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Maori Authority Chair cracks whip at the Commerce Commission tells Foodstuffs to cut the monopoly

The Chair of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, has taken aim at the Commerce Commission for its failure to protect Maori interests and rights. Tukaki has gone further and asked why Maori are not specifically being consulted on the Market Study into the Grocery Sector or why the Commission isn’t taking action of what it calls cartel like behavior from Foodstuffs in the debacle over the cancellation of Sealord’s contracts. Sealord’s is a half-owned business by Maori interests and has recently had its contracts cancelled by Foodstuffs in favor of imported fish products from places such as China.

“To be frank my patience with the Commerce Commission is coming to an end. Not only do we have to suffer the indignity that they have no strategy around engagement when it comes to Te Ao Maori but missing from the engagement process on supermarkets and this sort of monopoly behavior is a Maori voice. Not one Maori organization, unless I am wrong, is sitting at the table. Lets not get started about the fact the Commission doesn’t see fit to even mention the Treaty of Waitangi on its website or there is a Maori voice on the Board – its not wonder we are note being heard” Tukaki said

“Then there is what I would call predatory behavior from Foodstuffs when it comes to the cancellation of contracts with New Zealand operated and locally staffed companies – the latest is Sealord. Don’t get me started about the previous revelations that Peanut Butter was coming from China or that Creamed Corn was coming from Thailand. The truth is this industry is in need of a road to Damascus moment because I think many New Zealanders will agree – shop local, buy local also means sourcing local.” Tukaki said

“The spin coming from Foodstuffs about how they are 100% kiwi owned is just that – marketing spin. I would like to see them justify why they are preferring imported foreign owned fish and supporting jobs offshore as opposed to New Zealand jobs” Tukaki said

“And lets not forget if its one thing we have been hearing loud and clearly lately its that message of buy and shop local – well according to Foodstuffs they have decided to go shop internationally! And then lets ask some serious questions about the sustainability of the food source, how its caught, wages and much more – how do we know that those catching that fish are paid fairly? Treated fairly?” Tukaki said

Unless something changes and changes fast, unless we start supporting our local business by sourcing from New Zealander over foreign suppliers then we might as well give into the might of the monopolistic behaviors of corporates like Foodstuffs – and hear we bought into they are doing so much for the country. Unless I am wrong their billions of dollars in revenue made off the back of New Zealanders doesn’t give them the right to crap all over our industries” Tukaki said

Tukaki has written to the Commerce Commission for a please explain while also calling on Foodstuffs to reverse its decision in respect of Sealord and open its books to just how much of its products are sourced from local New Zealand business.

The National Maori Authority has launched an online campaign calling the supermarket chain a monopoly and suggesting its engaging in cartel like behavior.


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