Monday, October 02, 2023

Labour still protecting the status quo

Aotearoa has a cost of living crisis. And one of the major drivers of this crisis is the supermarket duopoly, who gouge every dollar they can out of us. Last year, the Commerce Commission found that the duopoly was in fact anti-competititve, giving the government social licence to fix the problem. Instead, Labour decided to protect the status quo, by slow-walking minor changes which will do sweet fuck-all. But now there's an election, so suddenly they're promising action:

If Labour is returned to government, it says it could look to finance new grocery retailers setting up business in New Zealand in a bid to cut the price of groceries and increase competition.

Consumer Affairs spokesperson Duncan Webb said in Auckland on Monday that Labour would back credible companies wanting to get into or expand in the New Zealand grocery business.

“This could include finance, making sure land is available, regulatory changes, incubating innovation and accelerating competition,” he said.

“We need to go further than we have to date to force the type of competition shoppers overseas experience.”

While I appreciate the sentiment, the timing on this is utterly cynical, effectively holding something they should have been doing anyway hostage to electoral outcomes in an effort to grub votes. But in addition to that, it's also weaksauce. The duopoly has already crushed efforts by others to enter the market, and looks likely to continue, even if they are backed by Labour market buzzwords. So even when they're trying to appear to do something, Labour are also still trying to protect the status quo and its unjust profits.

As I said, its weak. The supermarket dupoly is a scourge, and there is an obvious solution: break it up. Force the duopolists to split into two companies each, and limit them from growing too much. Any party which proposes anything less is simply not serious about the problem.

And after that, do the banks...