Debt - Smart

The Debt - Smart pillar aims to ensure that people make smart use of debt. Enabling New Zealanders to take control of their debt and make it work for them, not against them.

For more information about Debt - Smart and our other pillars, please download the National Strategy document by clicking the image below.

Talk National Strategy for Financial Capability June 2015 4
Download the document for more information.

Red Flags

By spotting that budget advisors can speak out on behalf of vulnerable consumers who can’t speak up for themselves, the Commerce Commission saw the need for a new tool to help uncover dodgy lending practices. Red Flags is the result. It’s a simple tool that makes it easy for budget advisors to identify, report and support Commerce Commission investigations into unscrupulous practices. It tells them what to look out for, and what evidence to gather to make a report. A report from a budget advisor about unreasonable credit fees triggered a successful investigation into Rapid Loans, resulting in repayment of $1.4M to over 6,000 borrowers.

Red Flags means that the advisory sector is no longer just the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, and consumers can take heart that their stories help others avoid a similar situation.

For more check out the Commission’s YouTube channel.

Sorted Whānau

Sorted Whānau supports problem gamblers and their whānau to address the financial strife that results from gambling, as well as stopping the gambling itself. Using Raukura Hauora o Tainui Te Toi O Matariki (awakening) model, the programme helps people find a pathway back to wellness and long-term behaviour change.

Sorted Whānau is a partnership between CFFC, the Ministry of Health and Raukura Hauora o Tainui that has been shown by Malatest International to deliver on its promise – to decrease gambling, increase financial nous, and for these changes to persist over time.


Around 70,000 New Zealanders are grappling with $800M worth of debt each year. Helping them build the financial capability to climb out of debt are more than 200 budget and financial capability services and 1,200 financial mentors around the country. The National Building Financial Capability Trust (NBFCCT) has been formed to connect these services and set standards for the support kiwis receive at this vulnerable time. NBFCCT trains mentors, is a hub for sharing knowledge, and acts as a channel for communication between government and the budgeting sector. The NBFCCT also runs a helpline that is a first point of call for people in financial hardship. The helpline links people with their local budgeting service. NBFCCT is supported by the Ministry of Social Development.

NBFCCT Training financial mentors

NBFCCT supports financial mentors up and down the country to deliver quality financial mentoring and budgeting advice to New Zealanders who need help. With 36-hour foundation training and ongoing professional development courses, NBFCCT supports 1,200 financial mentors from 198 different organisations ranging from Salvation Army and Presbyterian Support Services, to stand alone services. Each year, around 200 new financial mentors complete NBFCCT training, which equips them with the skills to work one-on-one with individuals and families.