Bill to improve fuel market passes first reading
A new bill is being introduced in parliament in a bit to get New Zealanders a fairer deal at the petrol pump.
Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods says the fuel market study the Government ordered found motorists were paying more for their petrol than they should have over the past decade, as a result of a lack of competition.
“The Fuel Industry Bill is a rapid response to the Commerce Commission’s recommendations in that report to help level the playing field.
“The bill will bring in a suite of measures to boost competition in the wholesale fuel market and the benefit will flow through to the prices motorists pay at the pump.”
Megan says the bill is a priority for this Government and is intended to be passed before the House rises ahead of the election.
“Motorists have waited too long for action on the entrenched problems in the fuel market. Fuel prices are a major bugbear for consumers and we make no excuse for acting with speed to allow competition to flourish.”
The bill includes new powers for the Commerce Commission to enforce the new requirements, including financial penalties based on those in the Commerce Act 1986.
The bill passed its first reading on Wednesday morning and has been referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee.
The bill features:
- a more transparent wholesale pricing regime requiring fuel suppliers to supply fuel from storage terminals to wholesale customers at publicly posted prices
- rules to ensure contracts between wholesale fuel suppliers and their wholesale customers are fair and support competition
- a dispute resolution scheme for the new regime
- improvements to the monitoring of the fuel market by requiring fuel companies to collect and disclose certain information
- requirements for retail fuel sites to display premium fuel prices on forecourt price boards