Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods has told all fuel companies they will come under scrutiny for the prices they are charging at garage pumps.
Woods called BP New Zealand managing director Debi Boffa to her Beehive office last week for a “please explain” after Fairfax Media was given an email revealing the company's pricing tactics in lower North Island towns.
Boffa reportedly spent about 30 minutes with the minister.
“I remain unconvinced that people were possibly getting the fairest deal by the end of the meeting,” Dr Woods later told reporters.
“I think this is an example of a broken market. What we're seeing is an example of a fuel company, and I don't have any reason to believe this is isolated, where actually that price-setting is going on to take the prices up to the highest level rather than give people the best deal that they could expect in a competitive market."
She said enabling legislation was being prepared so that Government could look at regulatory interventions as soon as the Commerce Amendment Bill, currently before Parliament, was passed.
According to Fairfax Media, the amendments would allow the Commerce Commission to undertake market studies, and as soon as that bill was passed, the Government would direct the commission to do just that.
Officials were also working on a preliminary cost-benefit analysis of potential regulatory interventions.
Sources: nzherald.co.nz; nzcity.co.nz and radionz.co.nz