The Retirement Commissioner's role is established under the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 and appointed by the Minister of Commerce.
Appointment of the Retirement Commissioner
The previous Retirement Commissioner, Diana Crossan, was appointed in February 2003 and stepped down from the role on 16 January 2013.
A new Retirement Commissioner is yet to be appointed. While the appointment process is underway, the Minister of Commerce has appointed Diane Maxwell to act as interim Retirement Commissioner for three months from 25 March to 30 June 2013, on secondment from the Financial Markets Authority.
The announcement of the new Commissioner will be made by the Minister of Commerce following approval from Cabinet.
Under legal mandate, the Retirement Commissioner is required to fulfil the relevant functions and requirements of the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 and certain functions under the Retirement Villages Act 2003.
The Retirement Commissioner is responsible for:
- Leadership and coordination of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy to improve the financial literacy of New Zealanders. The Commissioner is a member of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy Advisory Group which reports to the Minister of Finance on progress every six months.
- Reviewing and reporting to the Minister of Commerce every three years on the retirement income policies implemented by Government
- Monitoring the effects of retirement villages legislation, administering the retirement village disputes process and appointing members to disputes panels as vacancies arise
Financial literacy role
One of the key roles of the Retirement Commissioner is to lift the financial knowledge of all New Zealanders aged 5 to 105. The Commission was instrumental in the development of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy and the Commissioner represents the Commission on the Advisory Group.
Retirement income policy review and advisory role
The Commissioner is also responsible for providing advice to government on New Zealand's retirement income policies including undertaking a major review of policy every three years. The most recent review report was released in 2010. Diana is often quoted and interviewed by the media on current issues such as the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation.
Read more about retirement income policy reviews.
Retirement villages functions
The Commissioner has advisory, monitoring and education functions relating to retirement villages legislation. Since the Christchurch earthquakes, the Commissioner consulted stakeholders and provided advice to the Minister of Building and Construction on proposed variations to the Code of Practice 2008 to clarify operator and resident obligations in the wake of such major events.
The Commissioner's role includes administering the disputes process and appointing disputes panel members.
Read more about the Commissioner's retirement villages role.