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Consumers in E-Commerce Budget Package

Consumer Affairs Minister Phillida Bunkle today announced part of a comprehensive e-commerce package to be unveiled in next week's Budget.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has been allocated an extra $400,000 to specifically address consumers issues in electronic commerce. Spread over four years, the funding will ensure consumers are represented in this growing area of commerce, Ms Bunkle told a group of Auckland businesses today.

"This government recognises the importance of electronic business and our commitment in this area will be revealed in further detail next week. This government also recognises the importance of keeping consumer issues at the forefront of policy-making decisions in e-commerce.

"The funding will create a specialist position for someone to work specifically with government agencies, business and community sectors to ensure consumer issues are properly represented in government policy related to e commerce development."

Part of the work already being done in this area is a proposed code of conduct for e-traders. The proposal, released in March this year, would draw on already developed OECD guidelines, and mirrored a code recently announced in Australia. A form of international uniformity in code principles meant New Zealand consumers would have protection more consistent with other countries.

"I have said before that I want to make e-shopping safe for consumers. I am determined that consumers should be given appropriate protection whether they are shopping in traditional bricks and mortar or clicks and mortar.

"Obviously this means that action in New Zealand needs to be consistent with and support international developments . . . the budget funding I alluded to earlier will go towards ensuring this happens."

Ms Bunkle urged the business representatives to work with government to instil consumer confidence in electronic trading.


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