Kia ora tatou

It is hard to believe we are already two months into 2021. After enjoying a good break over the holiday period to refresh and re-energise, we are now back into a full work programme for the year.

In November, the Commission began its year-long study into whether competition in the grocery sector is working well, and if not, what can be done to improve it. We are now in the information gathering phase and are on track to release our draft market study report in July. To help inform the study, the Commission has today released online surveys for consumers and suppliers which you can read more about later in this update. The surveys run for three weeks and can both be accessed here on our website.

Last month the Commission appeared for its Annual Review before Parliament’s Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee. Commission Chair Anna Rawlings, Deputy Chair Sue Begg, Telecommunications Commissioner Tristian Gilbertson and I all appeared via video link to answer questions about a variety of our work. The Committee asked questions on a range of topics including our market studies, our regulatory work in the electricity and telecommunications sectors, as well as the work we are doing in the digital space.

Appearing virtually was a reminder of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic which continue to be felt across the way we work, as well as the work itself. The challenges of COVID-19 continue to play a significant part of life for all New Zealanders, and we are aware that the effects of COVID-19 on businesses and consumers are likely still to be fully realised. We are continuing to monitor complaints relating to COVID-19 to understand the extent of any issues, more of which can be read about later in this update.

The Commission released its draft decision on Aurora Energy’s application for a customised price-quality path in November. Submissions on that decision closed earlier this year. We are continuing our work in this area with a final decision due to be made on March 31.

And finally, as an organisation we are continuing to progress our Fit for the Future work and will move to a new organisational structure in April. This shift is about strengthening our impact and ensuring the flexibility, sustainability and resilience of our organisation as we continue to change and grow.

Ngā mihi

Chief Executive