Further reforms relating to unfair commercial practices on the agenda for 2019

Friday 14 December 2018

Authors: Laura Littlewood and Susannah Shaw

​​​The Ministry of Business, Inno​vation & Employment has released a Discussion Paper that proposes further changes relating to “unfair” commercial practices.

The Discussion Paper considers t​he following options to strengthen the protections for businesses and consumers against “unfair” commercial practices: 

  1. A general statutory prohibition against unfair conduct​

  2. For example, new provisions could prohibit:

    • Unconscionable conduct in relation to the supply or acquisition of goods and services.

    • Oppressive conduct which can include conduct that is harsh, unjustly burdensome, unconscionable, or in breach of reasonable standards of commercial practice.

    • Unfair commercial practices that are contrary to the requirements of professional diligence and materially distort the economic behaviour of the average customer.

  3. Extending current protections against unfair terms under the Fair Trading Act 1986 to apply to standard form business contracts.

A copy of the Discussion Paper is available here.


MBIE is seeking submissions on the issues raised in the Discussion Paper, including whether there is a need for greater protection against unfair commercial practices, and if so, how these protective measures may be best implemented. 

Submissions close at 9am on 25 February 2019.

Please contact your usual Bell Gully advisor if you would like any advice or assistance in relation to the matters addressed in this update.


This publication is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.

For more information
  • Laura Littlewood

    Partner Auckland
  • Torrin Crowther

    Partner Auckland
  • Susannah Shaw

    Special Counsel Wellington
Related areas of expertise
  • Commercial
  • Consumer law