A new information programme has been launched to educate New Zealand businesses and consumers about their rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean says.
“The highest volume of calls received by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) and partner agencies relate to the Consumer Guarantees Act, which is a good indication people know about the Act,” Ms Dean says.
“The programme’s website www.consumerprotection.govt.nz is a great resource for information about the Consumer Guarantees Act.
“Using everyday scenarios, the programme focuses on raising awareness amongst businesses and consumers of their rights and responsibilities under the Act. Those rights and responsibilities include that all products and services should be of acceptable quality, fit for purpose, and carried out with reasonable skill, in a reasonable timeframe.
“If that’s not the case, the consumer may be entitled to a repair, replacement or refund,” Ms Dean says.
The programme is being co-ordinated by MBIE’s business and consumer protection teams, as well as the Commerce Commission, Commission for Financial Capability, Citizens Advice Bureau, Consumer NZ, Community Law Centres o Aotearoa, Netsafe, Trade Me and Retail NZ.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean has today announced the appointment of Elizabeth Longworth to the Financial Markets Authority.
“I am pleased to confirm Ms Longworth’s appointment to the FMA for a term of three years,” Ms Dean says.
“Ms Longworth brings to the FMA strong international policy and regulatory experience, as well as valuable governance and legal experience.
“I would like to acknowledge and thank outgoing board member Shelley Cave. Ms Cave has been a member since 2011 and has provided invaluable legal and regulatory expertise to the Board,” Ms Dean says.
The Financial Markets Authority is New Zealand’s financial market regulator. Its main objective is to promote and facilitate the development of fair, efficient, and transparent financial markets.
Background on Elizabeth Longworth
Elizabeth is a lawyer with over 20 years legal experience, including being Inhouse Counsel at the Reserve Bank between 1987-88, and a sector director at Industry New Zealand, (now New Zealand Trade and Enterprise) between 2001-03.
Since 2003 Elizabeth has held a number of senior leadership positions in the United Nations including executive director, UNESCO (United Nations Organisation for Education, Culture, Sciences and Communication), Paris.
From 2012-14 Elizabeth was the director of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Geneva
Elizabeth has held a range of governance roles, including chair of the interagency United Nations High Level Programme Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience; member of the International Olympic Committee Commission on Education and Culture; chair of the International Experts Committee that produced the UN Recommendation on Access to Cyberspace; independent chair of the ESR Ethics Committee and Telecommunications Number Administration Body.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean has announced the reappointment of Roger Wallis to the Takeovers Panel for a twelve month term.
“I am pleased Mr Wallis will continue to share his expertise for another twelve months, ensuring the Panel continues to benefit from his practical experience in takeovers and securities regulation,” Ms Dean says.
“Mr Wallis is a partner at Chapman Tripp and focuses on corporate and securities law. He is the former chair of the NZX Legal and Advisory Board and currently chairs the board of Chapman Tripp,” Ms Dean says.
The Takeovers Panel was established under the Takeovers Act 1993. It is responsible for carrying out enforcement functions under the Act, administering the Takeovers Code and making recommendations to the Minister for changes to takeovers law.
Roger Wallis has been a partner at Chapman Tripp since 2000. He is a member of the Listed Companies Association and the New Zealand Institute of Directors.
Mr Wallis advises on business reorganisations, public offers, corporate takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and shareholder agreements, regulatory compliance and general corporate law issues.
He is consistently ranked as a leading lawyer by Chambers Global and as a notable practitioner by Chambers Asia-Pacific. He also won the 2014, 2012, 2011 and 2010 International Law Office General Corporate Client Choice Award. Mr Wallis is ranked as a leading lawyer by IFLR1000 2016 and Chambers Asia Pacific 2016, and is recommended by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016.
Further information on the Takeovers Panel can be found at www.takeovers.govt.nz
Listed companies and other financial markets businesses will now have alternative options for sending annual reports, saving them money and time, says Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean.
“Cabinet has agreed to changes to the Financial Markets Conduct Regulations 2014 which will allow ‘FMC reporting entities’ to reduce the number of annual reports they send,” Ms Dean says.
“This will result in time and cost savings, and a reduction in the amount of paper required.
“Currently companies are required to send to every shareholder a hardcopy of their annual report or a notice asking if the shareholder would like to receive a copy.
“Under the new process they can instead make their annual report publicly available online, after asking shareholders how they would like to receive the reports.
“Those shareholders who would like to receive printed annual reports can still receive one free of charge.
“My fellow MP Matt Doocey introduced a Member’s Bill on this matter late in 2016, noting that digital communication is now the primary means by which investors obtain information on listed companies. Many of the proposals in Mr Doocey’s Bill have now been adopted.
“I Intend to have regulations in place later this year.”
A copy of the Cabinet paper outlining the proposed changes is available at the MBIE website http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/business/business-law/financial-markets-conduct-act/regulations
Associate Minister of Local Government Jacqui Dean has announced the appointment of Peter Winder as Crown Manager to support the Kaipara District Council.
Mr Winder will begin his appointment from 20 June and will provide direction to the Council on a range of historic legal cases. This will enable the Council to focus on its day-to-day work without the distractions of managing these historic legal cases.
“Mr Winder is a good candidate for the Crown Manager, given his extensive experience as a local government leader and his previous work with the Council,” Ms Dean says.
“Mr Winder brings in-depth knowledge of the local government sector and, being a previous Commissioner and Crown Manager, understands the Kaipara District and its stakeholders.
“Mr Winder has been appointed to this role until the 2019 Local Government election but the Government will review the need for this appointment in June 2018.
“The Kaipara District Council has made good progress and I see Crown support as a temporary measure. I wish to see the Council use this period when Crown support is in place to strengthen its corporate and legal capacity,” Ms Dean says.
Small Business Minister Jacqui Dean is looking forward to meeting with Chinese owned small businesses when the Small Business Roadshow travels to Auckland on 15 June.
“The Small Business Roadshow has been travelling New Zealand, connecting small businesses with government services,” Ms Dean says.
“There are a lot of government services that businesses can tap into and sometimes they are hard to navigate. Our aim is to increase understanding of what is available and give small businesses every opportunity to thrive and grow.
“We have had great feedback on how useful these events have been and we are delighted to bring them to the Chinese business community in Auckland.
“Co-hosting the event with me will be Member of Parliament Dr Jian Yang. Dr Yang is a tireless advocate for Chinese owned businesses and I am delighted to have his help at this event.”
As well as enjoying a wide range of speakers from across government, attendees will be able to talk one-on-one with officials and network with other businesses in their community.
“It is about helping small businesses grow and thrive, so whether they are wanting to find help to grow their business or worried about meeting health and safety legislation, tax or ACC obligations, they have someone they can talk to directly,” Ms Dean says.
Date: 15 June
Location: Ellerslie Convention Centre, 80 Ascot Ave Remuera
The Government has today released its response to the Retirement Commissioner’s review on retirement income policies, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean says.
“Earlier this year the Government announced key changes to superannuation settings which are in line with the Commissioner’s recommendation,” Ms Dean says.
“The review also addressed other key areas including KiwiSaver settings, the ageing workforce, and assistance to vulnerable groups in retirement.
“We have already taken action on some of these recommendations. Of particular note is that from 2018 all KiwiSaver providers must disclose the total fees they charge their investors in dollars.
“Following these improvements I have decided that KiwiSaver annual statements will now also include projected retirement savings and income figures.
“We want New Zealanders to be able to ‘project forward’ and understand how their current KiwiSaver contributions are likely to translate into retirement savings. These are complicated calculations and the more we can do to assist people with these, the better.
“We are committed to raising levels of financial capability to ensure more New Zealanders have financial security in retirement. My hope is that people will have a better understanding of their retirement savings after receiving the projected figures and this will lead them to make more informed decisions to positively influence their savings.
“Several other changes to KiwiSaver settings are being progressed, which are likely to result in people being able to contribute more to their KiwiSaver accounts and have a positive impact on people’s retirement savings,” Ms Dean says.
The Government’s response and a list of all recommendations can be found here: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/business/business-law/agencies-we-monitor/commission-for-financial-capability/retirement-commissioners-review-of-retirement-income-policies.
Small Business Minister Jacqui Dean, and Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell are looking forward to meeting with Māori businesses when the Small Business Roadshow travel to Kaitaia and Whakatāne later this month.
“The Small Business Roadshow has been traveling around Aotearoa, connecting small businesses with government services,” Ms Dean says.
“There are a lot of government services out there that businesses can tap into and sometimes they’re hard to navigate. Our aim is to increase understanding of what is available and give small businesses every opportunity to thrive and grow.
“We have had some great feedback on how useful these events have been and we are delighted to bring them to Māori businesses in Northland and the Bay of Plenty,” she says.
“The Māori economy is thriving with our people and enterprises holding significant assets in our primary industries - including in farming, forestry and fisheries,” Mr Flavell says.
“However, we can’t just focus on our large enterprises. We need to pay special attention to our small businesses to ensure they have every opportunity to grow our economy and support our people.
“I’m encouraging small business owners to come along to the roadshow and find out what support services are available through the government. Our ultimate aim is to make dealing with government easier so you can spend more time doing the things that are important to you,” Mr Flavell says.
The two Māori Small Business events will be held at the following times and locations:
Date: 13 June
Location: Te Ahu (Corner of Matthews Avenue and South Road)
Date: 14 June
Location: Mataatua Marae (105 Muriwai Drive)
Today Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean issued updates to the fees section of the Responsible Lending Code.
“The Code gives lenders guidance on how to implement the new obligations set out in the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA),” Ms Dean says.
“When the Code was introduced in 2015, the courts were considering a case relating to credit contract fees. Because of this, the fees section of the Code could not deal with matters at the centre of the decision. The changes announced today reflect key decisions on credit fees made by the Supreme Court.
“The Code aims to increase protection for people taking out loans without imposing unnecessary compliance costs on lenders who already have good systems in place. It has an important role in providing lenders with guidance on how to comply with their obligations,” Ms Dean says.
The updated Code will come into effect on 6 July 2017.
For more information and to access the updated Code see https://www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/consumer-law-and-your-rights/policies/responsible-lending-code/
Small Business Minister Dean has today welcomed the release of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s 2017 Small Business factsheet.
“The factsheet brings together statistics that relate to small businesses, and provides us with an overview of how valuable they are to the New Zealand economy,” Ms Dean says.
“Businesses with fewer than 20 employees make up 97 per cent of all enterprises in New Zealand, and contribute almost $65 billion to our GDP.
“Small businesses employ 29 percent of all workers in New Zealand, and it is important that we continue to support these businesses and help them thrive.
“Other key statistics highlighted in the factsheet are that small businesses created 42 per cent of all jobs in 2015, and salaries in small businesses average $45,867 per annum.
“Currently New Zealand is rated number one in the world for ease of doing business and this is something this government is very proud of.
“Our businesses are young, with 33 per cent of small businesses having existed for less than five years. We must continue to create a supportive environment to help small businesses mature and drive our economy forward.
The fact sheet is released annually by MBIE and a copy can be found here: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/business/business-growth-agenda/sectors-reports-series/the-small-business-sector-report-and-factsheet