – it was all about Aussie and how it was the basis of Aussie identity.

          • Murray Olsen 6.3.1.1.1

            I saw a video on a Qantas flight once about how Australia won the first world war for the allies. That was under Howard, when they really were trying to be a little Amerika. Now the process has sped up again.
            As far as food on supermarket shelves is concerned – I haven’t noticed much change in Brisbane. We buy NZ cheese and Watties canned stuff, and it’s still available, as is L&P. The ordinary Aussie cheese and canned goods are tasteless rubbish.
            What I have noticed is Dick Smith using patriotism as a big selling point for his stuff, and putting out food lines covered with the flag. I bet he uses different advertising in Aotearoa.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.3.2

        And that is where the government can take a leading role.

        That’s just it – the government can’t do anything about it. Our government may mention it but all the Aussies will see is us whinging and that’s it – their government won’t do anything about it. It’s the same with NZ citizens not getting basic welfare over there while Aussies do get it here – there’s nothing our government can do about that either.

        • RedLogix 6.3.2.1

          While personally I’m working in Aussie at the moment and moved there fully aware of the situation I was walking into – it’s not the same for many other kiwis here at the moment.

          Right now there are about 620,000 New Zealanders working in Australia on what they call a Special Category visa. It’s an odd arrangement. On the one hand it’s explicitly called a temporary visa, yet on the other hand it has no time limit. It allows you access to basic Medicare (as long as you sign a declaration saying that you intend to stay ‘permanently’ in Australia – which everyone knows you can’t.). But that’s it.

          It was introduced in 2001 by the Howard govt. and as every year passes by more and more people are getting caught up in the trap – that over time they naturally settle down, buy a home or business, have kids, send them to school, they have their own lives, and the connection with New Zealand becomes more tenuous.

          Many have no family, property or connection at all with New Zealand – yet eventually because they can never become Aussie citizens, or ever retire in Australia, they have to come back to New Zealand.

          This scenario probably only applies to a fraction of the 620,000, but as each decade goes by it’s a number that will steadily increase.

          Interestingly when I mention it to all the Aussies I actually meet and work with – they are all quite unaware and rather appalled to discover this. By contrast Abbot when asked about this said “Kiwis in Australia can pay their taxes here but we don’t owe them anything. That’s how it should be.”

          Back on topic though – the big supermarkets here are pushing the ‘made in Australia’ marketing line because they themselves are facing a strong German/UK entrant into their domestic market in the form of ALDI’s who ship in just about everything from Europe. They’ve stepped back from the ‘big box’ format to lots of very new, medium-sized shops that are a lot more attractive places to shop. The big incumbents are probably hurting as a result.

          The ‘made in Aussie’ line is just smart marketing from their perspective, and New Zealand suppliers are just collateral damage as far as they are concerned.

          • greywarbler 6.3.2.1.1

            Red Logix
            Thank you for that input. Your observations are always worth hearing.

            I noted this –
            Many have no family, property or connection at all with New Zealand – yet eventually because they can never become Aussie citizens, or ever retire in Australia, they have to come back to New Zealand.

            I was talking to someone who has been working for some time for an oil company there. Oh I said suddenly anxious, has he got citizenship. No, but they look after him well. I feel that you can’t count on anything these days. That is so naive.

            And people should have enough money saved to live on for some years until they are entitled to be paid super. And that is at the age limit now. People should find out how long they have to have been living here before they qualify. I hope no-one over there assumes they can live most of their lives away from NZ, paying their taxes there, and when the country doesn’t reciprocate with a retirement pension, that they can just return to NZ and put in their application with a short wait. They will probably be granted it, but may have to wait years before they qualify for payment.

            Marx noted that people who move up a part or full class, say in having a small business, being an employer, consider they have got out of the proletariat, but in fact they are always vulnerable to sliding back.

        • Lloyd 6.3.2.2

          How about all New Zealanders boycotting Countdown for a week, maybe the NZ managers of Countdown or Countdown’s potential losses will make the Oz owners realise NZ workers can influence their pockets so maybe they shouldn’t be so overtly anti-NZ.

          • Tracey 6.3.2.2.1

            That would require people to act.

            After reading on here the rather obvious notion that using self serve will cut jobs… I stopped using self serve no matter how few things I have. Theres always the 12 and under human served queue.

            Am seriously considering leaving Countdown for good. I already use a small butchery and local fruit and veg store.

            Thanks to the people who suggest the obvious. Sometimes its the only push I need.

          • greywarbler 6.3.2.2.2

            Lloyd and Tracey
            I was thinking about giving the smug Countdowns a pain in their till. As I said they are having their cake and eating it on both sides of the Tasman. They need to understand that for every action there will be a reaction. What would be effective, intelligent?

            What would be good is if a facebook afficianado? could get people excited and acting about this. I can’t cope with any more technology than I have now, and facebook I’m rather unsure about. But for getting the word around it’s good. Anyone got ideas?

            And self-serve queues. One thing that supermarkets do is offer clean work, help young ones earn and get started, and do something that gets respect mostly. I will self-serve with a few things, but I won’t feel obliged to. I think Rhinocrates has felt pressured.

            • Tracey 6.3.2.2.2.1

              In late August 2006 Progressive Enterprises locked its supermarket distribution centre workers out of their jobs, creating one of the highest profile industrial disputes in New Zealand in recent memory. Progressive Enterprises is 100% owned by Woolworths Australia, a company which reported a profit of $A1.01 billion, a 24.3% increase on the previous year. The then boss of Woolworths Australia, Roger Corbett, had to make do with a salary of $A8.5 million a year, earning more in a day than the average full time checkout operator earns in a year.

              • srylands

                So you think that is too much profit? Not enough? What?

              • greywarbler

                Tracey
                Yes there was mention of that I think in the wikipedia page. It said that they had made changes to wages that sounded reasonable. Had John Key been over there before that, talking up our low wage economy.? We weren’t the pushovers they had expected. What a darling Johnny is, warm and personable, full of breezy nonchalance that charms while it confuses. (How’s that for the drivel of a women’s mag.)

                And you are attracting some interest from Whylands who will always pop up for a dopey question. But I suggest don’t give him a bone, it only encourages him/her? I think he should get a good-looking gravatar so that the page is decorated with something artistic each time he appears.

    • Colonial Viper 6.4

      “This is one of the reasons why I think we should be growing our manufacturing base while shrinking our exports. Make it so that we’re no longer dependent upon exports.”

      What Sutch would call “import substitution.” It was recognised decades ago as being crucial for NZs strategic well being.

      • James Thrace 6.4.1

        Sutch also recognised the dangers in allowing overseas entities to gain shares in what once were NZ owned and operated businesses.

        His 20+ pages of businesses that once were the stronghold of NZ Manufacturing that he outlined in “Takeover New Zealand” would probably be down to 2 pages at the most if printed today.

        Sutch had many good ideas – his sugarbeet idea for the Far North if taken up would have contributed quite bit to GDP then, but now I say it’d be a plant like Stevia which would have far more beneficial effects for the Far North than sugar. Stevia commands around $200p/kg while sugar is around $5 p /kg

        • greywarbler 6.4.1.1

          James Thrace
          The pattern is for a NZ entrepreneur to develop something and then if it is good, sell it, receive capital, and the idea and business opportunity is exploited elsewhere, or has been costed up beyond the means of NZs by having to pay out too many investors, and inflated by a rising price from too many buyers. We might get the capital but the earnings go away
          into others pockets, foreigners here or overseas.

          I think we need an investment fund that enables NZ Inc to buy up and keep various businesses that are beneficial to us and good earners.

          It seems that we are too slow to find opportunities, try new things, and government needs to make experimentation more frequent with leadership and tax advantages. Also willingness to examine the viability and efficacy of long-term approaches. This would allow hemp to rise as a useful crop. It provides oil and fibre for fabrics, ropes etc.

          I understand there are a lot of sweeteners apart from stevia, obtained from natural sources, and with less side effects than sugar.

          In Nelson we had Dick Roberts, who experimented with micro-climates and proved how crop bearing trees could be grown in an area which had cold spells and frost, if they were placed in north-facing, south-protected spots on his land. Using the actual information obtained by inquisitive and determined ideas people, would add to our GDP and our food spectrum and economy in general.

          It would have enabled the West Coast S.I. to develop industries after there was a brake on native tree felling, and increase the residual alternative business that is there now. I believe that a sock business didn’t go well. Postie I think moved, could they have stayed with their major operation if encouraged?

          • Draco T Bastard 6.4.1.1.1

            I think we need an investment fund that enables NZ Inc to buy up and keep various businesses that are beneficial to us and good earners.

            Just ban foreign ownership. That way, no matter who the original owner sell the successful business to it’s still in NZ ownership. Personally, I suspect that there would be less selling and more innovation.

            It seems that we are too slow to find opportunities, try new things, and government needs to make experimentation more frequent with leadership and tax advantages.

            The tax credits don’t really do enough – far better just to go to direct government funding of R&D through universities, polytechs and small business. That’s what the US does and it’s what brought us the computers we use today. Hell, even Apple’s Siri was developed through government funding.

            • Tracey 6.4.1.1.1.1

              Tpp is partly about disenfranchising citizens. The people may want to ban foreign ownership but tpp will override that.

            • greywarbler 6.4.1.1.1.2

              Acronyms – I like R&D and what it does. Properly used there would be more R&R – Rock and Roll, then Rest and Recreation. And happiness, busy work then time off for doing one’s own thing and with the money to do it.

              I thought that was how it would always be in society when I was young. I never imagined that this desert of opportunities would result from the machinations of the fat cats, and that is defaming cats.

      • srylands 6.4.2

        “What Sutch would call “import substitution.” It was recognised decades ago as being crucial for NZs strategic well being.”

        And totally debunked by all thinking people after 1984. You might want to read this:

        http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/briefings/1984i/

        • Tracey 6.4.2.1

          Gosh now you consider treasury to be all thinking people. IOW every piece of advice they have given this government that was ignored by this govt makes this government unthinking people. Who to vote for shrillands, who to vote for.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.4.2.2

          The GFC totally debunked the Treasuries debunking.

  7. One Anonymous Knucklehead 7

    New Zealand exporters have done little to counter right wing bullshit over the last thirty years. In fact they’ve embraced it. Now they feel the pain of mainstream right wing opinion prejudice targeted at them.

    Sauce for the goose. Boo hoo.

    • gem 7.1

      I don’t accept this; exporters are embedded in system they didn’t choose – both main parties follow the free trade mantra. The Aussies do very well out of us indeed across a range of sectors, and the supermarket chains are just taking the mickey by not even allowing their customers a choice.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        I think OAK has forgotten about the ‘cemetery of evidence’ ie the thousands of manufacturing exporters who shut down through the 80s and 90s.

        The days when “rightwing bullshit” was being espoused by both Labour and National.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1.1

          Nope.

          By their actions ye shall know them, etc., etc.

          PS: OAK no longer, I’ll answer to KTH but 🙂

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1

            OAB what i dont get is why you are victim blaming. Manufacturers are not economists. Those in Govt, Treasury etc all said it was the right thing to do.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2

        Oh Bollocks. Human rights abusers have been relying on their enablers employing this sophistry “I didn’t choose the system” since year dot.

        Get off your knees.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.2.1

          Not sure why you’re being difficult about this; many manufacturers believed what Roger Douglas told them were necessary reforms and at that time no one had a better economic idea.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2.1.1

            Are you serious? Douglas’ vandalism was only possible because of authoritarian traps we all fall into – Stanford prison experiment much?

            Democracy is strong because it relies on many voices, not persuasive prophets.

          • gem 7.1.2.1.2

            ‘no one had a better economic idea.’
            Apart from Jim Anderton of course, who had a solid business background and was deserted by the New Zealand Labour Party. Perhaps every Labour Party member should be condemned for not joining him. It would be a fairer charge to level than condemning exporters, but it’s never that simple.

          • Murray Olsen 7.1.2.1.3

            CV – when Douglas Rogered the country, no one had a worse idea. There were plenty of better ones around, but the first ACT government was in love with TINA.

          • KJT 7.1.2.1.4

            Not really true.

            A lot of people, including manufacturers opposed Douglas’ “reforms”.

            Nothing anyone could do due to the nature of our system of Governance.

            Three yearly absolute dictatorship.

            The only way to prevent it was to swallow a lot of dead rats and vote National. Which the majority promptly did.

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2.1.4.1

              And promptly found National to be worse than the 4th Labour government.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.2.1.4.2

              Well, no one had the guts to call a General Strike against the 4th Labour Govt which is what was required. Union leadership in the main helped march their workers off a cliff.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2.1.5

            Just going back to this point CV, the prejudice I’m referring to is manifested in such things as the employment contracts act, and benefit cuts that Richardson, not Douglas, perpetrated.

        • gem 7.1.2.2

          You are complicit in systems of oppression too, like accepting the likely exploitation and humiliation of the workers who made the electronic device you use to criticise others for not standing against the system.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2.2.1

            I don’t advocate that people should resist “the system” – that argument only feeds right wing dogma. I urge that people hold to human rights, because they’re what systems are for.

            • gem 7.1.2.2.1.1

              OK, so you prefer not to address the issue then.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Where did I fail to address the issue? The purpose of systems is the protection of human rights. This “buy Australian” campaign seems in breach of CER, which was established by “the system” for the (alleged) benefit of both parties.

                The removal of NZ produce from Australian supermarket shelves is very on dubious legal ground, because of the system.

                My “complicity” is mandatory for all but hermits, or people who knit their own electronics, and this includes you. By this rule no-one can speak out against anything.

                • greywarbler

                  It is hard for an individual to stop exploitation of workers by powerful employers. It is hard for NZ to stop the exploitation of their produce in this game of advantage by Australian mega-busineses. Supermarkets there have a duopoly with turnover in the billions. There is a free market system and we fit in, or drop out. And even if we fit in, we now know we can be dropped out despite any government agreements we hold.

                  By limiting own-brand produce to Australian-made only, they have caused us large losses, first to our producer businesses and also to our GDP. They do it because it advantages them and they have the power to do it, so they choose to take that advantage. It is a PR thing in conjunction with the Buy Australian Made lobby, which the supermarkets are running at present, and this must be after they have contracted with NZ suppliers to make their home-brand goods to a low price they have agreed to. Which the supermarkets now are renegging on, because it suits them at the moment. And actually, Australians have renegged before in other dealings.

                  It’s the system, it is hard to trade in, or understand the extent of expectations of the free market, because free is a word of many meanings. And in the end nothing can be free, of cost, of controls, of principles, because someone will have to pay in money or kind. And that can feel very unkind.

                • gem

                  I understand where you’re coming from on this. But Australia is our only close neighbour, CER dates back 30 years, there is reasonable (historically) equality between the two parties; a ‘system’ of trade is not unreasonable.
                  So how do we make the relationship work? At the moment it is not. NZ should not be an economic vassal state of our neighbour, with Australia a microcosm of the USA’s modus operandi of preaching trade links and acting only in its narrow self interest.
                  This is not the time to say, ‘ah well, those guys understand we’re all being screwed over and good on them’. Further up the thread, you justified the Aussies’ actions with an analogy of them reacting to their circumstances of swimming in a pool of sharks (right-wing policies).
                  I’m only asking you to cut our guys the same slack.
                  How can we expect our imagined ‘exporters’ to be left-wing and have swum against the economic tide of the past 30 years?
                  At present, the New Zealand Labour Party supports in principle the TPPA.
                  That’s a pretty good litmus test in my view that Labour is still signed up to the neoliberal international financial regime (with some genuine attempts at softening the market economy with higher wage subsidies).
                  Democracies are pluralist, groups advocate their own interest.
                  The problem is that neoliberalism destroyed the ability of institutions like the Labour Party from pushing back on the paradigm of free trade etc.
                  Exporters can be forgiven for thinking in short term bottom line terms. Sometimes, to them, this means keeping people in jobs.
                  The individuals involved are often provincial and conservative in upbringing and outlook, and ambivalent but accepting of the prevailing conditions.
                  I doubt their outlook is very well expressed by the likes of faux industry bodies like (Big) Business NZ.
                  There are signs of hope. Animation entrepreneur Ian Taylor is on this Sunday’s Insight programme on Radio NZ calling time on the rort of CEO wages.
                  Taylor has built a company of international standing, and is paid only 3 times his lowest-paid employee. Compare that with the SOE or bank CEO, who played no part building the entity, but will be paid multiples, in some cases hundreds, of times those of the workers who clean the business.
                  When will Labour call time on the rort of CEO wages?

                  • greywarbler

                    Gem
                    I think you have been thinking of OAB and the talk about being stuck in the system by exporters. But of course it is easy to theorise. Perhaps OAB has expertise here but I don’t remember reference to hard experience.

                    I am concerned about our exporters, so often praised by the government, and yet with barriers to jump. And one of the biggest is the volatility in the NZ$. I have heard them complain of that many times. I think it is caused by our currency being used by short-term price takers as a resting place apparently before being yanked out and put into a more lucrative investment.

                    I don’t know how much government help there is for present and budding exporters. I presume there are tax breaks for visiting a country. And the Trade and Industry used to help in various ways, plus funding trade fair promotions.

                    It is not good to think that NZ business have presumably, made a contract to supply these Oz supermarkets, and that contract must have been broken by the supermarkets. It is dishonest and there is a possibility that a group of NZ traders could band together and get suitable legal advice as to whether there could be a case against the supermarkets. Being afraid to do so for fear of being left outside the loop would not count for much now. The Australians’ self-interest is heightened as there is this new entry into the market, Aldi from Germany apparently, which I read prefers to sell home-grown produce sold from medium sized supermarkets. So if NZ doesn’t fit into the home brand, will they abandon other lines at will?

                    You ask So how do we make the relationship work? At the moment it is not. NZ should not be an economic vassal state of our neighbour, with Australia a microcosm of the USA’s modus operandi of preaching trade links and acting only in its narrow self interest. How indeed?

                    And how can Labour help our exporters who aren’t in the big five or ten. Can we find new markets? Our terms of trade with Oz are never going to return to those of earlier years, we have to widen our pool. And learn to treat Oz as carefully as China. We thought we understood Oz, that a common heritage made them transparent, but specialists in Australian business practices are obviously needed to avoid being taken to the cleaners every five or ten years.

  8. xtasy 8

    It would be easier to BAN me, I suppose, if some moderators here were more honest and had the guts to openly do so.

    I posted some recent comments, which will not be liked by some, and I experienced the same on other blogs. So I am about to sign off for good, as I tried before. It is all about “party lines” this year, being pro or not, and no matter what is right or wrong, an election is intended to be “won” no matter what, so the truth means stuff all now. Indeed I witnessed the one sided “cheer leading” here over recent weeks, and little of substance being discussed. Sad days, sad days, these are.

    I get the message and will say good bye to the Standard!

    Xtasy

    • greywarbler 8.1

      xtasy
      You are anxious about the country’s direction and lack of understanding, as are many of us here. Sometimes it seems useless, nothing seems to happen, the important points are laid aside while comparative trivia dominates, and action isn’t being even considered by power brokers and leaders.

      You write incisively and inform about things you know. Your input is valuable. Perhaps you could take a break, and come back and interact and inform, and then a break again in a pattern that allows you to last the election year out. Just writing about what you perceive to be the most important and immediate news item or thought expressed so that it is not too time consuming would perhaps be less demanding on your energy so we can continue to have your input.

      Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that. Getting even a slightly different viewpoint through to others who are encultured in theirs is a major success. So could it be adieu, which I understand means till we meet again soon?

      • xtasy 8.1.1

        “You write incisively and inform about things you know. Your input is valuable. Perhaps you could take a break, and come back and interact and inform, and then a break again in a pattern that allows you to last the election year out.”

        Thanks ‘greywarbler’, I will consider your suggestion and advice.

        I had a very bad day yesterday, and when I had to learn how my own GP (of many years) does not stand up and apologise for mistakes he clearly made, and in some ways also covers the back of a known, very biased WINZ “hatchet doctor” who a few years ago made an appalling “recommendation” to WINZ, then I have to worry!

        A reminder:
        http://www.racp.org.nz/page/afoem-health-benefits-of-work
        http://www.racp.org.nz/index.cfm?objectid=E1D5428F-B1BF-2C2F-7A247F80DC4F363C
        http://www.racp.org.nz/page/racp-faculties/australasian-faculty-of-occupational-and-environmental-medicine/realising-the-health-benefits-of-work/latest-news/

        http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/14923-health-and-disability-commissioner/

        Indeed there are things going on in this country that are hard to believe, but absolutely true. Doctors tend to cover each others backs, when things go wrong, and that is also why so few are successful to hold them responsible and accountable for misconduct. The Health and Disability Commissioner is another institution that covers up a lot. Now we have the government influence supposedly “independent” doctors to do what they expect of them (e.g. WINZ assessments and medical certification). New Zealand is not the “uncorrupted” country that the government and business want to make us believe. I am extremely worried about what is going on, but hardly anybody raises matters, certainly not Labour and their MPs. They already have their minds set on the ministerial posts they will likely hold, so they will continue with the crap we now have in welfare, I am afraid.

        Anyway, I need a fair bit of rest, to focus also on matters of direct relevance to my situation. Best wishes all!

        • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.1

          Don’t give up. I’d be very surprised if Dr. Bratt isn’t on the Green Party’s to do list.

        • gem 8.1.1.2

          Hi Xtasy, I wanted to thank you because I find your links and analysis useful for my work. It can be lonely and frustrating being an advocate, and there are too few in health/welfare, so well done.
          My take is governments have used fashionable/dodgy trends in psychology – twinned with the propensity of medicine to attract a fair few psychopaths – to divest themselves of their responsibilities over the past 20 years, in the process enacting very cruel behaviour on accident victims and welfare recipients.
          In her book Smile or Die, Barbara Ehrenreich parallels the rise of popular psychology and the mass redundancies of the 1990s. She is a brilliant, witty writer.
          It’s hard to interest people in what doesn’t directly affect them; no party is going to use political capital to change the system, and those who are affected often end up exhausted or destroyed.
          We can’t really blame our favourite scapegoat, the mainstream media, as because of the compelling nature of these stories, there are plenty of examples of ACC psychopathy in particular (I’m not saying the media is perfect on this issue, but it is reported frequently, with sympathy and respect).
          Sometimes the light gets in; there was a lovely story in the Guardian recently about an ordinary Englishman who debunked (with a published academic article) a nonsense psychology shibboleth that held your success in life boiled down to a ratio of positive thoughts to negative thoughts. An extract:

          ‘It was as simple as that. The mysteries of love, happiness, fulfilment, success, disappointment, heartache, failure, experience, random luck, environment, culture, gender, genes, and all the other myriad ingredients that make up a human life could be reduced to the figure of 2.9013.’…
          ‘The answer’, says Brown when I meet him in a north London cafe, ‘is because that’s how it always happens. Look at whistleblower culture. If you want to be a whistleblower you have to be prepared to lose your job. I’m able to do what I’m doing here because I’m nobody. I don’t have to keep any academics happy. I don’t have to think about the possible consequences of my actions for people I might admire personally who may have based their work on this and they end up looking silly. There are 160,000 psychologists in America and they’ve got mortgages. I’ve got the necessary degree of total independence.’
          The link to the Guardian story is here.

          I have been re-reading Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook recently, and found my favourite passage, which is also apt:

          ‘We spend our lives fighting to get people very slightly more stupid than ourselves to accept truths that the great men have always known. They have known for thousands of years that to lock a sick person into solitary confinement makes him worse. They have known for thousands of years that a poor man who is frightened of his landlord and of the police is a slave. They have known it. We know it. But do the great enlightened mass of the British people know it? No. It is our task, Ella, yours and mine, to tell them. Because the great men are too great to be bothered. They are already discovering how to colonise Venus and to irrigate the moon. That is what is important for our time. You and I are the boulder-pushers. All our lives, you and I, we’ll put all our energies, all our talents into pushing a great boulder up a mountain. The boulder is the truth that the great men know by instinct, and the mountain is the stupidity of mankind.’

          • xtasy 8.1.1.2.1

            gem – I have just come across your comment. Thank you, I almost feel a bit flattered, certainly encouraged to keep up raising my voice, also for others. That is of course, health, time and resources permitting.

  9. Macro 9

    Commenting from WA…
    Oh bugger! Coles Date and Almond Natural Muesli (produced in NZ) is the only thing that makes waking up in the morning bearable in 35 degrees plus!
    Seriously though – its about time nations took back the control of their food supplies from a handful of supermarket chains. The abusive power of supermarkets over their suppliers is well known. It not good for our long term survival, is ultimately unsustainable, and in the end results in the sale of junk food at enormous profit.
    But it will not be easy. When the UK govt tried to bring supermarkets to heal in the early terms of the Blair govt – it all turned to custard. Walmart suddenly acquired a foot hold where previously they had been denied entry; prices dropped and even more junk food arrived – problem “solved”.

    • Macro 9.1

      for a more informative analysis of the power of the supermarket in what nations eat see:
      “Not on the Label – what really goes into the food on your plate” by Felicity Lawrence, based on the UK supermarket scene but i’m sure equally applicable to Australia and NZ.

    • greywarbler 9.2

      Supermarkets have good ranges of food, kept up to date. Though do people realise that their biscuits might be a year old! And how do they keep bugs at bay all that time? It is because supermarkets have such a supply, because they are pleasant and attractive, easy parking, and they still can have a touch of the village, meeting known people even in a large town, that keeps you going.

      What really niggles me is the money flowing over to Oz for providing a shop to sell our food.
      And the way their house brands push out other manufacturers, vertical integration. And the way that suddenly they aren’t stocking something because it didn’t sell fast enough. And the space gets taken by a new brand from Thailand or China. Or the way they force a price on goods made in nz that the manufacturers have to agree to, or be replaced by stock from Oz. The companies may stock the shelves themselves, their workers only allowed in when it suits the supermarket, and they might actually pay for shelf space. If a product is developed and becomes popular, the supermarket may want to copy it with their own brand.

      But changing to different shopping patterns has to be a deliberate decision because it is easy to park and get to supermarkets. And they provide good entry-level jobs, I know older people and young ones at each place I go to.

      • Macro 9.2.1

        Actually when at home I buy most of what I need not at the supermarket but at the local farmers market on a Saturday – not only is it cheaper and fresher, I get to know the people who produce my food. We buy raw milk, produced locally and bake our own bread. Fruit and veg we grow ourselves. There is fish to be caught 20 mins away, and the local butcher doesn’t package her product in polystyrene trays to add to rubbish heaps.

        • greywarbler 9.2.1.1

          Macro
          Soungs like a good template for us all to aim at. I will make a point of going down to the farmers market, which I haven’t used for a while. They offer what they have, sometimes too much of one thing, but still important to keep supporting. I do buy from the small organic Green Grocer, and support local milk and also a smaller milk company from the N.I. which has a good product.

          Our FreshChoice supermarket has a buy local approach on fruit and vegs, I think they start with local and then look further if needed.
          A local supplier says that they are good to deal with.

  10. millsy 10

    Good on the Aussies for putting their own producers and their workers first.

    I wish our supermarkets had the same backbone. I despair at the amount of imported food in our supermarkets, surely we can produce it ourselves.

    Perhaps growers and farmers should take over our supermarkets and run them as producer owned co-ops?

    • greywarbler 10.1

      millsy
      Trade is not bad. Trade with other countries giving imports and exports is not bad. It is how the trading system is conducted that is important. Here are some items on food security and imports.

      Food security – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_security‎
      The UN noted that about 2 billion people do not consume a sufficient amount of … Crop production is not required for a country to achieve food security. … Around the world, few individuals or households are continuously self-reliant for food.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_security

      http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/may/07/half-population-food-imports-2050
      Over half the world’s population could rely on food imports by 2050 – study
      Potsdam Institute projection suggests population growth would increase imported food, even without climate change

      “Assuming that all low-income economies achieve full potential productivity by 2050 in addition to full cropland expansion – which would be a huge societal and technological challenge and thus a very optimistic assumption – the food self-sufficiency gap will still be equivalent to about 55–123 million people, with over 20 million in Niger and Somalia alone,” explained Fader, whose findings are published in Environmental Research Letters. Add on the impact of climate change – not included in this study – and the problem could be even more severe.
      A number of developed countries, including the UK, the Netherlands and Japan, are already unable to meet the food requirements of their populations. This reliance on imports looks set to become worse as population levels rise. However, unlike the developing countries, these nations will probably be able to buy their way out of the problem.

      The ideal for food supply which is practical for a nation, is that first you grow enough to feed your people in normal healthy communities, and then use the excess to trade to improve and add to your resources in either food or materials. So if people can do that it has self-sustainability and management, and building some trade on specialties, even dried or preserved food from the excesses, provides the community with a continuing level of wellbeing.

      Trouble arises when business people see opportunities to treat local supply as an externality, shoulder the people and crops off their regular areas of supply, and use that themselves for growing export crops for individual cash return. The people have to work at nurturing the export crop and receive a return of cash or resources and so get their keep at one or two removes from their original hands-on, personal involvement of self-supply and sufficiency.

      In NZ the government, in the quest of cheapness under the sacred model of competition, has opened our borders with few tariffs or controls which is bad for the economy which becomes attacked on price, and weakened by the imported poorer quality though cheaper product, and in addition new invasions of destructive pests, plant or insect.

      NZ government allows imports of food that undermine our own food producing businesses. They will import, unless they are aggressively battled using legal constraints and stopped by local businesses, from countries with endemic diseases that we are free of. These would put our healthy crops and status at risk, in the name of competition.

      So our own government can feel justified in putting our economy at risk and consider they are behaving correctly, because they are working firstly in the interests of global trading. And they place this above the interests of their own people and economy. Isn’t that subversive and deluded, undermining their own nation, credulously believing alien and destructive behaviours are beneficial even when obviously diminishing, even destroying it?

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        Trade, if minimised, isn’t bad but when trade becomes the be-all for the economy then it has massive detrimental effects. The economy should be about ensuring that no one within the nation is living in poverty and not about more and more profit for the few at the top.

  11. emergency mike 11

    Good to see that John Key the great deal maker is going to have a chat to Tony Abbot about this.

    JK: So Tony, what’s up with this supermarkets removing kiwi products from their shelves thing?

    TA: Fuck should I know?

    JK: So yeah look, the only reason I ask is that the reality is that I’m gonna be asked about what we decided about this one Tony. Ackshully, I need to say something. Any ideas mate?

    TA: Do you like fishing? You could talk about that.

    JK: Nah golf and BBQs are my normal person cover. Besides I did a “let’s talk about snapper instead” thing not too long ago.

    TA: Mate what you do is when the journo asks about it you just stare at him and say nothing. I’m mean just total silent treatment stuff. There’s a vid of me doing it on youtube, the journo just didn’t know what to do. So awesome.

    JK: Hmm probably not the time for me to pull that one out. Nice one though.

    TA: I know thanks. Well, you could say something like, we had a good talk about it…

    JK: We looked at it.

    TA: We looked at it and we agreed that it was an issue…

    JK: Um, that it was something worth discussing.

    TA: Yes, that it was something worth discussing, and that we’ll be taking some steps to…

    JK: hiss We’ll take a look at where to go from here.

    TA: Going forward.

    JK: No no.

    TA: Shit you’re clearly better at this than me John. I just say what Mark Textor tells me to say.

  12. dv 12

    From the is this really true files.
    Apparently its been going on for 4 yrs!

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/9690681/Vintners-win-South-Island-trademark-fight

    Woolworths applied to register a trademark wine label in New Zealand in 2009 using the name South Island and an image of a mountain.

    The association spent four years opposing the application in defence of southern winegrowers and was awarded more than $3000 in costs by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

    • greywarbler 12.1

      dv
      That was good to know about. But four years of expensive legal action against this attempted takeover of our cultural location and symbol! And it should have been settled in law in 2006. And Australia has a practical law that is a saver against such a swipe, and we need that too, especially with the need to save Maori from theft of their intellectual property.

      Our governments couldn’t even run a brothel successfully. They’d never make any money because they’d always be giving away samples to their mates, and to ingratiate themselves with powerful people from overseas.

  13. Sanctuary 13

    “…Woolworths imagined in their mind they were going to come into New Zealand and romp home,…”

    Whittakers vs. Cadburys is probably the most legendary example of a Sydney dictated business disaster in New Zealand. Almost straight after being voted NZs most trusted brand, Cadbury changed the size, packaging and ingredients of its chocolate, and Whittakers pounced.

    Now, a friend of mine worked for the advertising company that had the Cadbury’s account. That person told me they repeatedly warned the Sydney HQ that, unlike Aussie, in New Zealand the Cadbury brand faced a significant and agile market competitor and changing all three components at once risked a brand PR disaster. They were simply told that NZ had to comply with the Australian timeline for the changes.

    The rest is history.

    • alwyn 13.1

      The quote about “Woolworths imagining they were going to romp home” appears to come from an analyst at an Auckland company.

      Why not go to the source?
      In 2005, when Woolworths in Australia were looking to buy the Progressive stores, their then CEO, Roger Corbett, went on record that he didn’t think it would be easy operating in New Zealand. He said in fact, that Pak’NSave was perhaps the most efficient and best run supermarket chain in the world.
      I can’t find the full story, which I read in an Australian paper but here is the gist of it.

      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/a338-billion-woolworths-deal-raises-speculation-many-fronts

      Hardly the views of someone who thought it was going to be a breeze is it?

  14. greywarbler 14

    Alwyn
    Certainly it appears the case that Oz supermarkets knew that NZ wasn’t going to be easy.

    NBR 27/5/2005
    An editorial in tomorrow’s National Business Review says consumers will be the clear winner and that any demands from Australia to see a quick return on the massive investment could produce “further opportunities for competitor Foodstuffs and also The Warehouse, which has indicated it wants to expand further its grocery lines. The Australians have little to teach them about running stores.”

    This month – It is estimated that the Australian campaign could potentially cost this country over $700 million in exports and be in breach of competition laws as well as the Closer Economic Relations (CER) treaty.
    “The actions of Coles and Woolworths to shut out New Zealand producers from a very large section of the Australian retail market is anti-competitive and most likely in breach of Australian competition law,” Australian commercial lawyer Ian Robertson told NBR PRINT recently.
    The two supermarket companies control about 80% of Australia’s retail market, giving rise to the question of misuse of market power.

  15. hoom 15

    I find it rather hilarious to see Free Market/Globalisation champions befuddled & outraged to discover that Economic Patriotism exists.
    Not only exists but is being practiced in Australia, our closest neighbour & historical biggest economic partner.
    Is being practiced by the same companies that run a bunch of our companies.

    Utterly dumbfounded, surprised, angry & demanding something be done about it by the defanged, defunded Government!

    Well, a lot of us can say ‘we told you so’.
    – other countries do this.
    – a lot.
    – you sold our stuff to them.
    – you let them run a hell of a lot of our important stuff directly out of Australia under Australian law not NZ law.

    Not that its comfort or that its likely to lead to reform of opinions by those Free Market/Globalisation fans, its just funny.

    • greywarbler 15.1

      Just to follow up on an earlier mention of Australian supermarkets running a milk price discount war.
      http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/813549.shtml#.UvMEGXJk_lY
      Xinhua 24-9-2013 Australian farmers push new code of conduct against supermarkets’ price war
      The Australian Food and Grocery Council suggested that the continuous discount campaign had pushed up producers’ costs by more than 6 percent.
      Earlier this year, a milk price war between Coles and Woolworths caused dairy farmers to claim they are producing milk below cost.

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/29/coles-boasts-milk-war-media-campaign
      The Guardian 24/Sep/2013
      Coles boasts about media campaign to silence ‘milk war’ critics
      Supermarket chain said they used ‘every PR tactic possible’ around move to cut price of milk to $1 a litre
      The presentation goes on to identify the importance of guarding “against a political and regulatory response” to the supermarket’s drive to push down the price of milk. It also says that the “agri-political fallout continued after the ‘Down Down milk anniversary’”.

      The presentation then details how Coles implemented new media strategies, including a social media campaign, the use of “fact sheets to debunk myths” and fresh advertising. It describes a “game changer” moment in the so-called “milk wars” as the implementation of multi billion-dollar ten-year deals to source milk directly with two farmer cooperatives, announced in April this year, which brought about an “immediate shift to positive coverage”

      Bob Katter, who left the National Party over the issue of dairy deregulation in 2001, told Guardian Australia he believed the presentation highlighted the supermarket giant had reduced the issue to a “marketing campaign”….
      Katter estimates that the number of dairy farms in Queensland has dropped from 1,545 in 2000 when the industry was deregulated to a projected number below 500 by the end of the year.

      (It can be seen the ruthless power that these supermarkets have. As if farmers don’t have enough troubles with water needs, drought problems, fire scares.)

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-13/dairy-farmers-face-ruin-amid-supermarket-milk-war/4517476
      ABC 14/Feb/2013
      Dairy farmers face ruin amidst supermarket milk war
      Dairy farmer Pete Middlebrook is one of those whose livelihood is under threat because he is selling milk at just 35 cents a litre.
      “For the sake of the consumer, paying an extra 10 to 15 cents a litre, that’s all we need. Ten to 15 cents litre on all our domestic milk and it’s a simple solution, but no one’s got enough guts,” he said.

      Fellow dairy farmer, 48-year-old Nigel Hicks says he is selling his milk for even less.
      “At the moment the milk price we’ve been getting is 25 or 26 cents a litre. The cost of production does vary from farm to farm, but for us it’s around 43 cents a litre,” he said….
      Three days a week he works a 20-hour day, milking his 150 cows morning and night as well as working on a neighbouring farm to get some cash income.
      “The days I’m working off farm it’s a 3:30 in morning start, then I get home at 11:00 most nights,” he said.
      He has worked in the dairy industry for 30 years and survived the decade-long drought.
      But he says today things are tougher than ever.
      There are now 6,700 dairy farmers in Australia, down from almost 12,000 just over a decade ago.

      • Tracey 15.1.1

        Read some of the comments the first british visitors made about australia… I paraphrase:

        Where the fuck will we grow something.

        Its basically a desert to the sea and creeping every year. Dairy requires rain and soil retained moisture. Dairying in australia goes against nature. When they want water lets sell it to them at the price of gold.

  16. One Anonymous Bloke 16

    A devil’s advocate might point out that New Zealand is a low-waged economy propped up by subsidies to business, that our human rights record has worsened since 2001, and that one way we could defend ourselves against the National Party would be by calling for a global boycott of NZ goods.

    That would probably be grossly unpatriotic or something.

  17. Graeme 17

    Maybe we do need to be more patriotic, my son, living and working in Australia, commented on the lack of enthusiasm shown here, in NZ, on Waitangi Day.
    He saw no N.Z. flags flown privately and very little interest apart from it being a public holiday.
    In Australia there are numerous flags flown on stadiums, bridges, at sports grounds, private homes, municipal and regional buildings, etc. and BBQs, parades and market days, in even the smallest communities, all embracing Australia day.

  18. Craig 18

    It sounds as if there’s already a backlash brewing against Countdown, PE’s most visible brand over here…

  19. greywarbler 19

    See Ad /open-mike-12022014/#comment-771912
    Re Shane Jones under parliamentary privilege
    about Countdown pressure on NZ suppliers

  20. greywarbler 20

    For a discussion on Oz – general. See Open Mike 10/Feb/14 from 11 down.

  21. greywarbler 22

    More comment Open Mike 13/Feb/2014 from No. 6.

  22. greywarbler 23

    Fran O’Sullivan pens some good points about the Australian saga, Key’s visit and gives background to tween-countries’ discussions. She mentions Talleys in Nelson and their comments about sales to Australia.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11200127

    It is interesting that there was a front page article in the Nelson Weekly, from Editor, Andrew Board, called Fight Urged over Aussie Ban
    which referred to Talleys and other interesting points. But this is not available for viewing on their on-line site. The paper has decided its sports stories should take pride of place, and the supermarket item has gone to the archives section.

    Horticulture NZ commented on their difficulties with Oz supermarkets and points out that other countries’ produce has been affected, it has not just been NZ items that have been removed from shelves.
    http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/21315435/aussie-growers-blamed-for-supermarket-ban/

    An example of someone who has no idea of what the issue is, and yet managed to get an Opinion Piece up on Stuff is this one from Mahara Tahuhu.
    I think that the one thing that is important to him and the people he knows is that people’s jobs will be affected if the boycott has an effect. And it underscores how perilous our economy is and how the country and conditions for jobs and earnings have been undermined by the present system that operates. And that attempts to change that, will hurt the very people hoping to improve things. The sort of thing that unions and the poorly paid have always faced.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/assignments/share-your-news-and-views/9718566/Beware-the-boycott-brigade

    It is all rather childish and petty, and reeks of a gigantic tantrum.
    Countdown New Zealand has become the scapegoat for the decisions of Australian CEOs to the degree where the reaction is becoming embarrassing.

    It is a mindless, mob mentality. This crowd is forgetting that a brand name is just a brand name. Sure, some of their profits go back to Australia, but Countdown has no choice in this matter as they are Australian-owned. Apparently, that is a crime now.

    See O/m on Fri 14/Feb/2014 am. Thanks Rosie.

    Thanks Kahukowhai for heads-up.

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