Don’t Wait to Act on Loan Sharks
The government needs to take action now on loan sharks, not call another meeting, the Pacific workers’ Fono of the National Distribution Union said today.
Sio Kasipale, Fono organiser, said that low income workers in areas like South Auckland have been poorly served by inadequate protections around dodgy lenders.
“Today’s revelation that some lenders are approving loans over text message, with interest rates as high as 60 per cent, is all the evidence government needs to act now, rather than further delay a response by having a ‘summit’ on the matter,” he said.
“What is needed is a cap on interest rates charged by lenders. Other countries do this, and there is no reason why we can’t.”
“New Zealand needs to be helping people to overcome financial problems, not giving them more options to get into debt, which is what loan sharks do every day of the year in our poorest communities.”
Sio Kasipale said that the government has already had ample opportunity to clamp down on loan sharks.
“Carol Beaumont has done some excellent work on this issue to date. If the government was genuinely looking for a solution, they could have supported her bill, or included its amendments as part of a response to the 2009 review of consumer finance law.”
“Why has government waited till an election year and a front page newspaper story to finally announce they are taking action?” he asked.
The National Distribution Union represents 21,000 workers in retail, transport & logistics, wood and textiles. The Fono is made up of Pacific workers within the union.