Competition and Regulation
Competition law and economic regulation play an important role in a modern market economy. Our team has unparalleled expertise in this complex field, combining legal and economic discipline with the experience of team members as regulators and advisors.
We advise on all aspects of competition law including mergers and acquisitions (obtaining clearance and authorisation from the New Zealand Commerce Commission), anti-competitive conduct, Commerce Commission investigations and prosecutions, regulated industries and consumer protection.
We are consistently acknowledged by international rankings, including the International Who’s Who of Competition Lawyers, Chambers and Global Competition Review, as leading experts in competition law and regulation.
Practice group leader Ross Patterson is a former New Zealand Telecommunications Commissioner and Member of the Commerce Commission whose “experience and expertise in the area are invaluable” (Chambers Asia Pacific 2017 Edition).
As part of the Minter Ellison Australasian Competition and Regulatory Group we can share with our clients the Group’s depth of expertise in this specialist field.
We have advised:
- TVNZ in relation to the application by NZME Limited and Fairfax NZ Limited seeking Commerce Commission authorisation to merge their media operations in New Zealand
- 2degrees in its successful opposition of the applications for Commerce Commission clearance of the proposed merger of Vodafone and Sky Network Television Limited in New Zealand
- The New Zealand Racing Board in relation to its successful application for Commerce Commission authorisation of commingling arrangements with Tabcorp Australia
- Z Energy in relation to some aspects of its successful application for Commerce Commission clearance of its acquisition of 100% of the shares in Chevron NZ Ltd
- Coty Inc on its successful application for Commerce Commission clearance of its acquisition of certain Proctor & Gamble beauty products businesses
- A livestock agency in relation to a Commerce Commission price-fixing investigation
- A freight forwarder in relation to the application by FedEx for Commerce Commission clearance to acquire TNT
- 2degrees in relation to its national roaming arrangements with Vodafone
- Youi NZ Pty Ltd in relation to Commerce Commission proceedings alleging misleading conduct in breach of the Fair Trading Act
- Trustpower in relation to a Commerce Commission investigation and prosecution under the Fair Trading Act for allegedly misleading advertising
Who can help
Partner - Public Law
Briony is an experienced advisor and advocate in public law and regulatory matters. Her expertise is in the development and application of regulatory frameworks, public law litigation and dispute resolution, privacy and data protection, regulatory compliance and enforcement, and crisis management.
Briony has provided a wide range of strategic, legal and litigation advice across the airports, electricity, gas, telecommunications, primary production/processing, transport and financial services sectors. Her clients have included large regulated corporates, government agencies, quasi-regulatory bodies, industry groups, political parties and educational institutes.
Consultant - Competition and Regulation
Christine has held numerous senior legal and business roles during her career, including partner, general counsel, legal consultant to government and the private sector on energy sector issues, co-owner of a strategic consulting firm, regulator, board member and the chief executive of an industry body tasked with developing rules and regulations.
More specifically, her experience includes:
- providing advice to energy sector clients on a range of policy and regulatory matters affecting the supply and delivery of electricity and gas in New Zealand
- providing advice on economic regulation to electricity, gas and telecommunications clients
- assisting clients in other industries on pan industry governance issues.
Christine works with corporate clients who need to engage with regulators to develop policy to ensure their perspectives are understood when considering new legislation and regulation. She also helps clients develop government relations strategy, engage with officials on matters of concern and make submissions during formal consultation processes.
A particular area of Christine’s expertise is the Electricity Act, including the regulations and rules made under that Act, the Gas Act, and the Commerce Act and the inter-relationship between these pieces of legislation.
Christine has significant practical experience in leading and participating in multidisciplinary teams to develop complex industry governance arrangements including arrangements which operate under regulatory and self-regulatory frameworks.
Special Counsel - Competition and Regulation
Melanie is a member of the firm’s competition and economic regulation practice. She has twenty-five years of experience, specialising for most of that time in competition law and regulatory matters.
Melanie worked at Rudd Watts and Stone (now Minter Ellison Rudd Watts) between 1987 and 2007, and at Chapman Tripp from 2007 to 2009. In 2014 Melanie returned to the firm.
She has represented clients in relation to merger clearances and authorisations and advised on the Commerce Act aspects of commercial arrangements and behaviour. Her experience includes involvement in significant litigation of Commerce Act issues.
Melanie has also advised a number of telecommunications companies in relation to Telecommunications Act issues, including the ongoing telecommunications sector reform processes.
Melanie has an LLB and a BCom majoring in economics. She has published articles on a range of competition issues.
Partner - Dispute Resolution and Litigation
Oliver is an experienced general litigator and specializes in handling complex commercial litigation, and competition, regulatory and consumer law matters.
Oliver advises on contentious and non-contentious aspects of competition, regulatory and consumer law. He advises on mergers and acquisitions, restrictive trade practices, unilateral conduct and regulation. He advises clients in Commerce and Fair Trading Act investigations and with their interactions with the commercial regulators. He advises on front-end compliance and, in the consumer law area, has represented clients before the courts and before the Advertising Standards Complaints Board.
Chambers Asia-Pacific 2018 describes Oliver as “a well-reputed competition and consumer law specialist, with one client praising his ‘expert strategic advice on engagement with competition and consumer regulators.’” He is also a published contributor to publications such as “The Private Competition Enforcement Review“.
Dr Ross Patterson
Partner - Competition and Regulation
Ross heads the firm’s competition and economic regulation practice. He has more than twenty-five years of specialist experience, as a lawyer and regulator, and is recognised by Chambers as a Senior Statesman in both Competition and Telecommunications.
He was a partner at Rudd Watts and Stone (now MinterEllisonRuddWatts) between 1989 and 1998, and in MinterEllison (Sydney) from 1998 to 2007, where he headed MinterEllison’s Competition & Regulation practice. Between 2007 and 2012 he was New Zealand’s Telecommunications Commissioner, and a member of the Commerce Commission. Ross returned to the firm in 2013.
Since his return to the firm, Ross has represented clients in relation to merger clearances, authorisations and Commerce Commission investigations, and advised on the Commerce Act aspects of commercial arrangements and behaviour.
In telecommunications he has advised a wide range of telecommunications companies in relation to Telecommunications Act issues, and advised on the ongoing telecommunications sector reform processes.
Ross was the founder of MinterEllison’s online compliance training system, SAFETRAC, and leads the development of Safetrac in New Zealand. www.safetrac.co.nz
Ross has a PhD in competition law. He has published many articles on competition and telecommunications issues, and is a regular speaker at conferences.
Senior Associate - Competition and Regulation
Kristel is a competition and regulatory specialist, with extensive experience in both New Zealand and Australia advising large corporations and regulated network businesses on complex competition and regulatory issues, and is ranked as an Associate to Watch in Competition Law by Chambers Asia Pacific 2017.
Clients describe her as “a bright associate with excellent expertise from her time in Australia”; “a pleasure to work with, always leaving us with a feeling of confidence that work output would be excellent and on time”; “an absolute pleasure to deal with, she has a great handle on the issues”.
Kristel advises on the full suite of competition related matters:
- Clearances and authorisations of mergers and acquisitions
- Commerce Commission investigations
- Commerce Act implications of commercial arrangements and behaviour
- Consumer protection
Kristel returned to New Zealand in 2014 after five years in Australia where she was a Senior Associate in Minter Ellison’s competition and regulatory team.
Senior Associate - Dispute Resolution and Litigation
Jennifer is a member of our Dispute Resolution team with strong experience on contentious and non-contentious competition and consumer law matters and general commercial litigation.
Her expertise includes competition and consumer law, contract, franchising and corporations law disputes.
Jennifer has extensive experience as a commercial litigator. She has represented commercial and government clients on a number of large complex disputes in the Federal and Supreme Courts in Australia, the Australian Competition Tribunal and the High Court and Court of Appeal in New Zealand. Jennifer has particular expertise acting on competition enforcement actions, consumer law actions, actions for breaches of directors duties, contractual disputes and negligence actions.
Jennifer has advised clients in the technology and telecommunications, insurance, gambling, airline, accommodation, FMCG, grocery, pharmaceuticals and energy industries on a range of commercial issues. This includes advising clients on the implications of commercial terms such as warranties and indemnities, termination rights, restraints of trade and confidentiality, compliance with the Commerce Act, Fair Trading Act and Companies Act and product liability issues.
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