It is great to see more of the sun and the days getting longer now that spring is here. To go along with the season of new growth we recently launched our new website. Our aim was to create a site that is easy to use and focused on our users both in terms of content and experience. We also wanted to address some of the challenges our old site had – primarily the search function and the lack of mobile responsiveness. The website now has an advanced search functionality and is mobile responsive, providing a much better user experience, especially for those using tablets and mobile phones. Thank you to those that participated in user testing, your feedback provided valuable insight and helped us refine the site.

Last week the Court of Appeal dismissed NZME and Fairfax’s (now Stuff) long-running appeal against the Commission’s decision to decline their media merger. The Court’s ruling upheld the earlier High Court judgment that supported our decision to decline the merger in May 2017. We were pleased to see that the Court backed both our process and reasoning, noting that the detriments of the merger significantly outweighed the benefits.

There are a number legislative review processes currently underway which will impact on the work of the Commission. One of these is the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) review of New Zealand’s consumer credit regulation, looking at the changes made to the Credit Contract and Consumer Finance Act (CCCF Act) in 2015. MBIE have found that while there have been some positive results from those changes, serious issues remain. The Commission’s submission on this issue can be viewed on our website. Policy decisions are expected to be announced later this year.

Last month we published our paper highlighting the initial issues we want to take a closer look at in our mobile market study under the Telecommunications Act. On the retail side we are particularly interested in how consumers are able to access reliable information on the services that suit their needs, compare offers and switch providers. We are also focused on the prospects of small resellers like Vocus or Warehouse Mobile expanding in or entering the market and the potential impacts of new technologies. For example, we see benefits in the arrival of 5G but there are questions around whether there is enough spectrum for a fourth operator and what impact there might be on existing regulations governing mobile infrastructure sharing. Submissions close on 12 October and we expect to provide an update on our initial findings by the end of the year.

For those with an interest in mergers and acquisitions, we are holding an open discussion with Commissioners and senior staff at ours offices in Wellington and Auckland. The events will include a short presentation on recent cases and new developments in the mergers regime, followed by a Q&A session. Drinks and nibbles will be provided. The Auckland event will be held on 25 October and the Wellington event on 30 October (both at 5pm). To RSVP please email registrar@comcom.govt.nz by 17 October noting which event you wish to attend.

Nga mihi

Adrienne Meikle
Chief Executive