Election 2023: Labour will do 'everything we can' to increase supermarket competition - Chris Hipkins

Labour leader Chris Hipkins wants to do everything possible to increase supermarket competition if re-elected in a fortnight. 

The party announced on Monday it would support new grocery retailers trying to break through in the New Zealand market by providing financing, making regulatory changes or making land available. 

"We will then work with these selected potential supermarkets to establish the tools, resources and rules they need to become established and in turn, ramp up competition in the sector," a Labour policy document said. "We will provide assistance to a credible chosen supermarket competitor to enter or expand their presence in the New Zealand market, through help such as finance, land availability or regulatory changes, incubating innovation in the sector and accelerating a competitive market for groceries." 

Hipkins said a future Labour Government would be "happy to speak to" any potential supermarket competitors wanting to enter the New Zealand market. 

"Whatever it is we can support with to get more competition in our supermarket sector, all options are on the table," he told AM. 

"I think the duopoly has dominated the supermarket industry in New Zealand for too long, I think it is time for more competition and I'm absolutely committed to doing everything that we can to make sure that happens." 

Labour's announcement came after the Government earlier this year appointed New Zealand's first Grocery Commissioner, who is tasked with keeping the current supermarket duopoly - Woolworths NZ and Foodstuffs - honest and blowing the whistle on any suspected issues.   

On top of setting up the Commissioner, Labour has also required major grocery retailers to open wholesale offerings so other grocery retailers have direct access to a range of wholesale groceries at competitive prices. 

Those moves came on the back of a Commerce Commission market study into the sector.