The Commerce Commission has confirmed it will formally
investigate allegations of anti-competitive behaviour towards
suppliers by Countdown and assure anonymity for those who
In a statement, the Commission said its investigation was
expected to take some months and it would be seeking a wide
range of information from groups in all areas of the
The inquiry appears to be limited to Countdown. The
Commission has urged anyone with relevant information to
contact it, and it undertook to give anonymity to those who
request it unless consent is given to disclose the
information or they are required to do so by law.
"If confidentiality is a concern then it should "e raised
when first contact is made with the Commission."
The Commission has been considering the investigation since
Labour MP Shane Jones lodged a complaint a week ago and used
Parliamentary privilege to allege Countdown was forcing some
suppliers to make retrospective payments to boost profit
Mr Jones met with the Commerce Commission this afternoon and
took in emails and other information he has relating to his
He defended his decision to raise the allegations under the
protection of Parliamentary privilege, but conceded he may
have used some hyperbole to make his point.
Mr Jones said he had heard that some staff at Countdown had
been verbally abused by customers, which he regretted.
A spokesperson for Progressive Enterprises, which owns and
operates Countdown supermarkets, said "We'll fully cooperate
with the investigation and we believe it's important now to
let the process take its course."