Competition & Consumer

Many New Zealand markets are highly concentrated. Entry can be challenging where there appears to be room for only 2 or 3 major players. Additionally, the Commerce Commission is a well-resourced and vigilant regulator aiming to protect the welfare of consumers.

Gary has considerable expertise in all aspects of Commerce Commission work, including defending investigations and prosecutions, applying for clearance or authorisation, and administrative law or judicial review cases. He offers clients a unique perspective blending litigation and commercial skills, having worked in both dispute resolution and transactional merger clearance teams in previous law firm roles.

Competition and trade practices law covers all manner of dealings with the Commission or courts on matters of cartels or collusion, misuse of market power, anti-competitive contracts and business practices, merger clearance control, and JV collaboration. Consumer law includes Fair Trading Act and unfair contract terms expertise along with consumer finance/credit. Gary also has experience in price control and sector-specific regulation in utilities and energy.

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Ranked by Chambers Asia-Pacific Guide and by Global Competition Review for expertise in competition law, a selection of Gary’s major work includes:

  • Advising on contractual and other changes necessary to deal with the Collaborative Conduct/JV exemption changes planned in the Commerce Act reforms
  • Representing a finance sector firm in litigation raising allegations of contractual and Commerce Act breaches
  • Advising a major infrastructure company (waste/recycling) on merger and joint venture, or contract and sales channel initiatives
  • Acting for individual managers in Fair Trading Act investigations (Bike Barn) over price representations and advertising methods
  • Representing private event promoters in market power and exclusionary conduct litigation against a sporting managing body
  • Advising State broadcaster TVNZ on various media market issues including pay-TV and the Igloo Television joint venture investigations
  • Representing parties under investigation for breaches of the Credit Contracts & Consumer Finance regime
  • Advising shipping industry groups on Productivity Commission’s international Freight Markets Inquiry, and on changes in the Commerce (Cartels and Other Matters) Act law reform – international carriage of goods and criminalisation provisions
  • Involvement in merger clearance application investigations such as ePay / Ezi-Pay (electronic payments), IAG / AMI (insurance), and the Kotahi restrictive trade practices authorisation (shipping)
  • Defending Siemens successfully in the first NZ cartel case (gas insulated switchgear) in over a decade to run to full defended trial, with Jack Hodder SC
  • Advising Vodafone on its successful joint bid for rural broadband contracts, including dealings with MED, Crown Fibre, and defending 2 complaints made by rival parties to the Commission.
  • Representing Vector in the Commission’s gas pipeline price control inquiry and subsequent judicial review, with Dr Jim Farmer QC
  • The air-cargo surcharges cartel litigation (representing Japan Airlines)
  • Advising a leading State electricity entity on energy sector regulatory and competition issues (eg windfarms, smart meters, generation plant activities)
  • Handling high profile or contested clearance applications/investigations including poultry, duty-free goods, building products, and diagnostic laboratories cases
  • Application by the Pohokura Gas JV for authorisation of restrictive practices, with Dr Mark Berry.

Gary is a member of the Competition Law & Policy Institute of NZ, and the International Bar Association’s Antitrust Division. He has a strong interest in economics and public policy, and has been made honorary life member for a decade of service on the Board of LEANZ (the Law & Economics Association of NZ).

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