Walmart to Open in Christchurch – updated

Walmart, improving life in nz

Walmart may be improving life in NZ


We’re hearing rumours the American hypermarket behemoth may have plans to open a store in Christchurch.

Could this be the beginning of the end for rip-off prices in New Zealand?

From pharmaceuticals (Dramamine for as little as $3.97 for 8) to baby milk (8c /fluid oz) and tractor tyres, Walmart has a reputation for offering rock bottom prices to its members. A bit like a cheaper version of PaknSave on steroids.

The old boys cartel has managed to keep out Ikea for many years, will it have the same success with staving off Walmart? Just reading this article will have many South Island business owners trembling in their expensive shoes and shooting off Mr Angry letters to their MPs. Proof, as if it was needed, that Walmart will achieve excellent trading results in the South Island.

Mail order pride

The northern population will undoubtedly feel aggrieved that its southern rivals will get the store, but there are hopes Walmart may introduce a mail order service for the whole of New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Do you live in the South Island, what would having a Walmart there mean to you and your family?

Where is walmart.

Countries with Walmart stores shown in green

You may also like to embrace change

No IKEA In New Zealand Because Of “Traffic Chaos” (July 2010)

Lovers of good design at a reasonable price are to be denied an IKEA store in New Zealand, supposedly because of the “traffic chaos” the store would cause: Kiwis are to be denied something they want because they want it too much.

Nanny state obviously knows best for them:  “we’ll have no trouble here.”

The whole of New Zealand has a population of less than 4.3 million people. London (with all its congestion problems) has 7.5 million people yet manages to cope with a store that services not just London but much of the SE of Britain. (ed. Melbourne -pop. 4 million – has 2 stores: Richmond and Springvale)

Honestly, if New Zealand can’t cope with a single department store how on earth is it going to cope with the Rugby World Cup in 2011?

We think the real reason for IKEA being kept out of NZ is that its reputation for selling desirable goods for desirable prices would be the death of many New Zealand businesses and product manufacturers.

Where in New Zealand could you kit out a flat for under $1,000?

Here’s how the news was broken to a devastated country:… more

Update 17 Jan 04 – Pitchforks being sharpened

As predicted protectionist local shop owners, second hand junkies, and card carrying holders of anti-US sentiment have been quick to denigrate Walmart’s decision.

Do we hear the sound of angry yokels and pitchforks being sharpened?:

pitchforks sharpened in nz

The anti -American sentiment tag has now been added to this article. Presumably no threats were ever made to burn down McDonald, KFC and Burger King restaurants when they first opened?

Perish the thought that people such as these would deny everyone else the ability to buy goods at discount prices. Protectionism much?

Fun reading

It’s True – Kiwis Don’t Really Like Americans

Go to Bali – “Avoid High Prices and Hobbits in New Zealand” advice from Daily Mail UK

Why are a lot of New Zealander’s obsessed with Walmart? (

Of Course WalMart Destroys Retail Jobs: That’s The Darn Point Of It All (

27 thoughts on “Walmart to Open in Christchurch – updated

  1. Does NZ have KMart and Target? It’s no different really and does actually create competition with those conglomerates as well. It also creates jobs (especially for young people).

    In Australia we have Myer, KMart, Target, Big W, Walmart, Bunnings, Masters etc, etc, etc…

    …as I said, the job creation alone is worth it.

  2. Its all about choices and as a consumer I would like more choices. My opinion is the old boys network is alive and well in New Zealand strongly supported by politics-politicians (all ex accountants and or lawyers) of course. That being said Walmart does not have a good reputation as a fair employer and perhaps that really is at the bottom of this or at least a big part of the reason. ( Just goggle how many Walmart employees are suing) or treated unfairly……so I am morally challenged somewhat……..well my head is….but my worldly heart says…….I want to shop at Walmart and I want to save money!!……….but at the expensive of the workers…hmm…………..oh to find middle ground..

  3. Walmart IS big enough that they command their own price bracket. Prices are quite a bit lower, but along with the price bracket is their own specification. Quality and price have both dropped.

  4. These Kiwis have such double standards – they would drive a hundred miles and go all around the houses to save themselves $5 so I can’t see them passing up the specials at Walmart.

    You would never guess they all hate on Starbucks and Carls Jnr. too, so who is it that goes there as they aren’t empty or struggling to carve out a decent living here. LOL There was quite a stir when Walmart took over ASDA in the UK but everyone soon got over that and most people probably have forgotten all about it, I don’t recall any remarkable price reductions happening there either.

  5. WE do need a Walmart here NZ has paid through the nose for too long add to that the low wages paid here and we hare really hard done by ! Let the people tell you what we need not the top business for goodness sake they just want to protect the hold they have and that not fare trading by any means . Bring on Walmart please !

  6. I have been waiting for Walmart for a long time. I see people who live in America have fantastic stuff for their kids. And always envy them and look on and find it really cheap that I cant believe it and a $29 item costs me $70 to ship to nz! So I never go through with it! Christchurch would be the best place to have Walmart! Bring it on! $$$$$

  7. Why is there the assumption that if a company like Walmart came to New Zealand they would charge the much lower American prices for their goods? Businesses exist to make money, if they can charge the local prices and make much more money, they will.

    • One would have to look at what Walmart charges for its goods in other countries. Dairy products and pharmaceuticals may be good indicators to use – both are extortionately priced in New Zealand (which has a high degree of poverty) to the detriment of the people who need them most.

      Could Walmart come to be regarded as a public service in New Zealand?

    • Please Walmart will never go to New Zealand as there is no economy of scale! Same with Ikea

  8. They have a love-hate relationship with America, the UK and Australia. They want good and cheap stuff, but they don’t want to “sell out” and feel even smaller and more dependent on exports than they already are. So they keep up with the crap life that they live, representing it as an Enviable Lifestyle(TM), and hate on individuals from those other wealthier comfortable nations who are unfortunate enough to visit or become resident in New Zealand. The Kiwis on that yahoo question claim never to mention Walmart, but we heard it mentioned a good bit in NZ, as some giant American bulldozing golem thing ruining the world.

  9. Edward: “We don’t bother the outside world, we don’t want it bothering us. This is a local shop the strangers you would bring would not understand us, our customs, our local ways.”

  10. Rest assured that the Old Boys Network of inbred “businessmen” and psychopaths will prevent anyone from intruding on their turf. Doing business in New Zealand is like doing business in the former USSR. The only difference is that in the former USSR, you can pay to enter the game and the costs of buying off the necessary parties are much more transparent. Maybe I should approach Wal-Mart as a consultant and offer my services to open a New Zealand store.

    It would be comical to watch the smug and sanctimonious Kiwis that decry the perils of capitalism flocking to Wal-Mart the way they flock to McDonalds. Any business trading in cheap goods like Wal-Mart will make a killing in New Zealand. It is interesting what you posted about IKEA. It always astounded me that IKEA did not open a store in New Zealand, but I now see how the inbred psychopaths thwarted them.

    I have never encountered a crowd as unwilling to pay for quality as the Kiwis. You can offer a product that is three times as good at 20% more and the Kiwis will still choose the crap product. The only exception is something such as an I-Phone or Holden where the brand has a cult following amongst the Kiwis.

    • Living here in Switzerland, I can tell you that Aldi is amazing. We pay less for groceries than we did in New Zealand with much better variety. Aldi does not offer the same variety or the top end products such as Migros and Coop, but we just walk a few blocks and buy what we are unable to find at Aldi.

  11. The “Old Boys” network will close in, fear not, it will just be a rumour like IKEA. Now if Aldi were interested that would shake it up a bit!

  12. You’d have to REALLY hate New Zealand to wish for the great economic plague that is Wal Mart. That company has done more to ruin the American economy and outsource her jobs than all other retailers combined. I pray it’s not true. Whatever your thoughts about NZ, impoverishing them further is not the answer.

    • I’m from Canada and have only been in NZ for a couple of weeks, so I don’t know enough to discuss businesses like The Warehouse or the country’s economy in depth, but I can tell you that WalMart is NOT the beginning of the end of high prices. It IS the beginning of the end of Main Street.

      All across the US and Canada, you can find cities and towns with dead downtowns, due in large part to the mammoth WalMarts (and other big box stores that follow) creating vast developments on the outskirts of towns. Independent businesses can’t compete. Say goodbye to the mom and pop shops. Say goodbye to a thriving downtown where you can stroll from shop to shop, stopping to chat with neighbours, supporting entrepreneurs. Say hello to boarded up store fronts, main street waste lands, low wages and no benefits for the employees of this giant. Offering loss leaders, huge parking lots, and imported goods is just the beginning.

      It has been so heartening to wander the high streets of towns and cities. I have noticed the absence of WalMart, and have celebrated that absence, during my travels.

      • Ah, I see. Of course, there are many, many contributors to the shifts in population, changing economies, the way people shop, and so on. That said, I wouldn’t welcome WalMart to any place I call home.

  13. I can’t see it being possible. The Warehouse is just too big a force to overcome. Since I go to the US for extended periods every year, I can make a recent and sound comparison of the goods available at both stores. Walmart offers many name brands at discounted prices, incuding clothing and housewares. (I’ve noticed that lots of Walmart’s housewares are of better quality than you get at Mitre 10 or Bunnings, but at lower cost, especially storage items.) Much of Warehouse’s clothes and housewares are barely above dollar store standard, and the prices are higher than Walmart by comparison. The Warehouse sells well known toy brands, but the prices are higher, sometimes considerably, than what you pay at Walmart. I stock up on underwear at Walmart when I’m in the US, and I can find thick cotton items, which are cheaper than anything than Warehouse, but much better in quality.

    Here’s an example. I just did a comparison on both Walmart’s and Warehouse’s website for a radom toy, Twister Rave Dance game by Hasbro. Walmart onlind price: $27.01 USD (32.40 NZD) compared to Warehouse’s online price of $59.99 NZD. Walmart offers free shipping for orders over $50. Warehouse will charge delivery cost of $6.99 NZD no matter.

    If New Zealanders can suddenly find better quality goods at lower prices than what they get now, then Warehouse would be run out of business pretty quickly, at least in Christchurch.
    I find that with all the anti-American sentiment I see expressed subtly and overtly, New Zealanders go crazy when they can buy something American, be it clothing or fast food. Warehouse wouldn’t stand a chance.

      • That was a funny pun! Kiwis have a bottomless appetite for the worst of America and no appreciation for the amazing facets of America that seem no longer to exist.

    • I agree. Im from Canada and yes we need more Walmarts in New Zealand. It will change and lower all the prices in new Zealand that I think the government controls. They hate competition though. Walmart Super store carries EVERYTHING under one roof. Would also pit The Warehouse ont of business but could employ 5 times the people! It is a fact!

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