The New Zealand Commerce Commission has introduced an anonymous whistleblower tool aimed at improving consumer and/or competition law within the $25bn grocery sector.  

Launched by the grocery commissioner Pierre van Heerden, the new system uses the WhistleB platform provided by software company NAVEX. 

The commission’s anonymous reporting tool is designed to provide a confidential and secure channel for reporting anti-competitive practices. 

The data submitted is received through a dedicated mailbox by specifically trained commission staff and is then encrypted, stored and protected in European Union-based data centres. 

The tool allows for total anonymity when reporting concerning behaviour within the grocery industry.  

Pierre van Heerden said: “We’re aware of situations where players in the grocery sector, such as suppliers, may believe they are being mistreated by a major supermarket, but are concerned about being disadvantaged if they share information with the commission. They can now do this easily and without fear.  

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“This is a sector that touches every New Zealander, so it’s crucial that in conjunction with the obligations of the regulated supermarkets, we are aware of and can act on all potential issues for the long-term benefit of Kiwi consumers.  

“Every New Zealander has a vital role to play in shaping the future of grocery shopping in New Zealand, and so it’s important that they all feel they can share information with the commission safely.”   

The initiative is not new to the commission, which has offered a similar system since 2018 for reporting alleged cartel conduct.  

The commission warns users of the new tool to remain cautious while providing details to protect their identity.