The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council has welcomed the Grocery Industry Competition Bill, as reported back to Parliament.

The bill will address a wide range of much-needed changes in the grocery sector, says Chief Executive Raewyn Bleakley.

“It’s positive to see the impact of submissions from the Food and Grocery Council and those from groups representing consumers and smaller retailers.

“The changes made to the original bill will improve competition and behaviour in the grocery market.

“We are pleased with its recommendations around the grocery supply code.”

These include:

  • Having the Minister consult before recommending a code.
  • The Commerce Commission to administer the code in the long-term, but the Minister to develop the first version of the code so it is “introduced expeditiously”.
  • Ensuring the code captures all the related parties of a regulated grocery retailer.
  • The Commission to review and report on the code at least every five years after the initial review.

“All these points are vital, and it’s great the committee has cleared the way for the Minister to move fast on getting the code in place.

“The Food and Grocery Council is available to help with making that happen as soon as possible.”

Other recommendations that will be welcomed by grocery suppliers include:

  • Disputes in the dispute resolution scheme to be resolved within 25 working days.
  • Disputes to cover a diverse range of suppliers.
  • Suppliers to have reasonable control over where their products are sold in all regulatory contexts.
  • The Commerce Commission’s annual report on the grocery industry to address a wider amount of material, including to assess changes to the level of competition in the industry.

“These moves by the Government are a huge step towards improving market competitiveness and the level of confidence suppliers have in the business environment they operate in.”

Read the bill here