A high court in Wellington heard today defamation proceedings against the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA), which recently merged with the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA) to form the Trans-Tasmanian body Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

The court case is brought by CPA Australia that alleged NZICA "embarked on a deliberated an aggressive campaign" to belittle CPA Australia’s professional qualification, the lawyer for the plaintiff argued, as reported by New Zealand’s National Business Review.

The facts date back to October 2012 when New Zealand’s regulators allow CPA Australia members to carry out audit work.

At that time NZICA published an advertisement in national media expressing that in accounting there’s best practice and then there’s second-best practice, a reason why top management only hire NZICA members.

Previously in 2011 a flyer published by NZICA allegedly diminishing the salary expectations, training and international alliances of the Australian professional body, which according to CPA Australia’s lawyer violated the Fair Trading Act.

"It’s not cricket," CPA Australia’s lawyer said, it "targeted at causing damage [and] has had significant adverse consequences".

The National Business Review reported that the hearing continues on 8 July with the defendant’s statement and on 13 July when the New Zealander market regulator will give evidence.

CPA Australia seeks damages worth $50,000 and other relief granted by the court.

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