• New Zealand Regions
      • Hawke's Bay
      • Bay of Plenty
      • Waikato
      • Whanganui
      • Manawatu
      • Northland
      • Auckland
      • Gisborne
      • Taranaki
      • Wellington
      • West Coast
      • Nelson
      • Canterbury
      • Otago
      • Marlborough
      • Southland
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      Hawke's Bay

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      Beaches, wineries and Art Deco. The Hawke's Bay has a diverse economy, including business services that support its sectors to be the second largest contributor to regional GDP in the country. A popular tourist destination, the region has some of the countries best restaurants as well as stunning scenery, markets and festivals.

      Districts

      HastingsNapier

      Bay of Plenty

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      The Bay of Plenty is officially New Zealand's sunniest destination, enjoying short-lived winters and long summer days. The Region offers some of the country's most spectacular views and many ways to enjoy the pristine scenery and natural wonders. Visitors also enjoy exploring the Bay's Māori heritage and pre-European roots.

      Districts

      OpotikiOpotiki iSiteKawerauWhakatane

      Waikato

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      The Waikato is known for its rolling plains, fertile land and the mighty Waikato River. The region is the fourth largest regional economy in New Zealand, with a strong focus on primary production and associated manufacturing.

      Districts

      South WaikatoWaikato District

      Whanganui

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      Welcome to Whanganui. This is our place; where history is full of stories, legends and rich legacy. Where a thriving arts scene, creativity and evolving culture inspire our modern lives. Where breath-taking natural landscapes capture imaginations at every turn.

      Manawatu

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      Located in the lower North Island, Manawatu is heartland New Zealand, offering an authentic Kiwi experience.

      The main in the region are Palmerston North, most notable for Massey University. Palmerston has a vibrant, arts and culture scene.

      The region's economy is based on food production and processing, research and education. The region is also home for the New Zealand defence force.

      Northland

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      Northland was originally home to some of our country's first human inhabitants. Today, it is one of the fastest growing regions in New Zealand and home to nearly 189,000 people. Rich in culture and history, the region boasts a stunning natural environment.

      Auckland

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      Auckland Region stretches from the the beaches of the Pacific Ocean in the east to the expansive beaches of the rugged west coast of the Tasman Sea. Auckland City, the largest urban area in New Zealand is considered the main economic center of New Zealand and a popular destination for international students and travellers.

      Gisborne

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      Gisborne is a Region on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island. It's known for wineries and surf beaches such as Makorori. The region has maintained a strong Maori heritage. The region's economy is made up mainly of agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

      Taranaki

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      Taranaki is a coastal and mountainous region on the western side of New Zealand's North Island. Its landscape is dominated by Mount Taranaki, its namesake volcano, which lies within the rainforested Egmont National Park.

      The port city of New Plymouth is the area's cultural and commercial hub. Taranaki's economy is diverse and includes dairy, oil and gas. The region is the highest contributor or national GDP per capita. 

      Wellington

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      The Wellington Region covers Wellington city in the south, Upper and Lower Hutt valleys to the north-east, and Porirua to the north-west. The region takes its name from Wellington, New Zealand's capital city.

      Wellington is famous for its arts and culture scene and is also the centre of New Zealand's film industry.

      West Coast

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      The West Coast, or as some locals call it, the "Wild West", is a long thin region that runs down the South Island's west coast.

      The region has the lowest population in all of New Zealand. It is famous for its rugged natural scenery such as the Pancake Rocks, the Blue Pools of Haast, and the glaciers.

      The main industries in the region are dairy farming and mining. Tourism also plays an important role.

      Nelson – Tasman

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      Nelson Tasman is an extraordinary, vibrant region where art and businesses thrive together among a stunning natural landscape. With one in five people internationally born, Nelson Tasman has 48 different cultures living in its environs.

      The region prides its self on being New Zealand’s leading Research and Development areas, with the highest proportion of people working in the research, science and tech sectors out of anywhere in New Zealand.

      Canterbury

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      Canterbury is a region on New Zealand’s South Island marked by grassy plains, clear lakes and snow-capped mountains. Its largest city, Christchurch, is famed for its art scene and green spaces.

      Otago

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      There are few places in the world which will leave you with a lasting sense of difference. Central Otago is undoubtedly one of them from its landscapes, its seasons, its people, its products and experiences.

      Marlborough

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      Marlborough Region is on the north-eastern corner of the South Island. The region is well known for its winemaking industry, and the Marlborough Sounds, an extensive network of coastal waterways, peninsulas and islands.

      Apart from the wine industry, aquaculture, agriculture and tourism play an important role in the local economy.

      Southland

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      Southland is New Zealand’s most southerly region and includes the World Heritage ranked Fiordland National Park.

      The region's only city Invercargill offers a relaxed pace of life with wide streets, little traffic, spacious parks and gardens, striking Victorian and Edwardian architecture and impressive sporting facilities including New Zealand’s first indoor velodrome. Southland's location is such that views of Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights are common.

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Commerce Act

The Commerce Act sets out the competition law principles in New Zealand. The Commerce Act is enforced by the Commerce Commission.

(a) Restrictive trade practices

The following restrictive trade practices are prohibited:

  • contracts, arrangements, or understandings which have the purpose, effect, or likely effect of “substantially lessening competition” in a relevant market; 
  • contracts, arrangements, or understandings that contain a cartel provision, being a provision that has the purpose, effect or likely effect of price fixing, restricting output or market allocating (certain collaborative activities, vertical supply contracts and joint buying and promotion arrangements may be exempt from this, and parties can apply to the Commerce Commission for clearance if they consider the collaborative activities exemption applies); 
  • taking advantage of a substantial degree of power in a market for an anti-competitive purpose; and 
  • resale price maintenance (when a supplier controls retail pricing).

Penalties for breach

Large financial penalties can be ordered for engaging in restrictive trade practices. Penalties for an individual can be up to NZ$500,000. Penalties for a company can be up to the greater of:

  • NZ$10 million; 
  • three times the value of any commercial gain resulting from the contravention; or 
  • 10% of the turnover of the company (and all of its interconnected companies).

The Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Act was passed into law on 8 April 2019. It makes cartel conduct a criminal offence and amends the penalty for cartel conduct for an individual to be imprisonment for up to 7 years or a fine up to NZ$500,000 or both. This criminal penalty comes into effect from 8 April 2021.

(b) Acquisitions that substantially lessen competition

The general rule is that mergers and acquisitions that would have, or would be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market are prohibited.

“Market” is a market in New Zealand for goods and services as well as other goods or services that, as a matter of fact and commercial common sense, are substitutable for them.

Concentration indicators

The Commerce Commission has adopted certain “concentration indicators” to give guidance as to whether a business acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition in a market. These are where post-merger either: 

  • the three largest firms in the market have a combined market share of less than 70%, and the merged entity will have less than 40% of market share; or 
  • the three largest firms in the market have a combined market share of 70% or more, and the merged entity will have less than 20% of the market share.

“Vertical” acquisitions (whether upstream or downstream) are also subject to the Commerce Act, although there are no similar concentration indicators available for such acquisitions.

Clearance

New Zealand has a voluntary notification and clearance regime. Parties contemplating an acquisition may apply for clearance if they are in doubt as to whether or not the acquisition will result in a substantial lessening of competition.

Clearance for an international merger given by offshore anti-trust regulators does not protect the transaction in New Zealand. If the merger involves a New Zealand business, and the transaction may result in a substantial lessening of competition in the relevant New Zealand market, parties should consider whether it is appropriate to seek clearance from the Commerce Commission.

The Commerce Commission can also seek a declaration from the High Court that: 

  • an overseas person has acquired a controlling interest in a New Zealand body corporate through an acquisition outside New Zealand of the assets of a business or shares; and 
  • the acquisition of that controlling interest has, or is likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market in New Zealand.

If such a declaration is granted, the Commerce Commission can also apply for various orders against the New Zealand body corporate in which the controlling interest has been acquired, including orders to cease carrying on business in New Zealand, dispose of shares or other assets, or take some other action that the court considers is consistent with the purpose of the Act.

Authorisation

If the merger will result in a substantial lessening of competition, the parties can apply to the Commerce Commission for authorisation. However, authorisation is very rarely granted as the parties must convince the Commerce Commission that the public benefits associated with the merger outweigh the anti-competitive harm.

Penalties for breach

If parties choose to proceed with an acquisition without seeking prior clearance or authorisation, and the Commerce Commission considers that the acquisition would substantially lessen competition, the Commission is able to seek an injunction (preventing the acquisition going ahead), a “cease and desist” order, and/or a divestment order. Pecuniary penalties can also be ordered: up to NZ$500,000 for an individual and up to NZ$5 million for a company.

(c) Competition studies

The Commerce Commission also has a broad power to: 

  • carry out a competition study of any factors that may affect competition for the supply or acquisition of goods or services (including looking at the structure, conditions and performance of a market); and 
  • prepare a competition report to the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs that records its findings from the competition study, and make wide-ranging recommendations.

These market studies can be initiated by the Minister or self-initiated by the Commerce Commission.

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