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Looking back on 2018 - Minister Faafoi stands out

Looking back on the year, one of the stand-out performances has been Minister Faafoi. I noticed that recently David Farrar of Kiwiblog (a staunch National Party supporter) rated Faafoi as one of the most effective ministers in parliament. Many in financial services would agree.

Officially Minister Kris Faafoi was elected as a Minister of Civil Defence, Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Associate Minister of Immigration, in the current Labour-New Zealand First coalition government. He has already demonstrated ability and was recently rewarded with the broadcasting portfolio with the recent resignation of Clare Curran MP. Minister Faafoi has delivered a competent performance in every public speech or interview I have seen. That includes more comfort in going ‘off-script’ than was shown by predecessors.

Faafoi’s relationship with the media has also been much easier, as it should be given his background as a TVNZ journalist. That background may also explain his ability to quickly come to grips with the essential details of complex policy. Another advantage is his long-term interest in the problems of people dealing with pay-day lenders and consumer finance. Although not directly related to financial advice, or insurance law reform, they are adjacent areas, and mean broad familiarity with the financial services industry. Reflecting on Faafoi’s knowledge of some of the most difficult areas in consumer finance, it is probable that the Minister understands what really bad conduct looks like. He is likely to be aware of the importance of good conduct to protect potential customers – some less able, and therefore more vulnerable than others.

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