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National's Ideas Dominate Competition Policy

National's Ideas Dominate Labour Competition Policy.

"Labour's borrowed policy on the Commerce Act is nothing more than a rehash of planned changes the Government has already announced," Enterprise and Commerce Minister Max Bradford says.

"The Government has been consulting with the business community over these changes since January 1998 and April 1999.

"Labour has dressed them up in rhetoric, but clever language cannot hide the lack of its own ideas.

"Where Labour hasn't copied, it has got it wrong," Mr Bradford said.

"The Government has increased Commerce Commission funding and toughened penalties for behaviour that stifles competition.

"The Government has also announced plans to strengthen sections of the Act, including the definition of 'dominance', to ensure there is robust competition.

Mr Bradford said Labour's plan to lower the test for market dominance to "substantial degree of market power" would trap companies who did not have the market power to harm consumers.

"These firms would face increased costs and layers of red tape to prove they were not breaking the law. This will freeze competition and innovation.

"Labour's proposals stand in stark contrast to its failure to support legislation to control monopoly electricity lines companies," Mr Bradford said.
"Labour says it wants to promote competition, but it sided with monopoly lines companies.

"Labour tried this trick last year. It released a copy-cat competition policy after opposing reforms to increase electricity competition.

"In typical fashion Labour talked tough, but sat on its hands," Mr Bradford said.

"Labour's proposal to exclude social services, including health, from the Commerce Act is another contradiction.

"Labour can't turn a blind eye to price fixing just because it is in the health or social services sectors," he said.

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