Speaking at the Commission’s competition and regulation conference, Competition Matters 2019, in Auckland today, Chair Anna Rawlings said there were four broad groups of priorities for the Commission this year – enduring priorities, focus areas, connecting and legislative change.

“Enduring priorities are the areas the Commission will always regard as a priority due to their potential to have a significant impact on consumers, business or markets in New Zealand or because they are a core part of our statutory role. These include credit issues, product safety, merger clearances and functions in critical infrastructure industries like energy and telecommunications.”

Each year the Commission targets its resources on specific areas which are important to everyday life and the economy. This year there are eight focus areas:

*    Environmental claims
*    Online retail
*    Motor vehicle financing and related add-ons
*    Educating traders about conduct that may contravene cartel laws
*    Consulting on and completing the fuel market study
*    Resetting the five-year revenue limits and quality standards for electricity networks
*    Monitoring and reporting on telecommunications retail service quality
*    New up-front regulatory rules for fibre broadband services.

“In the areas of environmental claims, online retail and motor vehicle insurance, we will look to understand the issues, identify current and potential harm, educate traders, empower consumers and take enforcement action where needed. Importantly, the identification of these focus areas will not stop us from undertaking advocacy, investigations or enforcement action in other areas affecting consumers where we consider that our involvement can be of benefit.” 

“Another priority for the Commission is connecting. Connecting with others is an important part of increasing our understanding and effectiveness as a regulator and as one small part of a wider New Zealand and global regulatory system. We plan to better connect with consumers to understand the issues they face and improve the targeting of our work for their benefit. We also plan to improve our engagement with businesses and as part of this we will be updating our Enforcement Response Guidelines and extending these to cover regulated industries.”

“The final area of priority is legislative change. Changes are currently underway or proposed to almost all of the laws that the Commission enforces. To give effect to these changes we will focus on having the right resources, people, processes and systems in place at the right time. We will also inform businesses of their obligations and consumers of their rights where changes are made to the law,” Ms Rawlings said.

A document outlining the priorities in more detail and Ms Rawlings’ full speech can be found on the Commission’s website.