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Market studies Bill first reading signals powers

Market studies Bill first reading signals powers to be in effect by end of 2018

Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Hon Kris Faafoi told Parliament that he intends for market studies powers to be in place by the end of the year.

At the first reading of the Commerce Amendment Bill last night, Mr Faafoi said he was committed to quickly delivering a more competitive, confident and productive business environment to deliver positive outcomes for all New Zealanders.

“Consumers should be at the heart of competition and consumer policy. This is why advancing the Commerce Amendment Bill to ensure that the selected markets are delivering better outcomes for all New Zealanders is a priority.

“We are concerned as a Government that some markets appear to not be working as well as they should be for consumers. A Commerce Commission market study, where the Commission has the power to compel organisations and businesses to provide information, will identify the causes of poor performance in these markets.

“As a Government we can then make an informed decision as to whether intervention is desirable, and if so, what form that intervention may take.”

Mr Faafoi confirmed that the Bill would allow a market study to be initiated by the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister or self-initiated by the Commerce Commission “to ensure there’s no politics in ensuring the best interests of the consumer are served”.

“Market studies will ensure New Zealand consumers get fair and appropriate treatment by delivering competitive markets and supporting honest business.”

The Commerce Amendment Bill reflects the outcomes of a targeted review of the Commerce Act and a review of the effectiveness of the economic regulation regime for major airports. In addition to the provision of a market studies power, the Bill introduced today repeals the little used cease and desist regime, introduces an enforceable undertakings regime, and makes amendments to improve the effectiveness of the regulatory regime for airports under Part 4 of the Commerce Act.

The Bill now moves to the Transport and Infrastructure Committee, and will be reported back to Parliament by 10 September. More information is on MBIE’s website here.

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