Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Duncan Webb announced Pierre van Heerden, an experienced Chief Executive and board member with a deep understanding of the grocery industry in New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom, as New Zealand's inaugural Grocery Commissioner on Tuesday morning.
This move is part of the government's efforts to address the lack of competition and excessive profits in the supermarket industry.
“As the global cost of living crisis continues to put pressure on families, his appointment is a significant one to hold the sector to account," Webb said.
The Commerce Commission's recent findings reveal that New Zealand supermarkets accumulate $1 million in excess profits daily due to limited competition. In light of the ongoing global cost of living crisis, this appointment is a significant step towards holding the sector accountable and ensuring better outcomes for consumers.
With over 25 years of experience in the grocery sector, Pierre van Heerden is well-suited to take on the role of Grocery Commissioner. He has held notable positions, including Chair of the Food and Grocery Council of New Zealand, where he advocated for consumer value and transparency.
As Grocery Commissioner, van Heerden's primary focus will be to level the playing field and promote increased competition within the grocery industry. By addressing competition dynamics and driving improvements, he aims to create a more equitable marketplace that benefits New Zealand consumers.
The ultimate goal is to ensure that families across the country have access to affordable groceries without compromising on quality.
Pierre van Heerden's tenure as Grocery Commissioner will commence on July 13, 2023.
With his breadth of experience, leadership skills, and dedication to consumer welfare, van Heerden is poised to drive transformative changes within the grocery sector during his five-year term.
“Pierre brings more than 25 years experience in the grocery sector, having held roles such as Chair of the Food and Grocery Council of New Zealand and has been recognised as an advocate for consumer value and transparency.
“This will be essential in his role addressing the nature of competition in the grocery sector and the improvements we want to see over time."
With his extensive experience and a clear focus on addressing competition issues, van Heerden is poised to bring positive changes to the grocery market.
As the Grocery Commissioner takes charge, there is hope for a more competitive and consumer-centric industry, ensuring that New Zealanders have access to affordable groceries of the highest quality.