E kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.
I specifically acknowledge: Hon Paul Goldsmith, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs; Dianne Maxwell, Retirement Commissioner; Anna Campbell, Chief People Officer, the Warehouse Group; and Cory Sinclair, Wellington Area Manager of Westpac.
Tēnā koutou katoa.
Thank you for inviting me along this evening to present certificates to the graduates of the Sorted Workplace Programme.
I was keen to become Patron of the Exchange initiative because as Governor-General, I want to help promote things that are important to New Zealanders – and that clearly includes financial literacy.
I realise that I am preaching to the converted when I say being able to make sound financial decisions benefits individuals, their families and our communities. Skills like setting goals and budgeting; managing income, spending and debt; saving and investing; and creating and protecting assets and wealth are all fundamental life skills. They enable people to participate more fully in the economic life of our country.
Recently I was asked to say whether I am a saver or a spender. My answer was that I save to spend later. As you know, managing our money well gives us more choices about how we want to live in the future. It’s about spending on what you need, and saving to spend on what you want!
I recall being taught about personal finances when I was at school in a programme called Commercial Practice. However, it’s not surprising if some people have a pretty hazy understanding of these matters because managing money doesn’t seem to have been a priority for schools in the past.
I think it is fantastic that the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income has been finding out where the gaps are and is doing something about it.
Getting financial literacy programmes into our schools is a superb start. Young people - our rangatahi - are our future and we need to make sure that they have the financial nous to manage their lives well.
Getting adults onto the programme is another matter. Making workplaces places of learning is a great solution – so all credit to The Warehouse Group for blazing the trail for other corporate groups who are set to follow.
It is pleasing to hear that there is strong interest from other companies who are keen to follow the Warehouse’s example. From a People perspective, this is not surprising: employees who feel more in control of their personal finances and who can see a plan for their future, are going to be happier and more productive in the workplace.
I hear the programme has been a real success and attendance has been excellent. As you have all found out, it is never too late to learn, never too late to start making changes, and never too late to start saving. And now you are all enthusiastic ambassadors for financial literacy with your friends and whanau.
As with any course, the challenge is to put it all into action, to remember the key learnings of each module and to embed this new thinking in what you do.
These words from Robert Kiyosaki, author, businessman and advocate for financial literacy provide a good guide, when he said that “Financial freedom is available to those who learn about it and work for it.”
Congratulations for deciding to take the programme, for sticking to it, learning from it and working at it. I wish you all, individually and collectively, the very best as you put everything you have learned into action.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa