As part of a recent government focus on gender equality surrounding the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage, the government has announced $10M in funding aimed at improving the rate of female participation in sport and women's success in competing. The money will be put into marketing campaigns aimed at encouraging and celebrating women's participation and a fund for initiatives.
A company and its two shareholder directors have been fined $132K for breaches of employment standards, and on the stand down list for 2 years, and ordered to pay reparations totalling $30K. It was found they had lured three migrant students to work in a remote shop before grossly underpaying and exploiting the students and falsifying records to conceal the exploitation.
A partner of the major law firm Russell McVeagh has resigned after an allegations of drunken sexist conducts at a client function were substantiated. The resignation comes after a major review of the firm's culture exposed serious concerns about widespread sexism and sexual harassment. The 'RMac situation' has prompted wider questions about the place of women in NZ's legal sector.
The Minister for Food Safety has announced the government will introduce mandatory pregnancy warning safety labelling on alcohol products to reduce New Zealand's high rate of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders. The new standards will be developed by Food Standards Australia New Zealand before being returned to a forum of New Zealand and Australian state ministers for approval.
Against the backdrop of intense government and media interest in irresponsible lending, ComCom has warned a lender they have likely breached lender responsibility principles under the CCCF Act 2003. The lender was found to have lent money without being satisfied the borrower could afford repayments without suffering substantial hardship, risking penalties if prosecuted.
ComCom has released information detailing electricity lines' companies investments in disclosing technologies such as electric vehicle charging, network batteries, solar power, and smart meters. New technology is likely to significantly benefit consumers, but raises competition law concerns in ComCom's close regulation of the electricity market, low levels of competition in which has raised concerns.
Following condemnation of unscrupulous business practices, the government has announced it will introduce a total cap on interest and fees charged for consumer borrowers, introduce tougher penalties of up to $600K for loan sharks who break borrowing rules, and require door-to-door vendors selling on credit and other mobile traders be fit and proper people. The new law is expected to be in place by 2020.
The government has appointed a Commissioner at Whitireia and WelTec following the Crown's provision of $15M in urgent financial assistace to Whitireia and revelations that WelTec is operating at a significant deficit. The appointment comes as 7 of the country's polytechnics were recently revealed to be in financial distress while 10 were expected to have deficits.
As CERT NZ, the government's official cyber security advisor body, hosts its NZ Cyber Smart Week for 2018, MBIE is encouraging businesses to take action against the rising tide of cyber crime by adopting simple measures. These include practices such as unique passwords, 2 factor authentication, regularly updating software, and checking privacy settings on social media sites.
The government has announced MPI and industry groups Dairy NZ and Beef and Lamb will receive $400K to work together to help roll out compensation teams in rural localities to help farmers impacted by Mycoplasma bovis obtain compensation more easily. Farmers have found accessing relief funds challenging, with MPI overwhelmed by the still increasing spread of the disease across NZ