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COVID-19: Commerce Commission ‘won’t tolerate' unscrupulous antics

25 March 2020

The Commerce Commission says it will not tolerate “unscrupulous businesses” using COVID-19 as an excuse for non-essential collusion or anti-competitive behaviour.

Chair Anna Rawlings says this includes sharing information on pricing or strategy where it isn’t necessary while an Alert Level 4 situation exists.

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

Ms Rawlings says following the 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 says.

The Commerce Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements between competitors. For more information see the Commission website.

Last updated on the 25th March 2020