Our priorities help us to focus our activity and resources on the areas where we can add the greatest value. This years’ priorities fall into four broad groups:

2019/20 Priorities

Enduring priorities

Enduring priorities are the areas we will always regard as a priority due to their potential to have a significant impact on consumers, business or markets in New Zealand or because they are a core part of our statutory role. These include credit issues, product safety, merger clearances and functions in critical infrastructure industries like energy and telecommunications.

Focus areas

Each year we target our resources on specific areas which are important to everyday life and the economy. This year there are eight focus areas:

  • Environmental claims
  • Online retail
  • Motor vehicle financing and related add-ons
  • Educating traders about conduct that may contravene cartel laws
  • Consulting on and completing the fuel market study
  • Resetting the five-year revenue limits and quality standards for electricity networks
  • Monitoring and reporting on telecommunications retail service quality
  • New up-front regulatory rules for fibre broadband services.

In the areas of environmental claims, online retail and motor vehicle insurance, we will look to understand the issues, identify current and potential harm, educate traders, empower consumers and take enforcement action where needed. Importantly, the identification of these focus areas will not stop us from undertaking advocacy, investigations or enforcement action in other areas affecting consumers where we consider that our involvement can be of benefit.

We have a number of large pieces of work that will be completed during the year including our first market study (on the retail fuel market), the five-year reset of the revenue limits and quality standard for some electricity networks and the new up-front regulatory rules (input methodologies) for fibre broadband services. In different ways all of these projects focus on New Zealanders getting products or services at the right price and quality.

Connecting

Connecting with others is an important part of increasing our understanding and effectiveness as a regulator and as one small part of a wider New Zealand and global regulatory system. This year we will be:

  • Connecting with consumers to better understand the issues they face and to improve the targeting of our work for their benefit
  • Engaging with businesses including updating our Enforcement Response Guidelines to include regulated industries
  • Working across the system to improve outcomes for New Zealanders, including collaborating with other regulators and providing analysis and advice to Government
  • Maintaining relationships with international agencies including active participation in global networks
  • Ensuring information sharing arrangements between agencies continue to provide appropriate controls to maintain public trust and confidence in the system.

Legislative Change

Changes are currently underway or proposed to almost all of the laws that the Commission enforces. To give effect to these changes we will focus on having the right resources, people, processes and systems in place at the right time. We will also inform businesses of their obligations and consumers of their rights where changes are made to the law. In 2019/20 we will work on a number of areas including:

  • Providing input into proposed changes to the Fair Trading Act
  • Preparing for the new criminal cartel offence to come into force
  • Participating in the review of consumer credit law and implementing changes passed into law
  • Continuing to implement changes to the Telecommunications Act
  • Considering the findings of the Electricity Price Review.