Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Budgeting Expert Says Vulnerable People Suffering From Countdown Removing Regular Specials

Budgeting Expert Jennifer McIvor says anecdotal feedback from her followers overwhelmingly supports the fact that Countdown’s decision to remove the regular specials during the Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand is causing vulnerable people to suffer.

Jennifer McIvor, who runs budgeting-focused online business Creating Wealth NZ, has a following on Instagram, where she regularly engages with budgeting advice, meal planning and tips for saving.

McIvor says the anecdotal evidence from her followers is clear – Countdown’s decision to remove specials on essential items, at a time where people are suffering already, is having a drastic impact on household budgets.

“I’m hearing stories of Countdown’s prices even being considered above average, from followers all over the country,” she says.

“In my own household, my husband did our grocery shop yesterday, and paid $29.19 for 1.3 kilos of chicken thighs, which on special would normally cost us $23.40”.

She says more needs to be done to regulate pricing, to ensure Countdown isn’t unfairly making additional profits during the lockdown.

“During the lockdown, supermarkets have increased demand from customers who would usually purchase from bakeries, cafes, restaurants, takeaway outlets and liquor stores. No one has the option but to purchase from supermarkets right now, so they have the monopoly in the food industry,” she says.

“Although Countdown has already commented on their current policy of not offering specials / discounts, (as seen in this Stuff article), they seem to be the only supermarket chain with this policy. It also seems Countdown is possibly taking it further, with higher than usual prices for everyday items.”

Jennifer says she is shocked that the chain is hiding behind the excuses of increased demand and staff having to change promotion tickets, when they are almost certainly receiving increased profits due to more people having to shop there.

“Have their costs from their suppliers increased? Possibly, but I doubt it. We know for sure their demand has increased. They’re potentially making much higher than normal profits, and it is extremely unfair to be taking advantage at a time like this.”

McIvor says Countdown’s policy is taking advantage of the most vulnerable, and unfortunately in some cases, consumers have no choice but to shop at Countdown.

“I know of some situations where Countdown is the only option in their town, so they have no choice but to pay these higher than normal prices” she says.

“At a time where some people’s incomes have reduced drastically or stopped altogether, their food bills are increasing, and it’s not good enough.”

Jennifer says the Government is encouraging consumers to come forward with examples, and she’d like to see Countdown play fair.

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has encouraged people to send copies of their receipts to herself and the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Fa’afoi, and I encourage people to get behind this and start showing the Government what is happening.”

McIvor adds that while she understands Covid-19 is an unprecedented situation, she would like to see Countdown put people over profit.

“I understand that this Covid-19 situation has changed how we shop, and everyone is being affected, but Countdown should not be taking advantage of the vulnerable and profiteering from such a disastrous situation.”

Examples of Countdown Price Increases – direct quotes from Creating Wealth NZ followers:

Response 1:

  • I went over budget by $150 on my usual standard shopping order. I was well over budget because of purchase restrictions and availability.
  • I completed an online shop and the cheapest margarine I could find was $5.30 – MORE THAN DOUBLE what I usually pay for Margarine.
  • The cheapest mince I could find was $16.
  • There was a minimum order on chicken breast which was 2kgs. This meant I had to spend $20 instead of $10 because of high minimum orders.
  • The cheapest 12 pack of toilet paper was $8.
  • Fruit and vegetables which are in season are significantly higher. For example, for tomatoes which are in season – I paid $3.50 last week – this week $4.49
  • Canned tomatoes – I usually pay 80c – the only ones I could find were $2
  • Cat food – normally have buy 10 for $10 – the fancy feast are now $1.39 each
  • Cheapest tomato paste $3.50 – I usually pay $2

Response 2:

  • My budget was $300 which I increased from $275 as I knew we would need extra because items would be missing and we would have to purchase more expensive brands. However we went over by $110.41 because of no specials being applied to ANY item and the grocery bill came to $410.41 I have never spent that much on groceries before!

Response 3:

  • My budget is $300 – we went over by $79.07 – no additional purchases from our usual shop and this includes items missing from our grocery list.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


National: National Backs Businesses With $10k JobStart

National will provide a $10,000 cash payment to businesses that hire additional staff as part of our commitment to keeping New Zealanders in jobs, National Party Leader Todd Muller and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith have announced. Our JobStart ... More>>


DIY Law: Government Exempts Some Home Improvements From Costly Consents

Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector ... More>>


Media Awards: The New Zealand Herald Named Newspaper Of The Year, Website Of The Year At Voyager Media Awards

The New Zealand Herald has been labelled a “powerhouse news operation” as it claims the two biggest prizes – Newspaper of the Year and Website of the Year – along with many individual awards at the 2020 Voyager Media Awards Website of the ... More>>


ASB Bank: ASB Takes The Lead Again With New Low Home Loan Interest Rate

ASB has moved again to support its customers, cutting a number of home loan rates, including the two-year special rate to a new low of 2.69% p.a. Craig Sims, ASB executive general manager Retail Banking says the reduced rate will be welcome news for many ... More>>


Nathan Hoturoa Gray: The Problems With Testing And Case Statistics For Covid-19

To begin to understand disease transmission in a country requires adequate testing of your population with properly vetted, accurate tests. As the world struggles to find what 'adequate percentage' of the population is necessary, (estimates predict ... More>>


RNZ: Fletcher Building To Lay Off 1000 Staff In New Zealand

The construction company will cut around 10 percent of its workforce as it struggles with the fallout from Covid-19. More>>


Can Pay, Won't Pay: Cashflow Moves Urged

Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why We Should Legally Protect The Right To Work From Home

For understandable reasons, the media messaging around Level Two has been all about “freedom” and “celebration”, but this is not necessarily going to be a universal experience. When it comes to workplace relations, Level Two is just as likely to ... More>>


Auckland Airport: Thousands Of Kiwis Travelling For Queen’s Birthday Weekend

Confidence in domestic travel is beginning to steadily ramp up, with thousands of Kiwis travelling within New Zealand for Queen’s Birthday.
Nearly 400 flights will be operating to and from Auckland Airport over the long weekend... More>>


Science Media Centre: Understanding 5G Concerns – Expert Q&A

Recent attacks on cell phone towers have brought concerns over the rollout of 5G technology into sharp relief.
While scientific research has consistently shown that the technology does not adversely affect human health, public concerns about its impact have spread around the world, fueled in part by growing misinformation online. The SMC asked experts to comment... More>>


Trade: Record Monthly Surplus As Imports Dive

Imports in April 2020 had their biggest fall since October 2009, resulting in a monthly trade surplus of $1.3 billion, Stats NZ said today. “This is the largest monthly trade surplus on record and the annual goods trade deficit is the lowest ... More>>


Media Blues: Stuff Chief Executive Buys Company For $1

Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher has purchased Stuff from its Australian owners Nine Entertainment for $1.
The chief executive was returning the company to New Zealand ownership, with the sale is expected to be completed by 31 May.
"Our plan is to transition the ownership of Stuff to give staff a direct stake in the business as shareholders," Boucher said in a statement.... More>>


RNZ: Bar Reopening Night 'much, Much Quieter'

Pubs and bars are reporting a sluggish first day back after the lockdown, with the fear of going out, or perhaps the joy of staying home, thought to be a reason for the low numbers. More>>


Stats NZ: New Zealand’s Population Passes 5 Million

New Zealand's resident population provisionally reached 5 million in March 2020, Stats NZ said today. More>>

NIWA: Seven Weeks Of Clearing The Air Provides Huge Benefits: Scientist

Seven weeks of lockdown has provided evidence of how pollution can vanish overnight with benefits for the environment and individuals, says NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley. Dr Longley has been monitoring air quality in Auckland, Wellington ... More>>


Government: Milestone In Cash Flow Support To SMEs

A significant package of tax reforms will be pushed through all stages in Parliament today to throw a cash flow lifeline to small businesses. More>>