Commerce Amendment Act 2018

The Commerce Amendment Act 2018 provides for market studies, improved airport regulation and enforceable undertakings.

Commerce Amendment Act

The Commerce Amendment Act came into force on 26 October 2018. The Act amends the Commerce Act 1986 by:

  • empowering the Commerce Commission to undertake market studies (referred to as ‘competition studies’ in the Act)
  • enabling the Commerce Commission to accept enforceable undertakings in relation to enforcement matters
  • repealing the little-used cease and desist regime
  • strengthening the regulatory regime for airports under Part 4 of the Commerce Act.

The Act is available on the government legislation website: Commerce Amendment Act 2018(external link)

Related Cabinet and Parliamentary papers

Cabinet papers

On 28 March 2018, Cabinet agreed to the introduction of the Commerce Amendment Bill.

Cabinet paper: Commerce Amendment Bill — Approval for Introduction [PDF, 52 KB]

In February 2018 Cabinet agreed to give the Commerce Commission the ability to self-initiate a market study.

Cabinet paper: Commerce Commission self-initiation of market studies under the Commerce Act [PDF, 68 KB]

Parliamentary papers

You can see the progress of the Bill through the House on the NZ Parliament website.

New Zealand Parliament website — Commerce Amendment Bill(external link)

More information on market studies

A market study (referred to as a ‘competition study’ in the Bill) is a study into any factors that may affect competition for the supply or acquisition of goods or services.

Market studies:

  • provide a means of identifying what’s going on in a market and why
  • focus on the structure and behaviour of the market itself — as opposed to a competition enforcement investigation, which focuses on the actions of a specific company
  • can provide a market ‘a clean bill of health’ or make recommendations to address any impediments to competition.

Who initiates and undertakes a market study

Cabinet agreed that the Commerce Commission should be empowered to undertake market studies where this is in the public interest. Market studies may be initiated by the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, or by the Commerce Commission on its own initiative.

Market study requirements

In carrying out a market study, the Commerce Commission will be required to:

  • carry out the study in accordance with the published terms of reference, which sets out the scope and timeframe for completion
  • publish a draft report and consider any public submissions received
  • prepare and publish a final report on its findings and, if relevant, its recommendations for change.

Any recommendations in a final report will be non-binding, but may include a range of matters to improve the performance of markets, such as changes to regulation or changes in policy or behaviour of market participants. The responsible minister must then respond to the final report within a reasonable timeframe.

See Targeted review of the Commerce Act 2015 for more information.

Changes to the information disclosure regime for major airports

The Commerce Amendment Bill will also make amendments to the Commerce Act to improve the effectiveness of the information disclosure regime for major airports, following our review.

See Airport regulation for more information.