28/8/14 – Dirty politics was put aside last night as senior politicians outlined their universal support for growing the cooperatively owned credit union and mutual building society sector in New
Zealand.

The political panel event was hosted at The Langham Hotel, Auckland, by the New Zealand Association of Credit Unions (NZACU), the national body that represents credit unions and mutual building societies, and was attended by over 150 financial services industry business people.

Facilitated by leading political and economic commentator, Bernard Hickey, the political panel featured Minister of Commerce, the Hon Craig Foss; New Zealand First Leader, the Rt Hon Winston Peters; ACT party Leader Jamie Whyte; the Hon David Parker, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, and Green Party List MP David Clendon.

The question posed to the politicians was ‘How should Government encourage the local co-op and community owned banking sector to have a stronger role in New Zealand society and the economy?’

“It was very reassuring to hear there is increased understanding and support from politicians around the importance of growing the locally owned cooperative credit union and mutual building society sector” said NZACU Chief Executive, Henry Lynch.

“The recent changes announced by the Hon Craig Foss to the Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Act 1982 were acknowledged by all parties as a positive step in the right direction to reduce cumbersome compliance constraints on our Members” Mr Lynch said.

“We believe the removal of the additional commercial trustee layer for our Members under the current Non-Bank Deposit Takers (NBDT) prudential supervision regime is the next logical step in reducing unnecessary compliance costs” said Mr Lynch.

“This issue was highlighted under the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s recent review of the NBDTsector and we eagerly await the Minister of Finance’s decision on the matter.”

Cooperatively owned and operated by their members for their members, credit unions and mutual building societies provide a wide range of financial services, like savings accounts, loans and insurance, and have a long history of helping people from all walks of life sort out their money worries and achieve better financial management.

“Credit unions and building societies provide a very important service in their local communities, and we hope the Government, however that is structured post-election, will continue to look at ways to help grow the sector.”

ENDS