Simon Power deserves a round of applause for fast-tracking plans for a new uber-markets regulator to enforce financial markets regulations.
The Financial Markets Authority will have plenty of ammo to enforce securities, financial reporting and company law.
But Power's next task must be to make sure that the super-regulator is led by a top-flight player who is not afraid to bare the new watchdog's teeth.
That player has to make sure that the FMA is focused on "visible, proactive and timely enforcement."
And that the FMA does go directly to Government to ensure it is armed with even more teeth if there is unpalatable market behaviour by those that circumvent the rules.
It remains a national disgrace that the finance companies collapse was able to snowball to such an extent without a major intervention at either Government or enforcement agency level.
But by wrapping together the disparate bodies: Securities Commission, enforcement officials from MED and elsewhere there is an opportunity for a fresh start.
As Power spelt out to a top drawer audience this evening, on too many occasions in finance companies collapses "we have heard of investors' money falling through the cracks between regulators."
The Commerce Minister must have been tempted to boot the existing regulators' asses for the basic 'pass the parcel' blame game that has gone on since the collapse of the finance sector and with it the thick end of more than $3 billion of Kiwi investors' savings.
But he limited his criticism to pointing out that the lack of liaison between regulators had damaged investor confidence.
"To restore public confidence in our markets we need to do much, much better."
And he chose to tread a publicly diplomatic path by simply making clear that he thought the prime regulator – the Securities Commission – had made an important economic contribution.
Now is the time to redesign our regulators – drawing on the lessons from the financial crisis and finance company failures, to ensure that a new-look regulator has the right culture for what we expect of it today.
Power's announcement came at a top flight gathering of finance industry professionals at the NZ Herald Infinz Awards in Auckland this evening.By Fran O'Sullivan Email Fran