The Commerce Commission’s Competition Matters conference is back in July 2019, with another great line up of local and international speakers.

This conference builds on the success of the three previous Competition Matters conferences and we are delighted to be holding the conference for the first time at the Pullman in Auckland. We hope that you will be pleased with this year’s programme. This two-day event offers sessions in the competition, regulation and consumer areas, including breakout sessions which allow delegates to choose the session most suited to their interests.

We are looking forward to hosting this conference again as it generates plenty of discussion and debate on topics and issues that are important to the business community, consumers and the Commission.

This event is also a valuable networking opportunity for delegates from the business, consumer and regulatory communities.

We hope you will be able to join us.

Anna Rawlings

Online registration for Competition Matters 2019 is now open and available until 12 July 2019.

Register now

Note: Registration is completed via our conference organisers website. Clicking 'Register now' will direct you to their website.

Registration fees

Ticket price is $1,490.00 including GST and is in New Zealand dollars.

The registration fee includes attendance at all conference sessions, a conference handbook and programme, and catering during the conference. It also includes a drinks reception at the end of day 1. Tickets to the conference dinner are an additional cost and can be purchased during registration.

Cancellation/refund policy

Cancellations must be made in writing and sent to

Cancellations received prior to 8 July 2019, will receive a full refund less an administration fee of $100.

Cancellations received between 9 July and 19 July 2019 will receive a 50% refund of their registration fee.

Cancellations received after 19 July 2019 will not receive a refund.

A replacement delegate can be nominated if you are no longer able to attend. Requests must be sent to and must be received no later than 12 July 2019.


Media interested in attending this event should send their requests to

Programme – Day 1

Thursday 25 July


Opening remarks
Anna Rawlings, Chair, Commerce Commission


Keynote – What can we learn from behavioural insights?

Dr David Halpern, Chief Executive, Behavioural Insights Team, UK
Professor Jeroen van der Heijden, Chair in Regulatory Practice, School of Government, Victoria University (Discussant)

We know consumers do not behave as rational models predict, but what are the implications for a competition, consumer and regulatory authority? Dr David Halpern has led the UK's Behavioural Insights Team since it was set up in 2010 and brings with him a wealth of experience in the practical application of behavioural insights to policy challenges. In this session he will be discussing how a better model of consumer and company behaviour can create more effective regulation, from helping consumers to identify the best deals and be more open to switching suppliers, to shifting the composition of products and services available.


Morning refreshments


Panel – Big tech meets No 8 wire: challenges for New Zealand competition policy in the era of digitisation

Rod Sims, Chair, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Dr James Every-Palmer QC, Barrister, Stout Street Chambers
Lucy Elwood, Head of Legal & Regulatory, Trade Me
Michal Mottl, Senior Economist Competition and Consumer, Commerce Commission (Chair)

Around the world, concerns have been expressed about whether competition law is fit to deal with the power of large multinational technology firms. Australia has witnessed the entry of Amazon into its domestic market, and the ACCC has conducted a market study on Digital Platforms. In New Zealand, the Commission has considered the impact of firms such as Google and Facebook in several recent decisions. This panel session will explore the impact of large technology firms on competition in New Zealand, the opportunities and challenges they bring, and whether the existing regulatory framework is fit for the era of Big Tech.




Panel – Market studies: evolution or revolution?

Dr John Small,
Associate Commissioner, Commerce Commission 
Roger Witcomb, Chair, Ofgem’s RIIO-2 Challenge Group, and former Panel Chair, Competition and Markets Authority, and former Chair of the Competition Commission
Rod Sims, Chair, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Antonia Horrocks, General Manager, Competition and Consumer Branch, Commerce Commission (Chair)

Expectations are high for the Commission’s new market studies tool. When can market studies work well to identify issues and recommend solutions to competition problems in markets which are not solved by other competition tools? How have market studies done this in Australia and the UK? Have those recommendations been implemented and been effective in those markets? Are market studies more relevant now for regulators as competition, consumer and regulatory issues converge in markets and gaps in information between providers and consumers grow?

Panel – What does successful economic regulation look like?

Professor Martin Cave,
Chair, Ofgem (UK), and Visiting Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science
Cristina Cifuentes, Commissioner, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and Board Member, Australian Energy Regulator
Greg Houston, Founding Partner, HoustonKemp Economists
Gavin Evans, Director, Independent News Services (Chair)

Economic regulators face a range of challenges. They need to ensure that their regulatory settings are responsive to consumer and regulated businesses and are appropriate in the face of technological change in the industries that they regulate. In addition, effectiveness requires regulators to have credibility – the public and regulated companies should have confidence in their processes but also certainty that there will be adequate scrutiny and ready sanctions for breaches when required. This session will explore what makes an excellent economic regulator, including; What is the role of regulators in influencing the corporate culture of regulated businesses? What is the impact of institutional design on regulatory effectiveness? How can the risk of regulatory failure be reduced? Is an absence of appeals a reliable indicator of success? And, What role does stakeholder input play?


Keynote – Development of broadband infrastructure and regulation: how do New Zealand and Australia compare?

Ed Willett,
Member, NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, and Associate Commissioner, PNG Independent Consumer and Competition Commission
Dr Stephen Gale, Telecommunications Commissioner, Commerce Commission (Chair)

Many comparisons have been drawn between Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) and our own Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) Initiative. A big challenge for both countries has been designing a system for the regulation of this key national infrastructure, especially given the pace and nature of technological change in the telecommunications sector and investors’ desire for certainty and predictability. As an observer of developments on both sides of the Tasman, Ed Willett will provide a brief history of how both countries got to where they are now, and an overview of the current state-of-play in broadband infrastructure. He will discuss likely future directions, including feasible developments in technology, competition and the design of regulation. To what extent are technological and market dynamics best left to the market? Or is government intervention desirable, and if so in what form? Should regulators and policy makers play catch-up with market developments, or instead anticipate market developments that may be harmful?

Keynote – Every ad a responsible ad

Hilary Souter,
Chief Executive, Advertising Standards Authority
Stuart Wallace, Head of Consumer, Commerce Commission (Discussant)

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is an industry self-regulatory body. Hilary Souter will discuss key requirements of the new Advertising Standards Code which consolidates six codes into one and applies to all advertising in all media. In this world of evolving media platforms, Hilary will highlight the ASA Guidance Note on Identification of Advertisements, and the application of the ASA Codes to social media influencers. Hilary will also discuss a wealth of examples of advertising, both compliant and not, and provide tips for advertisers and their advisers.


Afternoon refreshments


Panel – Consumer data: the intersection of consumer, competition and privacy law

Ralica Andreeva,
Head of Loyalty and Financial Services Marketing, Woolworths (NZ)
Jon Duffy, Assistant Commissioner, Office of the Privacy Commissioner
Delia Rickard, Deputy Chair, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Marina Lao, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University, and former Director, Federal Trade Commission
Elisabeth Welson, Commissioner, Commerce Commission (Chair)

Data driven innovation has the potential to enhance economic competitiveness and productivity. New Zealand will only reap the benefits of consumer data if all the relevant players can confidently participate in the market. Competitors need to be confident they can appropriately access data, consumers need to be able to trust that their personal information is adequately protected and have sufficient control over their data so that they can share it with trusted recipients, and data aggregators need to feel their intellectual property rights in the data are recognised. The panel will discuss the intersections of consumer, competition, and privacy law in relation to consumer data.


Panel – State of the Nation

Han Li Toh, Chief Executive, Competition & Consumer Commission of Singapore
Rod Sims, Chair, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Brent Snyder, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Competition Commission
Anna Rawlings, Commissioner, Commerce Commission
Adrienne Meikle, Chief Executive, Commerce Commission (Chair)

Regulatory agencies need to evolve with the markets they oversee, and the changing dynamics of business and the behaviour and needs of consumers. This will be a Q&A session with heads of agencies discussing how they strive to keep ahead of the curve and what this means for their agencies’ key priorities and challenges. The discussion will canvass a variety of current issues such as how agencies connect with consumers to influence consumer choices, as well as touching on how agencies are addressing and dealing with and evolving markets.


Drinks reception


Conference dinner

Dinner speaker: John Pecman,
Senior Business Advisor, Fasken, Antitrust/Competition & Marketing Group, and former Commissioner of Competition, Canadian Competition Bureau

Programme – Day 2

Friday 26 July




Panel – Why does competition really matter?

Han Li Toh, Chief Executive, Competition & Consumer Commission of Singapore
Bryan Chapple, Deputy Secretary, Macroeconomics and Growth, The Treasury
Murray Sherwin, Chair, Productivity Commission
Katie Rusbatch, Head of Competition, Commerce Commission (Chair)

The New Zealand government is increasingly focussed on how higher living standards can be achieved for all New Zealanders and the policy choices that will achieve this vision. This session will tackle the more macro issue of how the work and outcomes achieved by regulatory agencies fit into that living standards framework, the relevance of these agencies to the broader economy and wellbeing of New Zealanders, and how this type of framework is relevant to the decision-making and prioritisation choices made by these agencies and the tools they use.


Morning refreshments


Keynote – The future of competition intervention in markets

Dr Howard Shelanski, Professor of Law, Georgetown University, and Partner, Davis, Polk & Wardwell
Dr James Every-Palmer QC, Barrister, Stout Street Chambers (Discussant)

New Zealand’s more recent history has seen us move from regulation to deregulation, and now increased calls for intervention in some markets. Howard Shelanski will discuss how and when governments and agencies can intervene most effectively in markets, including the intersection between competition law and regulation, and the factors influencing decisions regarding interventions in markets from both a policy and enforcement perspective.




Panel – How should we engage consumers in regulatory decision-making?

Tony Robinson, Chair, AusNet Services Customer Forum
Tom Hallam, General Manager, Regulation and Network Strategy, AusNet Services
Mark McLeish, Director, Australian Energy Regulator
Roger Witcomb, Chair, Ofgem’s RIIO-2 Challenge Group (Discussant)
Calum Gunn, Principal Adviser Regulation, Commerce Commission (Chair)

Regulators and regulated businesses all want to know more about what customers actually want from network industries. The quest for consumer engagement has taken different forms all over the world. One of the boldest experiments is a joint initiative of the Australian Energy Regulator, Energy Consumers Australia, and Energy Networks Australia, who have together agreed with Victorian electricity distributor, AusNet Services, on a new regulatory model putting consumers at the heart of economic regulation.

We will be joined in this session by the regulator, the regulated business, and the head of AusNet Services’ Customer Forum to talk about how to feed consumer views into regulatory decision-making. We will also hear about other innovations in consumer engagement occurring elsewhere in the world.

Panel – Are penalties in New Zealand high enough to deter unlawful conduct or are they seen as a cost of doing business?

Sarah Court, Commissioner, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Brent Snyder, Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong Competition Commission
Hon Sir Terence Arnold QC, Barrister, Thorndon Chambers, and former Judge, Supreme Court of New Zealand
John Dixon QC, Barrister, Shortland Chambers (Chair)

This session will focus on what size penalties are sufficient to deter. A recent OECD study found that penalties imposed on Australia for competition law infringements are lower than other comparable jurisdictions. Are there characteristics of the New Zealand and Australian jurisdictions which lead to this result? In Australia and New Zealand penalties are imposed by the Courts following an “instinctive synthesis”. In contrast other jurisdictions deploy more structured methods for determining the level of pecuniary sanction that are described in public documents.


Panel – Responsible lending and protecting consumers

Kevin Foo, Senior Manager, Credit, Retail Banking and Payments, Australian Securities and Investments Commission
Ronji Tanielu, Lawyer and Advisor, Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, Salvation Army
Dr David Halpern, Chief Executive, Behavioural Insights Team, UK
Mary-Anne Borrowdale, General Counsel Competition and Consumer, Commerce Commission (Chair)

This panel session will discuss the position of responsible lending in New Zealand consumer credit laws. The panellists will explore issues such as why disclosure (providing information to borrowers about the interest rate, fees etc.) may not be seen as sufficient to prevent harm from lending, as consumers even with full information do not necessarily make rational decisions about loans that will best meet their needs. In particular, vulnerable consumers who may tend to look to the short term rather than the long term.

Panel – Vertical mergers: malignant or just misunderstood?

Torrin Crowther, Partner, Bell Gully
Dr Howard Shelanski, Professor of Law, Georgetown University and Partner, Davis, Polk & Wardell
Dr Mark Berry, Barrister
James Mellsop, Managing Director, NERA Economic Consulting (Chair)

In recent years the Commission has investigated a number of vertical mergers, including Sky/Vodafone, Trade Me/MotorCentral and Ingenico/Paymark. Vertical mergers have also been in the news internationally, most notably AT & T/Time Warner in the US. This session will discuss some of the matters raised in these investigations, particularly in light of recently published academic literature that suggests that vertical mergers may be more likely to generate anti-competitive harms than has generally considered to be the case.


Afternoon refreshments


Panel – Consumer protection in an online world

Rami Greiss, Executive General Manager of the Enforcement Division, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Ben Powles, Chief Executive, WorldFront
Sue Chetwin, Chief Executive, Consumer NZ
Joe Edwards, Partner, Russell McVeagh (Chair)

This panel session will discuss the changing nature of commerce and shopping online. The panel, which includes representatives from an overseas regulator, a consumer protection organisation, industry, and a law firm, will discuss how the law and marketing practices are applied to a changing online environment. It will discuss how consumers are enticed to buy online, how to ensure consumers’ rights are protected, and the challenges in ensuring those rights can be enforced against overseas businesses.

Panel – When should regulated monopolies be allowed to participate in competitive sectors?

Dr Darryl Biggar, Special Economic Adviser, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Australian Energy Regulator
Professor Martin Cave, Chair, Ofgem (UK), and Visiting Professor, London School of Economics and Political Science
Dr John Small, Associate Commissioner, Commerce Commission, and Managing Director, COVEC Economic Consultants
Dr Jill Walker, Commissioner, Commerce Commission (Chair)

Around the world it is common for regulated monopolies to be subject to “line of business” restrictions which limit their participation in adjacent competitive markets. By contrast, such restrictions are rare for unregulated monopolies and any problems are generally addressed on a case by case basis through competition law. What is the justification for such restrictions on regulated monopolies and what are the associated costs? Under what circumstances are such restrictions to be preferred and what form should they take? Can comparisons be drawn with vertical leveraging by the major digital platforms in other markets?


Debate – Can market power exist in fast-moving tech markets?

Andy Nicholls, Partner, Chapman Tripp
John Pecman, Senior Business Advisor, Fasken, Antitrust/Competition & Marketing Group, and former Commissioner of Competition, Canadian Competition Bureau
Greg Houston, Founding Partner, HoustonKemp Economists
Marina Lao, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University
Gordon Harcourt, Senior Engagement Adviser, Commerce Commission (Adjudicator)

We are rounding out the conference with a debate on the topical issue of whether market power can in fact exist in fast-moving technology markets. The debate will ask participants to address issues such as, whether and why competition agencies should be fighting the FAANGs, whether dominant technology companies can be displaced, whether these companies have any guarantees as to future success, or whether these markets are in such a constant state of disruption that a hands-off approach should be taken to intervention.


Closing remarks

Thursday 25 July, Princes Ballroom, Pullman Hotel

The conference dinner will be held on day 1 of the conference in the Princes Ballroom at the Pullman Hotel.

A three course meal will be served followed by our after dinner speaker, John Pecman.

John Pecman is a Senior Business Advisor in the Antitrust/Competition & Marketing group. John served from June 2013 as the Commissioner of Competition of the Competition Bureau Canada for a 5-year term. John has over 34 years of experience enforcing Canada’s Competition Act.

This dinner is a great opportunity to network with conference speakers and other delegates.

Dinner tickets are an additional cost of $115 per person and can be purchased during registration.

Ticket price includes GST and is in New Zealand dollars.

Pullman Auckland

Competition Matters will be held at the Pullman Auckland. The Pullman Auckland is one of the largest inner-city conferencing and banqueting hotels in Auckland. The hotel has a warm friendly vibe and is well located and within easy walking distance Auckland’s CBD.


Pullman Auckland offer valet parking at $45.00 per day.

Alternatively, there are a number of parking buildings within a 10-15 minute walk.


Corner Princes Street and Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland 1010.

View on Google Maps.

Conference organiser

Please send any conference related queries to:

Penny Jackson
New Zealand Conference Connexions

P:   0064 4 237 8091 or 021 511 530