Welcome to our last edition of Bulletin for 2017 and my last as Chief Executive. After 7 years in the role I will be finishing up at the Commission in mid-January.

The Commission strives to make New Zealanders better off every day.  I am very proud of what we have achieved during my time as Chief Executive. The impact of our economic regulation work is significant and long lasting and we have done much to provide certainty to industry while protecting the long-term interests of consumers.

In the consumer protection area we have really lifted our game, increasing our proactive work with initiatives like our mobile trader or truckshop project. This project uncovered industry wide non-compliance and resulted in almost $1 million in fines as well as the first jail sentence handed down in a Commission case (under the Crimes Act). We have also stepped up our enforcement activity achieving record fines under the Fair Trading Act in cases such as Bike Barn and Nurofen. 

In the area of merger clearances we have seen a number of challenging and complex applications dealt with in recent times.

The Commission is filled with intelligent, dedicated and passionate people who are committed to doing their best for New Zealanders. I would encourage all stakeholders (including advisers) to constructively engage with the Commission on issues. Do your research and strongly advocate your position, but keep in mind that the Commission exists to protect consumers and competition and we are 100% committed to doing that.

I’d like to thank you for your contribution to the work the Commission has done over the last 7 years. The Commission board is currently recruiting for my successor and I’m sure they will share the news of an appointment once one has been made in the New Year.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.

Brent Alderton