The Retirement Commissioner's role was established under the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001. The Retirement Commissioner is appointed by the Minister of Commerce.
Diane Maxwell is the Retirement Commissioner and heads the Commission for Financial Capability. The Commissioner's term of office is for three years from 1 July 2016.
The previous Retirement Commissioner, Diana Crossan, was appointed in February 2003 and stepped down from the role in January 2013.
About Diane Maxwell
As Retirement Commissioner Diane leads the Commission for Financial Capability (previously the Retirement Commission). The Commissioner's goal is building the financial capability of New Zealanders of all ages, with an increased focus on low-income and vulnerable groups. The role also includes a three-yearly review of retirement income policies and a monitoring role for the Retirement Villages Sector.
Prior to becoming Retirement Commissioner in 2013 Diane was at the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) where she worked on the role of regulation post-GFC and the relationship between compliance, regulation and education. Before FMA she spent five years at Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) overseeing government relations, complaints, sustainability, events, marketing, sponsorship and media. During that time she worked on financial literacy and responsible lending, alongside privacy breaches, product development, and legislative and compliance changes.
Responsibilities of the Retirement Commissioner
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:
- Leading and coordinating of the National Strategy for Financial Capability to improve the financial capability of New Zealanders
- 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 capability role
One of the key roles of the Retirement Commissioner is to lift the financial capability of all New Zealanders aged 5 to 105. The Commission was instrumental in the development of the National Strategy for Financial Capability.
Retirement income policy review and advisory role
The Retirement 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 2013. Diane 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 Retirement Commissioner has advisory, monitoring and education functions relating to retirement villages legislation. Since the Christchurch earthquakes, the Commissioner has 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.