In 2014 Good Shepherd New Zealand launched Community Finance in partnership with the Bank of New Zealand, The Salvation Army and the New Zealand Government. Good Shepherd New Zealand provides the Community Finance framework for the initiative, based on the model set up by Good Shepherd Microfinance in the Australian market. The initiative is a wonderful example of Good Shepherd working across national borders as one Good Shepherd network, drawing on each others' experience and expertise to achieve results we may not have been able to achieve working alone.
The community finance loans help borrowers with the purchase of household necessities or higher cost assets that can provide economic freedom and improve their quality of life.
The scheme aims to help customers who banks don’t normally lend to, and who are often forced to borrow from loan sharks and pay-day lenders at extortionate rates. As part of the loan process, the four partners also support borrowers in managing their finances through budgeting support and financial literacy programmes.
In July 2015, Ms Fleur Howard was appointed first Chief Executive Good Shepherd New Zealand.
In its 2016 Budget the New Zealand Government allocated $NZ4.2 million to support the Good Shepherd Community Finance initiative to provide low and no interest loans in New Zealand. The Government’s funding has allowed Community Finance to expand and has given more New Zealanders living on low incomes access to fair, safe and affordable credit.
The Good Shepherd New Zealand Microfinance team hosted a Microfinance Network Day in Wellington in September 2017 to support the wide range of different microfinance organisations across the country, and encourage the development of a New Zealand network.
This was followed by a Community Finance Day with the partners and providers of our NILS and StepUP loans; safe, fair and affordable loans for those on low incomes who might otherwise be financially excluded.
Click here for more information - http://nils.org.nz/
Click here for more information - http://stepuploan.org.nz/
Good Shepherd New Zealand has expanded its team from three to five, with Clementine Ludlow joining us as Operations Manager Microfinance from her previous role at the Commission for Financial Literacy, and Nicola Eccleton as Manager Social Inclusion, joining us from the Christchurch City Council. They join Matt Halsey, Development Manager Microfinance and Trish Pepper, Programmes Coordinator Microfinance.
Click here to meet the board and the team - http://goodshepherd.org.nz/about-us/our-people/
The Women’s Research and Policy Team (WRAP) from Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand (GSANZ) in Melbourne have been conducting a research project 'Exploring Economic Abuse in New Zealand' and in September 2017 held some small forums in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to gain insights from family violence and justice sector professionals. Good Shepherd NZ is looking forward to the final report that will inform our work for the economic rights of women here in New Zealand.
Click here for more information about WRAP - https://www.goodshep.org.au/policy-research/
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Submitted by Ms Fleur Howard, Chief Executive Good Shepherd NZ