Barriers to business driving supermarket costs

Tue, 08 Mar, 2022

“The millions of dollars spent on the Commerce Commission report into supermarkets says what we could have told Government for free: it’s too hard to build, invest, and do business in New Zealand,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The out of touch Commerce Commission has chosen today – the peak of the Omicron wave when supermarkets are desperately trying to battle supply chain issues and flying in workers from Australia to cover sick leave – to release this report.

“I’m sure New Zealanders would rather supermarket bosses were working to get food on the shelves, rather than responding to an ideological report commissioned by the Government.

“We should make it easier to develop property, get foreign direct investment into the country, and employ people.

“It’s little wonder there is not more competition in New Zealand. Entering the market is nearly impossible considering the regulatory barriers faced in New Zealand. If it’s too hard to build a house, imagine a supermarket.

“The other recommendations amount to halfway house unbundling that in reality will lead to enormous bureaucracy. How will it be determined that a retailer has ‘fairly considered’ a request from a competitor? It is a bureaucrat’s dream, but it’s not a substitute for real choice and competition.

“The same can be said for ‘monitoring strategic conduct.’ What does that mean? In practice it can only mean that people trying to do business have to spend yet more time asking permission from bureaucrats and less time serving customers.

“There’s no doubt the Kiwis are being squeezed at the supermarket – but the Government who ordered this report now needs to admit that it’s the inflation it caused that’s hurting Kiwi battlers.

“There are solutions to the cost of living crisis in New Zealand, they are less tax, less regulation, and more freedom to get things done.

“If the Government wants to give New Zealanders a break, ACT has set out a range of solutions to the cost of living crisis. In particular, we would:

Deliver a middle-income tax cut

  • Reduce the middle-income tax rate from 30% to 17.5%. Our plan will allow the average full-time worker to keep $2,000 more a year to help deal with the rising cost of living. That’s almost $40 more a week in the pockets of hardworking taxpayers to help them with the cost of life.

Cut wasteful spending

  • Zero base the public sector by going back to zero and ask ourselves, if the departments and bureaucracies we have now didn’t exist, would we establish them today?

“If the Government really cared about consumers and competition, it would stop making laws that make it harder to do business in New Zealand. If we want more competition, it must be possible for investment to come into the country, sites to be developed for property, skilled people to come through the border, and new employers to employ people without endless bureaucracy.”