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Release of financial reporting discussion document

15 March 2004 Media Statement
Release of discussion document

Commerce Minister Margaret Wilson says a discussion document released today will help establish who should be subject to financial reporting requirements.

The document also examines the specific needs of New Zealand companies and the users of their reports, with particular emphasis on eliminating unnecessary compliance costs, particularly for small and medium enterprises.

"The discussion document is the first part of a two-part review of the Financial Reporting Act, and forms a part of the government's efforts to strengthen corporate governance in New Zealand," Margaret Wilson says.

"This two-part review will bolster and consolidate New Zealand's financial reporting requirements, and ensure that they are appropriate to New Zealand circumstances.

"It will also guarantee that New Zealand is able to remain at the forefront of accounting practice with appropriate consideration of relevant global trends, particularly the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards.

"And it will consider what, if anything, needs to be done to New Zealand law to prevent the type of corporate scandals that have recently occurred in Europe, the United States and Australia."

Submissions close on Friday, 14 May 2004. Electronic copies of the document are available from the Ministry of Economic Development website at

http://www.med.govt.nz/buslt/bus_pol/bus_law/corporate-governance/financial-reporting/part-one/

Background information:

The discussion document, entitled Review of the Financial Reporting Act 1993 – Part I: The Financial Reporting Structure, examines the types of entity that should be required to produce financial reports.

The document firstly includes a discussion of reporting entities and the financial reporting framework, and adopts a proposal of the Accounting Standards Review Board as a basis for discussion.

It also canvasses the requirements for audit and filing of financial reports on a similar basis to reporting requirements.

Thirdly, the discussion document asks for views on the possibility of having one set of financial reporting requirements with universal application to all types of entity, not just companies.

Finally, the discussion document considers whether financial reporting standards should be applied outside the profit-seeking corporate sphere, to governmental agencies and other "public benefit" entities.

Part II of the review, expected towards the middle of the year, will include discussions of several other issues, including the institutional arrangements related to financial reporting, the enforcement regime, the application of international standards, auditor oversight and auditing standards, and the overseas companies regime.

This second part is being deferred pending the outcome of the trans-Tasman accounting standards advisory group, as recently announced by Hon Peter Costello, Australian Treasurer and Hon Dr Michael Cullen, as the issues will be dependent on any recommendations of the advisory group.

ENDS

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