Welcome to our first edition of Bulletin for 2019.
Kia ora tatou.
We have already released a range of papers for consultation so far this year, including a preliminary issues paper on the fuel market study, a paper seeking feedback on key issues concerning Transpower’s proposed price-quality path, as well as one seeking input into our updated merger guidelines and clearance applications form. Thank you to everyone who has provided their feedback and views.
2019 has also seen the Commission involved in a variety of cases, with gas distribution company First Gas Limited fined more than $3 million for anti-competitive conduct, as well as the High Court dismissing Budget Loans’ appeal against a $720,000 fine. You can read more about both of those cases in this edition of Bulletin. Thousands of New Zealand borrowers will also receive nearly $600,000 in refunds, following settlement agreements reached between the Commission and two finance companies.
In July 2019, our Competition Matters conference will be held in Auckland for the first time. We have a great line up of local and international speakers. The two-day event offers sessions relating to competition, economic regulation and consumer matters. We have included breakout sessions to enable delegates to choose from programme options that are most suited to their interests. You can find all the conference details on our website and read more about John Pecman (one of the conference speakers) in this edition of Bulletin.
Over the summer months we hosted seven university interns. Five were part of economics and legal intern programmes, one was an intern from the inter-agency Tupu Tai Pasifika internship programme and the seventh was part of the summer of tech programme. Each intern contributed to a wide range of Commission work over the course of their university break. When asked what their biggest highlights and learnings were responses included how passionate Commission staff were about their roles, learning about what the Commission does, having the opportunity to work with a wide range of people, and developing greater confidence to operate outside of their comfort zone. We wish them all well in their future studies and careers.
In the last few months we have also welcomed two new Associate Commissioners – John Crawford and Dr John Small. We are pleased to have both Johns bringing their experience and expertise to the Commission.
Finally, we were saddened by the death of our former Associate Commissioner Graham Crombie last month. Graham made a significant contribution to the Commission and brought a great diversity of skills and thought to our board table. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends.