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Is Australia’s milk war becoming the NZ Product War?

Federated Farmers of New Zealand believes Australian consumers will ultimately say it’s not fair dinkum to remove New Zealand products from the shelves of Coles and Woolworths supermarkets in Australia.

“It seems like the Australian milk wars, which so badly affected the viability of many Australian dairy farmers, is fast becoming the New Zealand product war,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and its trade spokesperson.

“My take on this is that Australian consumers will see a lessening of choice and quality as being not fair dinkum.

“Australia is New Zealand’s second largest export market behind China so what goes on there does matter.

“This seems less a reaction to consumer demand and more a new chapter in Australia’s supermarket war. Coles and Woolworths are cynically trying to proclaim themselves truer than blue Aussie companies.

“Yet in their wake they’ve bulldozed right over the top of Australian farmers, those true Aussie battlers, just in order to win better market share.

“Something tells me the Australian consumer will not put up with being told by Coles and Woolworths what they’re allowed to buy.

“The last thing New Zealand needs is a rash call for retaliation or long compulsory labels on what we buy detailing where all the contents have come from.

“Australian products on our supermarket shelves are already labelled Australian as they have compulsory country of origin labelling. Yet it will be an own goal to penalise a worker in say Wagga Wagga for the cynical actions of two massive supermarket chains.

“Some form of retaliation is exactly what Coles and Woolworths want because it will affirm their cynical marketing campaign. They want the reaction.

“We have to be better and smarter than that. We’ve also got more to lose since Australia is our second largest export destination, but to them, we are only number six behind India and slightly ahead of Singapore.

“We need to use our friends and family across the Tasman to call this faux-patriotism for what it is. We need them to demand choice and yes, to take their patronage to outlets who’ll provide them with that choice,” Mr Wills concluded.


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