[Sitting date: 10 May 2012. Volume:679;Page:2174. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA (National—Maungakiekie) to the
Minister of Consumer Affairs: What progress is the Government making on tougher loan-shark laws?
Hon SIMON BRIDGES (Minister of Consumer Affairs)
: Really strong progress. I am glad that the member asked. I have attended a series—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I apologise to the Minister. If the Minister would just sit down for a moment. I do want to hear this answer. I am sure it is a very important answer.
Hon SIMON BRIDGES: I know this is a matter of high public interest that the members are interested in. I have attended a series of public meetings in Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch in the last fortnight and I intend to also attend one with the Pacific Island community in Auckland later next week on the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Amendment Bill. So far there has been solid support for the comprehensive package this Government has put together and is currently consulting on to crack down on loan sharks and give borrowers greater protection. There are many credit companies that are transparent and responsible, but there are others that are not. The progress being made on this issue should signal to those unscrupulous lenders that their days are numbered.
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga: What are the next steps for the draft law and proposals?
Hon SIMON BRIDGES: This draft law represents the biggest change to consumer credit legislation in a decade, and it is important to get the details right. I have extended the consultation time frame to give people more chance to have their say. Consultation now closes on 25 May, and I urge anyone interested—clearly there is a lot of interest—to make a submission to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. Can I personally thank the member who has asked the question, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, for his leadership in this area and his heartfelt work protecting the vulnerable against loan sharks.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. In all that noise from the National Party backbench, I lost the name of the person who was being thanked.
Mr SPEAKER: Order!
Hon Tariana Turia: Will the Minister be working closely with the Māori Party on curbing loan sharking parasites, given the Māori Party’s continued commitment to reducing social hazards, including gambling, tobacco, alcohol, and of course loan sharks?
Hon SIMON BRIDGES: It is my understanding that the Māori Party has been at the forefront on this issue for some time. It would be a pleasure and a privilege to work more with the Māori Party on this issue, given its track record when it comes to significant social issues and bringing them to the fore in this Parliament.