AuthorRex Ahdar
Published date01 December 2021
Date01 December 2021
Symposium: The Evolution of Competition Law and Policy in New Zealand
Rex Ahdar*,**
It is a great pleasure to offer an introduction to this short Symposium on Competition Law and Policy
in New Zealand. I wish to thank Bill Curran for the kind invitation to feature New Zealand antitrust in
The Antitrust Bulletin, a journal I much admire.
The symposium is sparked by the publication of The Evolution of Competition Law in New Zeal-
This book was intended to be an extended critical reflection upon the development of “modern”
competition law. The enactment of the Commerce Act 1986 marked the beginning of modern com-
petition law in New Zealand with its focus upon the promotion of effective or workable competition
supplemented by private enforcement. The immediate inspiration for our law was Australia and the
Australian law in turn drew strongly from American antitrust. Unsurprisingly, New Zealand compe-
tition law has followed its trans-Tasman neighbor’s competition law’s main themes, statutory reforms,
and landmark cases, albeit there remains room for divergence. Harmonization of New Zealand and
Australian competition law has never meant the wholesale replication of the latter by New Zealand
The publication of the Evolution of Competition Law in New Zealand provides an opportunity to
stand back and consider the main contours of the subject as it has grown over the last thirty-four years.
The analysis and critique expounded in the book does not pretend to be other than a subjective and
nonneutral account from one who adheres to the Harvard School vision of antitrust, a vision reinvi-
gorated by many of the progressive or “hipster” concerns that have emerged recently in American
antitrust discourse. I have no doubt there are competition law practitioners, academics, and economists
who will take issue—perhaps strongly—with many of the arguments advanced in the book. If, or rather
when, they do so, this will be a salutary thing. Robust competition in the market for antitrust thinking,
doctrine, and interpretation is to be welcomed.
In everyday life in New Zealand, competition law does not occupy the public mind very often. At
the time of writing, there has been a notable exception capturing media attention and generating a
public outcry—continuing monopoly-like conduct in the supermarket industry.
In November 2020,
the Commerce Commission, at the government’s request, undertook a review into the state of
* Faculty of Law, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
** School of Law, University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, Australia
Corresponding Author:
Rex Ahdar, Faculty of Law, University of Otago, Dunedin, Otago 9054, New Zealand.
2. See,e.g., NZ food dominated by supermarket duopoly—commerce report,, July 29, 2021; Supermarket duopoly
slammed as regulator waves the biggest of sticks,, July 30, 2021.
The Antitrust Bulletin
2021, Vol. 66(4) 459–461
ªThe Author(s) 2021
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0003603X211044905

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