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App to help consumers before they get to the Supermarket

As the cost of living crisis bites, a New Zealand company, Sumfood, has launched an app designed to help New Zealander’s save money at the supermarket.  The free app lets consumers know which supermarket has the cheapest price, per person, for groceries. Launched on 1 December, it is hoped that it will provide consumers with a little comfort at the checkout as the holiday season approaches. Dr Helen Darling of Sumfood believes that the kiwi’s want to help kiwi’s find the best place to shop and, at the same time, drive supermarkets towards fairer and more transparent pricing.  To do this, she said, will require innovative people to start using the app, as the amount of data builds, supermarkets will no longer be able to hide behind price differences. “Anecdotally, we know that where you live has an impact on what you pay at the supermarket – it’s time for some transparency”.  Price information is crowd-sourced from motivated consumers. The app was designed in response to increasing concerns of food price inconsistencies reported through the company’s food reporting tool. For the last two years the company has collected reports on food issues, with these ranging from concerns about food preparation or hygiene through to contaminants or foreign objects.  The company provides a service to consumers that gives them advice on what to do and who to contact. The new app, FoodSpies.com, uses crowd-sourced data to calculate the average price for a supermarket shop.    Shoppers can log on and find the average price, per person, for supermarkets in their region.  Data are sourced from shoppers who provide the cost of their shop and the pricing is continuously recalculated so that the most up-to-date information is available. Darling said that it’s an exciting time to be launching another tool to help consumers, adding that the idea came from her young, motivated team who are committed to making food systems safer and fairer.

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Christmas crunch: 60% of Kiwis stressed about the cost of Christmas

30 November 2022, New Zealand Highlights

  • Kiwis to spend an average of $623 on gifts this year.
  • Women much more stressed about Christmas costs than men.
  • Almost two-thirds would pay more for a sustainable gift.
The majority of Kiwis feel stressed about the cost of this year’s Christmas, reveals the latest research from personal finance information website Banked. A survey of 1,020 New Zealanders found that 60% of Kiwis describe themselves as either a ‘little stressed’ (46%) or ‘very stressed’ (14%) about the expenditure involved with this year’s festivities. Women are feeling under more pressure than men, with 70% reporting some level of stress, compared with 49% of men. Banked’s Christmas spending report found that Kiwis will spend an average of $623 on gifts this year. Women said they expect to spend $566 on average, while for men that figure climbs to $712. “With rocketing inflation and a cost of living crisis to contend with, lots of New Zealanders are really feeling the pinch this Christmas,” says Kevin McHugh, Head of Publishing at Banked. “Many will be worrying about their personal finances when they should be able to wind down and appreciate some well-earned time off with friends and loved ones.” Banked’s research also found that sustainability is an important consideration for Kiwis when buying gifts. Almost two-thirds (65%) say they would be willing to pay more for a gift if it was sustainable, such as one that involved zero waste or was made from recyclable materials. Younger people are even more interested in sustainable gift-giving, with 76% of those aged 18-24 (falling into the Gen Z age group) stating that they would be willing to pay more for a sustainable gift. Conversely, under half (49%) of those aged 55 and older say they would be willing to pay extra for a gift if it was sustainable. “Sustainability is a vital issue and it’s pleasing that so many Kiwis are willing to support it, even if it costs them a little extra at the checkout,” says McHugh. See Banked’s NZ Christmas Spending Report 2022.

Top ways to save this Christmas

Don’t feel obligated to spend beyond your means – “Christmas is an expensive time and many feel pressure to spend money that they don’t have,” says McHugh. “Don’t feel an obligation to buy gifts you’ll struggle to afford or take part in every costly social event. Put your wallet and your wellbeing first.” Secret Santa or group gifting – “Arranging a Secret Santa is a great way to cut costs. It can also be lots of fun and lets you focus on getting a great gift for one person. “Chipping in with others for a group gift is another excellent way to save, plus it makes it possible to purchase an otherwise unaffordable present,” says McHugh. Set a budget (and stick to it) – “It can be easy to overspend at Christmas. But by setting a budget and keeping track of your spending, you’ll make managing your finances over the festive period much easier,” advises McHugh. ENDS  About Banked Banked is a financial information and deals website that has the goal of helping New Zealanders make the best decisions on the products they need.

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Media Giants Call on Biden to Drop Charges Against Assange

Five of the world’s leading news outlets have sent an open letter to US President Joe Biden asking him to drop the charges against Australian Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The letter states the charges against him set a ‘dangerous precedent’, relating to receiving and publishing classified material that revealed war crimes, torture, and environmental crimes. Assange is currently in a maximum security prison in London, and hundreds of doctors warn he could ‘die in jail in the coming months’. The New York Times used a photo of the Human Chain around British Parliament on October 8th, that New Zealander Matt Ó Branáin inspired. Ó Branáin welcomed the statement from the top Media brass saying ‘Joe Biden cannot run from this any longer. It would be a huge mistake to allow this disastrous prosecution to fall under his legacy. Free Speech is integral to the US identity and international respect.’ Ó Branáin renewed calls for Jacinda Ardern to intervene diplomatically with Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak, saying ‘the case imperils not only Global Press Freedom, but New Zealand journalists working or travelling abroad, the integrity and safety of our troops, and the broader New Zealand public’s right to know. Staying silent on this is complicity, and will not age well, especially if he dies in prison. The public awareness of the significance of this case is growing every day.’ The letter signed by five major media outlets states: ‘This indictment sets a dangerous precedent . . . Holding governments accountable is part of the core mission of a free press in a democracy. Obtaining and disclosing sensitive information when necessary in the public interest is a core part of the daily work of journalists. If that work is criminalised, our public discourse and our democracies are made significantly weaker. . . It is time for the U.S. government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.’ Publishing is not a crime. The editors and publishers of: The New York Times The Guardian Le Monde DER SPIEGEL El Pais’

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