Consultation on new mortgage bond standard extended and loan template published

Source: Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Release date

15 February 2019

The Reserve Bank is extending the consultation period for the proposed mortgage bond standard.

The new standard is aimed at supporting confidence and liquidity in the New Zealand markets. Consultation began in November.

Following requests from stakeholders, the Reserve Bank has extended the consultation period by two weeks. Feedback is now due by 5.00pm on 8 March 2019.

Submissions and a response to submissions will be published soon after consultation closes. The timeline for implementation will be updated when final decisions are made. The Reserve Bank is proposing a five-year implementation timeline.

The Reserve Bank has also published a draft template to assist banks to provide loan level data under the proposed mortgage bond standard.

More information:

Media Contact:
Roger Marwick
External Communications Adviser
Phone: 04 471 3694
Email: roger.marwick@rbnz.govt.nz

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New RBNZ monetary policy committee remit reiterates focus on price stability and employment

Source: Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Release date

14 February 2019

News release issued by the Minister of Finance

The Coalition Government’s plan to reform and modernise the Reserve Bank Act experienced an important milestone today, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

Grant Robertson and Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr today signed the first ‘remit’ setting out the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s new dual employment and price stability objectives. They also signed the ‘charter’ that will govern the decision-making of the Bank’s new Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

“When we came into office we immediately started work under the Coalition Agreement between Labour and New Zealand First to review and reform the Reserve Bank Act to reflect the significant changes to our economy and monetary policy practices since the Act was enacted nearly 30 years ago,” Grant Robertson said.

The new remit, charter and the MPC deliver on Phase 1 of the review of the Reserve Bank Act. The remit will normally be issued by the Minister of Finance to the MPC, a new body to formulate monetary policy through decisions like the level of the Official Cash Rate. The charter will normally be agreed between the Minister of Finance and the MPC. As part of the transition to the new monetary policy framework, the first remit and charter are being agreed between the Minister and Governor.

The remit replaces the Policy Targets Agreement (PTA) between the Minister of Finance and Governor. The charter sets the transparency requirements and decision-making procedures for the MPC. Both come into force from 1 April, with the existing PTA covering the Bank’s monetary policy decision-making until then.

Under the remit signed today, the Reserve Bank’s operational objectives for monetary policy are to:

  • Keep inflation between 1 and 3 percent over the medium term, with a focus on keeping inflation near the 2 percent mid-point; and
  • Support maximum sustainable employment.

“This dual mandate is similar to those seen in countries including the US, Australia and Norway, and highlights the importance of monetary policy as a tool to support the real, productive, economy,” Grant Robertson said.

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr says the remit and charter form a significant part of the new monetary policy framework that takes effect from 1 April.

“The remit is similar to the existing Policy Targets Agreement and recognises the role monetary policy plays in promoting the wellbeing of New Zealanders, by making sure inflation remains low and stable, and supporting maximum sustainable employment,” Adrian Orr said.

“The MPC Charter also provides for a move to greater transparency, and embracing diverse views. It sets some ground rules for the Committee, ensuring that the decision-making process is effective and transparent, and making it easier to hold the Committee to account for their decisions,” Mr Orr said.

Under legislation passed in December, the MPC will consist of between five and seven members, with the majority being Reserve Bank internal staff and a minority of external members. The first committee will consist of seven members (four internal, three external), with the Governor as chair. The members of the MPC are to be announced in due course.

“There has been greater recognition in recent decades of the benefits of committee decision-making structures and the Act has now been modernised to reflect this. Combined with the dual price stability and employment mandates, these reforms will ensure monetary policy better supports the New Zealand economy as we head towards the middle part of the 21st Century,” Grant Robertson said.

More information

Read the remit and charter here

Contact:

Alex Tarrant
M: +64 (0)21 220 6011
E: alex.tarrant@parliament.govt.nz

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MIL-OSI New Zealand: Bank Financial Strength Dashboard wins international award

Source: Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Release date

22 January 2019

Central Banking Publications has named the Bank Financial Strength Dashboard as ‘Initiative of the Year’ in its annual awards.

In announcing the award, Central Banking commented that very few central banks have opened up their financial system to public scrutiny to quite the same level as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

They said that by revealing key metrics on the banking sector in a visual format that can be taken in at a glance, the Reserve Bank has hit on a simple method of boosting discipline among banks.

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr said the award was a great honour.

“We aspire to be a ‘Great Team, Best Central Bank’ and the award recognises a significant step towards that goal,” Mr Orr said.

“Awareness among consumers and investors is an important aspect of ensuring a sound financial system. The Dashboard is designed to make it easy to access and understand the financial position of New Zealand banks. By keeping the public informed about risks to the sector, banks themselves are held to greater market discipline.

“The Dashboard has proven very popular, with more than 10,000 visits per quarter since its launch and we believe this has significantly broadened the audience for prudential disclosures.

“It is the result of huge effort and dedication from many people in our organisation and the sector at large. I congratulate them all and encourage people to use the Dashboard when making banking decisions,” Mr Orr said.

Background

Central Banking Publications is a financial publisher owned by Incisive Media and specialising in public policy and financial markets, with emphasis on central banks, international financial institutions and financial market infrastructure and regulation.

Central Banking Publications was founded in 1990, and makes a number of annual awards to central banks and market participants over a range of categories. This is the sixth year of the awards.

The Reserve Bank previously won the ‘Initiative of the year’ award in 2016 for its enterprise risk management system. It has also won ‘Central Bank of the Year’ in 2015 and Reserve Bank senior adviser Leo Krippner won the award for ‘Economics in Central Banking’ in 2017.

Judging was by the Central Banking Awards Committee, which is made up of the Central Banking Editorial Team and Editorial Advisory Board, comprising former senior central bank governors from around the world.

The awards will be presented at a gala dinner in London on 13 March.

More information

Media Contact:
Roger Marwick
External Communications Adviser
Phone: 04 471 3694
Email: roger.marwick@rbnz.govt.nz

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MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: UN Secretary-General Outlines UN Priorities for 2019

Source: Small Island Developing States

16 January 2019: UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged Member States to do their best to make September 2019 a defining moment for stopping runaway climate change, achieving the SDGs and building a fair globalization. Addressing the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in a briefing at the start of 2019, Guterres reflected on the UN’s achievements in 2018, and outlined priorities for the coming year.

The briefing was convened by UNGA President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés on 16 January 2019, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. It followed a briefing, on 15 January, on her own priorities for the remainder of the 73rd UNGA session.

Guterres told delegations that the UN had made a difference in 2018 in the areas of: the search for peace diplomacy in countries such as Yemen, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia and Armenia; the adoption of the Paris Agreement Work Programme during the Katowice Climate Change Conference; and the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and of the Global Compact on Refugees in December 2018.

He noted that work intensified to reach the SDGs, with 102 States having presented Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) so far to assess national-level implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. On humanitarian aid, he reported that approximately US$15 billion coming from country contributions helped reach about 100 million people in need. He also noted that for the first time in the history of the UN, it reached gender parity within the senior management and among the candidates for the position of resident coordinator.

Guterres also highlighted initiatives launched in 2018, including the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative endorsed by 151 countries and four major organizations, and the launch of Youth 2030, the UN’s strategy for working with and for young people. On the UN reforms led by the Secretary-General, he said: the repositioned UN Development System is now in place, including a new Resident Coordinator system and a new generation of Country Teams; the UN peace and security architecture has been fortified to strengthen prevention, mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding; and new management capacities, structures and practices, including new levels of transparency, simplification and accountability will underpin these changes and “deeply transform” the UN.

Countries welcomed the UN reforms led by the Secretary-General, and stressed the need for the high-level events of September 2019 to renew commitments to the 2030 Agenda and combatting climate change.

On the work ahead, Guterres stressed the need to accelerate the “surge in diplomacy,” and to strengthen partnerships. He said “there can be never room for hate speech, intolerance or xenophobia,” and called for investing in social cohesion, education, new skills for people to adapt, and safety nets for those that risk to be left behind. He announced that the UN will continue to strengthen its partnership with the African Union (AU) in order to consolidate gains towards peace, adding that lasting peace must be based on a broad consensus of society, “with women as full participants in all peace processes.”

Guterres asked to dramatically accelerate efforts on key 21st-century challenges, namely: the fight against climate change; achieving the SDGs; and stepping up new technologies that can “turbocharge” this work. Further on climate change, he remarked that by 2020, under the Paris Agreement, Member States are meant to assess progress and submit new pledges to meet the goals to which they agreed. In addition, by 2050, net zero global emissions should be reached. On technologies, he indicated that “later in 2019” his High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation will report on proposals for reducing digital inequality, building digital capacity and ensuring that new technologies are on “our side and are a force for good.”

In an interactive discussion, countries highlighted the need to protect and strengthen multilateralism, and welcomed the UN reforms led by the Secretary-General on development, management and peace and security. Many UN Member States also referred to the high-level events that will take place in September 2019 during the UNGA’s annual General Debate, including the UN Climate Summit, the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, and the ‘SDG Summit.’ They stressed the need to renew and reaffirm commitments towards the 2030 Agenda and combatting climate change.

Thailand for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said the theme of Thailand’s 2019 ASEAN chairmanship is ‘Advancing Partnership for Sustainability,’ and this reinforces the idea that multilateralism should be protected. The EU stressed the importance of universal values, respect for rule of law, promotion of human rights and human dignity, and for a UN that is tailored to new challenges, in line with the UN reforms.

Thanking other countries for their words of comfort and condolences following the terrorist attacks in Kenya on 15 January, Kenya stressed the importance of working closely together to tackle the “global phenomenon” of terrorism. South Africa reported that the relationship between the UN and Africa has strengthened, including through the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhancing Partnership on Peace and Security, and the AU-UN framework for the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Referring to challenges with the UN’s financial situation, the US suggested reforming its budget process and improve its ability to better manage resources to deliver on its mandates. Afghanistan stressed the need to find new ways to implement UNGA and UN Security Council resolutions, noting that their implementation “remains weak.”

On climate change, Fiji noted that climate action speaks to all areas of the UN reforms and, if not addressed could be an “extreme threat” to all the SDGs combined. Chile underscored the importance of addressing climate change, and noted that the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 25) will take place in Santiago.

On efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda, Mexico said his president signed a decree through which all the country’s public and social policies will be inspired by and based on the 2030 Agenda. Colombia said the SDGs are a guide to “administrate globalization” and to ensure the effectiveness of multilateralism, adding that his country has incorporated the 17 SDGs into its domestic policy, and the Goals are considered permanent guidance for public policy in Colombia.

On migrants and refugees, Mexico said his country is the first or second largest corridor in the world for migration, and it will take the Global Compact on Migration as a basis for its legislation and policies. Jordan called on the UN to continue to support countries that host refugees. [UN Secretary-General Statement] [UNGA President Letter Announcing the Briefing] [UN Secretary-General Website] [UN News on Secretary-General’s Briefing] [UN Webcast] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

MIL OSI Asia Pacific

MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: UNGA President Sets out Plans, Coordination Efforts for 2019

Source: Small Island Developing States

15 January 2019: UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces briefed Member States on plans for the remaining eight months of the 73rd UNGA session. She outlined several upcoming events and initiatives related to the 2030 Agenda, financing for development, synergies among UN bodies, gender equality, climate change, plastic pollution and the role of cities.

Espinosa said the 2030 Agenda is “a cornerstone of the success of multilateralism,” and more public understanding and support for the SDGs is needed. She highlighted several events related to the 2030 Agenda that will convene in 2019 and that require coordinated planning.

First, she reminded delegations that the HLPF will convene twice in 2019, once under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in July, and in September 2019 under the UNGA as the ‘HLPF Summit.’ She said the two must be closely coordinated, and she is working closely with the ECOSOC President and the co-facilitators to ensure synergies between the meetings. According to a document circulated at the briefing titled, ‘Preliminary List of High-level Events and Key Meetings’ a Leaders’ Roundtable on SDG Targets will convene alongside the HLPF in July 2019.

Espinosa also highlighted two meetings on financing for development (FfD) taking place in 2019: the ECOSOC Forum on FfD Follow-up, which she said will feed into the outcome of the HLPF Summit, and the UNGA’s High-level Dialogue on FfD. The President said she is working with the co-facilitators of those events to ensure synergies, as well.

She also stressed the need for all of the high-level UNGA meetings scheduled for the opening week of the 74th Session to be handled in a coherent, synergetic way. In addition to the HLPF summit, these meetings include: a high-level meeting on universal health coverage; a high-level meeting on the elimination of nuclear weapons; and the mid-term review of the Samoa Pathway on small island developing States (SIDS).

Espinosa noted that she will convene a joint briefing with the ECOSOC President on 31 January to discuss coherence among the bodies, including with regard to the 2019 HLPF meetings. The briefing will address the ongoing process to enhance synergies and coherence and reduce overlap among bodies in light of the 2030 Agenda. It will also include updates on: the HLPF, youth, decent work and FfD.

Rather than negotiating long documents and resolutions, this is a time for ensuring capital flows “at scale and urgently” for climate change and the 2030 Agenda.

In remarks following the President’s briefing, El Salvador highlighted the “double HLPF” taking place in 2019, cautioning that the HLPF Summit should not be “drowned” out during the high-level week but be utilized as a true opportunity to examine the implementation of the 2030 Agenda four years after its adoption.

Canada, noting his role as a co-facilitator for the High-level Dialogue on FfD, along with Ghana, said the meeting needs to be planned in coordination with the other processes underway, such as the FfD Forum and the HLPF Summit. He called on everyone to think outside of the box on “how we’re going to do this.” He stressed that given the need for action on the 2030 Agenda, this is not a time for long documents or negotiations on reoslutions, but making sure the right actors are engaged so that “capital flows way more, at scale and urgently,” for climate change and the 2030 Agenda.

Tanzania and the UK said that they will present Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) during the HLPF in July, with the UK noting its intention to include a focus on financing the SDGs.

On gender equality and empowerment of women, Espinosa reported that she has established a Group of Gender Equality Leaders as an informal forum of eminent persons to accelerate gender equality. The Group’s first meeting will take place on 29 January, in collaboration with the UN Foundation. It is aimed at identifying barriers to women’s full participation and leadership in both the public and private sectors, and sharing best practices for accelerating women’s empowerment.

She also highlighted the Women in Power summit she is convening on 12 March 2019, on the margins of the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The Summit will promote women’s leadership, including by engaging young women leaders and fostering an intergenerational environment for dialogue.

On protection of environment, Espinosa said she expects 2019 to be “a decisive year, as we near the first milestones of 2030 agenda.” She highlighted upcoming events including:

  • On 14 February, a joint briefing with UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Climate Summit, Luis Alfonso de Alba, to outline the roadmap for preparations for the event, which will take place on 23 September 2019; and
  • On 28 March, a high-level UNGA meeting to “build on the momentum from COP 24 and pave the way” for the Climate Summit.

On plastic pollution, the President highlighted efforts to reduce single-use plastics in UN Member States’ Permanent Missions and UN facilities. She will host a briefing on the action plan to integrate sustainable development practices into the Secretariat’s operations and facilities management, to ensure that these do not have a negative impact on the climate. The action plan was called for in UNGA resolution 71/228. In addition, she is organizing a festival with the governments of Norway and Antigua and Barbuda, on 27 April 2019 in Antigua and Barbuda, to encourage awareness and action on plastic pollution.

On the role of cities, Espinosa will hold a meeting with mayors and other stakeholders on 19 February in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) to address the role of cities in sustainable development, food security, nutrition and climate change. Among other topics that Espinosa discussed, she said:

  • On the 75th anniversary of the UN, which takes place in 2020, she will appoint co-facilitators for discussions on the theme, date and modalities of the commemoration event;
  • On migration, co-facilitators have been appointed for consultations on the modalities of the International Migration Review Forum, which will be the intergovernmental platform for global discussions of progress on implementing the global compact on migration adopted in Marrakech in December 2018, and a high-level debate on international migration and development will take place on 27 February;
  • On decent work, Espinosa will convene a high-level event on 10 April. On 9 April, a town hall will focus on interlinkages between decent work and youth, peace and security, in the context of the ECOSOC Youth Forum, which convenes on 8-9 April. These events seek to build on the momentum created by the in-depth review of SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) taking place during the July 2019 session of the HLPF, as well as the commemoration of the centenary of the International Labor Organisation (ILO);
  • On persons with disabilities, a Steering Committee on Accessibility at the UN was launched in late 2018, focusing on accessibility on UN premises, and on 10 June 2019 she will host a high-level event; and
  • On strengthening the multilateral rules-based system, the President will convene a meeting of former UNGA presidents, on 4 February, in order to craft a set of recommendations. In addition, a High-level Event will take place on the International Day of Multilateralism, on 24 April 2019.

The 73rd UNGA session will close on 16 September 2019, and Espinosa will be succeeded by the President of the 74th session on 17 September. The next President is to be selected from the Group of African States. The UNGA will hold interactive dialogues with the candidates in early May, and the election will take place in early June. [SDG Knowledge Hub sources] [Statement of UNGA president] [UN press release] [Meeting webcast]

MIL OSI Asia Pacific

MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: SAICM Launches Project on Best Practices for Chemical Policy Issues of Concern

Source: Small Island Developing States

16 January 2019: The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) Secretariat launched a project on global best practices on emerging chemical policy issues of concern. The project – which is the first such Global Environment Facility (GEF) full-size project – will be implemented in over 70 countries over a four-year period, with initial results presented to the International Conference on Chemicals Management in 2020.

Jacob Duer, Chief of Chemicals and Health Branch, UN Environment Programme, opened the two-day workshop launching the project. He suggested that while participants consider the project’s work plans, budgets and communications plans that will seek to advance the implementation of chemicals management at the national level, they should also reflect on how the project will contribute to the broader development agenda. He highlighted that the project will help to raise awareness of the chemicals and wastes agenda.

Brenda Koekkoek, SAICM Secretariat, explained that SAICM is a voluntary platform for stakeholders to work together and that it contributes in particular to achieving SDG target 12.4 (By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment). She noted that the “emerging policy issues” (EPIs) that SAICM focuses on are lead and paint, highly hazardous pesticides, chemicals in products, hazardous electronics, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, pharmaceutical pollutants, nanotechnology, and perfluorinated chemicals.

Koekkoek said the project’s initial results will be presented to the fifth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5), convening in 2020. She highlighted that the project seeks to accelerate the adoption of national and value chain initiatives to control EPIs, as well as to contribute to SAICM’s 2020 goal and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The project will focus on three components: phasing out lead in paint; lifecycle management of chemicals in products; and knowledge management and stakeholder engagement. The implementing agency is the UN Environment Chemicals and Health GEF unit, and the SAICM Secretariat is the executing agency. IISD, through its SDG Knowledge Hub, is a partner in the delivery of the knowledge management component of the project.

The project was launched during a workshop for project partners at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15-16 January 2019. [SDG Knowledge Hub sources] [SAICM website]

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