ComCom releases emergency response guidance for businesses

In News2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 24, 2023

The Commerce Commission has issued new guidance to help businesses understand how and when they can collaborate in response to an emergency – such as working together in regions impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.

“It’s been devastating to see what’s happened in Northland, Auckland, Tairāwhiti Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay with the extreme weather events this year, and in these emergency situations businesses may need to collaborate in response to the emergency,” said Dr John Small, chair of the Commerce Commission.

Small said the Commission wants to ensure businesses have simple and clear information about how they can work together to maintain the supply of goods and services during an emergency situation.

The guidance emphasises the need for business to think carefully about the duration and nature of any collaboration and encourages businesses to reach out to the Commission early if they think they will need to collaborate in the event of an emergency.

Small said competition benefits consumers even in times of crisis. However, the Commission is equally conscious of concerns that uncertainty over competition law enforcement could impede necessary co-operation in an emergency situation.

He said the Commission will also be reaching out to procurers in the public and private sectors to talk with them about competition issues, including cartel conduct and how to spot it.

Cartel conduct harms consumers by preventing businesses from competing to provide better quality services at better prices, and it harms businesses that are trying to compete fairly.