The Commission's Cartel Leniency and Immunity Policy explains how a company or an individual can apply for conditional leniency from civil proceedings and conditional immunity from criminal proceedings or formal cooperation (if leniency and/or immunity is not available) in relation to cartel conduct.
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.
Leniency and/or immunity is a key tool in detecting and deterring cartel conduct in New Zealand. It is widely used around the world to tackle cartel conduct. Cartel conduct is 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 cartel conducts, conditional leniency and /or immunity from prosecution is offered to the first participant in cartel conduct who tells the Commission about the cartel conduct and provides evidence. This destabilises cartel conduct and maximises the opportunities for the Commission to stop the harmful effects from cartel conduct.
Cartel conduct became a criminal offence on 8 April 2021. The Commission released its updated Cartel Leniency and Immunity Policy in April 2021. The updated policy provides greater clarity and certainty for leniency and/or 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 cartel conduct.
The Commission is responsible for making decisions about civil leniency and cooperation. The Solicitor-General is responsible for granting criminal immunity based on a recommendation from the Commission.
The Cartel Leniency and Immunity Policy does 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.
The following documents relating to leniency and immunity from cartel conduct should be read together and can be found here: