1 Jun 2023

National MP apologises for saying Commerce Commission 'need a bullet'

9:05 pm on 1 June 2023
National Party spokesperson for Agriculture David Bennett campaigning with leader Judith Collins in Gisborne on 24 September, 2020.

National MP David Bennett. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

National MP David Bennett has apologised for a comment made in Parliament where he said the Commerce Commission "need a bullet."

Speaking during the second reading of the Fuel Industry Amendment Bill on Thursday afternoon, Bennett was highly critical of the powers the legislation would afford the Commerce Commission.

The bill, aiming to encourage more competition in the fuel market, would provide a "threat of regulation" to wholesale fuel suppliers, creating a process by which the Commerce Commission could regulate terminal gate fuel prices.

"The Commerce Commission is one of the evils that we see in this country. The Commerce Commission has got everything wrong it's ever done in the last 20 years.

"There has been no decision that the Commerce Commission has made that has been right."

He later said the commission could not be trusted.

"Bless their socks. You know, I don't even know who's in there now, but they need a bullet, and they need to be sorted out, and they need to be put into their place because the Commerce Commission has had a really bad history in New Zealand."

Bennett's comment escaped censure from Deputy Speaker Greg O'Connor, who was presiding over the debate.

But it was picked up by Labour minister Kieran McAnulty.

"It was metaphorical, too, and I apologise if anyone takes it the wrong way," Bennett replied.

In a statement to RNZ, Bennett expanded on his apology.

"I used an unfortunate turn of phrase which I immediately regretted. Notwithstanding my views on the Commerce Commission I unreservedly apologise to the organisation and its staff."

Bennett, who has been an MP since 2005, is set to retire from politics at the election.

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