Competition and consumer protection

test image test image

Competition and consumer protection law is complex. Our economic, legal and industry experience will help you unlock market opportunities.

Competition law and economic regulation play an important role in a modern market economy. Our competition and economic regulation team has unparalleled expertise in this complex field, combining legal and economic discipline with the experience of team members as regulators and advisers.

Ranked Tier 1 by legal directory The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, we are renowned for acting on the most high-profile and complicated competition and consumer matters in New Zealand.  We advise both public and private sector clients on non-contentious and contentious issues.  With in-depth knowledge of regulatory environments, especially in the telecommunications, fast-moving consumer goods, media, manufacturing, and energy sectors, we add value with our industry specific advice.  

We advise on all aspects of competition and consumer protection law including:

  • Mergers and acquisitions (obtaining and opposing applications for clearance or authorisation from the New Zealand Commerce Commission)
  • Anti-competitive conduct and cartels
  • Leniency applications
  • Collaborative activities
  • Commerce Commission investigations  and enforcement actions under the Commerce Act and Fair Trading Act
  • Private actions brought under the Commerce Act and Fair Trading Act
  • Development of new legislation or regulation 
  • Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations 
  • Competition related chapters of international trade agreements
  • Regulated industries
  • Issues arising under the Commerce Act and Fair Trading Act arising from contractual terms and practices
  • Advertising and promotions of consumer products 
  • Consumer protection
  • Cross-border regulatory litigation.

We are consistently acknowledged by international rankings, including Chambers and Partners, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific and Global Competition Review, as leading experts in competition law and regulation.

Our team members have unique and invaluable experience, and our multi-disciplinary capability sets us apart.

Practice group leader Dr Ross Patterson is a former New Zealand Telecommunications Commissioner and Member of the Commerce Commission.

Jennifer Hambleton has economic qualifications and a strong background acting for private clients and regulators in competition law investigations and enforcement actions.

Before practising law, Sarah Salmond was a regulatory economist and a New Zealand Government regulator. She is the only Partner at a New Zealand law firm with significant anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations experience.

The team is supported by Litigation and Dispute Resolution partner Aaron Lloyd who has a strong focus on regulatory and white-collar criminal litigation.  

We provide a seamless and unrivalled trans-Tasman offering through our close connections with the MinterEllison Legal Group, working together on cross-border mergers. This unique offering provides our clients with depth of expertise in this specialist field.

Their experience means they have a very good understanding of the regulators' perspective, which enables them to provide commercially astute advice. Chambers Asia-Pacific 2023


Recent highlights
Merger clearances

Acting for Assa Abloy New Zealand Limited in relation to its successful application to the Commerce Commission for clearance of its proposed acquisition of NZ Fire Doors Limited.

Acting for LHF on its successful application for clearance to acquire Chalmers Organics Ltd.

Acting for Dunlop Drymix Limited in relation to its successful application to the Commerce Commission for clearance of its proposed acquisition of Drymix N.Z. Limited.


Advising Tegel on its opposition of the New Zealand Tegel Growers Association’s application for authorisation to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of its members’ supply of chicken growing services to Tegel for a ten-year period.

Commission investigations and enforcement actions

Advising commercial clients on Commerce Commission investigations and enforcement actions, including in relation to allegations of cartel conduct and breaches of the Fair Trading Act.  

Representing viagogo AG, provider of the world’s largest secondary marketplace for event tickets, in High Court proceedings brought by the New Zealand Commerce Commission alleging various breaches of the Fair Trading Act.

Acting for GasNet Limited in relation to a Commerce Commission post-merger investigation. The Commerce Commission advised that GasNet had not breached the Commerce Act and went on to file proceedings against the acquirer, First Gas Limited for substantially lessening competition in breach of the Commerce Act.

Representing a freight forwarder in relation to a Commerce Commission investigation into alleged cartel conduct.

Representing a merger party in relation to a Commerce Commission investigation into alleged cartel conduct during due diligence. 

Acting for Spark New Zealand Trading Limited in relation to charges brought by the NZCC alleging it made false or misleading representations on its billing and a promotional offer for new customers.

Private actions under the Commerce Act and Fair Trading Act

Acting for Spark in relation to its successful application to strike out a claim brought by Blue Reach alleging misleading conduct under the Fair Trading Act in an application to the Commerce Commission for clearance to acquire radio spectrum.

Acting for Complete Office Supplies in injunction proceedings brought against Platinum Equity LLC under the Commerce Act in relation to its proposed acquisition of OfficeMax NZ.  

Cross-border white-collar and regulatory litigation

Acting for a director of international shipping company Stolt-Nielsen in an unsuccessful prosecution by the USDOJ for alleged criminal cartel violations in the United States Federal Court.

First FMCA proceeding in relation to insurance

Representing ANZ Bank in achieving a negotiated resolution of the first civil penalty proceeding brought by the FMA under the Financial Markets Conduct Act, in relation to ANZ Bank’s distribution of credit card insurance with an agreed outcome approved by the Court.

Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations

Assisting Lamb Weston and Lamb Weston Meijer to secure the successful termination of New Zealand’s dumping investigation into frozen potato fries and wedges from Belgium and the Netherlands.