Media release of the Commerce Commission of New Zealand. Please click here to go to the original media release.

 

1 August 2018

 

The Commerce Commission has launched an anonymous whistleblowing tool to enable people to report cartels without being identified.

“Cartel conduct is hard to detect because it is often conducted in secret. In our work we therefore rely on information from those with knowledge of cartels. However, we recognise there are situations where someone may be reluctant to come forward for fear of negative consequences or reprisals,” General Manager of Competition Antonia Horrocks said.

“This tool gives people in these situations a safe and secure way to report the behaviour and engage in communications with us while remaining anonymous.”

The tool is being delivered by WhistleB, which is a global whistleblowing service provider. It is designed to ensure the highest possible data security and privacy settings and encrypts any data and information provided. It is also regularly tested by external security experts.

The Commission will not accept leniency applications from parties involved in cartel conduct made via the anonymous whistleblower tool. It recently updated its leniency policy and guidelines, which can be found here.

More information on the anonymous whistleblowing tool can be found here.

 

Background

Cartel conduct

Cartel conduct is where two or more businesses agree not to compete with each other through conduct including price fixing, dividing up markets, bid rigging, or restricting output of goods and services. Cartels deprive consumers and other businesses of the benefits of competition in markets and may result in higher prices, and reduction in the levels of choice, service and quality for goods and services.

Under the Commerce Act, businesses and individuals can face large penalties and individuals can be banned from running a company if they are found to have broken the law.