Rebuild fraud targeted in initiative
The Commerce Commission says it will meet key people involved in the Christchurch rebuild to try to prevent illegal practices like bid rigging, inflated invoicing and price fixing.
Commission chairman Mark Berry said billions of dollars were at stake in the rebuild and overseas experience had shown there was considerable potential for fraud and collusion as money began to flow in the reconstruction phase.
"Our aim is to educate organisations and businesses involved in the rebuild so that they have a good understanding of how the Commerce Act applies to them," he said.
"Our goal is to increase awareness and understanding of competition and consumer laws and to prevent anti-competitive behaviour. In particular, we want to prevent collusive practices such as bid rigging.
"We want key stakeholders to be able to recognise and report such practices should they occur."
Over the next few months the commission will meet people in key positions at insurance companies, the Insurance Council, the Earthquake Commission, associations for loss adjusters and quantity surveyors, the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and others.
The goal of the project is to foster good procurement and tendering practices to help ensure healthy competition during the rebuild and deliver value for money.
The initiative is part of the commission's focus on increasing education to raise awareness of the benefits of competition, thereby improving compliance with competition and consumer laws.