INDEPENDENT NEWS

Consumers Are A Government Priority At Christmas

Published: Wed 19 Dec 2001 01:32 PM
The long awaited Fair Trading Amendment Bill has been introduced into Parliament.
“The Labour-Alliance coalition government’s commitment to consumer rights has been an important feature of our policies,” Acting Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Anderton says.
“There are many measures we have introduced to help consumers in the last two years and this week alone as well as introducing this bill we are announcing the appointment of the first electricity complaints commissioner.”
The Fair Trading Amendment Bill will:
 Double the maximum penalties for all offences under the Act.
 Introduce additional penalties for pyramid selling schemes based on the money made by the operators of the schemes.
 Extend the search warrant powers of the Commerce Commission.
 Amend the criminal limitation period to three years from the discovery of a breach rather than from three years after the breach was perpetrated. This complements the earlier change to the civil limitation period extending the time in which claims can be lodged to three years from the discovery of faults.
 Allow corrections to advertising to be held in the District Court rather than all orders needing to go to the High Court. This will speed up the process.
 Exempt the Commerce Commission from giving undertakings as to damages when seeking interim injunctions.
Consumers can make submissions on the Bill which is being referred to the Commerce Select Committee for consideration. Jim Anderton says the Bill will be passed some time in 2002.
The Labour/Alliance Coalition Government has introduced a range of measures to protect consumers. These include a total overhaul of motor vehicle dealer law; changes to credit law; a Consumer Protection Bill; and stronger protections for consumers shopping on the internet.
Ends

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