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Commerce Amendment Bill (No 2) To Be Introduced

The Commerce Amendment Bill (No 2) is being introduced to the House tomorrow by Acting Minister of Commerce Trevor Mallard.

The Bill replaces the previous Commerce Amendment Bill 1999.

Trevor Mallard says this was done to better accommodate a number of price control amendments and the Government’s competition initiatives that were not reported back by the Commerce Select Committee.

The Bill contains provisions aligning New Zealand’s key prohibitions in sections 36 and 47 against abuse of market power and anticompetitive mergers and business acquisitions with Australia.

Unlike the Commerce Select Committee’s recommendation, no transitional period is proposed for lowering the threshold in section 36 from “abuse of dominance” to “taking advantage of a substantial degree of market power”.

“I am aware that law firms have been advising their clients of the proposed changes and I consider that any firms at risk have had sufficient time to adjust,” Trevor Mallard said.

"The price control amendments are based upon the generic provisions contained in the old Commerce (Controlled Goods or Services) Amendment Bill.

"The range of controls that may be imposed is expanded to include price, revenue and quality standards, which reflects modern practice overseas.

"The Commission’s powers to investigate and audit companies subject to price control are also strengthened.

"These amendments will assist the Commission in its current inquiries into airports and the electricity sector.

"The Bill is a high priority for the Government and is intended to be progressed quickly," Trevor Mallard said.


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