Labour will take a tough stance on loan sharks and make sure that the Commerce Commission is properly resourced to protect Kiwi consumers, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson Michael Wood.
“People on low incomes must be protected from these unscrupulous operators who are preying on our most vulnerable.
“Today Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern visited the Mangere Budgeting Service and saw at first hand the damage caused by loan sharks, who are digging bigger holes of debt for Kiwis.
“We will make sure that the Commerce Commission will investigate and pursue loan sharks who breach their obligations to consumers. We know that the current prosecutions are just the tip of the iceberg.
“Labour has already campaigned for tough laws on mobile loan truck shops and we supported a cap on interest rates. The Government refused to even consider interest rate caps meaning that loan sharks can still charge whatever interest rate they like.
“In one case, a car purchased for $2,500 ended up costing the borrowers $23,000.
“The Government’s Responsible Lending Code was full of holes before it was passed in 2015 and in Government we will conduct a full review of the current law. We reserve the right to cap interest rates if there is evidence that this step is needed to protect vulnerable consumers.
“Labour will also raise financial literacy with our school leavers’ toolkit, which will make sure young people don’t get involved with these appalling sharks.
“We will fix this mess. Most New Zealanders consider this just plain common-sense but National is still clinging to policies that are hurting New Zealanders,” says Michael Wood.