The Salvation Army is calling for urgent and practical action around our debt collection and repossession laws. Too many consumers are facing unnecessary harm and harassment through debt collection, repossession and court order practices in our nation.
Today, we released a Paper titled Debt collection and repossession in Aotearoa that aims to highlight critical issues facing people who must go through debt recovery processes because of their serious problem debt issues.
“There has been a lot of good focus recently on the interest rate cap campaign” says author Ronji Tanielu. “But the proverbial ‘light needs to continue to be shone’ on other important credit contracts and financial issues such as debt collection and repossession so that they are not ignored or forgotten in these public policy discussions and developments”. The Paper includes reports from frontline Salvation Army budgeters who talk about unethical and aggressive behaviour from debt collectors and repossession agents. Mr Tanielu added, “our financial mentors talked about some debt collectors turning up unannounced to people’s homes, contacting friends and family of the debtor, making relentless phone calls, and other intimidating behaviour”.
The Salvation Army makes several recommendations, including advocating for a new, single law to govern and regulate all debt collection policy and practice in New Zealand. “Maybe there is a brave, keen Member of Parliament that is willing to take this challenge on board and advance a new debt collection law,” says Mr Tanielu.
Other recommendations include reviewing insolvency options for lower income New Zealanders, implementing a judgement-proof debtor policy for beneficiaries, and increasing the consumer voice in policy development.
The Discussion Paper can be accessed here after 6am, Monday 14 October: