Government prepares to battle soaring fuel prices in wake of blistering new report that says Kiwis overpaying at the pump

The Government is preparing to take on fuel companies over soaring petrol prices in the wake of a blistering new report.

However cash-strapped motorists will not get any immediate relief at the pumps.  

The Minister of Energy and Resources says fuel isn't delivering 'fair and competitive prices'. Source: 1 NEWS

Business ministry officials today published a report that says Kiwis are paying too much for petrol and diesel – and those increased costs can't be explained. 

Over the last decade New Zealand has gone from having some of the lowest pre-tax fuel prices in the developed world to the highest.

The government is stepping in to stop motorists being ripped off. Source: 1 NEWS

Energy Minister Megan Woods said: "MBIE [Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment] notes that the rise in margins since 2008 represents a transfer of wealth from consumers to producers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars."

So the Government has now asked MBIE to investigate ways to use legislation to intervene in the market. 

They will not go so far as to set prices at the pump or nationalise fuel companies, but will look at how Parliament can make the market much more competitive and make it easier for new companies to emerge.

After almost five years of consumer concern, it is the strongest signal the Government has sent to fuel companies about their behaviour, but the options for direct intervention will remain secret – those sections of the report are blanked out.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi has also asked officials to fast-track work that will allow the Commerce Commission to investigate.

The new power would compel companies to provide information to the Commission to fully understand how markets are functioning. But it is not a quick fix as the beefed up powers will not be in place until 2018.

Kiwis motorists spent on average $1500 on petrol in 2016 – that is $150 more a year than in 2008.

At the heart of concerns are margins – the difference between the cost of importing petrol and the price you pay at the pump.

MBIE produced a report earlier this year which said a significant increase in retail margins - and higher prices paid by motorists in Wellington and the South Island - could not easily be explained. 

The margins for fuel not sold to the public – for example for trucking or for aviation – were flat or declining and fuel companies costs had not increased.

MBIE officials could not get to the bottom of the discrepancy because some fuel companies refused to hand over crucial information.

The Government asked MBIE officials to produce a second report and make some recommendations based on their findings.

MBIE ruled out a liquid wholesale market for petrol and diesel – similar to the electricity market – saying it would not work here.

A long awaited reported into petrol pricing will be released by Energy Minister Dr Megan Woods today. Source: Breakfast

Winston Peters: Coalition with National Party would have been the 'much easier choice'

Winston Peters says that when deciding on who New Zealand First would support into government, going with National would have been the easier choice.

Instead, they took the path of "change and regeneration". 

Mr Peters reflected on his decision during his election review speech, an opportunity for political leaders to reflect on the tumultuous 2017 campaign.

Mr Peters said that "the easiest choice would have been to commit to a slightly modified status quo and go with this one other party." 

"That would have been the tidiest things to do."

Mr Peters said a two-party coalition with the National Party "was there for a much easier choice". 

Instead, New Zealand First chose to take the more difficult path for "change and regeneration". 

"Change was and is necessary and it is our responsibility to deliver it and we will."

The Deputy Prime Minister said New Zealand First chose a "harder path of change". Source: 1 NEWS


One-in-four Kiwi girls asked to send nude images

Smartphones and social media can cause concerns for parents about what their teenagers are doing with their devices. 

However, new Netsafe research reveals while teenagers are receiving requests for nude images, only a small number are responding. 

The research shows that one in four girls and nearly one in seven boys have been asked to share a nude, or nearly nude, image of themselves. 

But only four per cent of respondents have shared a nude image in the last 12 months. 

Netsafe CEO Martin Cocker said only a minority are actually sending the nudes. 

"However, the research shows that the likelihood of sending a nude image does increase with age, so it’s important that parents are having conversations with their kids early."

Mr Cocker said teenagers believe that sharing these images is "commonplace". 

"It's important to let them know that this actually isn't the case."

He said sending the images is not the problem, but what happens when the images leave your phone is. 

"It’s important that young people understand the potential risks before they get to the point where they’re making the decision to engage in the behavior."

Istanbul, Turkey - January 13, 2016: Person holding a brand new Apple iPhone 6s with Facebook profile on the screen. Facebook is a social media online service for microblogging and networking, founded in February 4, 2004.
Facebook on a smartphone. Source: