• John Luxton

The Minister responsible for New Zealand's competition policy framework, Minister of Commerce, Hon John Luxton, today welcomed the introduction of Challenge! as a new competitor in the New Zealand oil industry.

"Our light handed competition approach is working," Mr Luxton said today, "While some want Government to take a heavy handed bureaucratic approach, our lighthanded approach is again bringing benefits to New Zealand families and businesses.

"From today, Mums, Dads and others will have another option on where to fill their fuel tank. This will mean more competitive prices and alternative services.

"It is important that we have competition to encourage innovation and to remain internationally competitive. This new entrant into the oil industry will make a difference.

"We have also seen major gains for New Zealand families and business in the telecommunications market. Since freeing things up we now have more than 20 companies offering tolls services. This competition has seen dramatic drops in toll prices and an explosion of products and services for New Zealanders.

"Despite calls for a more industry specific, heavy handed and bureaucratic approach, our light handed competition framework has delivered.

"An article comparing Australia and New Zealands competition frameworks in The Australian Financial Review on 18 March reported, "..available evidence suggests that productivity has increased more rapidly and overall consumer prices have decreased more rapidly in New Zealand than in Australia".

"While I believe we have the right approach we can always improve it. Currently we are reviewing the penalties, remedies and court process that currently operate, to see if we can fine tune the framework to continue to ensure effective competition.

"I congratulate Challenge! as they enter into their new venture." Mr Luxton concluded.