NZ supermarkets unmoved by Aussie price freeze

7/03/2011 22:57:05 PM

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Supermarkets in New Zealand have no plans to follow Australia's example and lower or freeze prices for shoppers.

Across the Tasman one major supermarket chain has frozen the prices of about five different fresh fruit and veges while the other has slashed the price of their no frills bread in response.

Progressive Enterprises, which owns supermarket chains Countdown, Woolworths and Foodtown, told ONE News today the market is different in New Zealand and it has no immediate plans for a price freeze.

Foodstuffs, which owns New World, Pak 'n Save and Four Square, said it didn't think price freezing was sustainable and the move could negatively impact suppliers.

Australia competition heats up

Woolworths Australia has fixed the price of apples, tomatoes, carrots, brown onions and potatoes at the same level until July 2012. Competitor Coles is cutting the price of its budget brand bread to $1 a loaf.

The tit-for-tat price cuts began in February when Coles slashed its milk price to $1 a litre, a move quickly matched by its main rivals, Aldi and Woolworths.

Call for NZ to follow suit

Facebook users are pushing for New Zealand supermarkets to follow Australia's lead.

Messages on the ONE News Facebook page overwhelmingly support the idea.

Hiran Mistry says "Way to go Australia."

"Man, bread for $1?! That would be so awesome! It would be really great to be able to afford to eat healthy food AND pay the bills," says Hayley Swainslie.

Many users also comment on scrapping GST on essentials.

"Take GST off food staples too, that would make a huge difference," says Carolyne MacMillan.

"I firmly believe action of this kind is essential. Along with the abolition of GST on fresh foods too," Tony Last said.

However some users also comment on the impact this type of move has on smaller retailers.

"Price fix is good, but like everything in Aussie it will be Coles and Safeways that are freezing the prices, forcing all the small independent grocery stores out of business. So really who wins at the end of the day the big supermarket chains," says Colin Newall.

Angela Knight agrees. "Good idea, but what about the producers of these products and the retailers trying to make their ends meet."

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