The Tradition of Targeting Tiny Tim: A Timeline of Foodstuffs’ Questionable Practices

The focus over the last two months has been entirely on Progressive Enterprises and their parent company Woolworths in Australia.

It began with a change in what products Woolworths stocked in their stores, and the latest issue was over a Hepatitis A scare which affected both Progressives and Foodstuffs stores.

We have seen accusations of a blanket ban on all NZ products in Australia’s Woolworths supermarkets and cries of an “anti Kiwi” attitude, together with demands for ‘fair play’.

Next on the scene was Shane Jones, The Avenger: going to bat on behalf of suppliers who claimed they were being bullied and taken advantage of. He used inflammatory words like “Mafioso tactics” and “Dingo dealings” and was widely criticised for comparing Countdown to the Mob. Although the Commerce Commission had already been looking into these claims Jones’ attack forced the issue into the public spotlight and the CC confirmed a formal investigation would be undertaken.

As if that wasn’t enough, there have since been reports of LAPs being challenged, whole fish being disposed of at a waste processing plant to be turned into fertilizer and pet foods; and a recent Hepatitis A scare – although it has been confirmed that Foodstuffs has also been involved in both the challenging of LAPs and the Hep A issue.

With all this negativity focusing on Countdown and Progressive, no one seems to be looking very hard at Foodstuffs and their history. The NZ owned half of the supermarket duopoly has certainly been working overtime to win the hearts and minds of Kiwis and stay under the radar at the same time.

So what has Foodstuffs been up to in the last few years?

You may have read my previous topic regarding the fate of small business owner Keun Mook Yook, who faces being unceremoniously and forcibly ejected from the shopping centre where he has run Willy’s Dairy for the last 13 years, due to foodstuffs buying the land to rebuild their earthquake-damaged Halswell store. They have refused to lease him a space on the land, leaving him with nowhere to go and without the means to begin again elsewhere.

What follows is a brief timeline of Foodstuffs’ less than friendly – and often questionable – tactics and actions over the last five years.

2009:

 

  • 120 workers at a Christchurch distribution centre are suspended after two one-hour strikes over pay conditions. The National Distribution Union criticised this action strongly and confirmed they were taking action over the incident, which they claimed was illegal and a heavy over-reaction to the workers’ action.

2010:

  • In October Foodstuffs was ordered to pay back wages owed to the 120 workers involved in two one-hour strikes over pay conditions. The affected workers were denied 3 days’ pay in retaliation for their involvement in the move.
  • Also in October, a small business owner in Dunedin, Masaud (no last name given) who at the time had recently opened an independent grocery store, claimed he was visited several times by high level representatives of local and South Island branches of New World.The representatives, he said, demanded to know who his suppliers were and then pressured these suppliers if they were also supplying to New World stores.
    Masuad claimed that following these tactics by New World representatives some of his suppliers had asked him to ‘keep a low profile’, and one had even temporarily halted supply to his store. He said that representatives had also scrutinised his prices which were less than what the supermarkets were charging.

    Foodstuffs General Manager Alan Malcomson denied knowledge of the visits but admitted it could have happened. He denied Musad’s allegations that his suppliers had been pressured by New World representatives.

2012:

  • Early September:Foodstuffs announces a plan to force suppliers in the Wellington region to pay a 3% ‘promotional rebate’ levy.

    The levy’s purpose is to cover the cost of advertising and marketing both in-store and through other sources such as mailers, Foodstuffs says. It is to include funding for their ‘own-brand’ labels Pams and Budget.

    Suppliers report feeling helpless. They are angry and unhappy but feel like they cannot have a fair say, lest they are penalised by the supermarket giant by having their products removed from shelves or contracts suspended.

    Sue Kedgley is outraged, and again calls for the government to investigate and consider
    implementing a code of conduct to protect suppliers and prevent large chains forcing tactics such as additional levies on them.

 

  • Late September:Foodstuffs are forced to back down over the proposed 3% ‘promotional rebate’ levy aimed at suppliers after numerous complaints.

    Suppliers felt that Foodstuffs was attempting to engage in a ‘profits grab’ and feared that if the levy were imposed, supermarket rival Progressive Enterprises might follow suit with a similar scheme. Bowing to pressure, Foodstuffs announced that they would not be going ahead with the move, citing a need to ‘negotiate more’ with suppliers.

    The food and Grocery Council said it was disappointed with Foodstuffs’ levy plan, with Chief Executive Katherine Rich saying that such a levy was too costly for most suppliers, who were already under financial pressure and could not afford the additional expense the levy would bring.

 

2013:

 

  • April:After the government narrowly passed the youth wages law a range of companies including Progressive Enterprises, McDonalds, Bunnings, The warehouse, Kmart and Restaurant Brands announced it would continue paying youths the same minimum wage rate as adults.

    Foodstuffs however were the singular exception, choosing to adopt the ‘starting out’ youth wage scheme which would see young persons between 16-19 paid only $11 an hour, or 80% of the adult minimum wage rate, currently $13.75.

    First Union retail secretary Maxine Gray accused foodstuffs of adopting the youth rate scheme for monetary gain – saying they were aiming to use the law to ‘get away with paying youth workers less’.

    Foodstuffs’ starting rate for front line employees is set at the minimum wage.
    Progressive Enterprises pays a higher starting rate as well as a range of benefits including a 5% employee discount, health insurance and opportunities for training and development.

 

  • September:
    It is reported that a shopping centre up for sale in Orewa (located on the Hibiscus coast North of Auckland) has had a tender put in by Foodstuffs, with plans to build a New World supermarket on the site – which would require existing shops in the complex to be demolished if the sale goes ahead. 

    Exact dates for the proposed changes were not available at the time but shop owners feared losing their businesses.One retailer, CM Bakery owner Ty Lim, said his landlord had advised him to start looking for new premises and that he could exit his lease early without penalty.at the time the article was published, business owners were told they would receive letters in a month’s time which would provide more information and certainty around the matter.

2014:

  • February:Plans to merge North Island Foodstuffs stores, which began in September 2013, have workers and locals worried that communities and families will suffer as jobs are moved up to Auckland, leaving previously employed workers facing a move or unemployment as the sector is restructured.

    Initially Foodstuffs reassured employees and communities that redundancies would be minimal. But Wayne Guppy, who is the Mayor for Upper Hutt, claims that the community has been misled by Foodstuffs and described the action as a ‘hostile takeover’.When the merger began, the operations base at Silverstream employed over 300 staff. However as the merger had progressed all but one of the eight management jobs previously held in the Wellington area had been moved up to Auckland. In total there had been 28 redundancies.

    Upper Hutt had previously been the Lower North Island headquarters for Foodstuffs. It is expected many more jobs in Wellington will be lost over the next 18 months as the merger continues. Affected staff are being told new roles are being offered in Auckland and they have the opportunity to relocate in order to carry on with the company. This in turn potentially affects Wellington as staff either relocate or are made redundant and are forced to look for work elsewhere in the region.

 

  • March: 

    Christchurch small business owner Keun Mook Yook is facing eviction from his shop of 13 years, following the purchase by Foodstuffs of the shopping centre where his dairy is located. The existing shops will be demolished to make way for the planned rebuild of the Halswell New World, which was damaged in the earthquakes.

 

Foodstuffs also own a range of liquor outlets.

As well as selling beer, wine and cider in their supermarkets, Foodstuffs also owns and operates the Liquor Land (and Henry’s in the South Island) bottle stores which can be found throughout the country.

DB Breweries previously owned the Liquor Land brand, but sold it to Foodstuffs in 2008.
With over 70 Liquor Land stores and 18 Henry’s stores, Foodstuffs owns one of New Zealand’s largest and most powerful players in the alcohol industry.

Foodstuffs have not made information regarding the earnings brought in by their many liquor outlets available to the public.

Are Foodstuffs really caring and benign – or re they just as cut-throat s any other large business?
The evidence certainly suggests the latter.

Related Links:

Bullying of workers

Foodstuffs ordered to pay back wages

Small business owner bullied

Plans for levy revealed

Forced backdown over levy

Youth wages

Proposed Orewa sale

Upper hutt ‘misled’ over merger plans

Foodstuffs forces Willy out

 

 

 

 

 

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Are Foodstuffs Taking Over In The Bullying Department? Christchurch Dairy Owner Being Forced Out By New world

In the last two months Foodstuffs – under their “proudly 100% owned and operated” supermarket chains Pak’n’Save and New World – have been milking the backlash against Countdown with ramped up advertising.

Pak’n’Save in particular, already known for their sometimes contrversial advertising, have been taking jabs at Australia with ads like “Don’t worry Cheesy, it’s too hot for you in Australia anyway”  “Haere Mai, welcome home my tasty friends” (complete with several food items exiting a plane) and “What next? Aussie supermarkets ban the word ‘bro’?”

But instead of Pak’n’Save, New world stands to be in the firing line.

Christchurch small business owner Keun Mook Yook, known as Willy, has owned and operated Willy’s Dairy in the suburb of Halswell for 13 years. His business is situated in a shopping centre which Foodstuffs has purchased with plans to rebuild the earthquake damaged Halswell branch of New World.
Far from willing to negotiate with him, Foodstuffs has several times sent him correspondence reminding him of the deadline – April 1st – by which he must hand over the keys to his store.
It also seems he is being discriminated against. While other business owners in the complex have been given container shops to work out of while the buildings in the shopping centre are demolished and the supermarket rebuilt, Mr Yook has been repeatedly denied space in the new complex.

Locals have signed a petition in support of Mr Yook’s dairy with over 2700 signatures so far.
Does Foodstuffs care? Not an iota.

Not only that, but they made a statement to The Press claiming they are helping him find alternative premises – a claim Mr Yook says is untrue. He states they have not offered any assistance at all.

Even local MPs Amy Adams and Megan Woods, and City Councillor Jimmy Chen, have written to foodstuffs pleading with them to give Willy’s Dairy respite and allow it to remain.
Still they refuse. Their excuse?
“New World will fill the void.”

With the high prices of rentals and the competition for these spaces in Christchurch Mr Yook simply cannot afford to rent a new space elsewhere. He has “no idea” what he will do after he is forced to leave. He plans to close his doors on March 25 to begin the huge task of clearing the shop.

You can read about Mr Yook’s plight here and the first article featured in local newspaper The Press can be read here.

Who is the bully business now?

Foodstuffs, you’re getting too cocky. Let’s not forget some of those complaints to the commerce Commission have been about other big retailers. Don’t get ahead of yourselves – you could be next.

Especially when you start picking on the little guy.

The Big Anti-Climax: Initial Findings by The Commerce Commission Revealed

In mid February Shane Jones made allegations against Countdown of bullying, extortion and blackmail.
He inferred that “many” suppliers had complained about how they were treated but were afraid to come forward lest they be blacklisted, harassed or otherwise given an even rougher deal than they apparently already had.

Fast forward a month.

Yesterday the Commerce Commission’s chief executive Brent Alderton and his team were summoned to a select committee meeting in parliament where they were interrogated by Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove, who demanded answers.
Had they found evidence of bullying? How many suppliers have complained and what did these complaints entail? Who were the complainants? And what DID they do with that email demanding a $2 million retrospective payment?

Cosgrove must have liked the way Jones’ cloak of Parliamentary Privilege shone and sparkled in the artificial lighting of the house – because he seems to have gone ahead and designed himself a similar garment.

The way Cosgrove went about handling this meeting echoes in many ways how Jones approached the initial allegations – like a bull in a china shop, Jones and Cosgrove both charged about willy-nilly, crashing into things and making one hell of a mess.

Cosgrove does not seem to realise his demands for information at this stage were out of line as the investigation is still ongoing – but perhaps he does realise this. It would explain why he, again echoing Jones, refused to speak outside of the privilege of the select committee meeting or make public statements to the media.

First he wanted to know if the CC had confirmed the existence of the aforementioned email – and accused them of “making it go away” because Countdown had said it was a mistake.
So far, the existence of this email has NOT been confirmed and the allegation is still under investigation. It is also important to note that reports of the incident itself are sketchy – while Clayton accuses the CC of not following due process, this article infers that if a complaint WAS made it was withdrawn by the supplier.
Cosgrove also wanted to know how many suppliers had made official complaints, who they were, what the complaints were about and if they had been threatened with reprisals by Countdown if they were to come forward.  Again, this is really none of his business and it would not be appropriate to release the information to third parties while the investigation continues – but Mr Alderton was able to confirm that they had to date received less than 30 and not all of them were about Countdown.

There have been several articles published on this story which you can read about.
Two are in The Herald here and here (the second link of which mentions the “narrow majority” {51%} who believe Jones’ allegations are true while 20.4% believe Countdown – which leads us to assume that roughly 26% of respondents weren’t sure or wanted to adopt a ‘wait and see’ position).
Further reports can be found on the TV3 page talking about implementing a code and in this Newstalk ZB article regarding a lack of evidence about bullying.

The investigation is likely to take several more months but at this point the evidence is not looking promising for Jones in his war against That Australian Owned Company.
Not that it is likely to stop him. He, along with his trusty sidekick Cosgrove, is probably digging for more dirt as you read this.

Watch out Countdown – looks like Shane Jones now has a second in his fighting corner.

Introducing: The Man who compares Countdown to Sexual Predators

Did you think that Shane Jones comparing Countdown to the Mongerel Mob was abhorrent and wholly inappropriate?
Well do I have a doozy for you!!

You will all remember the Roast Busters issue that was raised last November.

Well, according to this man, the few complaints that the Commerce Commission has confirmed have been made about Countdown (exact details not supplied due to ongoing investigation) is comparable to the few complaints made by the survivors of the Roast Busters gang who were brave enough to come forward.

Compre to RBs wp edit

Steve Wood is intentionally demeaning and disrespecting all survivors of sexual violence.
Complaints related to business practice are in NO WAY comparable to complaints of sexual violence and that anyone would use this analogy is frankly sickening.

A statement like this is inexcusable coming from anyone – much less an older man who should know better.

UPDATE: At some point between 10:30 and 11:15 PM, Steve deleted the comment comparing the few complaints against Countdown to the complaints of sexual violence against the Roast Busters.

Boycott Extremist Turns on Suppliers; Calls them Traitors

When Shane Jones put on his invisibility cloak of Parliamentary Privilege and accused Countdown of extortion, bullying and blackmail, the public was led to believe that suppliers who delivered goods to Countdown were the victims.

But NO! The verdict is in – apparently they are disloyal to and stealing money from New Zealand!
That’s right – suppliers to Countdown are now the bad guys – along with anyone who works for or shops at the chain.
In fact, if you have anything to do with Countdown, you’re Disloyal. Anti Kiwi. A Dirty Traitor.
Shame! Shame! Shame!

Who is spouting this hysterical nonsense, you ask?
traitors edit wp

The same person who put up the details of Dave Chambers’ 2IC and encouraged people to harass her. Speaking of which, he’s at it again.
harass kate pt 2 edit

This was posted today. Note how he’s getting sneaky – Telling followers what to say and pretending to advocate a ‘peaceful’ approach rather than aggressive.
Unfortunately for him he spoils it all by acknowlgeding it’s a number for the media to use but encouraging people to abuse it anyway.

 

In Other News:

Jerrard Day is convinced that anyone who opposes or challenges the boycott and the anti Progressives/ anti Australian attitude expressed on the boycott page is a “shill”. He believes these people are paid by Progressives to spread “misinformation” and has made several posts about this. Even one of the regular posters on the page has called him paranoid.
So we’re not only Anti Kiwi, but we’re paid extortionate sums of money to pretend to support Progressives and its employees, suppliers and contractors because no one in their right mind would have that opinion of their own volition!

Here he admits that his alias (Scarlet Pimpernel) is his very own Privilege Hoodie. He changed his display name about two weeks ago.
fake name edit

Aren’t his theories hilarious (not to mention ironic)?
Demented ravings? Cult-like behaviour? I think he needs to take a look in the mirror and at some of his fellow extremist buddies.
Online Disinhibition Effect has a lot to answer for. You can read about this in a previous entry if you haven’t yet seen it.

Unfortunately for him, you can change your display name but not the one you registered under – the original remains displayed in the web address.

not so fake edit wp
So he can run, but he can’t hide – well, he can pretend to. Under that shiny invisibility cloak.

Spreading the Word: Feedback From Countdown

I emailed Countdown last week with a message of support and a link to the blog inviting CD employees and their supporters to visit.

Last night I received this lovely reply from a member of the customer Care Team:

“Dear Mahara,

 

I would like to sincerely thank you for your support. It is a great feeling knowing that we have genuine customers like yourself who care for our Company.


I will be more than happy to share your blog. I am sure that everyone will appreciate your time and efforts having this organised.

 

Once again, I thank you very much. I hope you had a great weekend.


Warmest Regards,

 

Danielle Toia

Customer Care Representative

Countdown Contact Centre”



Thanks for your support guys!

 

Is the dream over for The Boycott Brigade?..

Since the boycott began the supporters of this ‘revolution’ have regularly posted anecdotal confirmation of low custom at their local Countdown stores – reporting empty car parks and third party information from suppliers and employees who have allegedly confirmed a definite drop in numbers through the doors.

Conversely, reports of ‘business as usual’ are met with derision and seemingly a source of great personal offense.
No one has moaned about too many people shopping at Countdown recently, this last post was from a couple of weeks ago on the boycott page:
way too many cars in the Countdown car park in Rototuna yesterday, we do have a New World across the road that has picked up alot of trade in the last month..”

However someone posted this in the latest thread on the main page today:

Is it over

As long predicted people are doing their own thing and continuing to shop at Countdown supermarkets.
Two months on, the storm in a teacup seems to be blowing over.

Blaming Countdown for the Hep A scare…? Proof that the Boycotters are grasping at straws.

When the announcement was made yesterday that some fruit packed at a Hawkes Bay plant was potentially contaminated with Hepatitis A the public were understandably worried.
The article warned that some apples sold at Progressives stores and peaches sold at Foodstuffs stores in the last few weeks were being recalled as a precautionary manner.

Of course, certain members of the boycott movement jumped all over this story like rabbits. They’ve been posting links to the story like it’s going out of fashion and insinuating Countdown is somehow to blame and even that they deliberately sold poisoned fruit.

From the Boycott Countdown page:
another reason to Boycott Countdown, turns out Countdown Supermarkets have been supplying Hepatitis A to customers now…”
“…and now Countdown Supermarkets are stocking fruit with Hepatitis A..”
Watch out for your Countdown apples and peaches: Hepatitis A warning..”

Countdown’s facebook page has of course been copping it too – aside from the idiotic boycott comments several people have even threatened to take legal action if they or their family members become ill.
I understand people are worried about the health of themselves and their families but this trend of shooting the messenger helps no one. Wht blame Countdown? Or Pak’n’Save for that matter – a range of stores in the North Island recalled a batch of peaches due to the risk of contamination.

Hepatitis A is a horrible illness and unfortunately there is nothing that can be done but to wait for it to pass.
The fact that it has a long incubation period and you can be infectious before showing any symptoms means it can spread very quickly without anyone being aware it has happened.

For this reason there is no point in blaming any of the supermarkets, or even the pack house worker who fell ill. He could have contracted the virus himself from a range of environments.
The media release also stated that due to the workers all wearing gloves the risk of contaminatin is in fact minimal and the recall is a precautionary manner – yet this information doesn’t seem to be well – known. Once again people are

Another Boycott Extremist Says “Credible Threats of Harm Acceptable”

They’re at it again.

One of the extremists last night started this thread.

In it he gives the name and cellphone number of a person who he claims is Dave Chambers’ 2IC and encourages followers to “Ring her, text her, tell her what you think of Countdown… me, angry…? Gloves off, lady.”

The number is listed on the Progressives website as an emergency/after hours contact for media and government use only.
It is not intended to be given to the general public for the purpose of harassment and intimidation techniques.

The OP, Ely Ewan, was challenged by several people as to his intent in posting this information. He continually attempts to justify his actions saying that they deserve harassment and abuse.

He is extremely disgruntled. It would seem he attempted to demand compensation following the company’s failure to delete all his details from the Progessive database when he cancelled a onecard in 2012 – resulting in unwanted offers and contacts by one of Progressive’s sister companies, Tomorrow Shopper. His demand for compensation appears to have been unsuccessful.
He wrote an extremely detailed post about it several hours prior to the most recent thread inciting harassment and violence.

One can assume that the failed attempt at getting compensation is the motivation behind encouraging a full-on assault against the welfare and safety of Countdown employees.

As of yet the admin of the page, Nevan Lancaster, has not stepped in to discourage these types of posts, nor has he removed it.

A Fishy Tale, Part 2 – A Critique of Native Affairs’ Report

Many of you have undoubtedly seen the segment by Native Affairs on Monday night regarding allegations against Countdown of “dumping” tonnes of whole fish.
If you haven’t yet seen it visit their website, it is in three sections.

After I watched the segment I came up with some thoughts and questions.

Now, I do understand where recreational fishers are coming from. Their daily limits are severely restricted whereas commercial fisheries seem to have a bit of a loose rein. The commercial companies have orders to meet, but the recreational fishers want to catch a feed and do it for the love of fishing – it is a livelihood.
Their restrictions are higher too – fish they catch to keep must be larger than for most species in comparison to the minimum required of the commercials.

Now let’s look at the segment.

The whistleblower – Kevin Rogers – alleges that he regularly sees large bins of whole fish being delivered for processing at a local plant which turns waste into garden products and animal food. He’s a keen recreational fisher who drops off his own fish waste once or twice a week and has been doing so for over a decade.
He says that in the last 3 years he has seen loads of whole fish – which appear to be perfectly fine – delivered to the plant.
Over the last summer, he says, it became frequent to the point where he decided to do something about it.

On two separate occasions – in November of last year and in January of this year – he took still and video footage of bins appearing to contain whole fish. He also managed to obtain the receipts which came with the bins, showing that several tonnes of fish and fish parts had been delivered.

At one point when filming Mr Rogers was challenged by a plant foreman who told him he didn’t have permission to film.
Now this is the first issue. Mr Rogers was unhappy about being asked to stop filming but the plant were well within their rights to do this. One cannot enter a premises or private property and just begin filming without permission as this is a violation of rights and privacy. Potentially, the plant could have brought charges against Mr Rogers or had him trespassed from the property.
The footage does appear to be damning – but we cannot see anything below the top layers of waste. There is no way of knowing beyond all doubt how many bins were completely or mostly filled with whole fish.

The reporter used the phrase “..up to $40/kg..” to describe the price of Snapper. This part I was unhappy with as it is misleading and designed to distract the viewers and promote outrage.
Snapper fillets are up to $40/kg. However a whole snapper goes for as little as $14/kg – a huge difference. This of course was not mentioned in the segment despite it having relevance.
Why the wide range in pricing? Convenience, of course.

We as consumers have long paid for convenience when grocery shopping. It applies everywhere – not just in the seafood department.
A whole chicken is cheaper than boned and skinless breast fillet.
A cut of beef rump is cheaper than pre-cut and marinated steak.
A block of cheese is cheaper than a pre-grated bag of the same.
This doesn’t change the fact that paying a huge price for having the work done for us is something that should be looked at – do the prices need to be as high as they are? However this practice is the same no matter where you go – it is not exclusive to Countdown.

The next bit of questionable reporting is in the host’s claim that Countdown said in a statement that ..“no whole fish..” leaves their Penrose seafood processing plant.
She then displayed a copy of the email they received. Imagine my surprise when I paused the video to read it.
email wp edit

In reality, they stated “No record of large amounts of whole fish leaving our Penrose processing plant..” and “.. no record of whole fish going missing or being unaccounted for..”
Just a little bit different from an outright denial, right Native Affairs?

But as the saying goes – never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Strike one.

On to Countdown’s chance to share their side of the story.
You can find an official statement on the Progressive Enterprises website under their media releases section.

Native Affairs confirmed they had seen CCTV footage of some whole fish which had not passed the plant’s stringent food safety standards being put on top of fish by-products, then made a remark about not being given permission to air the footage, inferring that this was grossly offensive and somehow sinister.
But why should they have to hand over the footage? The only case in which anyone must hand over footage is to assist police in a criminal investigation.
Some may say surrendering whole fish to a processing plant is criminal in principle, but in the eyes of the law it is not.
Think of it this way. If you have a videographer attend a family function or event and film for you, you have rights to privacy. You own that footage. You paid for it. If the videographer wants to display clips from that footage on his website as part of his portfolio he needs your permission and you have every right to decline. He must respect this.
It is the same with the footage viewed at the seafood plant – their ownership of the footage and what they choose to do with it must be respected regardless of what you’d like to do with that footage as a third-party.

Two strikes, Native Affairs.

Next the interviewer asked if Countdown pays for any spoiled fish and acted surprised when she was told they didn’t.
If you find a product you’ve bought or are about to buy is no longer fit to eat, do you expect to have to pay for it?
Of course not.

So why would Countdown pay for product they can’t use?

But why is Countdown receiving the blame? They don’t catch the fish – the big commercial companies do.
Perhaps these companies need to improve their storage and handling. Perhaps their quotas need to be reduced.
Matt Watson, who has a popular fishing show, was of the opinion that commercial quotas should be reevaluated.

Mr Rogers also alleges some fish are undersized. Once again this should be the responsibility of the company that catches them. Countdown is not able to control which fish the company chooses to keep and claims they do not regularly receive undersized product. So why is the finger being pointed at them?

Which brings us to the studio interview.
During this final part of the segment Glenn Simmons – who is an NZ fisheries expert and a researcher – and Shane Jones shared their views.

Glenn Simmons was objective and enjoyable to listen to. He agreed that there were concerns around the issue and one of the interesting facts he pointed out is how little of a whole fish we use as a country. He described how even the skin of fish is used in other countries, or dried out. He challenged us as a country to waste less but admitted we are very behind in terms of how we use and process fish by-products.
He also mentioned that commercial fishing issues were raised with our government as early as the late 1930s. Nothing was done then either.

Shane Jones, on the other hand…. oh where to begin?
The contemptuous attitude of this man astounds me. He had no respect even for the presenter and Mr Simmons, interrupting and talking over them both whenever the notion took him.
He went back to his ‘big bully supermarkets’ theory, trying to tell us that the fishing companies are “afraid” of Countdown. Laughable!
He complained that funding for maintaining fishing vessels goes on “scientists” but didn’t elaborate on who these scientists are and what they are doing with this money.

He didn’t even make an effort to learn Kevin Rogers’ name, instead saying “I believe that old fella… I can’t remember his name but I believe him..”
Are you serious…? you go on national TV, talking about a serious issue, and you can’t remember the name of the man who bought it to our attention? How disrespectful.

The most amazingly ridiculous comments he made though were the disparaging remarks about the Minister for the Ministry of Primary Industries, Nathan Guy – dismissing the man’s position and office as insignificant and insinuating it is not a ‘real’ title. He accused Minister Guy of ‘ignoring’ him.
On top of that, he alleged that the head of the Commerce commission, Craig Foss, “tried to humiliate” him.

Does Mr Jones think he’s back in the school yard? With comments like that spoken on national TV, I have to wonder.

Then there was his sidestepping of the questions around commercial fisheries and to how much of a degree they are accountable for the amount of fish taken.
But of course he will defend the companies and make excuses for them, attempting to project the blame back on the hapless Countdown who is merely a distributor – he has got his fingers in the commercial fish pies, after all.
Everything he said was a questionable from start to finish. His conduct was, as usual, dismissive and disrespectful.

In summary, it was an interesting segment which certainly opened up the floor for questions around our fishing practices and how we use (and don’t use) this precious resource.
All we needs to do now is look in the direction of the suppliers – the commercial fishing giants.