What we do
The Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income is an autonomous crown entity which works to improve the financial wellbeing of all New Zealanders throughout their lives. The outcome we seek is to increase New Zealanders' lifelong financial literacy and their financial preparedness for retirement.
Our vision, mission and values
Our vision: Financially sorted Kiwis.
Our mission: To improve the financial wellbeing of all New Zealanders throughout their lives.
Our values: We work with integrity to deliver outcomes that are visionary, credible and sustainable.
The outcomes and outputs we intend to achieve, how we will achieve them and how we will measure them are documented in our Statement of Intent and reported on in our Annual Report.
Key activities and goals
The Commission’s key activities are providing financial education and carrying out regular reviews of retirement income policy. Through these the Commission contributes to four key goals for New Zealand:
- New Zealanders are better educated and motivated to make informed financial decisions throughout their lives.
- New Zealanders have more trust in the financial services sector.
- New Zealand’s retirement income policy is stable and effective.
- The legislative framework for retirement villages is effective in protecting residents and meets societal expectations, and the sector is compliant with the Retirement Villages Act 2003.
Improving New Zealanders’ financial literacy
Promotion of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy
The Commission provides leadership and coordination of New Zealand’s National Strategy for Financial Literacy. The Commission is the secretariat for the National Strategy, and the Commissioner is a member of the Advisory Group which reports to the Minister of Finance every six months on progress.
A Māori framework sets the direction for improving financial literacy of Māori while a Pacific framework sets the direction for improving financial literacy of Pacific people in New Zealand.
For further details, see National Strategy for Financial Literacy.
Collaboration with stakeholders
We collaborate with a network of national and international financial literacy stakeholders.
Biennial financial literacy summits
Every two years we host and coordinate a financial literacy summit which brings together practitioners and researchers from New Zealand and overseas.
For details about the next summit in June 2013, see financial literacy summits.
We launched New Zealand's first annual Money Week in September 2012 as a focal point for public-facing activities by the various groups that make up this country’s financial literacy movement. The week-long series of financial education events and activities is designed to raise awareness of how people can better manage their money and get help as they do that.
Find out more at the Money Week website.
Community of Practice
We host and coordinate financial literacy Community of Practice meetings.
Financial literacy web presence
The Commission’s website is the home of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy. It provides news about national and international financial literacy programmes, projects, research, events, education and training. It enables researchers and practitioners to share what they are doing and what they learn.
On the international stage, the Retirement Commissioner represents New Zealand at the OECD International Network on Financial Education, at APEC financial literacy expert working groups and conferences, and presents at other international events on New Zealand’s initiatives in financial education.
For further details about the Commission’s international financial literacy role, see international financial literacy initiatives.
Sorted – Free independent financial information and resources
Our Sorted programme of work encourages New Zealanders to get their money matters sorted. Sorted’s flagship product is its internationally recognised website which features free, independent and impartial information and calculators for all Kiwis to use. There are free booklets as well as seminars for use by organisations and community groups. Sorted has a long-term marketing programme, ably assisted by the Sorted mouse which plays an important role as a friendly, motivating guide.
Financial education research and resources
We conduct research and evaluation and develop frameworks to inform good practice in financial education. Our research includes surveys of financial knowledge and behaviour. For further details, see Current projects.
We have developed teaching resources for unit standards and provide a list of approved providers of financial education programmes.
For further details, see financial education resources.
Reviewing retirement income policy
Retirement income policy three-yearly reviews
The Retirement Commissioner is required by the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 to review the retirement income policies being implemented by government and to report to the Minister of Commerce every three years. The reviews include consultation, research and analysis, and culminate in a comprehensive report.
For further details, see retirement income policy reviews.
Each year we offer scholarships for research at Masters and Doctorate level in topics that will obtain new research findings that contribute to the formulation of retirement income policy and improve our understanding of retirement income issues.
For further details, see scholarships.
Our retirement villages’ role
The Retirement Commissioner has advisory, monitoring, education, and appointment of disputes panel functions under the Retirement Villages Act 2003. The education and general information responsibility is delegated to the Department of Building and Housing. Except for our retirement villages' monitoring and code of practice advisory functions, the advice responsibility is also delegated to the Department of Building and Housing.
The Retirement Commissioner is responsible for monitoring the effects of retirement villages legislation and consulting stakeholders on any proposed variations to the Code of Practice 2008.
The Commissioner provides advice and makes recommendations to the Minister for Building and Construction (who is the responsible Minister for the Retirement Villages Act 2003).
For further details, see retirement villages.
Administering the retirement villages disputes process
The Retirement Commissioner is responsible for administering the retirement villages disputes process and approving appointments to disputes panels as vacancies arise.
Who we report to
We are responsible to two Ministers: the Minister of Commerce and the Minister for Building and Construction who is the responsible Minister for the Retirement Villages Act 2003.
Our work is also of interest to other Ministers. We keep the Minister for Social Development and Employment (the responsible Minister for the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001) informed about our work in retirement income research and monitoring, and the Minister of Education informed about our work in schools and tertiary institutions. Through the Commission, the advisory committee for the National Strategy for Financial Literacy reports twice a year to the Minister of Finance.
Who we work with
As well as working closely with several Ministers and Members of Parliament, we partner with many organisations and groups to work towards our shared goals for New Zealand. Our stakeholders include:
- Government agencies
- International organisations
- Finance sector
- Education sector
- Workplace groups and organisations
- Community groups and organisations
- Research community