Con­sumers’ cham­pion or pa­per tiger?

The Timaru Herald - - $ -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.