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
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean today announced the reappointment of Tracey Berry as a member of the Financial Advisers Disciplinary Committee for a term of five years.
“Ms Berry was appointed to the disciplinary committee in December 2010. Ms Berry brings to the role more than 20 years’ experience in financial services, specialising in wealth management, regulatory affairs, compliance and distribution,” Ms Dean says.
“I am pleased to be able to reappoint someone of Ms Berry’s calibre to this committee.
“The Committee conducts disciplinary proceedings, referred to it by the Financial Markets Authority, arising out of complaints regarding authorised financial advisers,” Ms Dean says.
Other members of the committee are: Hon Sir Bruce Robertson (Chair), Geoff Clews, Simon Hassan, Peter Houghton and David Macdonald QSO.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean today welcomed the Financial Markets Authority annual survey results which shows confidence in New Zealand’s financial markets rose nine per cent in 2016.
“Investor confidence has shown a strong increase since last year. This follows significant reforms by the Government of the investment regulatory landscape,” Ms Dean says.
“The Financial Markets Conduct Act, which came fully into force on 1 December 2016, aims to create confident and informed investors and fair, efficient and transparent financial markets.
“The Financial Markets Conduct Act requires those managing KiwiSaver and superannuation schemes to be licensed by the Financial Markets Authority and comply with new disclosure and governance requirements.
“The Government is committed to increasing levels of financial capability amongst New Zealanders. This includes by providing additional funding to the Commission for Financial Capability to support is work in this area.
“Building the financial capability of New Zealanders increases investment and grows the economy,” Ms Dean says.
For more information on the Financial Markets Conduct Act see http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/business/business-law/financial-markets-conduct-act
Budget 2017 is investing $10.2 million of operating funding over the next four years for initiatives to improve the financial capability of young New Zealanders, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean says.
“This additional funding confirms our commitment to helping young New Zealanders to better manage their finances, as was signalled in the 2015 Government statement on building financial capability,” Ms Dean says.
The extra funding will allow the Commission for Financial Capability to scale-up its Sorted Schools programme and its community-based programmes.
“Once fully operational, over 90,000 Kiwi children a year will receive financial education in primary and secondary schools throughout New Zealand,” Ms Dean says.
“Resources and training will be made universally available to teachers and schools that will assist to integrate financial education into the curriculum.
“Teaching these concepts to our kids before they enter the workforce empowers them to make smart financial decisions and effectively engage with financial products.
“This funding will also allow additional community-based financial capability programmes to be delivered. These will focus on vulnerable communities that demonstrate lower levels of financial capability, or have limited access to independent financial information,” Ms Dean says.
“Building financial capability in New Zealand will improve the wellbeing of families, reduce hardship, increase investment and grow the economy.”
A bill that introduces a new public interest test into the anti-dumping regime has passed its final reading, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean announced today.
“The public interest test will weigh up the benefits of at-the-border duties on dumped products and subsidised goods, which are aimed at protecting domestic manufacturers, against the wider benefits to the public of cheaper goods in important industries like new home construction,” Ms Dean says.
“Goods are considered dumped if the export price to New Zealand is less than the price they are sold for in their home market. A duty can be imposed on those unfairly priced goods if they are harming competing New Zealand manufacturers.
“Countervailing duties can also be imposed when New Zealand manufacturers are being harmed by competing imports that have been subsidised by a foreign government.
“By introducing a public interest test, the Government can now balance the benefits to downstream industries and consumers of lower prices, more choice, and greater availability and quality of goods, against the impact on competing domestic industries.
“We need to ensure that the public interest is taken into account, helping consumers get best value for money while ensuring our domestic manufacturers have the right protection from unfair trading practices.”
The Bill also extends the suspension of anti-dumping duties on residential building materials until 30 June 2019.
“The suspension of anti-dumping duties removes a cost on the importation of building materials, which will promote competition in the residential construction sector and ultimately lower the cost of building new homes,” Ms Dean says.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean today released the second and final part of the insolvency law review by the Insolvency Working Group.
“The Insolvency Working Group was established in November 2015 to examine aspects of corporate insolvency law, and presented its first report in July 2016,” Ms Dean says.
“The working groups’ second report focuses on two important areas, voidable transactions and whether the procedures for dealing with the liquidation of Ponzi schemes can be improved.
“The working group recommends a number of changes to the voidable transaction regime that it believes would better balance the competing interests of individual creditors and all creditors.
“I am releasing this report for consultation so I can hear from all interested parties whether the Insolvency Working Group’s recommendations would strike the right balance between these two important but conflicting objectives,” Ms Dean says.
The working group also recommends providing preferential status to gift card and voucher holders in an insolvency event.
One of the recommendations of the Insolvency Working Group’s first report was to introduce a Director Identification Number (DIN).
“I am also releasing a discussion document on DINs today for public consultation. I am interested in hearing whether people think a DIN should be introduced,” says Ms Dean.
Consultation on both the Insolvency Working Groups recommendations and the Director Identification Numbers will run until 23 June 2017.
You can read the full Working Groups report, the DIN discussion documents and make submissions here: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/business/business-law/insolvency-law-working-group/report-no-2-voidable-transactions-ponzi-schemes-other-corporate-insolvency-matters
A survey asking what New Zealanders know about their consumer rights shows 96 per cent of Kiwis are aware that laws exist to protect consumer rights, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean says.
“The National Consumer Survey, run by Consumer Protection, aims to gain a better understanding of what consumers know about their rights when they’ve experienced issues, and how they’ve tried to resolve those issues,” Ms Dean says.
“The good news is that the survey showed 96 per cent of Kiwis were aware that laws exist to protect consumer rights when purchasing goods and services.
“However, when asked about how much they knew about their rights, only eight per cent reported knowing ‘a lot’ and 44 per cent reported knowing ‘a moderate amount’. This leaves many consumers who would benefit from brushing up on consumer knowledge.
“The survey results illustrate how Kiwis respond to consumer problems that arise, with 68 per cent choosing to take action to resolve their most recent issue.
“Consumers should feel empowered to seek a resolution when their rights are not met. This means being able to recognise when there has been a problem and asking businesses to make things right. There are remedies available and consumers need to know how to use them.
“For those who want to brush up on their knowledge, Consumer Protection’s website has a wealth of information to help consumers,” Ms Dean says.
The full National Consumer Survey was completed by more than 1,200 New Zealanders in late 2016 and can be accessed at: www.consumerprotection.govt.nz