Govt considering criminalising cartels - Power

Draft legislation on the criminalisation of cartels will be released early next year, Commerce Minister Simon Power says. "The Government is considering introducing criminal penalties, including imprisonment, to send a strong message because many cartels see the current fines as simply a cost of doing business," he said today. "Other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, have criminalised cartel behaviour and it's important New Zealand keeps in step with those countries."

Draft legislation on the criminalisation of cartels will be released early next year, Commerce Minister Simon Power says.

"The Government is considering introducing criminal penalties, including imprisonment, to send a strong message because many cartels see the current fines as simply a cost of doing business," he said today.

"Other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, have criminalised cartel behaviour and it's important New Zealand keeps in step with those countries."

Mr Power said activities such as price fixing and bid rigging were the most harmful forms of anti-competitive business conduct, which ultimately resulted in consumers paying inflated prices.

The draft bill will be released for public consultation to help the Government make its final decision on whether cartel conduct should be criminalised.

It follows public feedback on a discussion document, released in February.

Mr Power said the feedback revealed opinions were divided on the issue.

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