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Labour blasts non-binding 'debt truck' legislation

Labour says new laws introduced to crack down on lenders exploiting people with exorbitant loan contracts doesn't go far enough.

Source: 1 NEWS

New laws were introduced and came into effect on Saturday which require lenders to explain the terms of their loans fully to clients.

However, Labour Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer said the new Responsible Lending Code does nothing to regulate the "debt trucks" which travel door to door in lower socio-economic areas.

"Bizarrely, the code is non-binding," he said in a statement.

Mr Shearer said New Zealand was one of the only Western countries which did not put a limit on interest rate charges.

"This government has twice voted down legislation that would curb interest rates," he said.

"It simply does not care about the poorest in society being exploited.

"Debt trucks are a multimillion-dollar industry, taking advantage of our poorest, trawling the streets in low-income areas, selling clothes, bedding, furniture, electronics and food, at prices often many times higher than their recommended retail price.

"The truck companies claim to be offering a good service, but why aren't they in Grey Lynn, Remuera or Mt Eden?

"The Government must act to clean up consumer protections on direct selling. The only control at the moment is a council 'sales licence'."