High priced healthy food demands supermarket duopoly dumped

13 Apr, 2022 | Media Release

New Zealand is caught in a tailspin of rising food prices until the supermarket duopoly is broken up to stop excessive profits dictating who can afford healthy food, Health Coalition Aotearoa says.

The statement comes after Statistics NZ released data showing healthy fruit and vegetables increased in price by 18 per cent in March 2022, the highest increase in a decade.

“We cannot rely on the current market to provide us with healthy food as this latest spike in prices clearly shows,” Co Chair of HCA’s Food Policy Expert Group Dr Lisa Te Morenga says.

“The Government intervened when the price of fuel reached $3 a litre with a swift reaction to slash tax but with food, we’ve had a lengthy Commerce Commission review suggesting practical, and sensible ways to reduce prices – yet the duopoly remains intact.

“We’re in a tailspin of higher and higher prices that benefit supermarket profit margins while locking people out of nutrition.”

Te Morenga says the problem will only worsen unless urgent action is taken.

“Policy measures Ministers could take right now include breaking up our supermarket duopoly, as originally flagged by the Commerce Commission, and creating a national nutrition and food sovereignty strategy, instead of leaving our food supply to chance and market forces.”

“These continued reports on high prices of fruit, vegetables and milk should be all the evidence Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark needs.

“The reality is many whānau are either living in material poverty or right on the edge of it.

“Twenty percent of Māori children, nearly double the rate of the whole population, are currently living in circumstances of material hardship which means they often go without the sort of healthy food they need to meet their full potential.

“To meet its goal of lifting 100,000 children out of poverty and to honour obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi to protect wellbeing for all citizens, the Government must urgently address skyrocketing food costs.

“Food makes massive contributions to health and well-being in society yet, for many, due to high prices they are left with scraps.

“We’re better than this.”



Free under-30s dental care fills gap but more needed

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) welcomes Labour’s proposed policy to reduce the burden of dental disease in Aotearoa - but says more preventative action is needed to address the causes of tooth decay. Provision of free dental care for the under-30s, will help correct...

Alcohol bill step in right direction to reduce harm

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) commends the Government's passing of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Community Participation) Amendment Bill yesterday. While there is still much more to be done to reduce alcohol harm in this country, this is a step in the right...

Stronger youth vaping measures welcomed

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) welcomes Labour’s stronger proposed measures to address the serious problem of vaping among our tamariki and rangatahi. Labour’s policy announced today included capping all vape stores to 600 nation-wide, a requirement for all retailers...

‘We have failed our mokopuna’

Health Coalition Aotearoa (HCA) stands in solidarity with the parents’ movement Vape-Free Kids and their petitions calling on the Government to protect children from vaping addiction. Vape-Free Kids NZ are handing over their petitions to Dr Tracey McLellan, Chair of...