Better deal for consumers a step closer as market studies Bill introduced

New legislation introduced to Parliament today will ensure New Zealand consumers get fair and appropriate treatment by encouraging competitive markets and honest business, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi says.

The Commerce Amendment Bill will enable the Commerce Commission to undertake ‘market studies’ research into the structure and behaviour of markets, and compel organisations and businesses to provide information.

“This Government wants to ensure that everyday New Zealanders are benefiting from an efficient and fair market – and to do that, we need to be sure markets are functioning as effectively as they can.

“Market studies are performed by more than 40 competition agencies worldwide. They provide governments with an in-depth understanding of how sectors and markets work and can be conducted if concerns arise, or there’s cause for investigation. If a market study shows there are issues preventing honest competition, we will address that.”

Under the new legislation, a market study can either be initiated by the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister or self-initiated by the Commerce Commission.

“I want the Commerce Commission to have more tools to protect consumers so I have asked officials to fast track this Bill to be operational by the end of 2018. I have been clear since taking on the Commerce and Consumer affairs portfolio that my top priority is to protect consumers and ensuring markets are working competitively is crucial.”

Mr Faafoi says that checks and balances will be in place to ensure market studies are used where there is a real need in the interest of consumers.

The Commerce Amendment Bill reflects the outcomes of a targeted review of the Commerce Act and a review of the effectiveness of the economic regulation regime for major airports.  In addition to the provision of a market studies power, the Bill introduced today repeals the little used cease and desist regime, introduces an enforceable undertakings regime, and makes amendments to improve the effectiveness of the regulatory regime for airports under Part 4 of the Commerce Act.

More information is available on MBIE’s website here.