Sunday, March 27, 2011


The abolition of the auction system of selling vegetables and fruit, and the institution of a price-fixing scheme, with direct deliveries to the retailers, were among the recommendations made to the Price Tribunal today by Auckland retailers as a means of correcting the present position in regard to vegetable prices. They also suggested the licensing of all retail shops, and the closing of all alien and asiatic shops opening since the war, except in cases where they were shown to be economic. It was urged also that merchant-auctioneers should, not bid at their own auctions, should not finance shops or grant extended credits, that all transactions should be on a cash basis or/oh weekly account, and that the rents of shops and market gardens should be stabilised. The Auckland retailers put* a very complete case, submitting a mass of evidence. Certain reference to Chinese fruit retailers by the main witness drew protests from Mr. W. Wah, the secretary of the local Chinese fruiterers' organisation, and the chairman (Mr. Justice Hunter) had to warn him sharply against interrupting. In addition to his Honour, there were on the Tribunal Mr. H. L. Wise, member, and Mr. L. Munro, associate member. Setting out the case for the Auckland retailers, Mr. S. Coleman said that the wholesale fruit and vegetable business in Auckland was practically governed by two firms, and no other firm could enter into the wholesale business because the Internal Marketing Division, which controlled something like 80 per cent, of the total fruits in the Dominion, refused to place any new firm on its wholesale list.: He quoted from the rejbort of the 1937 Fruit Marketing Committee, which had suggested a reduction in the number of retailers throughout the Dominion as one means of cheapening fruit to the public and improving prices to the growers. Since that report was issued, continued Mr. Coleman, there had been a very large increase in the number of fruit shops in the Auckland Province, especially those operated by Asiatics. In 1937, it was stated, there were 58; today the total was 107—76 Chinese and 31 Hindus. The number of Chinese fruitshops in the Auckland Province since the war had increased by 42,. of which 33 were new to the trade. These new shops must increase the prices of fruit and veegtables for two reasons, firstly, by loading all sales with an undue percentage of overheads, and, secondly, the extra trading forced auction prices to an unduly high level. A SUBSTANTIAL RISE. Compared with the market report of a year previously, the 13 major lines of vegetables showed ari average rise of 115 per cent. Thus vegetables today carried a 115 per cent, rise in prime costs, plus an increase in overheads. In many cases shop rents had been raised because landlords had no
Evening Post, Volume CXXXII, Issue 121, 18 November 1941, Page 8

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