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Prices in New Zealand

  • August 4th, 2015

Several weeks in Europe have been humbling, as travel usually is.

Among the surprises was how cheap it was to eat and drink well, even in Germany, one of the richest countries in the world. In Spain 8 of us could regularly have a†generous evening meal, with drinks, for between Euros 110 and 140.
Why are our prices so high in comparison to wages, even under hospitality’s intense competition?
This problem has been exercising the Productivity Commission. Their answers on housing costs do not really satisfy. Why are excess margins not being competed away on materials? Do we have a uniquely New Zealand form of conspiracy that needs no organising?
The Commerce Commission’s prosecution of PGG Wrightson (where I was a director long ago) and others could help. The Commission alleges illegal price agreements on the NAIT tags and services farmers are obliged to buy. I hope there is a clear outcome. If collusion is proved there should be†a seriously deterrent level of sentencing.

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