Call for applications: Provision of an external dispute resolution scheme for the grocery industry
MBIE is inviting suitably qualified providers of dispute resolution services to apply for approval as the grocery dispute resolution scheme under the Grocery Industry Competition Act 2023.
This is the web version of the Request for Applications.
Download the PDF version:
What we need
The new grocery industry regulatory regime instituted under the Grocery Industry Competition Act 2023 (the Act) requires a dispute resolution scheme to be established. The scheme is for disputes up to a claimed amount not exceeding $5 million:
- between grocery suppliers and regulated grocery retailers in relation to the grocery supply code made under Part 2 of the Act, and
- between wholesale customers and regulated grocery retailers in relation to the wholesale supply of groceries regime (Part 3 of the Act).
The Act provides for a single dispute resolution scheme to be approved by the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (“approved scheme”).
The scheme should be:
The purpose of this Request for Applications is to provide an opportunity to interested persons to apply to the Minister for approval of a scheme as the approved scheme.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will use the Request for Applications process to receive applications, advise the Minister about proposed dispute resolution schemes included in applications and make a recommendation to the Minister on the preferred proposed scheme based on the process.
What's important to us
The approved scheme will need to be accessible to grocery suppliers and wholesale customers of the regulated grocery retailers nationwide and will need to be able to work with suppliers and wholesale customers to ensure that their disputes are quickly and effectively resolved. It also will need to provide for both consensual resolution of disputes in the form of binding settlement agreements and adjudication or determination of disputes in the form of binding decisions. Further, the provider of the approved scheme will need to be able to provide or access tikanga based dispute resolution services when requested.
Applications should demonstrate that the provider of the proposed dispute resolution scheme has a good record of accomplishment in the implementation, governance, management and operation of independent dispute resolution schemes, and adheres to best practice in the delivery of dispute resolution services.
Applications should also demonstrate that the provider possesses, or is able to quickly obtain, the necessary capacity, capability, infrastructure and funding to effectively and efficiently provide an approved scheme.
A further key requirement is that the application should indicate how the provider of the proposed scheme has, or how they will quickly gain, sufficient knowledge of the grocery industry to expeditiously deliver an effective and efficient approved scheme.
Why should you submit an application?
This is a unique and exciting opportunity to be part of the new grocery industry regulatory regime which aims to increase competition in the retail grocery industry to benefit New Zealand consumers. The dispute resolution scheme will be an integral part of the regulatory regime, providing an accessible, flexible and user-centric alternative to the court process.
A bit about us
MBIE plays a central role in shaping and delivering a strong New Zealand economy, ultimately helping to grow New Zealand for all to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders. We are responsible for extensive policy, regulatory and service delivery functions that impact on the business environment. This includes responsibility for key legislative and regulatory frameworks, managing public services onshore and offshore and overseeing ownership interests in business-critical Crown agencies.
In this section
This section outlines the context of this Request for Applications (RFA), the timeline for applicants, who to send questions and applications to, the key requirements in sections 3 and 4, as well as the terms and conditions of the RFA.
This section outlines the Commerce Commission’s market study into New Zealand’s retail grocery sector and provides an overview of the grocery industry and the recent Grocery Industry Competition Act 2023.
This section outlines the dispute resolution service that MBIE wants and the requirements that applications need to meet.
This section outlines the evaluation model and criteria as well as the scoring that will be used and the evaluation process that MBIE will follow.
This section indicates the likely next steps for MBIE in seeking a dispute resolution scheme.