Cartel criminalisation is back
In its 2017 Manifesto, the Labour Party outlined that if elected it would "criminalise cartels in line with other developed economies".
True to its word, this afternoon the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, Kris Faafoi, tabled the Commerce (Criminalisation of Cartels) Amendment Bill in the House.
This Bill introduces a new criminal offence for cartel conduct, which includes a penalty for individuals of up to seven years' imprisonment. There will be a two year transitional period before the offence comes into effect.
The Minister intends for the Bill to have its first reading next week, and then be referred to the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee for consideration. The intention is for the Bill to be enacted by April 2019.
Relevant materials include:
- A link to Minister Faafoi’s media statement announcing the tabling of the Bill.
- A copy of the Bill.
- A copy of the Cabinet paper seeking approval to introduce a new criminal offence for cartels is available on the Ministry’s website.
This development overturns the previous National-led Government's decision to remove criminal sanctions for cartel conduct from the Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, citing the "risk that cartel criminalisation would have a chilling effect on pro-competitive behaviour between companies" (see here).
If you have any questions as to how this proposed amendment may impact your business, or would like advice on submitting to the Select Committee on the Bill, please contact one of the authors below.
This publication is intended only to provide a summary of the subject covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No person should act in reliance on any statement contained in this publication without first obtaining specific professional advice. If you require any advice or further information on the subject matter of this newsletter, please contact the partner/solicitor in the firm who normally advises you, or alternatively contact one of the partners listed below.