Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Countdown intimidated Lotto over checkout sales - Jones

Shane Jones
Shane Jones

Labour MP Shane Jones has lashed out at Countdown once again, this time accusing the supermarket giant of squeezing hundreds of thousands of dollars out of Lotto NZ.

Mr Jones told Parliament that since he'd raised allegations that Countdown and its parent company Progressive Enterprises had bullied suppliers "an avalanche of information" had been sent to the Commerce Commission which was investigating.

But Mr Jones said he had asked his colleagues to try get Lotto NZ to appear before parliamentary committees to probe its "cosy relationship" with Countdown and to account for claims made in an email he'd received.

Reading from the email, Mr Jones said it contained allegations "that even Lotto NZ have had intimidation tactics used by both Countdown and Woolworths on numerous occasions... With all the Lotto executive team keeping this very quiet".

Mr Jones said the email claimed that "hundreds of thousands of dollars have been paid to both these entities in project payments".

"This is so that Lotto can sell tickets through the checkouts, worsening gambling spend at a time when Lotto bases itself on the myth of being a family concern.

"This was also because Countdown threatened to close Lotto counters in their stores."

As revealed by the Herald, Countdown last month began the widespread roll out of Lotto sales through its checkouts rather than at special instore counters.

Mr Jones said: "No other Lotto retailer can or has been allowed to do this, only Countdown" and Lotto NZ staff including the chief executive and chief operating officers were "under strict threats not to say anything" about the arrangement.

That was why Lotto NZ should be forced to appear before select committees, he said.

A Countdown spokeswoman said: "clearly this is a matter for the Lotteries Commission and they will address the comments raised''.

"Countdown is one of many Lotto partners across New Zealand, and we have a very good long standing relationship with the Lotteries Commission".

- APNZ

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