Z Energy supports the Fuel Industry Bill and believes it will have positive outcomes for competition and consumers but warns that in its current form it could have a delayed impact and could cause unintended consequences for fuel dealers.
Speaking after his appearance at yesterday’s Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, Z CEO Mike Bennetts said that the proposed timeline for changing wholesale contracts could hold up the flow through of benefits to customers at the pump.
“The way the Bill is currently drafted means that it could take years before any of the changes to wholesale contracts have their intended impact. We want consumers to see the benefits of more competition in the wholesale market as quickly as possible and encourage the government to ensure the Bill achieves that.”
Z is also urging careful consideration of the differences between dealers, who are small to medium businesses owned locally and, in many cases, reliant on support from their supplier, and distributors, who are significant national competitors. Dealers need to be able to have a close relationship with their supplier as in many cases they rely on their supplier’s extensive support.
“Dealers and distributors play a very different role in the retail fuels market and we would urge the Government to take this more fully into account in the final legislation,” said Mike.
Z also strongly encourages an expedited roll out of fully transparent price boards and believes that consumer choice should be protected when it comes to loyalty or reward offers.
“We’ve said throughout the Commerce Commission Market Study and Bill consultation that we fully support transparency and comparability on price boards at retail sites, including requiring prices to be displayed for Premium grades.
“Customer research also shows that, as with nearly all other retail sectors in New Zealand, many motorists value knowing what loyalty or reward offers are available that could make a difference to their purchase. We think that consumer choice is critical and should be safeguarded in the final legislation,” Mike said.
Media enquiries: Victoria Crockford, Victoria.Crockford@z.co.nz