The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) has been ranked number one in the world for its online capabilities by the World Trademark Review says Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean.
“We are focused as a Government on providing an environment and the tools to help kiwi businesses get ahead, and it is great to have the efforts of IPONZ recognised on the international stage,” says Ms Dean.
“Whether registering for a patent, trade mark, design or plant variety right, it is easy for New Zealand businesses and entrepreneurs to apply for intellectual property (IP) rights online.
“In today’s global marketplace, IP can be a business’s greatest asset. Protecting brands, ideas and innovations help businesses to compete and stand out from the crowd.
“IPONZ was the first IP office in the world to move to a 100 per cent online model, making it simpler and cheaper for its clients to secure IP rights and get on with doing business,” says Ms Dean.
For these rankings, World Trademark Review compared IPONZ to the top 40 trade mark offices around the world. IPONZ was praised both for its online model, and as the only office in the world to offer third party access to its Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), allowing businesses to plug into the IPONZ system directly, reducing administrative effort, and increasing their access to information from the IP registers.
“These innovations from IPONZ are part of what makes New Zealand such a great place to do business, as highlighted by New Zealand’s number one ranking in the World Bank Ease of doing business report,” says Ms Dean.
Small Business Minister Jacqui Dean has announced today she will travel throughout New Zealand in 2017 for Small Business Roadshows, starting with Kāikoura, Blenheim and Wellington.
“This is particularly important in Kāikoura, whose businesses may need added support following the devastating earthquake. Therefore we’ll be in town on 27 March to meet with businesses and help them navigate all the support that is available in the region,” says Ms Dean.
“The aim of our roadshows is to get to the regions and work with local business to navigate the support and information available to them.
“Ensuring small businesses have access to information and support they need to thrive is essential.
“Other centres to host events are Blenheim and Wellington Central on 29 and 31 March respectively. Over the coming months I will also be traveling to Cromwell, Oamaru, West Auckland, and Whanganui.
“We are also holding two roadshows specifically for Māori Business and Enterprise in Kaitaia and Whakatane as well as an Auckland event specifically to help the Chinese business community.
“Last year’s roadshows reinforced how important it is to continuously engage with small business and increase the visibility of support they can access.
“Listening to small business is vital, as small tweaks in policy can have an impact. It is important to make sure their voices are taken into account during the decision making process.
“I am looking forward to meeting with small business owners throughout New Zealand,” says Ms Dean.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean today welcomed the release of FMA guidance intended to make basic advice about KiwiSaver available to more New Zealanders.
“Some of the most important financial decisions kiwis make are joining KiwiSaver, and working out what type of fund to invest in,” says Ms Dean
“The guidance makes it clear that a lot of simple advice about KiwiSaver falls within the category of ‘class advice’ that can be provided by any person permitted to give financial advice.
“The new guidance will give confidence in the industry to provide key information and basic advice to help consumers make more-informed choices about KiwiSaver.
“As well as making it easier for people to access basic advice about KiwiSaver, the Government is also making changes to ensure people receive key information about their KiwiSaver investment through their annual statement.
“From next year all KiwiSaver providers will need to include fees in dollars in annual statements, state the total amount the investor’s fund has grown or decreased by, and a summary of the money that has gone into and out of the investor’s account over the year.
“For any other service you would expect to know the fees you’re paying – KiwiSaver investments should be no different,” says Ms Dean.
For more information on the Financial Advisers Act 2008 and to read the draft Bill see www.mbie.govt.nz/faareview
The FMA guidance document is here: https://fma.govt.nz/assets/Guidance/170309-Guidance-note-KiwiSaver-sales-and-advice.pdf
An infographic with the 5 pointers for consumers on what to consider before transferring their KiwiSaver is here: https://fma.govt.nz/assets/images/Consumer-section/170306-5-Qs-Before-Moving-Your-KiwiSaver.pdf
Knowing how to avoid common consumer pitfalls when buying a vehicle has been made simpler, with Consumer Protection’s new motor vehicle information programme launching today, says Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean.
“Buying a motor vehicle is a significant purchase. This programme will help people thinking about buying a motor vehicle avoid problems and, if things do go wrong, to know their consumer rights,” says Ms Dean.
“These include tips such as arranging a mechanical car inspection to help uncover any problems – a WOF doesn’t mean it’s mechanically sound for the future.
“People will also be advised about checking if there’s any money owing on the car, because if there is you could be at risk of it being repossessed.
“The campaign is intended to get people to go to www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/cars to learn more about their rights if things do go wrong.”
“The new online and radio Consumer Protection campaign will initially focus on helping young people looking to purchase a motor vehicle for less than $10,000.
“It pays to take the time to ensure the vehicle you are purchasing will put you on the road to success,” says Ms Dean.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean has today announced that John Kensington, a Partner with KPMG, and Michael Bradbury, a Professor of Accounting at Massey University, have been appointed as members of the External Reporting Board (XRB) for a five-year term.
“I am pleased to welcome John and Michael to the XRB. They are both outstanding additions who will bring significant knowledge and experience to the Board,” says Ms Dean.
The Minister also appointed Bill Edge, Chair of the Australian Financial Reporting Council (FRC).
“I am pleased to announce the cross-appointment of Bill Edge,” says Ms Dean.
“Mr Edge brings to the board his experience in risk management, quality control and corporate governance. His appointment revives the cross-appointment arrangement between the FRC and XRB as there has been no Australian representative on the XRB for the past several years.”
“The External Reporting Board is responsible for setting the strategy for financial reporting in New Zealand, and issuing financial reporting standards and auditing and assurance standards,” says Ms Dean.
The trans-Tasman patent attorney regime, a system for joint regulation of patent attorneys in Australia and New Zealand, is now in effect, helping to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment.
Reforms as part of the Single Economic Market agenda, agreed to by the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand in 2009, have created a single body to regulate patent attorneys in both countries.
The trans-Tasman patent attorney regime is designed to increase business confidence in the service provided by patent attorneys, to streamline processes, to minimise the cost of regulating patent attorneys in both countries, and to facilitate competition in the market for patent attorney services.
Patent attorneys in Australia and New Zealand will be on a single register. New attorneys will be registered under a single set of requirements, and will be subject to a single code of conduct and single disciplinary process.
Existing Australian and New Zealand attorneys will be automatically transferred to the new joint register.
The Professional Standards Board will continue, but will be renamed the trans-Tasman IP Attorneys Board, with an expanded membership.
Senator Arthur Sinodinos, the Australian Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, said the new regime was a logical and sensible step.
“The majority of Australian and New Zealand patent attorneys are already registered in both countries,” Senator Sinodinos said.
“Removing barriers for patent attorneys and encouraging competition are key elements that will help drive productivity, innovation and industry growth for both countries.”
The New Zealand Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Jacqui Dean said the two countries had a close relationship.
“New Zealand and Australia have a longstanding and close relationship, but this is the first time a profession will be truly regulated, in a unified way on a trans-Tasman basis”, Ms Dean said.
The necessary legislation implementing the trans-Tasman patent attorney regime will take effect in both countries on 24 February 2017.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean has released an exposure draft of the Bill that will amend the regulation of financial advice in New Zealand.
“The current regulation of financial advice is seen to be overly complex and has imposed regulatory barriers that are preventing people from receiving the advice they need,’ Ms Dean says.
“Last July the Government announced the overarching design of an amended regulatory regime for the provision of financial advice. These changes aim to improve access to high quality financial advice, and lead to informed and confident participation in financial markets.
“We’re removing unnecessary complexity and regulatory barriers. All financial advice will be required to put the client first, and will be subject to competency standards. We’re also making it easier for people by removing confusing terminology and simplifying disclosure requirements,” Ms Dean says.
“Consultation on the exposure draft allows the public and the industry to consider the practical implications of the proposals and bring any issues to light before the Bill is introduced to the House.”
“Feedback is also sought on proposals for existing financial advisers transitioning to the new regime. It is important we strike the right balance between realising the benefits of the new regime and allowing time to meet the new requirements.
“Support from consumers and the industry is a vital element of building an effective regulatory regime. I hope that this productive engagement continues during consultation on the draft Bill,” says Ms Dean.
For more information and to read the draft Bill see www.mbie.govt.nz/faareview
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean today announced a new appointment to the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal.
“I am pleased to announce the Governor-General has appointed Brett Carter as a Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal adjudicator for a five-year term, starting on 15 February 2017,” Ms Dean says.
“Mr Carter’s extensive legal background and experience in fair trading, credit and consumer laws will be particularly valuable to the Tribunal, which hears disputes between consumers and car dealers or other registered and unregistered motor vehicle traders.”
Mr Carter will primarily hear cases in Auckland and the northern North Island.
Ms Dean also acknowledged the services of Christopher Cornwell, who stepped down as a Tribunal adjudicator after more than 10 years of being in the role.
The most innovative businesses in our financial services sector are now working together to help shape the future of our economy, says Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean.
Ms Dean welcomed the nationwide launch of the New Zealand Financial Innovation and Technology Association (FinTechNZ) last night at Wellington’s Stock Exchange. FinTechNZ is a new industry body for New Zealand financial technology firms.
“I congratulate the New Zealand Technology Industry Association and the other industry leaders for their foresight and getting behind FinTechNZ,” Ms Dean says.
“There have been huge changes in this industry over the past decade; innovations which have opened new markets, new practices and new products.
“From cloud-based accounting systems, to app-based mobile payments systems, financial technology firms are transforming the way we do business and use money. The tyranny of distance has no influence over many businesses due to innovations such as financial technology.
“The innovators and game changers in the industry have come together over the last year to create a unified voice that will help pitch New Zealand businesses to the rest of the world and further boost this growing and exciting industry.
“Government has a general strategy for encouraging innovation and high-tech business, and there is no hesitation to join this new community as a Founding Member and be actively involved in the Core Working Group that has brought us to the launch of a national approach.
“I wish FinTechNZ all the best and looking forward to promoting the New Zealand Financial Technology sector to the world,” says Ms Dean.
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said it was great new to see that Otago has enjoyed good water quality so far this summer.
“I am delighted that our waterways are generally healthy with Otago Regional Council seasonal recreational water quality testing showing almost all are safe for swimming.
“This is a wonderful achievement and shows that the message about water quality and the maintaining of standards is getting through.
“These water quality statistics are the kind of results that communities around the region have been working towards for some time.
“It shows that we can effectively manage development, while still protecting our environment and maintaining water quality.
“This is the kind of message that the Government has been promoting over some time, working with regional councils like Otago, to establish water quality plans that will safeguard our lakes and rivers into the future.”
Mrs Dean said she acknowledged there was still much work to be done.
“These results are promising, but there’s no room for complacency. Water quality is an issue that will demand our attention for many more years to come.”