New Zealand: two is a popular number

Why only two?

In New Zealand there are just two main islands (both huge), two Chatham islands and two big-tent political parties, National and Labour. All fine. But there are:
  • Two principal domestic airline operators: Air New Zealand and Qantas-owned Jetstar.
  • Two big mobile phone operators: Vodaphone and Telecom (thankfully joined of late by a third, 2 degrees, which is gaining market share). 
  • Two big TV companies: TVNZ and Australian-owned MediaWorks. There are other much smaller operators with tiny market shares like Sky-owned Prime, state-owned Māori TV, Stratos TV, etc.
  • Two print media groups owning all but five daily newspapers in the country - Fairfax and APN, both of which are Australian-owned.  NZ has only one paper per city, none of them with truly national coverage or readership.
  • Two main international airports: Auckland and Christchurch.
  • Two supermarket companies dominating food retailing: New Zealand-owned Foodstuffs, and Australian-owned Progressive Enterprises.
Admittedly, there are five big banks: ANZ National, Westpac, BNZ and ASB - all of which are Aussie-owned, and these have been joined by the rapidly expanding yet still small Kiwibank. And there are several sizeable insurance groups.

But the number two is still too common. When will New Zealand get its own powerful competition and monopolies (or duopolies) Regulator?  Because even a few big operators in any one sector can form a cartel to hold or raise prices, offer similar services, or agree to non-poaching arrangements on staff thereby reducing employment mobility and career opportunities.  

With the proposed sell-off of state utility companies, now might be the right time to strengthen regulation to ensure consumers get a good deal, surely?

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