The Commerce Commission has received several complaints from
suppliers about their dealings with supermarket chain
The confirmation yesterday came as Prime Minister John Key
said any formal inquiry would be "very healthy" and establish
whether claims of standover tactics by the company stacked
In Parliament last week, Labour MP Shane Jones said Countdown
and its owner, Progressive Enterprises, had told some
suppliers to make payments to cover the chain's historic
losses on their products or they would be removed from
The commission has now had an official complaint from Mr
Jones and is assessing whether to initiate a formal inquiry.
It said last week that suppliers could come forward with
information in confidence.
A commission spokesman told the Herald the watchdog had now
had "a small number of complaints regarding alleged
anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown towards their
suppliers" since Mr Jones raised the issue. "These complaints
will be assessed alongside the complaint made by Mr Jones."
Mr Key said yesterday that his Government had encouraged the
commission to begin a formal inquiry.
"My view is it's very healthy to have the inquiry. Let's have
a look and see what comes out of it."
A Countdown spokeswoman yesterday said it would "participate
fully with any inquiry from the Commerce Commission". The
company would have to see the detail of the concerns raised
- Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald