Government to announce another market study – which sector’s in line for a probe?

The Government will this morning unveil the sector it is targeting with its next market study, after its probe of the petrol industry last year.

Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs David Clark will this morning reveal which sector he will be asking the Commerce Commission to investigate.

Such an investigation is undertaken when the Government has questions around, for example, the competition in a certain sector.

The first market study undertaken by the commission looked into the fuel industry.

That investigation led to a more transparent pricing strategy, which required fuel prices to be displayed on forecourt price boards.

In late 2018, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the probe and said she believed consumers were “being fleeced”.

After a year of looking into the market, the Commerce Commission said that the fuel market was “not as competitive as it could be”.

“What the draft report says is that if competition was working well in these markets, we may well expect consumers to pay less for petrol than they are currently paying,” Commerce Commission Chairwoman Anna Rawlings said at the time.

Although Rawlings wouldn’t use the word “fleeced,” Ardern doubled down on the comments she had made a year prior.

“You will remember our instinct was that New Zealanders were being fleeced at the pump – now the Commerce Commission has confirmed that that is true.”

The petrol market probe was the first of its kind and was launched after Ardern prioritised the passing of the Commerce Amendment Bill – legislation which enabled the commission to undertake these market studies.

The probes take roughly a year and the commission only has the budget to do one a year.

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