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Buy NZ Made hits out at Australian supermarket stance

Buy NZ Made has labelled the Buy Australia campaign by that country’s supermarket duopoly as “aggressive”.

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

The supermarkets' initiative was first reported by NBR PRINT on December 13 and then again on January 24.

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.

“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.

“It’s therefore disappointing to see the Buy Australia campaign using such aggressive tactics against our producers”.

Buy NZ Made is a non-government run organisation that promotes and supports the manufacturing, exporting and retailing of New Zealand made goods.

Buy NZ Made member businesses are directly impacted by the Australian supermarket stance.

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.

More by Jamie Ball

Comments and questions

A simple answer here is to ask NZ'ers to boycot Countdown, it shares the same owner as Woolworths. A further request is to ask all NZ'er to check the cans of food they buy or the fruit & Veges. However we do have to remember that Watties is owned by Heinz in turn owned by Warren Buffets Berkshire Hathaway.

Boycott joined!

Its simple for me I wont be buying any Australian products at all not just food and Australian Companies here might start feeling the backlash as well - typical arrogant Aussies.

Hawke's Bay growers have struck back at claims from Australian millionaire Dick Smith that our beetroot is "poor quality". Heinz Australia has threatened to sue Mr Smith, who it says made a false claim on the label of his Smith's Magnificent Sliced Beetroot on sale in Australia. The label says: "When American-owned Heinz decided to move its beetroot processing facility from Australia to New Zealand causing hundreds of lost jobs, we decided enough is enough. "So we are fighting back against poor quality imported product." Hawke's Bay grower Mark Apatu said the claims are bogus. "Our beetroot is fantastic," he said. "We've been growing beetroot for 35 years. "Our quality and yield is world class and our flavours are magnificent."

Heinz Australia corporate affairs manager Andrew Hewett said the company took exception to the inflammatory nature of the comments and had threatened to sue, which Mr Smith was using to gain free publicity. "Heinz believes that the statements were either incorrect or misleading," Mr Hewett said. "We found it unfortunate that in order to try and promote sales of his own products, Dick Smith felt the need to reference other brands in the market rather than relying on the attributes of his own products." Heinz sent a letter to Mr Smith, pointing out its concerns, which Mr Smith made public. "In an effort to effectively gain free advertising for his own products, Dick Smith chose to forward a private letter to the media. Heinz stands by the decisions it made in relation to the manufacture of beetroot and also the quality of its products. "We take pride in the quality of our products, and our support of Australian manufacturing, employing more than 1200 people Australia-wide. "We will continue to view this as a private matter between Heinz and Dick Smith and treat it accordingly. "We are not interested in furthering Dick Smith's efforts to gain publicity and therefore will refrain from making any further comments," Mr Hewett said. Heinz' letter to Mr Smith said the shift of production to New Zealand had caused minimal job losses and its products were high quality. "Your statements in relation to both job losses and poor quality are factually incorrect," the letter said. "Our position is that the statement has caused and continues to cause damage to the reputation of Heinz, together with pecuniary loss to our business." It demanded Mr Smith re-label his cans or face court action.

Mr Smith, who founded the Dick Smith retail chain, has said the re-labelling would cause his food company to go broke. ... Feb 15, 2013 .

Fully agree, Countdown is aussie owned so a boycott is an excellent idea. Just 1 week would cost them millions and get the point across. I am an ex senior Progressive manager with an exceptional length of service. I believe that Progressive should be talking to the WW aussies and get this sorted.

It is easier to boycott Countdown in the main centres but it would be more difficult to boycott Countdown in some of the smaller towns where Countdown has a virtual monopoly there eg. Paihia.

It is a fact of life that suppliers close to corporate head offices get the business. When I lived in Perth, the Dept store of Boans bought mainly from Perth businesses. They were then taken over by Myers who promised local suppliers they would still get the business but it was shortlived as Myers just added the volumes to Melbourne or Sydney suppliers who supplied the other states.

We can't win this one with the Australian Supermarkets. Fait accompli!

One thing Australia needs to learn – and not just related to beet root – is that the global trade concept is not a one way street that can be manipulated at will. Dick Smith and others would do well by picking up A Splendid Exchange – How Trade Shaped the World (by William J Bernstein.) And anyone else trying to figure out how come towns are no longer just consuming what is grown in front of their gates could benefit from having a read as well. The whole concept and origin of trade is very well explained in this book, starting with the Sumerian and finishing with the oil trade of the 20th Century and the impact of the WTO. .
West Island Shananigans – The Aussies Are At It Again

1 It's for three years, until their processed vege production becomes efficient:
2 They seem to be a bit spooked by overseas outfits like Fonterra coming in as well:

- it's China's and NZ's processed vege competition they are concerned about. They reckon it'll put the Australian growers out of business unless this three-year programme they are implementing increases productivity. Is it affecting other lines as well? Goulburn is well-accepted here ...

Dear me ...
A near perfect growing season has produced a high quality crop of canning peaches in the Goulburn Valley in February 2013. But sadly for growers the Australian dollar and cheaper imported products have forced the local cannery to cut its intake of fruit again and that means thousands of tonnes of peaches are likely to rot on the ground.

Justifying our stance and deploring theirs is just verbal gymnastics. If 'celebrating' is all we expect from all those thousands of dollars spent, then sponsor the fireworks or buy everyone a beer.

The fact is our 'buy NZ' wants us to implicitly not buy someone else.
Now a 'someone else' has retaliated. When we whinge we only tell the world we are cry-babies. Grow up guys, its a tough world out there. Fight.

The sooner we become a state of Australia the better.

For who and how? Nationhood is about more than beetroot.

Where is our commerce commission and the CER agreement?

Our commerce commission doesn't apply to Australia and CER only binds governments, not companies so no dice there either.

Horticulture NZ is dismissing an Australian TV report that frozen vegetables from China are entering Australia through New Zealand without being residue tested and without labelling identifying them as coming from China. Today Tonight reported that New Zealand is being used as the back door into Australia for Chinese frozen vegetables.
According to the programme, the vegetables are initially imported into New Zealand and then repackaged with locally-grown vegetables.
It said tests on bags of frozen vegetables, mostly from New Zealand and China, showed residues of four pesticides that are banned in the European Union and are also under review in Australia. Hort New Zealand dismissed the story as a case of "sour grapes" on the part of Australian growers who resent an increase in vegetable imports from New Zealand as a result of the transfer of vegetable processing capacity from Australia to New Zealand. Chief executive Peter Silcock says testing proved that products coming from New Zealand met the requirements in terms of chemical residues and in labelling and the Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed that frozen vegetable exports to Australia comply with New Zealand food regulations. However, Mr Silcock says Hort NZ does believe there could be amendments to New Zealand's food labelling laws so they have more 'country of origin' information. He says phrases such as "made from local and imported ingredients" are not as helpful as they could be and the industry would like to see more specific labelling. 27 September 2011

Local vegetable growers have rubbished as “ridiculous” claims by their Australian equivalents that New Zealand food manufacturers are bombarding their country with sub-standard frozen veges. Horticulture New Zealand believes the comments are designed to scare Australian customers into buying locally grown product. “This is blatant protectionist scare-mongering. It is just another example of Australian sour grapes,” HortNZ chief executive Peter Silcock says. “Last week it was beetroot, this week it is frozen vegetables. Australian growers need to stop complaining about competition and start getting better at what they do.”
The vast bulk of frozen vegetable product that goes from New Zealand to Australia is grown in New Zealand. “It is also entirely legal for frozen products from China, or any other country, to be imported into New Zealand or Australia, processed and then exported elsewhere. “There is no difference at all between manufactured food products with ‘Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients’ on the label or ‘Made in New Zealand from local and imported ingredients.’” The origin of either could be anywhere, Mr Silcock says. “We could walk through the aisles of any Australian supermarket and find dozens of examples of products that have this labelling, which tells you nothing about the origin of the product.” Consumers have to realise there is a huge difference between “Made in” and “Product of,” he says, adding that HortNZ has long advocated tougher country of origin labelling laws. February 27, 2013

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Each person holds the key here - firstly choose where you shop and secondly take a moment to see where your product is made.

The power of one consumer multiplied a couple of million times will make a world of difference.

We chose to swap our grocery shopping years ago to a local owned New World store from Countdown. Most especially since the OZ Countdown owners bagan replacing NZ product lines with inferior mostly OZ produced products.

We take a few seconds to see where products are sourced/made.

We aren't irratrional - if an Ozzie product is better to a NZ product we will buy it - eg we think OZ Kleenex tissue is alot better than NZ made Purex - its a better product, so we buy it. If Purex want more consumers to buy their product then improve the product.

We defer to NZ made products eg Watties NZ grown canned fruit range over SPC. Prices are generally within cooee of one another across most product categroies.

It's a simple process and if people adopted it and became involved consumers then NZ products by and large would beneifit and so too then is the expecation that we all benefit.

I and a few friends have been boycotting Australian tasteless garbage for quite some time, in fact ever since they refused point blank and still do, to allow our apples decent access, they can't grow decent fruit to save themselves, I also note quite a bit of Aussie Beef appearing in Supermarkets, it should be compulsory to state the Aussie MSA grade rating of this Beef, as I betcha it is low grade rubbish as the retail price suggests!! more than likely a Mince grade!!! hamburger meat!!!
I'm sure we could/should all boycott Countdown, plus they Woolworths have through absorbent price increases over the last 3 years completely screwed the working/family man of NZ big time, with massive record profit returns from NZ to head office, in fact astonishing profits!!!

You are absolutely correct on the quality of Aussie meat. It is low grade and of leather texture. Brought some recently for BBQ. had to bif it!. Totally agree on boycott of Countdown. We may have a lot of Aussie product on our shelves but never forget we also support their motor industry , paint industry and so on. Mugs we are not mates.

What an exercise in stupidity. Not only an arrogant move by Australia but sheer economic madness. The most properous times are when trade is absolutely free, without restriction.

Every country has an economic strength of some sort. Its called comparative advantage. Where does Australia think its going to sell its exports if every country operated this kind of protection?


Progressive Enterprises, which operates Countdown, said about 60 per cent of its Select, Signature Range and Woolworths Australia's Home Brand were imported. Foodstuffs, which operates Pak'n Save and New World and has Pams and Budget brands, put the figure at 25 per cent.
Consumer Watch: Home brands a foreign legion Aug 18, 2013 .

There's nothing to stop anyone opening a New Zealand shop over there. If the products offered are superior and competitive, they'll sell alright.

What a stupid comment. Would a retail outlet only selling Australian products (apart from Countdown) survive here?

It's not stupid. There are NZ made shops here - they're great. I buy things from them. But it's select products.

Pretty simple, send a message, shop at NZ owned New World or Pak'n'Save!

Woollies are screwing their own suppliers too. They are attempting to build a totally integrated vertical supply chain, with their own facilities and house brands. According to an Ozzie mate who is a long time supplier, they are pretty careless about helping themselves to his IP too in doing so. However history shows that you can't be good at everything. Leaves a gap a mile wide for a Whole Foods type outfit to drive and thrive into to. BTW, you can bet that Ozzie beef will be Brahmin rubbish, tough as.

Bet the Aussies will still buy our Savvy Blanc in preference to Austn grown

Isn't boycotting the Aussies Kiwibanks advertising campaign? And that is a government owned entity.

Key could have egg on his face it he approaches this the wrong way.

New Zealand super markets should stock NZ products as the alternative. I have tried many times to look for NZ products at NW but only having to partial shop at different stores.
Carbon footprint should be promoted in NZ to encourage locally producted products.

I phoned Progressive/Countdown and stated I will no longer support their supermakets easy as that.

Recently I was in Sydney and Melbourne on holiday with friends renting an apartment and had to shop at Woolworths and Coles for supplies. We got a complete shock at the very restricted range on their shelves.Take Marmalade - only one brand stocked- a Home brand or similar. No imported brands.
If one shops at New World in Auckland one has a choice of so many varieties of Jams.
If Woolworths (Countdown) get their way in NZ the same thing will happen.- one brand - their brand! - thank God we have New World that keeps that from happening. As Coundown NZ is making huge profits in NZ possibly we should boycott their NZ stores until they relent and start taking NZ products in their Australian stores. Possibly a few placards outside their NZ stores might do the trick.

Typical Aussies, cheat at sport (eg underarm incident) and who knows what else. Even though their labour costs are higher, they take the NZ it jobs back to Australia to run their NZ subsidiaries. They would rather outsource to India than NZ and now they have gone too far, making other NZers vulnerable with some silly inefficient patriotic popularity campaign to be any NZ.

We will not buy Australian products or shop at Coundown until they change this stupid stance.

They call us an ally and a friendly nation? They do more with India and China.

I spent $10,000 with Countdown last year and I am a single fellow.
I just emailed and told them that's the end of my custom even though I have to travel further to get to New World.
I have noticed some goods disappearing from the shelves in NZ as well and the meat products stink.
We need some publicity to get others to join a boycott.

shop at new world and pac n sav,even if it a litle inconvenient come on NZ

There is a boycott page on FB Boycott Countdown.

For sure New Zealand should have like-for-like competition. If Australia is not keen to support New Zealand then New Zealanders should also boycot Australian produce.
The key company that should be boycotted is "Progressive Enterprises" who are an Australian owned unbrella company owning the key NZ supermarkets (Woolworths, Countdown, Foodstuff and partially The Warehouse).
If political pressure is not helping then social pressure is the next option.

We in NZ are weak little babies...why dont our poony govt. Retaliate? Boycott ALL Australian goods and teach them Aussie pigs a lesson or 3

Shop at New World , excellent supermarkets and NZ Owned and operated. If you are not close to a NW try shopping on line, you spend less and it's delivered to your door.