Friday, November 18, 2022

Mike Hosking: Has the Commerce Commission achieved anything?

Well blow me down if we don’t have a confession from the Commerce Commission.

We could, they tell us in a revelation that was plain for all to see well before Megan Woods ever came along, get a better deal on petrol if only, we went to the petrol station across the road.

That's right; this is from the Commerce Commission, the group who have under this Government snooped their way through supermarkets, petrol stations, and building supplies and come up with the same report each time. I.e, it's not perfect, we can fiddle a bit, but basically it isn't the end of the world.

Not that the Government has seen it that way. They are of the firm belief that the Commission is the answer to all ills in the marketplace and a good combination of jaw boning and regulation will bring us free market nirvana.

But as the Commission pointed out this week, the price advertised is not always the best price you can get.

But do you know what you have to do? Shop around. What a revelation. It sounds remarkably similar to the advice we've been giving all year.

You might have noticed The Warehouse the other day in their results talked of the boost in sales they have seen in groceries. Now, why would that be? Because they provided competition and people shopped around.

You never needed the Commerce Commission and one of their sticky beak reports. The same way you never needed them to get Costco here.

There has always been competition in petrol, banks, telcos, and supermarkets. You just, as the Commission says, need to do a bit of leg work yourself.

There are apps and there is no shortage of information that tells you on any given day that the price of a litre varies wildly between stations, brands, streets, neighbourhoods, and towns.

Essentially, we are lazy and we like convenience. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as you are prepared to pay for it.

It’s sort of ironic that the Commerce Commission, having done all that work, spent all that time, and all that money had the answer all along.

And it was never to be found in a report.

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.

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