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Govt Inaction Risks $3 Billion

19 September 2001

Govt Inaction Risks $3 Billion In Commercial Transactions

A Court of Appeal decision has made a mockery of the Government's soothing words to business over the Commerce Amendment Act 2001 and has put $3 billion of commercial transactions at risk, National's Commerce spokesperson Tony Ryall said today.

"The Government told business that if they applied to the Commerce Commission for clearance of acquisitions before the rules changed on 26 May 2001, the transaction would be assessed under the old rules.

"Today's Court of Appeal decision will void all eleven clearances made under the old rules, but after the new legislation was passed.

"The Government doesn't understand business. It ignored submissions from companies and the advice of the select committee that the transitional provisions should be expressly included in the Commerce Amendment Act. Ministers Mallard and Swain chose to ignore this advice.

"The Government is responsible for this confusion. They should fix it. The excuse that the Interpretation Act is to blame is pathetic and a cover for ministerial incompetence.

"The Labour-Alliance Government can't do business. It has shown it with Air New Zealand, it has shown it by destroying the value of State Owned Enterprises and now the Government's ineptitude may wreck $3 billion worth of commercial transactions affecting eleven companies. These transactions affect tens of thousands of shareholders and employees," Mr Ryall said.

Ends




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