Wednesday 1 February 2023

Cost of living absurdities

Peaches come from a can.

They were put there by a man.

In some factory in Greece.

When they made their little way

out to brighten a Kiwi’s day,

they got hit with a 34% punitive anti-dumping duty.

Prime Minister Hipkins made the cost of living the government’s number one priority. So I checked which anti-dumping duties are still in place.

Anti-dumping duties rarely make sense. The theory is that a foreign company will sell here, below cost, for long enough to drive Kiwi competitors out of business, and then jack up prices. 

It’s more than a bit bonkers. Consider coated steel from Korea – a kind of steel used in roofing. From 1 January this year, imports from one Korean company were hit with a renewed 12.6% punitive tariff, and two other Korean companies are subject to smaller tariffs. 

Under anti-dumping theory, they were selling steel here below cost to drive the Kiwis out of the market, so they could profit when those Kiwi competitors went under. But a quick Google search finds 998 suppliers of the stuff across 55 countries. The 997 other suppliers would be the ones to benefit. 

And, of course, if it really were being sold here below cost, anyone, including Kiwi steel producers, could put up a shed and store tonnes of it for later resale. 

Inflation is high and the government says we’re in a cost-of-living crisis, with groceries and building materials front and centre. But those Korean companies’ roofing steel, along with galvanised wire from Malaysia and China, are hit with anti-dumping duties. So you’re protected from affordable building products. Doesn’t it warm your heart? Tariffs are love. 

And consider the peaches. Everyone loves canned peaches. The '90s band The Presidents of the United States of America even wrote a song about them. I ripped it off to lead this post. 

In May last year, the Government reimposed antidumping duties on preserved peaches from Spain. In December, they started investigating Chinese peaches. And the peaches from Greece? 34% duty

Meanwhile, the Commerce Commission’s been investigating why groceries and building materials are so expensive. And the government is subsidising petrol while taxing peaches. 

So I’ll end with another bit of theft from the Presidents. 

Government lingered last in line for brains

And the one that it got was sorta rotten and insane.


  1. The problem is that NZ peach growers are unsubsidised. I suspect Greek and Spanish growers are heavily subsidised.

    1. If somewhere like South Africa wants to subsidise its growers for going on three decades to provide us cheaper peaches, we should just say thank you for cheaper peaches and NZ growers ought to consider different products.