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MTA closely monitoring AMPOL bid for Z

 

The Motor Trade Association (MTA) is closely watching the AMPOL offer for Z Energy to see if it provides a chance to further reform the fuel retail market.

“This is a significant move and one we’re hoping will improve the lot of small independent businesses,” said MTA’s Sector Manager Energy and Environment, Ian Baggott.

Mt Baggott said that in 2019 the Commerce Commission had agreed with MTA's view that the retail fuel market was being influenced by an opaque wholesale market.

“Unfortunately, the fuel industry changes introduced following the Commission's market study have not landed properly,” Mr Baggott said.

“A large swath of small independent retailers were excluded from the legislative benefits, such as being able to exit early from onerous long-term supply arrangements.”

Mr Baggott said AMPOL had operated under the Oil Code in Australia, which influenced many of the changes to the NZ market.

“It will be interesting to see if the New Zealand sector can learn anything from their experience,” he said.

Z Energy - including its ownership of the Caltex brand in New Zealand - covers around half of the retail fuel market.

While predominantly independent businesses, the Caltex fuel sites are tied to Z Energy through a distribution arrangement that means they are excluded from some of the protections or benefits in the Fuel Industry Act 2020.

Mr Baggott said should the offer be accepted, and the purchase approved, MTA will be monitoring its members closely.

“We’ll be looking for improvement in the operating conditions of small fuel retailers, who have been poorly served by recent legislative changes.”

MTA represents over 900 retail fuel sites, many of them run by small businesses.

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