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Commission launches new guidelines over enforcement response

Commission launches new guidelines over enforcement response

The Commerce Commission has today launched new guidelines to help New Zealanders understand more about how the Commission’s Competition Branch enforces its consumer and competition legislation.

The Enforcement Response Guidelines explain what enforcement responses are available to the Commission, and what criteria and considerations are taken into account when deciding which response to use.

“We are committed to increasing transparency and public understanding about the work we do in competitive markets to bring long-term benefits to New Zealanders. Publishing our new guidelines today is an important step in that direction,” said Dr Mark Berry, Commerce Commission Chair.

The Commission’s approach to enforcement focuses on areas where we can have the biggest impact through the most efficient use of taxpayer resources. Although litigation serves an important public function, the Commission also actively encourages early resolution of matters by way of agreement, where appropriate, as a way to more quickly change behaviour or bring about some other remedy.

“The Commission has always used a wide range of tools, including advocacy and education, to achieve good public understanding of the law and compliance by businesses. The guidelines emphasise that public education and prevention or remedy of harm are primary goals for us,” said Dr Berry.

Enforcement responses are broadly grouped as low-level and high-level responses. Low-level responses include sending compliance advice or warnings to businesses and people that need to be reminded of their obligations under legislation like the Fair Trading Act. Higher-level responses include court injunctions to immediately change behaviour, negotiated settlements or taking proceedings in court.

The guidelines are an addition to a suite of resources produced by the Commission including the Enforcement Criteria and the Model Litigant Policy. You can find all these resources on the Commission’s website at

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