National | Groceries

Māmā Māori makes every dollar count to provide kai for tamariki

Counting every dollar, every week to put food on the table is what a Waingaro mother of four children has had to do. Food price inflation has forced her to go for cheap and less healthy options for her kids.

Shani Talia Matenga-Troughear says, “Simple things like fruit and vegetables for our kids can be hard to get. We are trying to move away from the package foods but, honestly, I am a mother of four kids and it costs me $100 a week for lunches for all of my four kids and at the end of the week, I might be a little short."

The government's effort to end a long-standing supermarket duopoly has been received with mixed views. The government is trying to force Foodstuffs and Woolworths to reduce their profits and cut prices and plans to take a tough stance but this is expected to take some time to achieve.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark says: "We are not afraid to unlock the storeroom door to get a fair deal for consumers. We will take these measures because compensators don't have access to wholesale prices with a real incentive to enter the market."

Food price rise 

The government is taking action against the supermarket duopoly. It will introduce an Industry regulator, a mandatory code of conduct, compulsory unit pricing on groceries and more transparent loyalty schemes for consumers.

According to Stats NZ, overall food prices were 6.4 percent higher in April 2022 than a year ago, with the cost of fruit and vegetables over nine percent higher. Matenga says the price of basic necessities like these food items are becoming too expensive.

Māori Authority chairman Matthew Tukaki says another spike in food prices would hit whānau Māori on low incomes the hardest.
"These two large organisations, Foodstuffs and Woolworths aren't behaving. That the government can use the market regulator and the watchdog to put on massive fines is a win-win for us."

The government has warned the supermarket companies to make changes before the new rules kick in.