Bill to improve fuel market competition

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 3, 2020

The government has taken another step in its commitment to making sure New Zealanders get a fairer deal at the petrol pump with the introduction of legislation to improve competition in the retail fuel market, said Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods.

“The fuel market study that this government ordered found motorists were paying more for their petrol than they should have over the past decade as a result of a lack of competition. The Fuel Industry Bill is a rapid response to the Commerce Commission‘s recommendations in that report to help level the playing field.”

Woods says the bill will bring in a suite of measures to boost competition in the wholesale fuel market and the benefit will flow through to the prices motorists pay at the pump.

The bill features:

  • a more transparent wholesale pricing regime requiring fuel suppliers to supply fuel from storage terminals to wholesale customers at publicly posted prices;

  • rules to ensure contracts between wholesale fuel suppliers and their wholesale customers are fair and support competition;

  • a dispute resolution scheme for the new regime; 

  • improvements to the monitoring of the fuel market by requiring fuel companies to collect and disclose certain information; and

  • requirements for retail fuel sites to display premium fuel prices on forecourt price boards.

The bill is a priority for this government and it is intended to be passed before the House rises ahead of the election.

“Motorists have waited too long for action on the entrenched problems in the fuel market. Fuel prices are a major bugbear for consumers and we make no excuse for acting with speed to allow competition to flourish,” Woods said

The bill also includes new powers for the Commerce Commission to enforce the new requirements, including financial penalties based on those in the Commerce Act 1986. The bill has passed its first reading and has been referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee.