Countdown sent 'menacing' letter, MP says

  • 07/04/2014

Labour MPs are angry about a "menacing" letter Countdown supermarket chain has written to a parliamentary committee.

Clayton Cosgrove, deputy chairman of the Commerce Select Committee, says the letter came from lawyers representing Countdown's Australian owner, Progressive Enterprises.

He hasn't released the letter but says it sought information about questions MPs put to the Commerce Commission last month.

The commission is investigating allegations, made under parliamentary privilege by Labour's Shane Jones, that Countdown was demanding money from its local suppliers.

Mr Jones said it had threatened to blacklist products if payments weren't made to compensate for poor sales.

When the commission appeared for a routine financial review, Opposition MPs questioned it about its inquiry and wanted to know how many complaints had been received from suppliers.

Mr Cosgrove says the letter was "menacing at best, intimidatory at worst" and accused Countdown of "sending in the legal heavies".

In a statement to TVNZ, Countdown said the letter was "straightforward and innocuous" and was the sort of request any company under investigation would make.

Mr Cosgrove says the committee will discuss the letter when it meets today.


source: newshub archive