Update on Commerce Commission steel mesh investigation

Press Release – Commerce Commission

The Commerce Commission continues to make progress in its ongoing enquiries into steel mesh sold in New Zealand.Update on Commerce Commission steel mesh investigation

The Commerce Commission continues to make progress in its ongoing enquiries into steel mesh sold in New Zealand.

The Commission yesterday signed court enforceable undertakings with Steel & Tube, under which the company will only sell its SE62 500E grade steel mesh that passes specific independent testing.

These undertakings are similar to those entered into with Euro Corporation last week, in that they require each batch of 500E grade steel mesh sold in the future to pass stringent independent testing before being offered for sale as 500E mesh. All test results must be provided to the Commission.

The testing requirements are in line with an expected clarification to the standard that MBIE is currently developing, after convening a technical advisory meeting with industry and technical experts on 14 April. The clarification will be designed to ensure a uniform approach to testing steel mesh under the standard (AS/NZ 4671:2001) and remove any confusion over the appropriate testing methodology.

The Commission will reassess the need for court enforceable undertakings when MBIE has clarified or amended the standard. A copy of the undertakings can be found on the Commission’s website.

The Commission continues to investigate whether Steel & Tube breached the Fair Trading Act by producing testing certificates which included the logo of a laboratory which did not undertake the testing or by making misleading or unsubstantiated representations that the steel it supplied complied with the standard.

The Commission has also purchased and tested samples of mesh from United Steel and Fletcher Building. Those samples met the requirements of the standard. United Steel has also provided the Commission with information about its testing procedures and long-term quality testing data. That information shows that United Steel’s SE62 steel mesh appears to comply with the requirements of the standard. As a result, the Commission has closed its enquiry into United Steel and will be taking no further action at this time.

The Commission is also investigating whether Timber King Limited, a small Mt Wellington based building supplies company, sold 500E grade steel mesh that did not comply with the standard. The Commission has tested Timber King mesh, the results of which indicate that the mesh may not comply with the standard. That investigation is ongoing and the Commission will be making no further comment at this time.

Background

Steel mesh sold in New Zealand must comply with the Australia/New Zealand standard (AS/NZ 4671:2001).

In early April, as part of an investigation into seismic steel mesh the Commission received results that showed a sample of product tested from Steel & Tube did not meet the requirements of the standard.

In response to the Commission advising Steel & Tube of this, the company voluntarily agreed not to sell SE seismic steel mesh until the mesh had been through a dual testing process and the company had test results that demonstrated compliance with the standard.

The media release relating to this can be found here.

The Commission entered into court enforceable undertakings with Euro Corporation which enabled them to start reselling their 500E grade steel mesh. The media release relating to this can be found here.

The Commission is also investigating whether Brilliance Steel Ltd sold steel mesh in breach of the Fair Trading Act. In March 2016, the Commission issued a Stop Now letter, requesting that Brilliance stop selling steel mesh until the Commission’s concerns were addressed. Brilliance complied with that request. The Commission’s investigation is ongoing. The media release relating to this can be found here.

ENDS

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