Cartel Leniency Policy and Guidelines

The Commerce Commission's Cartel Leniency Policy and Guidelines explain how a company or an individual can apply for conditional immunity or formal cooperation (if immunity is not available) in relation to cartel conduct.

Cartels deprive consumers and other businesses of a fair deal. A cartel is where two or more businesses agree not to compete with each other through conduct including price fixing, dividing up markets, rigging bids, or restricting the output of goods and services.

The Cartel Leniency Policy and Guidelines do not cover other types of anti-competitive conduct, such as a company taking advantage of a substantial degree of market power or resale price maintenance.

Leniency is a key tool in detecting and deterring cartels in New Zealand. It is widely used around the world to tackle cartels. Cartels are difficult to detect and can damage the economy by removing the benefits of competition leading to higher prices and less choice for consumers.

To encourage reporting of cartels, conditional immunity from prosecution is offered to the first member of a cartel who tells the Commission about its operation and provides evidence. This destabilises cartels and maximises the opportunities for the Commission to stop the harmful effects from cartels.

The Commission released its updated Cartel Leniency Policy and Guidelines in June 2018. The updated guidance provides greater clarity and certainty for immunity and cooperation applicants. This assists the Commission to detect and break up cartels operating in New Zealand, providing benefits for consumers, businesses, markets, and the economy. It also helps to deter new cartels.

The Commission's general Cooperation Policy no longer applies to cartels. Formal cooperation applications for cartels are now covered by the Cartel Leniency Policy and Guidelines.

Cartel Leniency FAQ

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Typical information required to perfect a marker

To perfect a marker, the applicant company or individual must provide the Commission with a statement.

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Leniency Policy for Cartels - fact sheet

This fact sheet explains the Commerce Commission's approach to leniency when dealing with cartels. It outlines how a cartel member may be eligible for conditional immunity from prosecution (or cooperation where immunity is no longer available) and the processes involved.

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