Details of petrol price review

Monday 16 June 2008, 9:46PM
By Lianne Dalziel

Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel today announced further details of an independent study on petrol pricing in New Zealand.

“The Ministry of Economic Development has engaged independent consultants Hale and Twomey to review and analyse petrol pricing,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“The study will build on work already carried out as part of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report on the price of unleaded petrol, and consider implications for the New Zealand market.

“Where appropriate it will undertake similar analysis to that of the ACCC, using the relevant New Zealand data. It will focus on commercial aspects and areas requiring further assessment will be highlighted.

“The consultant will refer to previous studies on the New Zealand industry, where appropriate, rather than re-do analysis. This would include the 1997 ACIL report on the oil industry for the then Ministry of Commerce and the 2001 NZIER study on the role of independent retailers in the retail petrol market completed for the Ministry. It will also make recommendations as to any areas which may require further investigation.

“It is anticipated the report will be complete by the end of July.

“I announced last month that while the Australian report shows the reality is that petrol prices are set according to the international market place, regulators can always work to ensure issues at the domestic level, such as the competitive dynamics of the market and consumer knowledge, are as strong as they could be.

“I have already had preliminary discussions with the Automobile Association about the Australian report, which was produced after a six month inquiry. New Zealand has the fifth lowest petrol price in the OECD and every week the Ministry of Economic Development monitors petrol prices and publishes the findings on its website.

“In my talks with the AA, we agreed that there may be scope for examining whether this monitoring could be improved still further,” Lianne Dalziel said.