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Bunnings Awarded $60k Over Competitor Attempt To Prevent Opening Of New Store

Bunnings Warehouse.jpg

Bunnings New Zealand has been awarded a $59,953 payment as a result of a competitor try to prevent it from opening a new store.

The sum was awarded to cover court fees following H&J Smith's objection over plans to open a Bunnings store in Queenstown, on Frankton-Ladies Mile Highway.

Bunnings' application to build the store in Queenstown Lakes was turned down in March 2018 and the DIY retailer appealed against the decision.  H&J Smith subsequently objected as a section 274 party under the Resource Management Act and refused two offers to settle the dispute in May 2018.

H&J Smith primarily operates department stores in the lower South Island of New Zealand; it also operates two Mitre10 franchises, one in Queenstown and one in Invercargill.

The Environment Court determined that H&J Smith's objection to the planned new Bunnings store - which was to be located 500m away from one of its Mitre10 branches - was motivated by competition and was therefore not permitted under the Resource Management Act under which it had objected. The court awarded full court costs of $59,953 to Bunnings - the highest award that could be granted and "awarded rarely and in exceptional circumstances" according to the judgment,

Judge Jackson said: "Since the RMA attempts to control anti-competitive behaviour or rent seeking behaviour - which imposes costs on persons trying to join the relevant market - the court should...keep extra costs to legitimate applicants to a minimum," 

Bunnings is still looking to gain consent to open the new store

Source : Insight DIY Team

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28 April 2019

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