Buzz from the Beehive
It’s the announcement we saw coming when Newshub revealed the Government was poised to announce a major change to banking, “which experts say will slash their profits”.
This news was broadcast as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was adding her voice to the populist chorus of disapproval about those profits.
It so happened the government was working on a concept called “open banking”, whereby customers can move their bank accounts, direct debits and what-have-you between banks.
Simplicity CEO Sam Stubbs said this data sharing is common overseas, encourages competition and brings bank profits down. Whether crimping bank profits should be encouraged is open to question, but hey – the government has been taking a battering in political polls and most people reckon bankers are bastards.
“Newshub can reveal the Government has the solution ready to go. While it didn’t have any announcements on Tuesday, a Government source said there could be one as soon as this week.”
“This has been part of a wider piece of work on consumer data rights. It’s already been consulted on, and while all four major banks declined to be interviewed by Newshub on Tuesday, we understand they’re pretty well ready to go.”
The Newshub report showed Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark looking awfully smug, no doubt because he was working on the announcement we found on the Beehive website today which says:
Govt moves to introduce open banking to give customers a better deal
This is accompanied by other posts which tell us Clark’s hard-working ministerial colleagues have been-
Jockeying the NZ-UK Free Trade Agreement down the legislative track
Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor (who is having a busy day) said the benefits of New Zealand’s free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Kingdom are a step closer with the passing of two Bills.
Immediately on the agreement’s entry into force, 99.5 per cent of New Zealand’s current trade will be able to enter the UK duty free.
At full implementation, the deal is estimated to boost New Zealand’s GDP by up to $1 billion, with New Zealand exports to the UK estimated to grow by over 50 per cent.
The United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill and the Apple Transitional Export Quota Bill can be read here. Further information on the NZ-UK FTA is available here.
Rejoicing in New Zealand being ranked first in the Sustainable Trade Index
Yes, another statement from Damien O’Connor. He was enthused by news that the Sustainable Trade Index, launched in Singapore overnight by the Hinrich Foundation and the International Institute for Management Development, ranks New Zealand first of 30 economies that undertake international trade in a manner that supports long-term global sustainable development.
The Index assesses three core pillars – economic growth, environmental protection and societal development.
“Our standard of living depends on our ability to trade and that in turn depends on adapting to changing markets. This ranking is a strong validation of our approach and goes to the heart of our global brand.”
The Index analyses 70 data points grouped into Economic, Environmental, and Societal Pillars across 30 economies including all members of APEC and the CPTPP.
“Both the trade environment and consumer demands are changing in a world that’s challenged by food security and climate change. Our investments in producing food and fibre with low emissions and high sustainability, for instance, keep us on the right trajectory,” Damien O’Connor said.
The 2022 Sustainable Trade Index can be found at: Sustainable Trade Index 2022 | Hinrich Foundation
O’Connor didn’t mention the wisdom of handicapping food producers to combat climate change in this country, which is tops for sustainability, thereby obliging overseas customers to buy more of their food requirements from less sustainable traders …
Packing their bags to attend EAS, APEC leaders’ meetings
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will travel to Cambodia to attend the annual East Asia Summit (EAS), ahead of representing New Zealand at APEC Economic Leaders Week in Thailand.
She will depart on Saturday for Phnom Penh, Cambodia for the EAS, undertake bilateral meetings with leaders, and attend related Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) events.
After the East Asia Summit in Cambodia and before travelling to APEC, Prime Minister Ardern, accompanied by Trade Minister Damien O’Connor, will use their time in the region to lead a business delegation to Viet Nam, visiting both Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The PM will be travelling on a NZDF flight and will return to New Zealand on Sunday 20 November.
Announcing a new Ambassador to Egypt
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced the appointment of Amy Laurenson as New Zealand’s next ambassador to Cairo, Egypt.
Ms Laurenson has most recently the Chief of Staff for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has also served as the manager of the ministry’s Antarctic and Southern Ocean Unit and as the New Zealand Commissioner of the International Whaling Commission.
Ms Laurenson takes up her position in the New Year.
Reappointing the chair of the Charities Registration Board chair reappointed
The Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, has announced the reappointment of Gwendoline Keel as chair of the Charities Registration Board Te Rātā Atawhai.
The board makes decisions on the registration and deregistration of charities.
First appointed to the board in December 2019 and promoted to chair in September 2021, Ms Keel’s new term of office is from 7 November 2022 to 6 November 2025.
Addressing the Ministry of Justice Operations, Service and Delivery Leader’s Forum
Courts Minister Aupito William Sio acknowledged the work of the Operations and Service Delivery team, within the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for the delivery of most of the Ministry’s customer-facing, frontline services.
It you want to get to grips with Sio’s grasp of his portfolio and the issues he is addressing – just click on the headline above and you can read what he had to say.
Point of Order focused on the fiscal side of things –
- Because of COVID-induced pressures, just over $76 million from recent Budgets has provided additional judicial resources;
- Operating funding of $28.5 million over four years and $1.6 million of capital funding aims to ensure families receive coroners’ findings sooner and reduce the coronial caseload;
- $45.7 million was budgeted this year for a whole-of-Government support programme for victims of crime;
- Budget 2022 provided a further investment of $59.5m over four years to fund the services that support participation in the justice system, enabling growth in the use of specialist court services from interpreters and communication assistance, to medical, cultural, psychiatric, and psychological reports together with various court-appointed lawyers.
- Court security received a boost with an additional $22.8m over four years to provide increased staffing, support, training and supervision.
- Something called the Criminal Process Improvement Programme received $11.1m across the Justice Sector over four years in Budget 2022.
- A new model for the District Court – Te Ao Mārama (which stems from a Te Ao Māori worldview and means ‘the world of light’, or moving from the dark to the enlightened world) is being funded up to $47.5 million over four years.
Point of Order was fascinated by the idea of moving the courts out of the dark, because of the implications for the concept of blind justice.
This programme (entrenching the Ardern government’s contentious interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi)
“…will be implemented in a spirit of partnership with iwi and local communities, with support from the Ministry of Justice and cross-sector agencies.”
“We are taking the opportunity to re-design court environments through our Innovative Courthouse programme, to better suit the needs of our communities, partner with iwi and integrate with the broader justice sector.”
Ministry/Iwi partnerships will be a feature of all new courthouse and major redevelopment projects.
And then there’s the deliverance of the open banking initiative foreshadowed by Newshub…
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark, announcing moves to introduce open banking, recalled that the Government agreed in July to establish a consumer data right framework (CDR) which would require data holders such as banks to ensure New Zealanders can gain access to a wider range of products and services.
Banks will be the first sector to implement the mechanism.
Open banking ensures banks must share customer information if they request it, making it easier for New Zealanders to compare mortgage rates, apply for loans and switch banks, Clark explained.
“Under open banking if somebody wanted to re-fix their mortgage at a lower interest rate, they could ask their bank to securely share transaction information, with a competitor. They could also instruct their bank to share specific data with a financial adviser of their choice– meaning more tailored and timely advice.
“The businesses and services wishing to receive this data would have to meet a number of safeguards to ensure the information could be handled safely and securely.”
The key point is that open banking allows customers to shop around for better deals.
This will oblige banks to work harder to retain their customers, leading to savings for consumers.
We can’t wait to see what happens to bank profits.