Monday 20 June 2022

Supermarkets and inflation - denouement

In April, Minister David Clark put out a statement, as Minister, blaming supermarkets for inflation. 

He claimed that rising food prices "confirm the need to rein in the super profits of the supermarket duopoly" and "highlights the role the grocery sector is playing in driving up prices."

It was populist rubbish. Standard-drill models expect less pass-through of input price costs in less competitive sectors (though you can get different results if you make the models more complicated). 

I went through the standard econ drill on it in a column for the Dom Post.

But I also put through a couple of OIA requests just checking that he hadn't sought any advice from MBIE on this stuff. I really doubted that MBIE would have given him such shonky advice, but I was curious whether he'd bothered asking them about it.

So I asked, on Twitter. And MBIE, unlike MoH, is very good at catching OIA requests made on Twitter. 

I'd first asked for any correspondence on it and any advice provided. There was none. 

So I followed up, asking whether MBIE had provided any advice at all around supermarket pricing and inflation. They haven't. 

I can understand politicians mouthing off in their capacity as partisan MPs. 

I wish that that kind of rubbish wouldn't come out in their capacity as Ministers, and that they'd have at least sought some advice about whether they're talking utter nonsense. 

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