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Swift decisive action needed post-summit

Carol BEAUMONT
Consumer Affairs Spokesperson
11 August 2011

Swift decisive action needed post-summit

Today’s Finance Summit held in Auckland was a welcome opportunity to once again put the immense harm caused by loan sharks in the spotlight, says Labour’s spokesperson for Consumer Affairs Carol Beaumont.

“This summit is the result of increasing community concern over the last couple of years, including that generated by the Stop Loan Sharks campaign I launched at the beginning of 2010 which sought to clamp down on predatory lenders,” Carol Beaumont said.

“One of the most important points repeatedly made at today’s summit was that increasing poverty is a fundamental driver in the proliferation of loan sharking afflicting our most vulnerable families. People are struggling to buy food, pay their power bills and put petrol in their cars, let alone meet unexpected costs such as funeral fees or car repairs.

“Today’s summit saw a solid consensus around a range of ideas such as the importance of responsible lending provisions, compliance with registration requirements and the enforcement of current law. There was a recognition that a broad based approach to tackling the issue is required.

“Today’s summit forges a clear path for the Government. There is no doubt that change to current law is necessary to stop predatory lenders in their tracks,” Carol Beaumont said. “But there is also a role for non-legislative change, for example, greater support for social lending initiatives and improving financial literacy.

“Labour is willing to work with the government-- now that it has finally turned its attention to this destructive menace in our communities. But after three summits in five years, and a delayed review of the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act, decisive action must be taken now. This issue cannot be side-lined again.

“I will continue to fight against predatory lending in our most vulnerable communities and urge the government to use today’s community mandate to take swift decisive action,” Carol Beaumont said.

ENDS

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