Review of section 36 of the Commerce Act and other matters

Days left

Submissions due: 01 April 2019, 9am

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is proposing changes to New Zealand’s law relating to the misuse of market power (section 36 of the Commerce Act), along with other minor changes, and is seeking your feedback.

About the consultation

Competitive markets are important for the benefit of consumers and businesses. The Commerce Act sets the rules of the game to ensure that businesses can compete on their merits. Section 36 of the Commerce Act seeks to prevent incumbent firms with market power from abusing that power to suppress competition.

The courts have interpreted section 36 in such a way that it has tilted the playing field in favour of incumbent firms and distorted competition. Section 36 is difficult to enforce, and it may not be capturing a wide enough range of anti-competitive conduct.

The Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has released a discussion document for public consultation.

The discussion document sets out proposed changes to section 36 to bring New Zealand’s law in line with Australia and other developed economies. The discussion document also proposes:

  • repealing sections of the Commerce Act that shield some intellectual property arrangements from competition law
  • making technical changes to the treatment of covenants under the Act

More information

You can find more information in the Cabinet Paper.

Cabinet Paper: Release of Discussion Document: Review of Section 36 of the Commerce Act and Other Matters [PDF, 153 KB]

How to make a submission

You can email your submission to

You can also post your submission to:

Competition and Consumer Policy
Building, Resources and Markets
Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
PO Box 1473
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

If you wish to make a written submission, we encourage you to use the submissions template above. Please include your name and (if applicable) the name of your organisation in your submission.

Your submission may respond to any or all of the issues in this paper, or raise issues not covered in the paper. Where possible, please include evidence to support your views, for example, references to independent research, facts and figures, or relevant examples.

Talk to us if you have questions

We would also like to discuss these issues in person with interested parties. Please email if you would like to meet with us.

Please direct any questions that you have in relation to the submissions process to

Submissions close at 9am on Monday, 1 April 2019