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More on the Commerce Commission

Written By: - Date published: 6:55 pm, March 21st, 2009 - 14 comments
Categories: business, national/act government - Tags: , , , , , , ,

On Thursday I linked to a piece in the NBR that suggested Simon Power’s appointment of Dr Mark Berry to replace Paula Rebstock at the Commerce Commission hinted at a radical shakeup of the consumer watchdog.

Today John Drinnan has an in-depth piece in the Herald that suggests radical reform is indeed on the way, and it’s a result of major lobbying from National’s big business supporters who want to take an axe to the Commission’s regulatory powers.

it is understood that Rebstock was ultimately disappointed by the way things turned out and would have liked to stay on…

…The last-minute timing of her departure is perplexing, leading some to question the behind-the-scenes developments between her, the Government and Rebstock’s big business critics.

With a new National Government and a more business-friendly ethos, big business critics have been calling to have the lion de-clawed.

According to the article much of this pressure has come from Telecom, Todd Energy and Air New Zealand.

Telecom competition lawyer David Grant, who works for new ComCom head Mark Berry’s firm, Chapman Tripp, is on record recently saying New Zealand can no longer afford competition law and calling for a full review or disbanding of the commission.

Todd Energy said just this week it was time to “reset the compass” at the Commission, and according to one Parliamentary insider quoted in the article:

Cabinet ministers – such as Trade Minister Tim Groser, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee – had made no secret they favoured changes at the commission.

“Air New Zealand have been beating the drum about the attitude she imbued,” said the Wellington source.

With National in government it seems the Old Boys’ network is firmly back in the saddle and they’re frantically trying to make up for the last nine years. Meanwhile it’s becoming clearer by the day who National thinks it’s governing for – and it’s not the likes of you and me.

14 comments on “More on the Commerce Commission”

  1. John Dalley 1

    With all the genius computer hackers around i’m surprised we don’t have more info on Nationals secret funding.

    [lprent: Wrong word, what you are talking about are crackers. Hackers are a different breed. It is illegal to crack someones system. Phil Goff put in the laws about 5 years ago. Prior to that they could only really get you if you used the information for profit, or they used some ridiculous charge like theft of electricity. Mores the pity, I learned about half of the base of programming from cracking into university systems or looking at the inside of programs with a debugger or disassembler for the right place to put in a NOP. But that was before the 15 year old dweebs started getting virus library kits after which it got unfashionable. I wonder how people learn assembler these days when they need it. ]

  2. RedLogix 2

    Drinnan appears to have two articles in the Herald. The other one is quietly scathing:

    Paula Rebstock’s abrupt exit from the Commerce Commission led to an unorthodox process of appointing her replacement, Mark Berry.

    It appears Berry was the only name the Ministry of Economic Development forwarded to replace Rebstock.

    While it goes on to say that all this was done because Rebstock’s departure was so abrupt, and that Berry’s appointment is for 18 months rather than the more normal 3- 5years, it is clear that there is considerable disquiet that this pivotal role has been mugged in such a blatantly political fashion.

  3. Ianmac 3

    Crikey! Lucky I just have to worry about paper wasps sucking on my backyard grapes. I will seek to understand what the hell is going on. Thanks

  4. the sprout 4

    i saw both those articles and thought them very ominous

  5. rave 5

    Well blatant politics is the name of the money game.
    De got da power, so what do you expect? Its not as if the CC has actually stopped anything serious. But the boys don’t like to be interfered with. Its like the right to hire and fire at will, and to be charitable at will, the big boys especially do not like having to ask a WOMAN in a mans job for permission to hold a big barbie.
    I say this is good. Let them bring out their really big toys, expose themselves, and then well move in to cut them off like so much low hanging ripe fruit. I look forward to Air Kiwi, Kiwi Rail, Kiwi power, kiwi broadband, Kiwi paper, Kiwi wood, Kiwi fish, Kiwi health, and not to overlook the landlords, Kiwi homes.

    • Snail 5.1

      suggestion for the holding company — omni kiwi !

      hey, rave, one line to the big treasury is better than mullti-lines.. wot!

  6. “John Dalley
    March 21, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    With all the genius computer hackers around i’m surprised we don’t have more info on Nationals secret funding.”

    I just think its sad that The Standard doesn’t have a daily tax payer funded anti National quote dredge service to balance out Farrar’s anti Labour one.

  7. Baz 7

    Exchange between a Job Agency and a new Chinese Citizen. Quite extraordinary

    From: new_citizen
    Sent: Wednesday, 18 February 2009 12:08 p.m.
    To: job_agency_guy
    Subject: RE: Trade Me Jobs — New application from new_citizen. Job: Admin/Collections Coordinator
    Hi job_agency_guy
    Thanks for your reply.
    I wasn’t sure the meaning of solo charge between 5 to 6pm with radio that stated in the ad, she explained to me and I understood, then I had a bit relax talk with her and said it is a bit scary to stay at work by myself, then she said “if you are scare, this job is definitely not for you” Wow! it was shocking, big shock by her respond. I have been dealing with different classes of people and different ethic grounp, it is the first time I heard a person talk like this way, that shows her terrible attitude, I wonder why there is such person exist in now adays civilize society? she also gives bad image of Kiwis to other culture of people.
    NZ is a beautiful country, it would be great with beautiful people(inner beauty) here to create a beautiful world.
    job_agency_guy, Thank you very much your time to read this email. It was nice to talk to you. Hope you have a successful year in the year of OX.
    Regards

    Subject: RE: Trade Me Jobs — New application from new_citizen. Job: Admin/Collections Coordinator
    Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2009 12:12:25 +1300
    From: job_agency_guy
    To: em>new_citizen
    You really need to adjust your attitude if you want to fit into kiwi life.
    Do not contact this office again.
    I have spoken to the staff member concerned and her story is very different.
    Thank you
    job_agency_guy

    Dear job_agency_guy,.
    G’day mate, I would like to apply for a job in NZ with all yous sheep botherers.
    I am happy to come over to NZED for a job interview , Can you buy gum boots at Auckland airport???
    Woz ,my mate here in Auustraalia says that I will need this to protect me from your Kiwi foot in mouth disease.??
    Poon , our little chinese cookie at the local noodle shop, reckons I will need to bring over several metres of heavy chain and a case hardened pad lock
    cause she had her moped stolen 27 times by the indidgenous population when She was working in the Panmure $2 shop.
    I’d bring Kylie my girlfriend but she is due any day now, and I heard the Obstetric services at your airport are not too flash.
    It was always on my mind to try a big OE in NZED and now that you have a new proper Prime Minister, I thnk the time is right for.

    Cheers Baza.
    Hey mate d’ya know how many slabs of Tooheys new I can bring in through Customs?

    [lprent: Removed identifying info]

  8. Tane

    Good to see you have caught up with the news. Unfortunately, the Rebstock issue does not appear to be getting much traction, though I have posted my disquiet on this more than once.

    http://adamsmith.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/fran-osullivan-paula-rebstock/

  9. LawGeek 9

    I think you’ll find you mean Grant David, Tane.

    And aren’t we a little past guilt by association? Chappers is a big firm, and implying that it’s possible to attribute one partner’s views to another isn’t fair, and isn’t meaningful.

    • They were one of the firms involved in laundering money to Nationals 05 campaign so as to avoid scrutiny over who was donating it. I would be surprised if one partner went out and did that all on his own.

      there must have been at least some discussion over the potential risk they were taking on in engaging in such an act, then with this as well, it kind of suggests a fairly cosy relationship with which most of the partners would be comfortable with.

      • LawGeek 9.1.1

        On the donations issue, I just checked the Electoral Commission record. Chappers weren’t involved. 3 other firms were. Do you have evidence to the contrary? (I’d also dispute that allowing people to make donations into one’s trust account necessarily implies endorsement of a particular political party. Given the amount of work large firms do for central government, it’s in their best interest to remain neutral).

        On your other points, I’ll ask “do you actually have any idea how partnerships work?” and leave it at that.

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