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December 1998

1998 an important year for competition law: record penalties and more responsibilities for Commission

28 December 1998

1998 saw courts imposing record penalties under both Commerce and Fair Trading Acts, the Commerce Commission in the Privy Council for the first time and a third Act for the Commission to enforce.

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Commission clears Massey to acquire Auckland College of Education

24 December 1998

The Commerce Commission today cleared Massey University to acquire the assets and businesses of the Auckland College of Education.

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Commission offices reopen January 5

23 December 1998

Commerce Commission offices will be closing for the Christmas and New Year holidays at 4.30pm Thursday 24th December. They will reopen at 8.30am on Tuesday 5 January 1999.

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Commission Clears Mainland to Acquire Food Solutions Group

22 December 1998

The Commerce Commission yesterday cleared Mainland Products Limited to acquire up to 100% of the shares in Food Solutions Group Limited.

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Baby toy choking hazard: sixth toy recall in nine months

16 December 1998

Commerce Commission action against unsafe toys continued today with the sixth product recall in the last nine months.

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Director fined $20,000 plus costs for Fair Trading breaches

14 December 1998

The Christchurch District Court has found company director Hugo Barton Kearney personally liable for his company, Kearney Finance (NZ) Limited, breaching the Fair Trading Act and has fined him $20,000 plus $1,430 costs.

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Commission clears Contact to acquire Enerco gas retailing

11 December 1998

The Commerce Commission today cleared Contact Energy Limited to acquire the gas retailing business of Enerco New Zealand Limited. The Commission's Decision includes a change in the way it views electricity markets.

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November 1998

Commission reminds all electricity retailers: don't mislead consumers

22 November 1998

The Commerce Commission is reminding all electricity retailers, new and old, that claims they make about their own and competitors' services must be accurate or they risk misleading consumers and breaching the Fair Trading Act.

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High Court rejects appeal: $130,000 fine for false invoicing scam stands

20 November 1998

The Auckland High Court today rejected an appeal by Ashley Guy Rhodes and his companies and upheld the highest total fines to date under the Fair Trading Act.

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Commission clears proposed amalgamation of Bay of Plenty health companies

19 November 1998

In the first case where the Commerce Commission has been asked to look at the proposed amalgamation of hospital and health service providers, the Commission today cleared the merger of Western Bay Health Limited and Eastbay Health Limited.

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Central Electric seeks exemption from Electricity Industry Reform Act

19 November 1998

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Central Electric Limited for an exemption from the Electricity Industry Reform Act (EIR Act) so that it can buy the Monowai Power Station from The Power Company Limited.

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Contact Energy applies for clearance to acquire Enerco's gas retailing business

17 November 1998

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Contact Energy Limited for clearance to acquire the gas retailing business of Enerco New Zealand Limited.

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Commission draft determination does not oppose rules for security of national grid

13 November 1998

The Commerce Commission's preliminary view is that it would authorise the proposed agreement and arrangements among users of the national electricity grid relating to the security of the grid.

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Alpine Energy and Timaru Council first to seek exemption from Electricity Industry Reform Act

12 November 1998

The Commerce Commission today received the first application for an exemption from the Electricity Industry Reform Act (EIR Act).

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Commission clears NGC to acquire Powerco's gas trading assets

11 November 1998

The Commerce Commission today cleared Natural Gas Corporation of New Zealand Limited (NGC) to acquire the gas trading assets of Taranaki gas and electricity utility, Powerco Limited.

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More court action, settlements and higher penalties as Commission criteria take effect: Annual Report

10 November 1998

The Commerce Commission's Annual Report shows that the Commission took more court action, achieved more settlements and won higher penalties in court than previously.

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Commission settles with Sanitarium over "So Good"

8 November 1998

In a settlement with the Commerce Commission, Sanitarium has agreed that its "So Good" soy drink television advertising did not accurately describe the effect of "So Good" on cholesterol.

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Massey University applies for clearance to merge with Auckland College of Education

7 November 1998

The Commerce Commission this afternoon received an application from Massey University for clearance of a merger of the University with the Auckland College of Education.

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Bay of Plenty health merger decision will be significant for entire health sector

4 November 1998

Yesterday, in a move significant for the whole health sector, the Commerce Commission has for the first time been asked to look at a proposed merger in the sector.

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Importer to recall 1,800 toys

3 November 1998

Toy importer Geeta Trading Limited will tomorrow begin to recall 1,800 toys which do not meet the toy safety standard.

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October 1998

Commission wins in Privy Council: Giltrap City Toyota to pay costs and face trial for price fixing

30 October 1998

Following a Privy Council decision in London this morning (New Zealand time), Auckland Toyota dealer, Giltrap City Toyota, will pay costs to the Commerce Commission and face trial to hear allegations that it was involved in price fixing.

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Watch for unsafe bikes and toys

21 October 1998

With Christmas promotions about to start the Commerce Commission is warning importers, manufacturers, retailers and customers to check carefully that bicycles and toys are safe.

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Napier and Hastings businesses to meet Commerce Commission and Ministry of Consumer Affairs

9 October 1998

The Commerce Commission and Ministry of Consumer Affairs will be visiting Napier and Hastings on Monday October 12 to Wednesday October 14 to discuss the Fair Trading and Consumer Guarantees Acts and other consumer protection issues.

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September 1998

Commission guidelines for new electricity responsibilities

25 September 1998

The Commerce Commission has today released guidelines on how it intends to carry out the new responsibilities given to it under the Government's electricity reforms.

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Commission starts court action over lease for ferry ramps

23 September 1998

The Commerce Commission has started court action against vehicle ferry operator, Fullers Cruises Northland Limited, and Far North District Council business, Far North Maritime Limited, alleging that their lease for ramps for vehicle ferries is anti-competitive and breaches the Commerce Act.

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Organiser admits Perpetual Income Trust/Lifetime Income Trust is pyramid selling

23 September 1998

As part of an out of court settlement with the Commerce Commission the organiser of a scheme known as Perpetual Income Trust, and more recently as Lifetime Income Trust, has given signed undertakings admitting that the scheme is an illegal pyramid selling scheme.

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Whangarei businesses to meet Commerce Commission and Ministry of Consumer Affairs

14 September 1998

The Commerce Commission and Ministry of Consumer Affairs will be visiting Whangarei on Tuesday September 15 to Thursday September 17 to discuss the Fair Trading and Consumer Guarantees Acts and other consumer protection issues.

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Commission clears Tip Top to acquire "New American" ice cream

10 September 1998

The Commerce Commission has cleared Tip Top Ice Cream Company Limited to acquire the "New American" take home ice cream business of United Dairy Foods Limited after the High Court referred a previous application on appeal back to the Commission for new information to be considered.

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Commission warning to local authorities and other owners of event venues: don't discuss prices

4 September 1998

The Commerce Commission is warning local authorities and other owners of event venues - these are facilities like convention centres, stadiums and sports fields - that they must not discuss their prices with each other.

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Commission wins in Court of Appeal: price fixing case against oil companies to continue

3 September 1998

A success in the Court of Appeal today allows the Commerce Commission's case alleging price fixing by oil companies Shell, Mobil and Caltex to continue in the High Court and awards $6,000 costs to the Commission.

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August 1998

Warning to all businesses: colluding over prices is a serious economic crime

23 August 1998

The Commerce Commission is concerned that many businesses do not realise that collusion, or attempted collusion, over pricing is a major breach of the Commerce Act and is a serious economic crime.

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Attempting to rig bids for tenders cost Christchurch Transport Limited and its CEO $400,000

21 August 1998

In a strong warning to any organisations or individuals attempting to rig bids for tenders, Commerce Commission proceedings have cost Christchurch Transport Limited (CTL) and its Chief Executive $400,000.

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Meat case: $5.5 million penalties # JUDGEMENT #

20 August 1998

IN THE HIGH COURT OF NEW ZEALAND AUCKLAND REGISTRY COMMERCIAL LIST CL 38/96

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Commission refutes that farmers will pay $5.5 million penalties

20 August 1998

Any suggestion that farmers will pay the $5.5 million penalties imposed on nine North Island meat companies yesterday is strongly refuted by the Commerce Commission.

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More than $5.5 million penalties in meat case a strong warning to all industries

19 August 1998

The more than $5.5 million total penalties imposed by the Auckland High Court on nine meat companies today is a strong warning to all industries - Commerce Act penalties are increasing rapidly and breaches can be expensive.

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Suppliers cannot control independent retailers' prices

14 August 1998

The Commerce Commission is warning all industries that manufacturers, wholesalers and other suppliers should not attempt to control independent retailers' prices.

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Contours and director pay fine and costs of more than $6,000: first Fair Trading conviction of director as a party

6 August 1998

The company behind the Contours women's gyms, Contours Exclusive Limited, and its co-owner and Managing Director, John Wayne Bishop, were ordered to pay a total of $6,150 today after breaching the Fair Trading Act by publishing misleading advertisements 49 times.

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Commerce Commission finalises approach for its price control study of airfield activities

6 August 1998

The Commerce Commission has finalised the approach it intends using to conduct a study into whether price control should be introduced on the prices for airfield activities at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports.

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July 1998

Telecom/Saturn Report - Part 1

30 July 1998

This document is sourced from an electronic version and does not include appendices which were supplied to theCommission in hardcopy;

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Telecom/Saturn Report - Part 2

30 July 1998

*The Kiwi Share Obligation **#26*

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Commission will not intervene in Telecom move to match Saturn's prices

30 July 1998

The Commerce Commission today released its report intoTelecom's pricing of telephone services in Lower Hutt and has concluded that Telecom's actions in matchingSaturn's prices are not a breach of the Commerce Act.

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Commission starts court action against animal health companies and executives

30 July 1998

The Commerce Commission has started court action against alleged price fixing in nation-wide animal health remedies markets.

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Works Civil cleared to acquire Bitumix

27 July 1998

The Commerce Commission has cleared Works Civil Construction Limited to acquire Bitumix Limited.

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Travel industry has a problem: too often what you see is not what you get

27 July 1998

The Commerce Commission has accepted a settlement with Singapore Airlines Limited that highlights an industry-wide problem - promotions of holiday packages are often wrong and risk breaching the Fair Trading Act.

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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.

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Warning to all retailers "free" still means free: Harvey Norman settlement

24 July 1998

The Commerce Commission is warning all retailers that potentially misleading "free" promotions are occurring again, and to avoid risk of breaching the Fair Trading Act free must mean no extra costs.

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Commission clears Heinz-Wattie to acquire Eta businesses

8 July 1998

The Commerce Commission yesterday cleared Heinz-Wattie Limited to acquire the salad dressing business of Eta Foods, a division of Griffins Foods Limited, a license of the "Eta" trade mark and brand and ownership of the "Praise" trade mark and brand.

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Health Pride conviction: Judge's comments send strong warning but small fine disappoints Commission

6 July 1998

The conviction of a company selling health products, Health Pride Limited, has sent a strong message about how weight loss products should be checked before being promoted, but the Commerce Commission is disappointed with what it describes as the small fine imposed and will consider an appeal.

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False invoicing warning – business people are the key to stopping these scams

3 July 1998

The Commerce Commission is warning business people that false invoicing scams continue, and that business people themselves are the key to stopping these scams - they should not pay for advertising they did not order.

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June 1998

Commerce Commission finance industry seminar June 30

29 June 1998

The Commerce Commission is delighted with the response of the financial services industry to a compliance seminar the Commission is holding tomorrow afternoon in Wellington.

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Commission accepts undertakings from sugar companies

26 June 1998

The Commerce Commission has ended its investigation of a business acquisition in the New Zealand sugar industry with a settlement in which the companies involved have given undertakings to not seek renewal of duty on some imported sugar other than in exceptional circumstances, allow third party access to some assets and divest certain other assets.

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Contractor attempted to rig bids for Transit and Council roadmarking contracts

25 June 1998

A failed attempt to rig bids for Transit New Zealand and Gisborne District Council roadmarking contracts cost Roadmarkers Waikato (1981) Limited $20,000 in the Auckland High Court today.

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Director and his four companies fined record $130,000 for false invoices

23 June 1998

Commerce Commission action against false invoicing resulted in the highest total fine to date under the Fair Trading Act, when a company director and his four companies were fined a total of $130,000 today.

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Commission warns ARC and Tranz Rail – draft arrangement risks breaching Commerce Act

8 June 1998

The Commerce Commission has warned the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and Tranz Rail Limited that certain provisions of a draft framework agreement for a rail transit initiative in Auckland are potentially anti-competitive and could be challenged under the Commerce Act.

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Proposed approach for airport activities price control study

4 June 1998

The Commerce Commission has announced its preliminary view on how it will conduct its study of prices of airport activities at Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch airports.

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May 1998

North Shore City Council to change potentially anti-competitive water contracts

29 May 1998

In a settlement with the Commerce Commission, the North Shore City Council has agreed to change its water connections practice to ensure it is not anti-competitive.

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Leased Funds Investment Programme

28 May 1998

The Commerce Commission has decided not to investigate the Leased Funds Investment Programme. This scheme has received considerable publicity recently after a meeting concerning the scheme was held in MP Owen Jennings' office.

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Commission supports Fair Trading Act amendments

27 May 1998

The Commerce Commission is pleased with moves being taken to amend the Fair Trading Act's three year limitation period.

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Commission starts court action against Christchurch Transport Limited

25 May 1998

The Commerce Commission is taking court action against Christchurch Transport Limited (CTL) and one of its executives for alleged anti-competitive behaviour in the Christchurch bus market.

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Stagecoach cleared to acquire Yellow Bus Company

15 May 1998

The Commerce Commission today cleared New Zealand Bus Limited, a subsidiary of British company Stagecoach Holdings plc, to acquire Transportation Auckland Corporation Limited.

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Telecom cleared to acquire Cellnet assets

15 May 1998

The Commerce Commission today cleared Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Limited to acquire the assets and businesses of Cellnet Mobile Services Limited.

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Palmerston North businesses to meet Commerce Commission

14 May 1998

The Commerce Commission will be in Palmerston North on Monday May 18 to Wednesday May 20 to visit shops and businesses to discuss the Fair Trading Act.

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Commission clears Mainland to acquire some SIDF assets

12 May 1998

The Commerce Commission today cleared Mainland Products Limited to acquire some of the assets of South Island Dairy Farmers Co-operative Limited (SIDF).

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More than $200,000 compensation and costs a warning to franchisers: get your facts right

11 May 1998

A Christchurch man, Brian Joseph Direen, being ordered to pay more than $200,000 in compensation and costs is a warning to anyone selling franchises: get the facts right before making any claims.

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April 1998

Baby Factory prosecution a message: don't ignore warnings

30 April 1998

The Commerce Commission's prosecution of Baby Factory (NZ) Limited is a message to all businesses: if they ignore advice or warnings from the Commission, then they can expect to face court action.

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Telecom applies for clearance to acquire Cellnet

28 April 1998

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Limited for clearance to acquire Cellnet Mobile Services Limited.

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Commission clears Rockgas acquisition

24 April 1998

The Commerce Commission today cleared the acquisition of the LPG stock and fixed assets of Energy Supply Ltd by Rockgas Ltd.

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Commission settlement ends shipping pricing arrangement

24 April 1998

A Commerce Commission settlement has ended a potentially illegal pricing arrangement used by the Trans-Tasman Shipping Alliance.

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Commission gives local authorities do's and don'ts for water and waste contracts

23 April 1998

The Commerce Commission has today advised local authorities when their water and waste contracts risk being anti-competitive and breaching the Commerce Act, and what they can do to avoid this risk.

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Business magazine convicted for false invoicing

22 April 1998

Commerce Commission action against false invoicing has continued with a business magazine, the Taxation and Business Examiner Limited, being convicted in the Waitakere District Court of breaching the Fair Trading Act.

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Mainland applies for clearance to acquire SIDF assets

21 April 1998

The Commerce Commission has received an application from Mainland Products Limited for clearance to acquire various assets of South Island Dairy Farmers Co-operative Limited (SIDF).

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Commission timetable for Stagecoach/Yellow Bus decision

19 April 1998

The Commerce Commission has released its timetable for making its decision on the proposed Stagecoach/Yellow Bus Company business acquisition.

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False invoicing scam stopped by record Fair Trading fine

16 April 1998

The latest Commerce Commission action against false invoicing scams has resulted in the highest total fine to date under the Fair Trading Act.

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Commerce Commission appoints Acting Deputy

16 April 1998

The Commerce Commission has appointed Terry Stapleton to act as its Deputy Chairman until June 30 when his second term as a Commissioner ends. Mr Stapleton is not seeking reappointment for a third term and is then returning to full time legal practice.

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Southpower settles, restructures and pays $450,000 costs to Commerce Commission

8 April 1998

The Commerce Commission and Southpower Limited have settled their court action today, with Southpower no longer contesting the Commission's allegations that it breached the Commerce Act, agreeing to restructure its businesses, and paying $450,000 costs to the Commission.

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Commission welcomes appointment of Peter Allport as Chairman

7 April 1998

The Commerce Commission welcomes the appointment of Peter Allport as its Chairman.

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Commission settlement – Barney Easter eggs recalled and refund offered

7 April 1998

As part of a settlement with the Commerce Commission, Easter eggs manufacturerd by Waikato Valley Chocolates exclusively for The Warehouse have been recalled.

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Johnson and Johnson admits Fair Trading breach

1 April 1998

In the Auckland District Court today Johnson and Johnson (New Zealand) Limited admitted that its television advertising of a "free trial" of Acuvue contact lenses was misleading, pleaded guilty to breaching the Fair Trading Act and was fined $9,000.

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March 1998

Commission warns Auckland St John about 111 calls for helicopter air ambulance

30 March 1998

The Commerce Commission has warned the Auckland branch of the Order of St John that it risked breaching the Commerce Act by using its control of 111 ambulance calls anti-competitively to disadvantage the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.

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Commission clears Look and Adshel to acquire 3M Media assets

20 March 1998

The Commerce Commission today cleared Look Outdoor Limited and Adshel Street Furniture Limited to acquire the outdoor advertising business of 3M New Zealand Limited, operating under the name 3M Media.

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Commission clears Yates to acquire Watkins and Smiths

20 March 1998

The Commerce Commission today cleared Yates New Zealand Limited to acquire Watkins New Zealand Limited (in receivership) and Smiths Horticultural Distributors Limited (in receivership).

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Judge Brown completes Fletcher Homes reviews

19 March 1998

The process established by the Commerce Commission to settle homeowners' allegations of over-valuations of homes built by Fletcher Homes has made good progress Commission Acting Chairman Peter Allport said today.

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Nelson businesses to meet Commerce Commission and Ministry of Consumer Affairs

18 March 1998

The Commerce Commission and Ministry of Consumer Affairs will be visiting Nelson on Monday March 23 to Wednesday March 25 to visit shops and businesses to discuss the Fair Trading and Consumer Guarantees Acts and other consumer protection issues.

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Cellphone City admits ads breached Fair Trading Act

18 March 1998

Commerce Commission action against cellphone retailers is continuing, with a settlement in which Cellular City Limited, trading as Cellphone City, has admitted its advertising breached the Fair Trading Act.

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High Court decision: petrol price fixing case to continue

17 March 1998

An Auckland High Court decision released yesterday evening means that the Commerce Commission's court action against three oil companies, Caltex (NZ) Ltd, Mobil Oil New Zealand Ltd and Shell New Zealand Ltd, will continue.

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Commission clears Carglass to acquire Smith & Smith automotive glass businesses

12 March 1998

The Commerce Commission today cleared Carglass (N.Z.) Limited to acquire the retail automotive glass businesses of Smith & Smith Limited.

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Commission warns about travel vouchers

11 March 1998

The Commerce Commission today warned consumers that conditions attached to travel vouchers offering airfares to the Gold Coast of Australia may make holidays no cheaper than flying normally.

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Fourth council changes potentially anti-competitive water contracts

4 March 1998

A fourth local authority, Palmerston North City Council, has changed its water network connection arrangements as the result of a Commerce Commission project to ensure that all local authorities are aware of and comply with the Commerce Act.

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February 1998

Commerce Commission clears Mercury Energy to acquire Power New Zealand

27 February 1998

The Commerce Commission today cleared Mercury Energy to acquire 100 percent of the shares in Power New Zealand.

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Commerce Act applies to local authority water monopolies

26 February 1998

In a speech delivered today by Commissioner Dr Kate Brown, the Commerce Commission reminded providers of water services that the Commerce and Fair Trading Acts apply to services provided by local authorities in exactly the same way as they do to other organisations involved in business in New Zealand.

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Commerce Commission and Ministry of Consumer Affairs to meet Invercargill businesses

25 February 1998

What does the law say about interest free deals? Why is a "no refunds" sign illegal? What rights does a customer have to redress? How does a false representation come about?

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Commission declines to clear Stagecoach subsidiary to acquire Yellow Bus Company

24 February 1998

The Commerce Commission today declined to clear Stagecoach Holdings plc subsidiary, New Zealand Bus Limited, to acquire Transportation Auckland Corporation Limited, which trades as The Yellow Bus Company.

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Commission clears Richmond acquisition of Lowe Walker assets

12 February 1998

The Commerce Commission has cleared Richmond Limited to acquire Lowe Walker NZ Limited's beef and sheep procurement and slaughtering assets.

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Commission guidelines for health sector

10 February 1998

As part of its focus on the health sector, the Commerce Commission has distributed guidelines to all major health organisations to help them comply with the Commerce Act.

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Commission warning: kickback guidelines breach Commerce Act

5 February 1998

The Commerce Commission has warned four tourist organisations that their proposed guidelines to standardise "kickbacks"are, in the Commission's view, price fixing and risk breaching the Commerce Act.

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Court of Appeal decision ends procedural wrangle

4 February 1998

A Court of Appeal decision today allows the Commerce Commission's court action against the Christchurch-based power company Southpower to continue on schedule.

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Criminal conviction against company director in first of seven false invoicing cases

4 February 1998

A company director, Peter Ian Dey, was convicted and fined in the Auckland District Court yesterday when he was sentenced for his part in his company issuing false invoices for advertising.

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Warning to all trade associations – don't discuss pricing issues

4 February 1998

The Commerce Commission is warning all trade associations that they should not discuss pricing issues.

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January 1998

Failed franchise promoter ordered to pay $157,000 compensation

29 January 1998

Judge J Cadenhead sitting in the District Court in Auckland imposed a $157,000 compensation order on Higgs Holdings Ltd and its director David Higgs. This is the highest compensation order awarded in a Commission action.

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Record fine for breach of childrens nightclothes fire safety standard

29 January 1998

Dress For Less has been fined $20,000 plus $1,130 in costs, after pleading guilty in the Wellington District Court this afternoon to six charges of supplying children's nightclothes which did not meet the product safety standard. That is the highest penalty imposed to date by the courts for breaches of these regulations.

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Commission advises bidders for radio spectrum licences to apply for clearance or authorisation

25 January 1998

The Commerce Commission is advising all parties intending to bid in the radio spectrum auction on January 27 that they should carefully consider applying to the Commission for a clearance or authorisation.

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Commerce Commission key areas for 1998

21 January 1998

The Commerce Commission said today that as well as continuing its general enforcement of the Commerce and Fair Trading Acts, this year it will also focus on what it has identified as key areas.

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