May E news 2014

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May 2014
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Three questions

All NARGON members should know the answer to these three questions:

  1. When does Judith Collins say the minimum price for alcohol issue should be re-examined

  2. What is the best search term to use in Facebook to find our new page?

  3. What style of food is described by Waitrose as the 'new food' trend?

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In this issue:

Regular Features

  1. Food Prices up for April and up for the year
  2. Nargon is on Facebook

New Zealand Government

  1. Employment Relations Bill could be law before the election
  2. Health and Safety reforms will impose more obligations on everyone
  3. NZ Government drops minimum pricing for alcohol, Scotland struggles.

From the UK

  1. Local media 'top influence' when picking stores
  2. Korean food sals through the roof as celebrities get on board
  3. Store owners back plastic bag charges

Fun stuff and answers to three questions


Food prices up for April and up for the year, stores suffer in sales figures


Food prices up for April and up for the year, Stores suffer in sales figuresStatistics New Zealand figures show food prices rose 0.6 percent in April 2014, and were up 1.5 percent on a year earlier.  This follows falls in March (down 0.3 percent) and February (down 1.0 percent).  Grocery food prices rose 1.0 percent (pushed up by milk, cheese, bread and eggs), meat, poultry, and fish prices rose 0.9 percent (on the back of record prices for beef), fruit and vegetable prices were up 0.4 percent (with higher prices for tomatoes and strawberries), while restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 0.3 percent. 

The only group to fall in April was non-alcoholic beverage prices which fell 0.8 percent.  This was influenced by more discounting on energy drinks and soft drinks.

In the year to April 2014, the food price index (FPI) increased 1.5 percent.  For the second straight month all five subgroups showed annual increases.  The biggest was the restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food subgroup (up 2.2 percent), followed by meat, poultry, and fish (up 2.6 percent), grocery food prices (up 1.0 percent), non-alcoholic beverages (up 1.6 percent), and fruit and vegetables (up 0.9 percent).     

Although the overall picture in retail spending for the first quarter of 2014 was positive with a 0.7 percent rise in spending, supermarkets and grocery stores were the worst hit industry, recording a $25 million drop in seasonally adjusted sales.  Looking at the longer-term picture, Statistics New Zealand say the trends for both total retail sales volumes and values have generally been rising since mid-2009


NARGON is on Facebook


Like us on FacebookSome thought it would never happen but NARGON is delighted to now be on Facebook to better interact with members, media and customers.  NARGON's first foray into the world of social media can be found here - - or by searching for us on Facebook.  Please Like the page, leave a comment and check back often for interesting discussions and articles about our industry.

Go to NARGON's Facebook Page


Employment Relations Bill could be law before the election

  Employment Relations Bill could be law before the electionThe National-led Government's sometimes controversial Employment Relations Bill is now expected to pass before Parliament rises for the election campaign. 
This is despite its officially low spot on the Order Paper which sets out Parliament's business each day.  Governments can move bills up and down with ease and, with relatively few changes reported back from the select committee consideration, the Government could be looking to 'clear the decks' of bills like this which are close to being passed.

Opposition parties and unions are likely to campaign and protest about key facets of the proposed legislation, as they have done since it was introduced.  However, the Government looks likely to have the numbers in Parliament and the broad support of business organisations such as Business NZ.


Health and Safety reforms will impose more obligations on everyone


Health and Safety reforms will impose more obligations on everyoneWhile the Health and Safety Bill is still before Parliament and the select committee is about to hear submissions, the new Worksafe agency is already up and running, and the new requirements in the Bill are likely to be in force by 2015, if not sooner. 

NARGON is a member of Business New Zealand?s Affiliated Industries Group (AIG) which allows us to access their expertise and provide feedback from our members and industry.  The draft Business NZ submission on the Health and Safety Bill raises some key concerns which will need to be addressed by Parliament as the bill moves forward.  Some will potentially have significant implications for supermarkets and stores.  

The bill is long, complicated and often technical.  Here is a summary of the key points raised, particularly in relation to new obligations for owners, directors, officers and managers under the draft regime. 

For some, usually in the larger supermarket chains, their new obligations and responsibilities may be very different to the current situation and will need to be studied carefully.  For example, senior people in organisation such as Foodstuffs may have new responsibilities for health and safety regimes in individual stores. 

Here are the key points

  • A crucial new concept is that of a primary duty holder to be known as 'a person conducting a business or undertaking' ('PCBU'), whose duties will replace the current duties of employers, principals and suppliers under the current Act

  • The bill also forbids the contracting out of health and safety duties.

  • There is a new category of duty holder ('officers') encompassing company directors and people in similar positions in a body corporate or unincorporated body and other persons with significant  decision making responsibilities in a business (for example, the chief executive or chief financial officer), and partners in partnerships

  • An officer includes a director or partner and 'any other person who makes decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part of, the business of a PCBU'. This definition is itself ambiguous, but this uncertainty is further compounded by c13(b)(i) which states that a PCBU does not include 'a person conducting a business or undertaking to the extent that the person is employed or engaged solely as a worker in, or an officer of, the business or undertaking'.

  • Because status as an "officer" attracts significant potential liabilities and penalties, Business NZ recommends that the term is unambiguously defined in the legislation.

  • Clause 42 identifies three quite wide categories of those liable to penalties for offences. There are;
    • an individual who is not a PCBU or an officer of a PCBU     
    • an individual who is a PCBU or an officer of a PCBU, and
    • any other person

  • However, the term 'person' is not defined in the Bill.  While it has been interpreted under current law as including such entities as bodies corporate, it is not clear if the Bill carries this interpretation over.  Business NZ again sensibly recommends this is clarified

Stores should consider who in their organisation fulfils each role in their organisation and at what times.  Again, the point is that there may be new direct responsibilities imposed and this will have to be managed if legislative changes are not made.

Other points of interest in the Business NZ draft submission include:

  • By using the term 'worker' rather than 'employee', the Bill clearly includes contractors, subcontractors, and others.

  • Workers will have new responsibilities for their own safety and the safety of others.  They will also have greater rights for representation and input into Health and Safety policies.

  • Unfortunately, the draft regulations which will implement the new regime were not made available before submissions closed.  That was regrettable as NARGON members will know that the devil is usually in the detail.  There should, however, be a further opportunity to comment on the proposed regulations when they finally become available.

In this short article, NARGON has attempted to provide a (relatively) plain English version of the issues raised in the Business NZ draft submission on the Health and Safety Bill.  However, it does not constitute legal advice and certainly does not replace it.  Stores should consider their own obligations under the proposed regime and obtain expert advice when required.

A copy of Business NZ's final submission will be available on their website at  A copy of the draft can be requested from NARGON through Trina Snow (


NZ Government drops minimum pricing for alcohol, Scotland struggles


NZ Government drops minimum pricing for alcohol, Scotland strugglesIn late April, the Minister of Justice, Hon Judith Collins, confirmed that New Zealand would not introduce minimum pricing on alcohol.  She said the policy would "hit moderate drinkers in the pocket", was untested internationally and would be difficult to monitor.  She said there was no compelling reason to support its introduction and instead signalled that it would be looked at again in five years time after the alcohol reforms had bedded in here and the policy may have been trialled overseas.  

The Ministry of Justice also advised the Government that a minimum price of between $1 and $1.20 a unit would financially benefit the industry, retailers and suppliers to the tune of $131 million a year, a result which Ms Collins described as 'pointless'.  

Proposals for a minimum price for alcohol in England and Wales were abandoned last year.  The proposed Scottish policy has faced lengthy legal challenges from the local whisky industry.  Recently, the Scottish Court of Appeal referred the issue to the European Court of Justice.  This case will be watched closely in Britain and other jurisdictions considering minimum pricing.

  FROM THE UK - top  

Local media 'top influence' when picking stores


Local media top influence when picking a store to shop atNew research from Think Media suggests that local media (local newspapers/websites) was the top advertising medium for influencing grocery shoppers. Their Consumer Catalyst survey measured what types of communications had the most influence on customers' decisions about where to shop.  The highest result was local media (41%), ahead of promotions in store (25%), direct mail (21%), commercial television (19%) and national newspapers (15%).

Local media (25%) also performed strongly in prompting consumers to retrieve or use a coupon or voucher, coming second only to promotion in store (34%), and ahead of direct mail (20%), national newspapers (10%) and magazines (7%).


Korean food sales through the roof as celebrities get on board


Korean food sales through the roof as celebrities get on boardAccording to supermarket giant Waitrose, sales of Korean foods have exploded in recent months, as celebrity chefs ranging from the Hairy Bikers to Gizzi Erskine promote Korean dishes as the 'now' food. Greater awareness of the health benefits of Korean cuisine is also driving growth.

Waitrose said it has been stocking a variety of Korean ingredients for the past few years but only recently have sales jumped 10% to 40% for specialty items such as tofu and kimchi.  Executive chef at Waitrose, Jonathan Moor, said 'It's exciting to see the nation get more adventurous with their taste buds.'  Their supermarkets have been promoting Korean recipes to customers for some time.


Store owners back plastic bag charges


Store owners back plastic bag chargesBritish retailers have hit out at the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government's proposal to exclude small retailers in England from a 5p levy on the use of plastic carrier bags.  The plan, which was fiercely criticised by a cross-party committee of MPs, would mean only supermarkets and larger outlets have to impose the charge which is due to come into effect after the 2015 general election.  The parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee branded the government's proposals 'a complete mess' and 'unnecessarily complicated',

Arjan Mehr, who runs a Londis outlet in Berkshire, said "I want a uniform policy for all retailers.  This proposal means some outlets in the same street will have to charge while others won't and that will only confuse shoppers.  The government should keep things simple and just go ahead and impose the 5p charge across the board."  Mehr has been charging 5p and 10p for bags for three years and the policy has reduced bag use by 40%.

Another retailer, Rav Garcha, who runs four Nisa Local outlets in the Midlands, said the matter did not need government intervention - "I think the government should leave this issue well alone.  Shoppers should lead the way on this ' not the government." Customers are charged 3p a bag in two of his outlets, with the money raised going to local charities.


On a lighter note' Oh boy!

This really happened in a supermarket right here in New Zealand, at least according to

(I'm working the checkout on a fairly light day. The next person in queue has a young girl with her, about six or seven years old. The girl pulls out a hat from her pocket and puts it on, then reaches for an energy drink on display.)

"Sweetie, you can't have that. They're not good for you"

(The girl's face and shoulders drop as she is visibly and suddenly deflated. She takes off her hat and puts the can back.)

"But mum.... I was Mikey! He has them all the time! How did you know it was me? Mikey told me when I wear his hat you would think I was him and would let me buy it, and wouldn't know it was me."

"Oh, sweetie, I'm your mummy.  I would recognize you anywhere, no matter whose hat you were wearing."

(The girl calms down, but is still upset. As her mother and I exchange pleasantries, the girl puts the hat back on and pulls it down low over her face, but I can still see her lips trembling.)

"What a lovely boy you have there, ma'am. He looks really big and strong."

(The girl cranes her neck up to look at me under the low visor, her eyes huge and shining.)

"Hi, young man. What's your name?"

Girl:*smiling and trying to fake a deeper voice* "Mikey! Mikey! Michael."

"That's a great name, son. You take good care of your mum there, okay?"

(She nods gravely, completely happy and satisfied. As they walk out, I hear the girl's tiny voice.)

"Mummy, mummy, I knew it! I knew it would work! Mikey said it would! Do you think daddy would know it's me, too?"

(The mother turns and gives me a thankful smile and a wink before leaving.)

Did a staff member at one of NARGON's members make this little girl happy and/or deeply confuse her dad later when he was confronted with the 'disguise'?


1. In five years time (2019).
2. NARGON.  (Hint: it is not the city in Chad which is the second search result.)
3. Korean cuisine.

Reminder about written employment agreements  -  top

NARGON reminds all members that full written employment agreements are required for every single employee.  This is a strict legal requirement.  The member's section of the upgraded NARGON website contains draft agreements and advice on employment agreements:
P.O. Box 1925, Wellington
P: 04 496 6557 | E: