Commerce Commission chair Mark Berry says there are a number of areas the Commission will always regard as a priority due to the potential significant impact on consumers, business or markets in New Zealand.
Dr Berry has told the Competition Matters 2017 conference in Wellington that these include cases that involve significant harm to consumers or the potential for significant harm such as product safety and construction cases. They also include cartel and anti-competitive mergers and conduct because of the potential impact on markets and the economy as a whole.
“In addition to these enduring priorities we have identified a number of priority focus areas for the 2017/18 year. Almost every New Zealander uses a mobile or fixed-line phone and broadband, meaning the telecommunications sector has the potential to have a significant impact on consumers," he said.
"Despite undertaking a lot of work in the sector it continues to generate a high level of complaints from consumers. This combined with our concerns about service quality indicates there is still work to be done, so retail telecommunications will be an organisation-wide priority focus area for us."
He said that in the consumer area the Commission will focus on responsible lending (including online lending) and credence claims.
"Despite the number of investigations and cases we have taken, our intelligence suggests some lenders are still failing to comply with responsible lending principles. By failing to comply these lenders are not only breaching the law, they are potentially putting people at risk of hardship. When it comes to credence, it is difficult for consumers to verify claims made about a product, and therefore easy for them to be misled. In particular, we will be paying attention to food products and country of origin claims."