Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Bill passes third reading

Published: 04 April 2019

The Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament on Thursday 4 April 2019.

The Bill criminalises intentional cartel conduct, creating a criminal regime to complement the existing civil cartel regime. It aims to prevent cartel behaviour, in which businesses collude against the interests of consumers and other businesses, to the detriment of the economy.

Under the law change, individuals who are convicted of engaging in cartels face up to seven years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $500,000, or both. Previously there was only a civil penalty, or fine of up to $500,000 for an individual. Penalties for businesses will still be the same as those that applied under the civil regime (up to $10 million).

The criminal regime will run in parallel to the current civil regime, with Crown Law guidance determining when to proceed from civil to criminal proceedings.

The Commerce Commission will be publishing guidance so that businesses can be clear what is considered criminal conduct under the new legislation.

Read the Minister’s media release on the Beehive site(external link)

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