COVID-19 – Commerce Commission approach to essential goods and services business cooperation

The Commerce Commission welcomes the Government’s Policy Statement today in relation to maintaining confidence in the market for essential goods and services such as grocery products.

Chair Anna Rawlings said following the Government’s announcement, the Commission wanted to offer reassurance to businesses providing essential goods and services.

“The Commission is aware that businesses are doing everything they can in extremely difficult circumstances to meet New Zealanders’ needs. We do not want them to feel constrained by the Commerce Act in working together to do this. The Commission has no intention of taking enforcement action under the Commerce Act against businesses who are cooperating to ensure New Zealanders continue to be supplied with essential goods and services during this unprecedented time. If you need to work with your competitors to share staff or distribution networks or take other measures to ensure security of supply, you are able to do this.”

“However, the Commission will not tolerate unscrupulous businesses using COVID-19 as an excuse for non-essential collusion or anti-competitive behaviour. This includes sharing information on pricing or strategy where it isn’t necessary in the current situation.” Ms Rawlings said.

The Commission will be issuing further guidance for businesses on its website in the coming days.

Background

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