Supermarket retailers in talks with Government to enter NZ and shake up duopoly

Supermarket retailers are exploring their options in Aotearoa in a bid to disturb the duopoly currently dominating New Zealand's supermarket sector. 

Acting Prime Minister Grant Robertson told RNZ the Government had fielded interest from "a number of players", who they had been reassuring would have places to build supermarkets and access goods.

"It's possible a number of people will come here, and also not just those at the big end," he told the broadcaster.

"I mean, one of the things is that some of the smaller players who are already in New Zealand might find themselves more confident to expand, to be able to provide the kinds of greater access to a greater range of goods.

"So the whole point here is to increase the amount of competition, because when we look around the world New Zealand doesn't have that, and we are paying too much for our groceries."

Robertson's comments come as the Government gave a stern warning to New Zealand's two major players - Foodstuffs and Countdown - that the sector needs to change "at pace" or face regulation. 

The warning followed the Commerce Commission's market study, which found the two were making excess profits of more than $1 million a day. 

"What we are doing is making sure conditions are there so not only can competitors enter the market, but New Zealanders will get a fairer price," Robertson told RNZ's Morning Report. 

Any new entrants to Aotearoa's grocery sector would follow Costco in shaking up the supermarket duopoly, which is expected to open its giant warehouse in Auckland in late August. 

Costco's New Zealand managing director Patrick Noone told Newshub last month that its presence was a big step to bringing Kiwis affordable retail, and creating competition in the market.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Aldi was in talks with the Government to enter the New Zealand market. However this was not proven and Aldi has since denied it has plans to expand here.