Legislative amendments to criminalise cartel behaviour and update other aspects of New Zealand's competition regime continue to progress through Parliament. The Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill is in front of the Commerce Select Committee, which is currently considering submissions. Bell Gully has made a submission to the Select Committee, primarily aimed at improving certainty for businesses under the new regime. If you would like to read our submission please click here.

In addition, on 1 October the Select Committee announced that the Minister has asked it to consider additional amendments to specific aspects of the competition regime relating to aviation and shipping. This follows a report from the Productivity Commission in April this year, raising policy issues around the competition regimes which apply to these sectors. These are particularly significant proposals for firms engaged in international shipping or aviation.

Amendments relating to competition regime for aviation

The proposed amendments would remove Part 9 of the Civil Aviation Act which sets out an alternate regime under which authorisations can be granted for certain provisions of an agreement between two or more persons in respect of international air carriage. The proposal seeks to bring competition in international air carriage within general competition laws.

Amendments relating to competition regime for shipping

In respect of shipping, the proposal suggests the repeal of the alternate competition regime in the Shipping Act and the repeal of the current Commerce Act exemption applying to shipping freight to and from New Zealand. This exemption currently provides the prohibitions in Part 2 of the Commerce Act (including price fixing) do not apply to international shipping. Submissions on these further proposals close on 18 October 2012. If you would like to make any comment on these proposed amendments we would be happy to assist you.