Light handed regulation benefiting New Zealand
24 July 1998
New Zealand's light handed competition regulation is benefiting the country and compares favourably to other regimes around the world Commerce Commission Chairman Peter Allport said today.
Mr Allport was speaking at the Institute of Public Affairs Deregulation Conference in Melbourne. He explained to an audience of Australian business people and government officials how New Zealand's competition law works and the outcomes it is achieving.
New Zealand's regime has had important successes for the economy in terms of improved efficiency and increased competition even in industries that include natural monopolies.
Telecommunications is an industry in which there is considerable, and often loud, debate about the success of light handed regulation, and yet there has been considerable progress there.
"There has been significant new entry, a general downward trend in prices, a wide range of new products and services have been introduced and the industry has become more customer-orientated," Mr Allport said.
Recent economic studies compare these developments favourably to what has happened in Australia and Great Britain under more heavy handed regulation. Furthermore, the Commission has a strong belief that this country's light handed regulation compares favourably to overseas regimes in most, if not all, industries.
Contact with regulators in other countries and industry participants in New Zealand and overseas suggests very strongly that New Zealand is performing at least as well at encouraging competition through new entry and innovation. It also costs the country less in terms of both compliance costs to business and cost to the taxpayer of funding the regime.
Mr Allport acknowledged that there are still significant issues to be resolved. For example, in telecommunications, number portability, local loop access and issues arising from the convergence of previously separate markets are still being worked through.
However, all countries that have competition law still have problems to resolve, particularly in relation to monopolies.
New Zealand's light handed approach to these problems is unique, and it probably has to be - New Zealand's economy is unique. But the conclusions that can be made from comparing dissimilar economies suggest increasingly strongly that this country's approach is working at least as well as any overseas system.
Copies of Mr Allport's speech are available from reception at the Commission's Wellington office, level 7 Landcorp House, 101 Lambton Quay or from the Commission web site address below.
Media contact: Communications Officer Vincent Cholewa
Phone work (04) 498 0920
Commission media releases can be viewed on its web site www.comcom.govt.nz