Authorising anti-competitive transactions that will likely benefit New Zealand
This page was updated6 months ago
Under the Commerce Act, certain agreements and mergers are prohibited as they can lead to anti-competitive outcomes, such as increased prices or lack of choice for consumers. However, the law allows the Commission to authorise anti-competitive agreements and mergers in some cases where the public benefits outweigh the competitive harms.
Temporary changes have been made to the Commerce Act as a result of COVID-19. These changes enable the Commission to better respond to the needs of businesses seeking legal certainty through the authorisation process during the epidemic period. We have issued guidelines to assist businesses considering an authorisation during this time.
mergers or acquisitions that would be likely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market
agreements that have the effect of fixing, controlling or maintaining prices of goods or services
a supplier enforcing a minimum sale price for retailers
agreements between competitors that have the purpose of restricting or limiting the supply of goods or services to competitors.
Do I need to apply for an authorisation?
We encourage parties who are contemplating entering into a potentially anti-competitive transaction to seek legal advice, and to discuss their plans with us. While we cannot give ‘informal’ authorisation, we can provide guidance on potential areas of concern. If you would like to discuss a potential application, please contact our Trade Practices Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
Parties who wish to apply for authorisation for an anti-competitive transaction must complete the relevant application form (available below) and send this to email@example.com, as well as paying the fee of $36,800 (GST incl).
We publish the applications on our case register, as well as issuing a media release to alert interested parties. We have a streamlined process for straightforward authorisation applications and a standard process for more complex applications. In each case, our investigation involves requesting information and documents from relevant parties, conducting research, and interviewing interested parties. Under the law, we can only authorise the transaction if we are satisfied that the benefits to the public outweigh the competitive harm of the agreement.
Our Authorisation Guidelines provide more information on the laws that govern our authorisation assessments, the economic and legal analysis we conduct, and the process we follow in reaching our decisions.
Our Advisory Note provides guidance to businesses and advisors on the use of quantitative analysis to assess mergers.
Consultation on updated authorisation guidelines and application forms
The Commission is consulting on updated drafts of its authorisation guidelines and application forms.