Dairy giant Fonterra says it will announce changes tomorrow to help make milk more accessible to Kiwis.

The price of milk has been a hot topic, and a Consumer NZ commissioned survey this year of 1000 people found 91 per cent thought they were paying a high price for milk
compared to other supermarket staples.

According to Statistics New Zealand the average price for two litres of standard milk in November was $3.67 - 1.4 per cent and 16.1 per cent higher than the same time last year and in 2009 respectively.

Mangere Budgeting & Family Support Services chief executive Darryl Evans said that for many families the organisation worked with in South Auckland milk and dairy products had become a luxury item.


"More often than not we're hearing of families that simply don't buy milk because they can't afford it,'' Evans said.

"Where you've got young kids in the home then milk is pretty much a staple part of having daily calcium so we absolutely have to do something to ensure that families can put milk on the table so that kids can have cereal etc,'' he said.

Fonterra partnered with Sanitarium in 2009 to provide free school breakfasts, and nearly half of decile one to four schools served meals to students up to twice a week in that

Under a scheme that ran from 1937 to 1967 half a pint of milk was given to
all schoolchildren every day, after the government decided to improve health and help use excess milk during the war.

"I really would like to see milk re-introduced into New Zealand schools so our kids are getting that calcium boost,'' Mr Evans said.

"But just putting the prices down so that milk is affordable for the average family ... would be a huge help.''

Parliament's commerce committee in August started an inquiry into the price of milk.
It asked whether people were paying too much and if the market was operating effectively.

Submissions closed in September and it will be up to the new committee to decide whether to continue the inquiry.


Consumer NZ in its submission to the inquiry said it was concerned at high prices of dairy products. There had been a combined retail price increase of 50 per cent in the previous five years for a two-litre carton of milk, 500g of butter and 1kg of cheese.

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings, speaking in September, said the dairy giant would take a fresh look at retail milk prices because of a perception they were too high.

"It looks like a normal retail scene ... but the perception is that the price is high and for me always, when you connect to consumers, customers and community, perception is reality,'' he said at that time.