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Petrol price monitoring may be reviewed

3 May 2008 Press Release

Petrol price monitoring may be reviewed, Dalziel says

Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel Lianne Dalziel says she is investigating whether the monitoring of petrol prices could be strengthened further, to ensure competition and consumer issues are addressed.

Lianne Dalziel has just returned from an official visit to Australia where she discussed petrol prices with the chair of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) Graeme Samuel.

"Mr Samuel gave me a copy of the report of the ACCC's inquiry into the price of unleaded petrol, called 'Petrol Prices & Australian Consumers'.

"I'm asking New Zealand officials to read the report very closely for lessons that may be applicable in the New Zealand setting," Lianne Dalziel said.

"New Zealand has the fifth lowest petrol price in the OECD and the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) closely monitors all aspects of petrol prices every week, and publishes the findings on its website. (http://www.med.govt.nz/templates/StandardSummary____353.aspx)

"However preliminary discussions I have had today with the Automobile Association (AA) suggest there may be scope for examining whether this monitoring could be improved still further.

"While the Australian report shows the reality is that petrol prices are set according to the international market place, regulators can always work to ensure issues at the domestic level, such as the competitive dynamics of the market and consumer knowledge, are as strong as they could be.

Lianne Dalziel said she planned to meet with the AA next week to discuss the Australian report and the MED monitoring arrangements.

ends

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