Don’t you just love it when people, especially corporate leaders, tell us what we should think? This example sprang from what used to be the most humdrum of topics, milk (well it goes with the mythic land of milk and honey… but that’s another story, long banished to another time.)
Here’s what Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier said last month when he said there was no need for an inquiry into milk prices by the Commerce Commission:
Milk prices were set as part of a normal commercial process and New Zealanders had to get used to being part of the global market, he told NZPA.
Well Mr Ferrier, we’ll just have to disagree. Since when did a global market set the price for Kiwi consumers? When did milk, that essence of the land of milk and honey become part of such a distorted ‘normal commercial process?’ What governments of the people for the people could allow it to happen? Free market ones who don’t care much for that rhetoric, that’s who.
Ferrier’s comment was reported by NZPA on March 24 when the Commission ruled out an inquiry, despite the public outcry over prices. Fast forward to March 30 and Fonterra found itself accused in an unidentified official complaint to the Commission, that it was artificially inflating the price of milk in New Zealand in a deliberate campaign to lessen competition. (Source: Stuff.co.nz)
The Commission changed its mind and ‘started an investigation’ to determine whether a price control inquiry into retail milk is needed. Some watchdog – holding an investigation - to determine whether there’s a need for an inquiry?
Does anybody else out there wonder why we need a competition watchdog like the Commission, when competition – or the lack of it - is the cause of the problem, trapping the Commission in market values, as opposed to consideration of consumer needs.
By now, after all the freedom fantasies spun since that fateful year 1984, don’t we need a whole new statutory shebang called the Consumer Commission? A body which would advocate for us with more grunt than the Consumers’ Institute and the Commission?