Wednesday, June 19, 2024

‘Whistleblowing’ tool checks out for Grocery Commissioner

Grocery Commissioner, Pierre van Heerden, says a new anonymous “whistleblower” tool will help to lift the lid on practices and conduct that may be hampering competition in the $25 billion sector.

Mr van Heerden (pictured) says the tool, which uses the WhistleB system, incorporates state-of-the-art data security and privacy, encrypting data and information provided. A similar system has been offered by the Commerce Commission since 2018 to report alleged cartel conduct to its competition branch. 

He says the confidential channel enables people to remain anonymous, removing any risk of retaliation, when coming forward to the Commission with information about concerning or inappropriate behaviour. 

“We’re aware of situations where players in the grocery sector, such as suppliers, may believe they are being mistreated by a major supermarket, but are concerned about being disadvantaged if they share information with the Commission – they can now do this easily and without fear.”

“This is a sector that touches every New Zealander, so it’s crucial that in conjunction with the obligations on the regulated supermarkets, we are aware of and can act on all potential issues for the long-term benefit of Kiwi consumers. 

“Every New Zealander has a vital role to play in shaping the future of grocery shopping in New Zealand, and so it’s important that they all feel they can share information with the Commission safely.”  

Mr van Heerden says his focus under the Grocery Industry Competition Act is on “improving this sector to deliver sustainable benefits for Kiwi consumers over the long term, by strengthening competition and reducing barriers to entry for new entrants”.

A key part of the Commission’s role in regulating the sector is to determine key issues that are hampering competition. 

The new Anonymous Reporting Tool can be accessed via the Make a Complaint page here – https://comcom.govt.nz/make-a-complaint.

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