'Buy Australia' campaign hits NZ products

  • 05/02/2014

New Zealand products are being stripped off supermarket shelves across the Tasman because of the aggressive Buy Australia campaign, says an organisation promoting local goods.

Buy NZ Made executive Scott Wilson says big Australian supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths are "systematically removing New Zealand-produced goods from their house brand labels simply for being non-Australian".

Mr Wilson says frozen foods, cheese and fresh vegetables are among products affected.

"We have no intention of taking a protectionist stance by suggesting people avoid products that aren't New Zealand made," he said.

"Consumers can buy things that aren't made here if they wish... that's why it's disappointing to see the Buy Australia campaign using such aggressive tactics against our products."

Prime Minister John Key addressed the issue today, which he says is against the spirit of trade relations with New Zealand.

"Even if it's legally not [a breach of CER], it's arguably a breach of the spirit of CER, and we're going to be raising that with Tony Abbott," says Mr Key.

"The whole spirit of CER is an integrated Australasian market, and we feel that the big companies in Australia should actually observe that. We can always retaliate but their market's five or six times bigger than ours, so that doesn't help us much."

Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich says New Zealand and Australia have the most comprehensive free trade agreement in the world but that isn't stopping the supermarkets reacting to the campaign.

Ms Rich says exporters are afraid to talk about the problem in public in case they are blacklisted by the Australian supermarkets.

Labour's economic development spokesman, Shane Jones, says several exporters have raised the problem with him.

3 News/NZN

source: newshub archive