Consumers’ champion or paper tiger?
would have to be a very targeted part of that industry.’’
He’s also got concerns about airport profits. While the watchdog can review profit expectations, it has no teeth to curb price gouging. ‘‘We do, from time to time, look into the conduct of various ports and airport authorities and, because they are so small, the costs outweigh the benefits of really looking into it closely.
‘‘But it is a New Zealand Inc issue and might be something that could be thought about for a market study.’’
Recently, the commission has repeatedly hit the headlines for knocking back large corporate deals. It declined mergers between Sky TV and Vodafone, media companies Stuff and NZME, insurance companies Suncorp and Tower, and auction company Trade Me’s takeover of Motorcentral.
The monopoly watchdog has attracted a sizeable amount of criticism. Berry, who has former Fair Go presenter Gordon Harcourt as his media adviser, is untroubled. ‘‘We are often accused by parties who are dissatisfied with outcomes. It’s not an unnatural thing for them to say that we don’t understand their business – that comes with the territory – but there is always two sides to these cases. You’ll speak to others in business who are very happy with the decision. We are stuck in the middle of it.
‘‘If you take the Vodafone-Sky case . . . Spark was an active opponent and I expect they thought we understood the market well.’’
He believes the insurance decision was a win for consumers. ‘‘If we had allowed that merger to go through then for insurance of contents, cars, you would only have had the choice of two insurance companies. By keeping Tower there as an independent