September E-news


Three questions

  1. Who called supermarkets "the country's biggest drug dealers"?
  2. How many people are affected by cyber crime every second?
  3. Under the proposed New Zealand First policy, will caviar bought from the supermarket be exempt from GST?

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In this issue:

Regular Features

  1. Food prices up transactions flat
  2. Nargon is on Facebook
  3. Battle of the Grocers - ITM virtual rugby
  4. Sellman calls supermarkets "the country's biggest drug dealers"

New Zealand Government

  1. NZ First wades in on food prices and foreign ownership
  2. Employment law update
  3. Digital safety on-line: a new toolkit for SME's
  4. Single Business Number by 2017


  1. UK: Sainsbury's announce store to be powered solely by food waste

Fun stuff and answers to three questions


Food prices up, card transactions flat for July


Food prices up for April and up for the year, Stores suffer in sales figuresStatistics New Zealand figures show food prices in July 2014 fell 0.7 percent.  This fall follows a 1.4 percent rise in June and a 0.6 percent rise in May.  It was driven by lower prices for meat, as well as cheaper grocery food, fruit and vegetables. 

The only category to rise was non-alcoholic beverage prices which were up 0.2 percent.  Prices for restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices remained unchanged.  All the other categories recorded lower prices with fruit and vegetable prices down 0.9 percent, meat, poultry and fish prices down 2.2 percent, and grocery food prices dropped 0.7 percent.

Significant price drops were recorded for sauces, breakfast cereals, yogurt, tomatoes and avocado.  On the flip side, prices increased for bananas and capsicum.

In the year to July 2014, Statistics New Zealand reports that food prices decreased 0.1 percent.  This follows a 1.4 percent increase in June 2014 and consecutive 0.6 percent rises in both May and April.  Only fruit and vegetable prices saw a decrease but it was significant at a 5.9 percent drop. 

All other categories increased slightly - meat, poultry, and fish prices (up 0.5 percent), grocery food prices (up 0.2 percent), non-alcoholic beverage prices (up 1.5 percent), and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices (up 2.2 percent).

Retail spending using electronic cards was flat in July 2014, according to Statistics New Zealand.  Trends have all generally been rising since this series began in October 2002. 

Three industries recorded increases while three recorded declines.  The consumables sector, which covers most supermarket and retail grocery sales, recorded a $5.4 million (0.3 percent) increase.  This was the second largest increase for the month.


NARGON is on Facebook   top


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


ITM Cup Virtual Tipping Contest - Suppliers versus Grocers

  Battle of the Grocers

To say Kiwis are passionate about their rugby is an understatement.  Here at NARGON we know there a lot of armchair coaches and bar stool experts out there so we decided to create a unique opportunity for people to prove their rugby nous by setting up the NARGON ITM Cup Virtual Tipping Contest.  Players will be asked to predict the results in the upcoming ITM Cup and all players' results will be displayed on a ladder.

To make it even more interesting, we have set up two teams - Grocers versus Suppliers.  In addition to individual results, there will be running team versus team scores based on the averaged totals of punters in each team.  It?s our version of mate versus mate.  Who will have the bragging rights after the final kick ? Grocers or Suppliers?  No money is involved, only pride.

If you have not signed up, do so now and give it a go, you may not be in time to pick up enough of a score to win this round but you will be all set to go for the next round.

Check out the site at and register your team.  Happy tipping.


Sellman calls supermarkets "the country's biggest drug dealers"   top


Professor Doug Sellman of the National Addictions Centre has been in the news again attacking the new liquor laws and draft Local Alcohol Plans (LAPs) as too weak.  He also fired several broadsides at supermarkets.  In Dunedin, he criticised the Council's proposal to limit off-licence trading to between 7am and 10pm - a one hour reduction on the current hours of 7am and 11pm.

In the Otago Daily Times, Sellman said limiting off-licence sales was ''critical'' to addressing alcohol-related harm.  He argued that supermarket alcohol trading hours should be curtailed quite significantly or stopped altogether.  ''Actually, all alcohol should come from specialist liquor stores, not family supermarkets.  You don't have a class B-equivalent drug sold in family venues, which is what we've got in New Zealand," he said.

He continued this theme on Nigel Latta's recent television show about alcohol.  Sellman told the audience that New Zealand's supermarkets were the country's "biggest drug dealers" because they sold 70 per cent of all alcohol.  Sellman also compared alcohol to a Class B drug being sold on a supermarket shelf alongside similar drugs such as morphine.

He also criticised the Government's decision to allow local councils and communities to have a say on liquor laws in their area through Local Alcohol Plans.  He argued that alcohol policy should be left to Government but that it was too "gutless" to take on big business.



New Zealand First wades in on food prices and foreign ownership


The party which potentially may hold the balance of power after the 2014 election, New Zealand First, announced a policy to cut GST from what it calls 'basic household groceries.'  It has been incorrectly reported in some media as a promise to remove GST from all food.  Many observers, including NARGON, were not sure what would count as 'basic household groceries' and who would make the decision.

In an attempt to clarify the issue, TV3 reporter Jendy Harper went supermarket shopping with party leader Winston Peters to try and gain some clarity on the issue.  It was first established that only food would be covered - not drinks.  Peters said the policy covered the normal household food items a housewife would buy.  When prompted, he added 'and househusbands.'

He gestured to the supermarket and said that "everything will be in but there will be some exceptions."  The only exemption he specifically mentioned was for lollies.  Fancy cheese and even luxury foods like caviar were specifically ruled into the GST free scheme.  Commenting on the price of milk, Peters also promised an inquiry into why certain items cost so much.  The no GST policy would cost the Government $3 billion in lost revenue a year.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters also mentioned supermarkets during a 27 August speech on foreign ownership.  Here are highlights from the relevant section:

"Many of our best and most profitable businesses are now under foreign ownership - The supermarkets and chain stores have very high levels of foreign ownership.  The two main media corporates are foreign owned - 95% of the banking system is owned by Australian Banks.  The result is billions of dollars in profits and dividends going to Australia every year.  New Zealand is now just the branch office."

While New Zealand First has pledged to restrict housing and land sales to foreigners, the speech was silent on any plans relating to the foreign ownership of companies, including some supermarkets and stores


Employment law update


The National-led Government's Employment Relations Amendment Bill will not pass before the election.  The timeframe was always tight and the demise of Act leader John Banks, the key vote, was the final straw.  If National wins the election this legislation will pass quickly, but if Labour wins it is almost certain to scrap the bill and introduce their own policies. 

Labour's policies include abolishing the 'hated' 90 day law, 'properly protecting' the right to belong to a union, reinstating collective bargaining, ensuring negotiated minimum standards for employment conditions across different industries, cutting down the number of independent contractors by making them employees, increasing the minimum wage, rolling out the living wage, and ensuring equal pay between the genders. 

As part of the 2014 Budget, National rushed through the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Act 2014.  The Amendment increases the length of paid parental leave from 14 to 16 weeks as from 1 April next year and from 16 to 18 weeks as from 1 April 2016.  It was introduced as part of the Budget Measures (Financial Support for Newborn Children Bill) and passed without any real debate and no opportunity to provide submissions.

It was clearly designed to head off a Labour private member's bill which would require paid parental leave to be extended to 26 weeks.  This bill did not pass before the House rose.  If National remains in Government, it will likely exercise a Financial Veto to stop the Labour bill.  Member's bills cannot commit the Government to significant unbudgeted spending.  If Labour leads the next Government then their bill will pass quickly, probably within the first 100 days.


Digital safety on-line: a new toolkit for SMEs


Globally, cybercrime (including theft, fraud and identity theft) accounts for 556 million known victims every year - an average of 18 people a second.  That is why it is imperative for New Zealand individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to properly protect themselves and their customers.

Some simple security practices can make a big difference.  The National-led Government, supported by more than 50 sponsors including the Privacy Commissioner, Department of Internal Affairs and the Police, has developed the 'Connect Smart for Business: SME Toolkit', a simple, user-friendly guide which is free to download.

According to recent research by Vodafone, small businesses are the target of 30% of online attacks.  Having business information compromised is much more than an inconvenience.  It can have financial consequences on a company and its valued customers, and a negative impact on the business' reputation.

Connect Smart is a new free resource for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to take basic steps to protect their business and customers on-line.  The Internet has changed the way businesses interact with many customers, suppliers and staff.  It has the potential to make transactions faster and easier, but there is also the dark side of cyber attacks and illegal activity. 

The toolkit features a Cyber Security Warrant of Fitness (WOF) ' a simple checklist of the basic measures businesses need to have in place to protect their business, staff and customers online.  It also provides tools and templates that can be adapted to suit individual business circumstances. 

The Cyber Security WOF has four simple steps:

  1. Assess the cyber security of the business
  2. Develop a cyber security policy for the business
  3. Establish an incident management plan
  4. Regularly review and update the network security systems.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has also released a Data Safety Toolkit for business, particularly focusing on data breaches.  Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said "we know that data breaches are bad for business reputations and in some cases cause harm to the people whose personal information has been disclosed.  The toolkit helps organisations to work through the best strategies for dealing with data breaches and also has plenty of tips on how to prevent them in the first place."

The Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Hon Amy Adams, said "Our key message is simple - Connect Smart: protect yourself online.  By taking some basic steps, you can protect yourself - and your data - online. You don't need to be an IT expert - you just need to be pro-active."

Hon Amy Adams added "there is no doubt that IT systems have transformed the way businesses operate, and they have become essential tools for innovation and growth, enabling them to be more nimble, efficient, and to increase productivity.  To that end, we should be focussed on ways to ensure that businesses are able to maximise the gains from internet connectivity, while minimising losses incurred through poor online security."  This is the fundamental reason that the toolkits were developed

NARGON urges all supermarkets to ensure that they and their customers are safe on-line. 

Download the Connect Smart toolkit at:  

View the Data Safety Toolkit at:


Single Business Number by 2017


The Government has announced it will implement a single business number ' an NZBN ' for all businesses by 2017.  A single business number means businesses will have just one number identifying them across the various government agencies that businesses work with. 

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the NZBN will greatly reduce the costs for businesses in dealing with government agencies because they will only have to share their key information with agencies once.  "Businesses will no longer have to keep updating their data with a myriad of different government databases, and the NZBN will enable all sorts of innovative time-saving administration solutions between businesses, their suppliers and government, giving them more time to spend on growing their business," Joyce said.

This appears to be a sensible step and is supported by NARGON.

More information on the NZBN is available here:  



UK: Sainsbury's announces store to be powered solely by food waste


British supermarket giant Sainsbury's has unveiled an innovative facility that will allow its Cannock store to run on power generated solely from the supermarket chain's own food waste.  Sainsbury's said the facility will use advanced anaerobic digestion facilities and a unique power link up with electricity generated by food waste from Sainsbury's stores across the UK.

Sainsbury's explained the process works as follows:

  • food waste unsuitable for charitable donations or animal feed is sent to anaerobic digestion at Biffa to be converted to energy
  • the food waste is turned into bio-methane gas which is then used to generate electricity at the Biffa plant
  • electricity for Sainsbury's Cannock store is directly supplied to the supermarket via a newly constructed new 1.5km long electricity cable.

The retailer said the new power supply means the Cannock store will come off the National Grid for day to day electricity consumption.

  Fun stuff and answers to Three Questions    top


On a lighter note' - Heading out for tea

This actually happened at a supermarket in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia ? at least according to

Customer: "Hi, I'd like to return these two boxes of tea."

Me: "Sure, no problem. Did you just change your mind'"?

Customer: "No. Actually, I sent my daughter to the store to get some tea, meaning something for dinner, and she returned with this drinking tea.  I don't actually need it."


1. Professor Doug Sellman.
2. 18 people.
3. Yes.

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: