The Commerce Commission has released guidelines on its approach to authorisation of some agreements as a result of temporary changes made to the Commerce Act under the COVID-19 Response (Further Management Measures) Legislation Act (COVID-19 Response Act).
The Commission can grant authorisation for agreements between businesses or individuals that are anti-competitive but are otherwise in the public interest. The amendments to the COVID-19 Response Act allow the Commission to authorise cartel provisions, waive the $36,800 application fee, issue provisional authorisation, and to decide not to issue a draft determination before reaching a final decision.
Commission Chair, Anna Rawlings said, “We recognise that businesses may need to enter into agreements quickly as a result of the effects of COVID-19. The amendments enable us to better respond to the needs of businesses seeking legal certainty through the authorisation process where the agreement is in the public interest. This will help achieve the right balance between ensuring that businesses can enter into agreements that benefit New Zealand, while protecting consumers and competition in the market.”