12 May 2021 – Government announced its next steps to reduce merchant service fees that banks charge businesses when customers use a credit or debit card to pay by introducing a Retail Payments Systems Bill later this year to:
- require reductions in interchange fees as soon as possible
- enable direct intervention by the Commerce Commission using a broad suite of powers to regulate different participants in the retail payment system
- introduce a disclosure and reporting requirement to enable the Commerce Commission to monitor the retail payments system.
We think this of great interest - as with several other discussions, including FMA comments on 'reasonableness' of fees for managed investment schemes and comments from government coalition partners calling for rent controls, there seems to be a far greater willingness to contemplate direct intervention in markets. While we all like to think we are reasonable people, the difficulty is forming a common view around what is reasonable. The marketplace has some powerful built-in stabilisers that usually work quite well. My view is the regulation supporting the operation of the market is preferable.
A copy of the Cabinet paper, and the submissions received, can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website at the following link: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/business-and-employment/business/competition-regulation-and-policy/retail-payment-systems/
12 May 2021 – The Privacy Commissioner welcomed the signing this week of a memorandum of understanding with the UK’s Information Commissioner establishing a framework for cooperation between the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Information Commissioner’s Office for cross-border cooperation and to foster international collaboration. The framework sets out broad principles of collaboration between the two regulators and the legal framework governing the sharing of relevant information and intelligence between them but excludes the sharing of personal information.
12 May 2021 – The RBNZ published an analytical note titled, “An overview of the distributional effects of monetary policy - Low interest rates - who are the winners and losers?” https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/research-and-publications/analytical-notes/2021/an2021-05