Source: Asthma and Respiratory Foundation
08 July 2021 – The Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua launched the Relationship Charter in 2018 as a step towards achieving its aspiration to build the best possible 'regulated-regulated' relationships.
The Charter commits the Reserve Bank and the financial sector to a mutual understanding of appropriate conduct and culture and is underpinned by the principle of 'te hunga tiaki' – the combined stewardship of an efficient system for the benefit of all.
The Bank have committed to regular reviews of our own performance against the Charter's values. We undertook our first survey in April 2020 and repeated the exercise in April 2021, commissioning Buzz Channel once again. The summary of the report is now available to read.
We had a good response to the survey this year, with 97 responses from banks and 86 from insurers.
We are pleased that the Bank's perfomance is rated significnatly higher compared to 12 months ago in terms of the overall relationship. 91% of bank participants gave a rating of 4 or 5 (out of 5) this year compared to 68% in 2020. The banks reported a significant increase in frequency of engagement with the Reserve Bank compared to last year.
This was the first year the insurance sector was surveyed and two thirds of insurer participants rated their relationship with the Reserve Bank highly (4 or 5 out of 5).
There was recognition of the Reserve Bank's performance over the last twelve months, partiularly on our response to the Covid-19 crisis and our handling of the Accellion FTA data breach.
Participants also provided a significant amount of constructive feedback which provides the Reserve Bank with an opportunity to identify possible improvements to processes, systems and communication.
Over the next few months the Reserve Bank will continue to reflect on the industry feedback and implement changes we can make to build on the positive work to date. We are committed to openness and regular communication to support a stronger partnership between us and regulated firms.
Source: NZ Compare
The New Zealand Drug Foundation is calling for a ‘public interest’ exemption to be added to the country’s drug laws to enable quicker and easier establishment of future harm reduction initiatives that could save lives.
The Foundation’s Executive Director, Sarah Helm, made the call today during a submission in support of the Drug and Substance Checking Bill – new legislation that will permanently legalise drug checking.
“The Drug Foundation supports this world-first legislation,” says Helm. “While drug checking has been happening in other parts of the world, no other country has created dedicated legislation and regulations to enable it. We can be proud.”
In Canada, harm reduction programmes such as drug checking and supervised injecting sites were able to be introduced under a ‘public interest’ clause in the country’s existing laws. The clause allows the government to make an exemption to the country’s drug law if they deem it in the ‘public interest’.
“Our drug laws are broken and don't allow for harm reduction measures. Our two proudest and most effective drug interventions, Needle Exchange and drug checking, have both required special legislative exceptions to be made and both operated in a legal grey area beforehand,” says Helm.
“A ‘public interest’ clause in the Misuse of Drugs Act would be a simple way that we can ensure future harm reduction and potentially life-saving initiatives are able to be rolled out quickly and easily.”
“Rather than going through a lengthy legislative process each time we want to establish a new initiative, a ‘public interest’ clause would enable the Director General of Health to make the call following a scientific approval process. This would mean future initiatives, such as overdose prevention centres or the provision of safer using equipment as alternatives to injecting like pipes, would be much easier to implement.”
In their submission to the Health Select Committee, the Foundation voiced its strong support for the Drug and Substance Checking Bill and congratulated the Government for introducing legislation to clarify the legal status of drug checking – an essential harm reduction service that saves lives.
Helm says the Foundation would like to see drug checking services greatly expanded to ensure equitable access for anyone across Aotearoa who would benefit, run by a range of service providers.
“Legalising drug checking means services can be expanded to reach more people, which is crucial,” says Helm. “Current services aren’t reaching enough New Zealanders. The main drug checking services are only able to be in a maximum of three places at a time currently because we only have access to three spectrometers, the machines used to test substances.”
Helm says that currently people who are using methamphetamine, who inject drugs or who use synthetic cannabinoids are not able to access drug checking.
“More funding and proactive provision of drug checking is needed to ensure that people who are most at-risk are able to access this vital service. We want to see drug checking made available at Needle Exchanges, in community centres and in many other places.”
Helm says one of the vital components of drug-checking is the harm reduction advice given while drugs are being checked. This kind of advice isn’t generally available anywhere else, and the Foundation is calling for that to be a mandatory requirement of selected providers.
“Funding must be made available to buy more spectrometers, improve access and ensure harm reduction advice can be provided wherever drug checking takes place.”
Source: Sustainable Business Council
Source: Federated Farmers
07 July 2021 – “The Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua will be consulting extensively over the remainder of 2021 on issues key to the future of how New Zealanders pay and save, driven by its new stewardship mandate for cash and a broader currency system that supports the prosperity and wellbeing of New Zealanders,” confirmed Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby today (Weds, 7 Jul '21).
The Reserve Bank will be releasing a series of money and cash issues papers for feedback from August to November which are taking forward issues identified during Future of Cash consultations in 2019.
“We'll be considering not only what we should be doing as steward, but what a resilient and stable cash and currency system in New Zealand might look like, and how we might best respond to digital innovations in money and payments,” says Mr Hawkesby who is also the Reserve Bank's General Manager of Economics, Financial Markets and Banking.
“The first consultation will introduce and seek feedback on the broad concepts of money and cash stewardship, and outline specific topics to be covered in the rest of the series. Subsequent papers will look at the potential for a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to work alongside cash as government-backed money, issues arising from new electronic money forms including crypto assets (such as BitCoin) and stable coins (such as proposed by a Facebook-led consortium), and how the cash system might need to change to continue to meet the needs of users.
“While most of us are keen to pay electronically, we know from research we've published today, feedback, and news reports that some communities, personal and retail customers are struggling with the loss of cash and in-person banking services despite banks' efforts to help them adapt.
“Despite less New Zealanders using physical cash, the ability to use it remains widely valued because it ensures inclusion, and gives everyone autonomy and choice in the way they pay and save.
“Knowing that the money held in our bank accounts can be withdrawn in central bank money backed by the New Zealand government – currently only available through physical cash – is an unspoken promise which helps promote trust in banks and the financial system. We are concerned that this promise is being weakened through reducing access to physical cash services due to falling branch and ATM numbers.
“However, we also know that digital forms of payment are the preferred way of paying for the majority of us, and that the future will undoubtedly involve less cash. Our job is to ensure that these transitions work for all New Zealanders.
“The potential for a Central Bank Digital Currency to help address some of the downsides of reducing physical cash use and services is something we want to explore for New Zealand. A CBDC, similar to digital cash, might well be part of the solution, but we need to test our assessment of the issues and proposed approach before developing any firm proposals.
“We encourage those affected or interested in these issues to register on our website to be included in these consultations, during which we'll be talking and travelling widely to hear from all the interests involved including diverse communities and customer types, along with cash, banking and fintech industries,” says Mr Hawkesby.
Research reports highlight cash use and service changes, and how we value cash
The Reserve Bank has published today a series of research reports prepared over the past six months looking at trends in cash and payments preferences and services, including the apparent impact of COVID-19, and why and how New Zealanders still value cash despite preferring electronic payments.
Cash and payments data update: COVID-19 special
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the decline in transactional cash use, compounded by accelerating reductions in banks' branch and cash services, and despite New Zealanders' rush to cash in March 2020.
Comparison report: Cash use surveys 2017, 2019, 2020
Cash use survey 2020
The decline in cash users is reflected across a number of indicators, including the proportion of people who don't hold cash in their wallet, and the number of people who are using cash less than they were 12 months ago. Increasing numbers of New Zealanders are using electronic payment options. In 2020, the trajectory of change in responses to some questions has increased dramatically.