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Deputy PM Asks For Petrol Prices Investigation

Hon Jim Anderton
Deputy Prime Minister

News release

Deputy Prime Minister asking Commerce Commission to investigate petrol prices

Immediate release 21 March 2000

The Deputy Prime Minister is asking the Commerce Commission to investigate comments by petrol companies that the recent reduction in crude prices will not necessarily result in overnight petrol price decreases.

"It appears that crude oil prices have fallen significantly over the past week, yet we have petrol companies saying petrol prices may not follow suit straight away," Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton said.

"That is in stark contrast to the petrol price increases last year that were squarely blamed on increases in crude.

"Petrol prices have a significant effect on regional development. In Northland for example petrol prices in Kaitaia are up to 7 cents higher per litre than in Auckland.

"This has a significant effect on regional development and is something I am concerned about.

"There are no pricing laws in New Zealand, but we do have competition laws. It seems obvious to me that if we had a truly competitive market at least one of the petrol companies would cut prices in response to a 24% decrease in its raw product, to gain an advantage over their competitors.

"I have asked the commerce commission to investigate petrol prices to see if there is sufficient competition in the petrol marketplace," Jim Anderton said.

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