INDEPENDENT NEWS

Protests Outside Supermarkets Highlight Anger Over Soaring Profits During The Cost Of Living Crisis

Published: Wed 19 Jul 2023 02:34 PM
People have taken to their local supermarkets today to protest the rising cost of groceries.
Thames
Led by campaigning organisation ActionStation, the protests action is intended to “highlight what we see as the elephant in the room when it comes to our cost of living crisis,” says ActionStation’s director Kassie Hartendorp, “that is that we have corporations taking advantage of the crises of the last three years to hike prices and increase their margins, resulting in everyday people struggling to meet basic costs.”
Actions are taking place in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and Hauraki today. In Auckland, protesters are currently standing outside the New World Metro on Queen Street holding a banner reading ‘Tax Excess Supermarket Profits’, while people in Christchurch playing music and handing out fliers outside New World, and people in Thames are outside Pak n Save, encouraging people to sign a petition to increase taxes on corporate profit.
In Wellington, a large group of people are standing outside Countdown on Lambton Quay with banners that read ‘People over Profit’ and ‘Greed don’t feed’. Hartendorp continues: “people are out here to send a message to the government that we have had enough, and we need real action now to protect us against corporate exploitation.”
“The crises of the past few years have been shocking, but it would be naive to think that we aren’t going to see more of the same in the future,” says Hartendorp. “If we don’t plan accordingly, people will continue to suffer crises two-fold: first, from the crisis itself, and secondly, and often more significantly, via the impacts of spiralling prices to enable ever-increasing corporate profits. Everyday people are being economically slammed through crisis profiteering. This causes lasting harm to families, and we currently do not have sufficient mechanisms in place to protect people, in fact we’re not even talking about it.”
“We think a good start would be for the government to either increase the corporate tax rate, or introduce an excess profits tax (also known as a windfall tax), in order to address the issue of runaway profits head on, and increase revenue to reinvest into our collective good. We know that strong public services and resilient infrastructure that can withstand climate damage is what we need to protect us all from future crises. In the wake of a year of floods and devastation, the time for government action is now.”
The commerce commission report last year estimated that supermarkets in New Zealand are bringing in around $430million a year (over $1million a day) in excess profits. Internationally, windfall profits for the world's biggest corporations have rocketed to $1 trillion USD (over $1.5 Trillion NZD) while the cost of living crisis shows no sign of easing off.
“Our membership is clear, we want to see more investment in public services so that we can thrive. We want to see our hospitals, schools and transport systems meet their full potential. We want to see real action to protect people from crisis profiteering. Right now our collective wealth is being privatised and our collective systems are paying for it, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

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