22 Jan 2014

Fears deal will freeze out competition

10:14 pm on 22 January 2014

A small ice cream company says a deal allowing Fonterra exclusive rights to sell its products at all Auckland Council venues and events will shut out smaller operators.

The dairy cooperative says it is close to reaching a 10-year agreement with the council's events agency ATEED to sell its products at venues such as pools and waterfront spaces and events such as Music in Parks.

The co-owner of Nice Blocks and Nice Creams has been selling his frozen deserts at council events since his company started four years ago.

James Crow says the deal, which would prevent any other brand of ice cream being sold at events or venues, limits the ability of other companies to grow and would set up a monopoly.

Mr Crow says the deal will also reduce Aucklanders' choice.

ATEED says it will not comment on any discussions or speculation about possible arrangements until contracts are negotiated or signed.

Fonterra Brands managing director Peter McClure says negotiations are reasonably well advanced but a contract is not yet finalised. However, a deal could be made in the next month or so.