ALDI supermarkets in New Zealand?

Sunday tonight was looking at supermarket prices and the lack of competition in NZ. They said there are rumours that ALDI is looking at the New Zealand market – they are already in Australia.

ALDI is a German supermarket chain, we usually shopped there when in Ireland. They are a very basic, small supermarket. They have a very limited range of products. For example, if you want tinned spaghetti, they’ll have one option.

That option will be of medium-good quality (think Pams) but priced about the same as the cheapest option in any other supermarket.

We have actually found at least one item here that is identical to what we purchased in Ireland, made in the same country, but with a Pams sticker on here and an ALDI sticker on in Ireland. So that is about the quality you get.

There will be a few items you can’t get there, so maybe once a month you have to go somewhere else to top up on spices or something random. But in general ALDI has everything you need, for a very good price. With very poor service however.

In addition they have random stuff like computers, power tools, clothing etc that changes week to week – they seem to get in a pallet of anything they can get cheap and stock it only until they are sold out. It is a completely different model to the massive supermarkets we are used to in NZ.

I hope they do come here. We’ve been missing ALDI and their major rival Lidl (same basic concept) ever since we got back. Either of those chains starting in NZ would really shake things up, the more competition the better.

I’m really missing their tinned bacon and lentil soup…

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Colmar Brunton Poll Sep 08

I have been reporting the Colmar Brunton poll for the last couple of months, as it is the only poll that actually reports the minor party results, other polls sticking them all into an “other” category. For the last two months the Family Party has been sitting above the Progressives, at a similar level to or just below United Future, and Kiwi has hardly been registering at all. But there is a massive amount of error at these low percentages, and this latest poll shows how things can jump around at this end of the poll!

Colmar Brunton Poll Sep 08 Minor Parties

  • Christian Heritage                 0.5%
  • ALCP                                     0.2%
  • Kiwi Party                               0.1%
  • One NZ Party                         0.1%
  • Alliance                                  0.1%
  • Democrats for Social Credit  0.1%

United Future, Family Party, Progressive, Libertarianz and Destiny, all of whom have been registering in the poll over the last two months, got no votes at all. This is a massive turnaround, showing that you can’t place too much faith in these polls! As a 1000 person poll, 0.1% means just 1 person picked that party, so you can see where the error comes from.

However, in previous polls I have been summing the Christian Heritage + Destiny + Family Party votes to get an indication of where we might stand. This is because Christian Heritage and Destiny don’t exist any more (although some voters haven’t realised yet), but we are the closest replacement for these voters to move to. This comes to 0.5% this poll, holding rock steady – it was 0.5% in both August and July. Once again, this is higher than United Future, Kiwi and  Progressives – three parties with current MPs. So although the poll result looks odd compared to previous polls, on closer analysis it isn’t bad at all for the Family Party.

I am keeping a running tally of poll results here.

Broadcasting allocations

The Family Party and the Alliance are currently contesting the broadcasting allocations for the election. There has been some discussion of this on Kiwiblog, where David Farrar has rightly pointed out that minor parties already receive a higher allocation per voter than the major parties, according to current polls.

The problem is not that the Family Party wants more free money, as some have suggested. The problem is that you cannot spend more money on broadcasting than your broadcasting allocation, to quote the Elections website:

Registered parties may only use funds allocated by the Electoral Commission to advertise for the party vote, together with any free time allocated for party opening addresses and closing addresses.

This means that the Family Party allocation of $10,000 is also the limit as to what we can spend on broadcast advertising, which is a major impediment in campaigning. By comparison:

  • Act, Progressive and United Future can spend $100,000 each
  • Green, Maori and NZ First can spend $250,000 each
  • National and Labour can spend $1,000,000 each

All of which is paid for by the taxpayer. As you can see this places the Family Party at a major disadvantage to, for example, Progressive, even though we are polling higher than them. And National and Labour’s massive allocations will ensure they have a much better chance of doing well this election than anyone else, regardless of whether their policies are any good. Each of these two parties has a similar allocation to that of EVERY minor party put together.

In a completely fair system no party would receive state funding, and there would be no limit on spending. This would put all parties on a level playing field, rather than subsidising the incumbents. However we must work within the system we have, and so we must seek a higher allocation if we wish to spend more on broadcasting.

Hopefully the judge can see the logic in this position and will favourably consider our application for more funding, comparable to those parties we are currently polling at a similar level to (Progressive, Act and United Future).