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Government Proposes Commerce Law Change Today

Commerce Minister Paul Swain is acting quickly to clarify the issue created by a Court of Appeal decision yesterday on company mergers that were approved under the old Commerce Act.

"It is clear that what the Court of Appeal decided yesterday is not what the government intended," Paul Swain said.

"I am proposing to clarify this issue in a law change this afternoon.

"In essence the law change will determine that applications received prior to the enactment of the new Commerce Act provisions will be considered under the old Act.

"I am proposing a small amendment to the Commerce Act as part of the Statutes Amendment Bill due to be debated in parliament this afternoon.

"As any member can object to such a move in a Statutes Amendment Bill I have discussed this proposal with all political parties.

"If this opportunity be denied it will mean that this legislative change will have to be delayed.

"This issue has raised wider implications than the Commerce Act. It has thrown into doubt the ability of the Interpretations Act 1999 to be able to deal with transitional situations like this in other legislation.

"In the long term the government will address that issue as well.

"Today, I am hoping we can make the necessary amendments in order to resolve the uncertainty that has been created by the Court of Appeal decision.

"In the end it is important that those involved in merger processes are able to do so with certainty. This was always the government's intention," Paul Swain said.


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