Progressive V NZ Made

There has been a lot of activity recently regarding the sale of NZ made products in Progressive stores here and accross the ditch.

Below are links to the unfolding story (each link opens in a new window)

The NZ Herald February 23

Woolworths boss rejects 'outrageous' slurs on his reputation, and complains of Aussie-bashing

Kiwis have jumped on an "anti-Australian bandwagon", according to the chairman of the huge Sydney-based supermarket chain at the centre of bullying allegations.

Woolworths chairman Ralph Waters, who employs 200,000 people in Australia, New Zealand and around the world, spoke exclusively to the Herald on Sunday yesterday. He was furious at allegations his company had boycotted New Zealand products, and that its Kiwi subsidiary Countdown had demanded retrospective payments from suppliers under threat of being taken off the shelves. "I am concerned about the unnecessary and unworthy impact of this on Countdown and our 3000 New Zealand employees, and I am very disturbed about how quickly it slips into anti-Australian rhetoric. It comes too often in New Zealand ... it is unhealthy. Read more February 20

Commerce probe limited to Countdown

A business group has spoken out against Shane Jones' use of parliamentary privilege to attack Countdown, while the Commerce Commission has denied claims it's conducting a wide-ranging supermarket probe.

Today in Parliament, Commerce Minister Craig Foss announced that after a week of inquiries, the competition regulator was formally investigating the sector.

"I can confirm that the Commerce Commission has launched a formal investigation into the supermarket sector of New Zealand."

But the commission has since said the investigation only relates to Australian-owned Woolworths.

Read more

businessday February 18

MP's supermarket letter made public

Countdown says it is disappointed Parliament is being "used" to raise unsubstantiated and "unspecific" claims, as Labour MP Shane Jones continued to raise allegations of blackmail.

Parliament has ordered the release of a letter Labour MP Shane Jones wrote to the Commerce Commission, alleging supermarkets were threatening to blacklist New Zealand suppliers if they didn't hand over cash payments.

Document (.pdf): The letter made public today

Read more

The Sydney Morning Herald February 14

Woolworths lifting NZ sourcing: chairman

Woolworths' chairman has disputed suggestions the company is blacklisting New Zealand products from its Australian supermarkets, saying they're actually lifting the value of their NZ sourcing.

Australia's two big supermarket chains, Woolworths and Coles, have been removing New Zealand-made products from their house brands as part of a vigorous Buy Australia campaign.

But, in a letter to the editor in the New Zealand Herald on Friday, Woolworths chairman Ralph Waters says there's been no recent change in the approach Woolworths takes to sourcing product.

Read more

The National Business Review February 13

Commerce Commission assesses Countdown allegations after Jones lays complaint

UPDATED: The Commerce Commission confirms it has received a written complaint outlining concerns of alleged anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown its suppliers.

Earlier today, a spokesman for the regulator told NBR that Labour MP Shane Jones had called Commerce Commission chairman Mark Berry, and followed up with a formal letter.

The Commission will now take steps to ascertain the basis of the allegations and whether the behaviour is a breach, Dr Mark Berry says.

Read more

The New Zealand Herald February 12

NZ Suppliers 'blackmailed' by supermarket chain - MP

Progressive Enterprises has shot back at Labour MP Shane Jones after he claimed in Parliament that New Zealand suppliers are being blackmailed into making payments to Australian owned supermarket chain Countdown to ensure their products continue to be stocked.

Under protection of parliamentary privilege in the House this afternoon, Mr Jones detailed what he called the "Countdown shakedown" and slammed it as an example of the ruthless "dingo culture" of Australian corporations.

Read more

The Southland Times February 10

Social media calls for supermarket boycott

New Zealand shoppers have taken to social media to call for a boycott of Australian-owned Countdown in retaliation for Kiwi products being stripped from supermarket shelves across the Tasman.

Two major Australian supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths, are backing an aggressive "Buy Australian" campaign and have pulled some New Zealand products sold under "house brand" labels.

Read more

One News February 10

Australians will want Kiwi products back - John Key

Prime Minister John Key says Australian consumers will miss out if they stop buying Kiwi products.

Some New Zealand companies are crying foul after two big Australian supermarkets axed their contracts to supply home-brand products in favour of Australian produce.

Mr Key raised the matter with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Sydney yesterday.

Read more

NZ City News February 7

Abbot sidesteps supermarket row

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott isn't going to do anything about supermarkets spurning New Zealand products.

He says they're private businesses making commercial decisions, and if anyone has a problem with that they can go to the competition and consumer authorities.

Read more

One News February 6

Aussie supermarkets defend Kiwi produce lockout

Two of Australia's biggest supermarket chains have defended their decision to stop selling some Kiwi products, claiming they are only being loyal to Australian producers.

An aggressive "buy Australian" campaign has seen a host of Kiwi products, such as fresh vegetables and cheese, stripped from Coles and Woolworth stores across Australia.

Read more

NZ City News February 6

Labour leader David Cunliffe has echoed the view of Prime Minister John Key that a Buy Australia campaign breaches the spirit of CER

Labour leader David Cunliffe says New Zealand expects a fair go for its products in Australia.

An "aggressive" Buy Australia campaign has led to New Zealand goods being stripped from shelves in Australia's two biggest supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths, according to a New Zealand producers group.

Read more

Buy NZ Made campaign February 5

Buy NZ Made disappointed at Australian supermarket stance

The aggressive Buy Australia campaign which has seen New Zealand produced goods stripped off supermarket shelves across the Tasman has disappointed Buy NZ Made.

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.

Read more