Government plays a role in increasing cost of food

The interim report on supermarket pricing will likely confirm what a lot of New Zealanders are experiencing when they head to the shops, National’s Commerce and Consumer Affairs spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“The Government must take responsibility for its role in increasing the cost of living, including the price of food, and its impact on New Zealanders’ pay packets. Through its term the Government has continued to add costs on businesses and Kiwi families, and it’s inevitably resulted in higher prices for consumers.

“Rather than wait for the final report, the Government has the opportunity now to make changes that will have a positive impact on struggling households.

“Government taxes and regulations are driving up costs across the board, including petrol and rent, and it’s making it harder for working Kiwi mums and dads who are trying to make ends meet.

“When the Government drives up the cost of fuel through excessive fuel taxes, the freight company must then charge the vegetable grower more to deliver the produce to the supermarket, the grower then needs to increase the price of its produce to cover the Government’s cost increases, and this is transferred to the consumer.

“But the increasing cost of fuel means the consumer is paying more at the shop as well as at the pump. They’re being hit in the back pocket twice.

“National supports competition across the board. But the Government created this problem by effectively handing a privileged position to large supermarket chains when it refused to allow local butchers or fruit and vege shops to open safely during the lockdown last year.

“By being unable to trade at the time many were forced to close their doors for good.

“In commissioning this inquiry the Government missed an opportunity to have a clear picture around why the cost of food has gone up by investigating their role in the increasing cost of living, not just competition.”