Welcome to the August edition of Bulletin. It’s been another busy couple of months for the Commission.
In our competition work, we have received new merger applications for OMV to acquire Shell’s gas and liquids portfolio, and from Goodman Fielder to acquire the ‘Yoplait’ yogurt business from Lion. In the non-notified mergers space, we’ve opened an investigation into Fulton Hogan's proposed acquisition of the Stevenson Group’s construction materials business. We have also filed proceedings against Wilson Parking alleging it substantially lessened competition for the supply of car parking in the Boulcott Street area in central Wellington when it acquired the rights to operate the Capital car park. We approved a purchaser for Winc to address our competition concerns regarding Platinum’s acquisition of rival stationary and office products firm OfficeMax.
We appeared before the Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee in support of the Commerce Amendment Bill in July. The Bill proposes to introduce market studies, strengthen airport regulation, and extend enforceable undertakings for use in resolving investigations into anti-competitive conduct. Our submission to the Committee is available on our website.
In our consumer and credit work, we filed proceedings against payday lender Ferratum alleging irresponsible lending. A fine of $720,000 was imposed on Budget Loans for what the Court called “cynical and deliberate” repossession tactics. We are now seeking banning orders against company directors Allan and Wayne Hawkins.
We released the findings of our lender website review which highlighted the issues consumers face when borrowing money. We held lender seminars in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to update the industry on credit compliance and provide insight into our activities, processes, and enforcement priorities.
In our fair trading work, we have filed charges against Spark alleging it made false or misleading representations relating to its billing and a $100 offer for new customers, we warned Apple for likely misleading consumers about their rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act and about its replacement products being ‘new’, and we filed charges against PB Technologies for failings in its extended warranty agreements, as well as warning them about bait advertising.
HRV Clean Water Limited plead guilty to making unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of its water filters and about the quality of New Zealand’s domestic water supply, we achieved our first successful prosecution against an individual for failing to disclose their ‘in trade’ status when selling items on the internet, and Auckland motor vehicle dealer Vehicle Logistics was fined $75,000 for misrepresenting consumers rights when selling used vehicles online and failing to display essential vehicle information.
As part of our telecommunications work, we released our preliminary view to retain the power to regulate national mobile roaming, released a paper looking at the evolution of broadband performance over the past decade, and launched our enhanced broadband monitoring programme with SamKnows. I encourage you to sign up to be a broadband volunteer. You can read more about the programme in this edition of Bulletin.
We also kicked off the process for the 2020 reset of electricity lines companies price-quality paths, sought feedback to improve the process for customised price-quality path applications, and released our emerging view that Fonterra's estimate of risk in calculating the cost of financing milk processing operations is too low. We also released our draft report on the review of Christchurch International Airport's pricing decisions, in which we are broadly satisfied Christchurch Airport is not targeting excessive profits in the 5 years from 1 July 2017.
We will be launching our priority focus areas for 2018/19 and our new website this month. Watch this space for more information.