Goldsmith Update - August 2016
With all the focus on last week’s lowering of the official cash rate to 2 per cent and its ramifications for the housing market, not much notice was made of the Reserve Bank’s growth forecast.
It expects growth in New Zealand to accelerate from 2.5 percent this year to 3.4 percent in each of the next two years. This is a very positive outlook for our country, and something to celebrate. Although we face plenty of challenges, particularly in managing Auckland’s growing pains, we continue to do well in a fragile global economy.
The low interest rate environment, meantime, is creating challenges for savers worldwide. I took the opportunity this week to update Parliament on our proposed changes to the Financial Advisers Act, which I announced during the recess. The changes are designed to increase access to personalised advice on specific matters, such as what KiwiSaver funds are appropriate for different people. The changes will also enable the provision of personalised financial advice via online platforms. Robo-advice is emerging abroad and has the ability to provide New Zealanders with an alternative and convenient way of accessing affordable financial advice.
There are also plenty of online resources and financial advice available to help people make sensible financial decisions. The Sorted website, recently refreshed by the Commission for Financial Capability, has now been viewed more than 1.8 million times, and provides a range of online tools such as budgeting and mortgage calculators, which can help with a variety of everyday finance needs.
The Financial Markets Authority website also provides information about the risks and benefits of different types of investment products.
During the recess I visited Manuwera Intermediate School, which is part of a Manukau schools pilot programme for improving kids’ financial capability. Understanding how money works, how to budget, and how to trade, can be successfully weaved into many parts of the curriculum. The girls and boys I talked to were fully engaged. “Maths is in everything”, one girl told me with glee, as she was working out how much profit she’d make from selling an ice-block. Any school can teach financial capability and there are excellent resources available.
2016 Retirement Policy Review
The Commission for Financial Capability is undertaking the 2016 review of retirement income policy and want to speak to as many New Zealanders as possible. More than 141,000 people have viewed videos on this year’s review.
The Commission’s webpages on the review have attracted 90,000 visitors where people can have a say on each of the monthly topics. The ageing workforce has attracted the most visits to date with more than 3,300 completing the survey and making hundreds of comments about the questions.
A business panel survey of 500 business in June found that 83% did not have any strategy or policy in relation to the ageing workforce. In July the Commission asked people who should pay for their retirement and when given two votes 83% said ‘me’, while 71% said the ‘government’.
In Epsom, the long winter Parliamentary recess brought many meetings and visits, but also some great entertainment. I went along to an Epsom Girls Grammar/Auckland Grammar Chinese Extravaganza at EGGS. What followed was a couple of hours of slapstick comedy, dance, dragons, umbrellas, love stories and music, performed by a bunch of mainly, but not exclusively, Kiwis of Chinese ethnicity who were clearly having a great time.
Meantime, I’ve been concerned about news of more trouble for some Remuera Intermediate children having their bikes stolen around the Greenlane roundabout. This has been a hotspot for some time now, and it is frustrating that getting on top of these matters is proving difficult. I spoke with the school Principal about the issue and passed on the concerns to the Minister of Police, Hon Judith Collins earlier in the week.
There are specific matters in that case that need to be worked through. More broadly, National has increased the number of Police by 600 to 8907 since we being in Government and have invested heavily in technology to enable more police to get out of their offices and on to the street.
We continuously ask ourselves what more can be done to keep our streets and communities safe. My door is always open to discuss these and any other issues. Please call my office on 09 524 4930 or email me at email@example.com.
Hon Paul Goldsmith
National List MP based in Epsom
P: (09) 524 4930