Watch videos on Cartel Criminalization

Cartel criminalisation

New law means that from April 2021 cartel conduct could be punished with up to 7 years' imprisonment.

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What is a cartel?

A cartel is where two or more businesses agree not to compete with each other. This conduct can take many forms, including price fixing, allocating markets, rigging bids or restricting output of goods and services. See more information on what is a cartel.

Example one: Market allocation and price fixing

Three businesses compete to sell farm machinery. They agree to allocate the areas that they could sell to by agreeing one business would only sell in the North Island and the other two businesses would only sell in the South Island. They also agree 6-monthly price increases and a “scoresheet” to make sure all of them stuck to the agreement.

This is a cartel involving market allocation and price fixing.

When does cartel criminalisation take effect?

The new law criminalising cartels comes into effect on 8 April 2021.

Any cartel agreement entered into after 8 April 2021 will be subject to the new law, including possible imprisonment.

If a cartel agreement was entered into before 8 April 2021, conduct after that date will be subject to the criminal legislation.

Consultation on revised Cartel Leniency and Immunity Policy

In preparation for this change we are seeking your feedback on our proposed revisions to our Cartel Leniency and Immunity Policy.

This is intended to provide clarity on how we will consider applications for leniency in relation to civil proceedings and immunity in relation to criminal prosecution.

Read more.

I think I’m in a cartel – what can I do?

You need to act fast.

The Commission can grant leniency to the first member of a cartel to approach us, provided they meet the requirements for leniency. That means you/your company will not be subject to court action from the Commission provided you fully cooperate with the Commission's investigation and proceedings. This is called leniency. See the Leniency policy.

The Commission also have an anonymous whistleblower tool.

Commission policies

The Commission’s Cartel Leniency Policy are being updated to incorporate changes needed as a result of cartel criminalisation. The Commission intends to publish a draft of the revised policy on its website for public consultation by the end of 2020.