I picked up a couple of capsicums and half a dozen kiwifruit on my way round the supermarket without looking at the prices.
When I got to the checkout I found that the two capsicums cost nearly $5 each but the six kiwifruit came to just 93 cents.
The lesson from that is to buy in-season.
Horticulture New Zealand points out that seasonality and weather have a big impact on prices:
Horticulture NZ says . . . an expected shortage of some vegetables due to this week’s adverse weather, highlights the seasonality of produce which determines the retail price.
Chief executive Peter Silcock says a lot of the products that are expensive now such as tomatoes, capsicums and lettuces, are not in season now so therefore they will not be cheap.
Another lesson is that I’d have gained a lot more from the removal of GST from buying the out-of-season capcicums than in-season kiwifruit.
That’s not surprising. Geoff Simmons points out there are holes in Labour’s health by stealth line.
The poorest 10 per cent of New Zealand families spend about $10 a week on fruit and vegetables. At the other end of the spectrum, the richest 10 per cent spend around $30 a week.
This means taking GST off fruit and vegetables will give the poorest just over $1 extra a week. That will barely make a dent in their food bill. Meanwhile, the richest will get just under $4.
In short, there is basically no evidence that this policy will do a heck of a lot – and that’s an admission from people who really really wish it did.
The removal of GST from fresh fruit and vegetables is a feel-good policy based on emotion not fact.
It might reduce the price but not significantly for the people who need it most.