Commerce minister tipped to leave parliament

The financial community will be watching closely to see if the predicted departure of their most significant cabinet minister goes ahead as is thought likely.

Two media outlets, Newshub and Newsroom, have reported that the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs David Clark is on the way out the door.

There have also been suggestions that Clark might fall victim to a cabinet reshuffle.

The Prime Minister is making no comment except to say that “any announcements would be made in due course.”

Clark's office is saying little about this. And earlier, Clark refused to make any commitment either way when talking to reporters at parliament.

But a spokesperson for the minister did not rule anything out in a later comment.

“The Prime Minister has indicated that there will be some retirements prior to the next election,” the spokesperson said.

“Out of respect for those retiring who have family and friends to tell, I will not get into speculation.”

The phrase “retiring prior to the next election” raises the possibility that Clark could go before then, either as a minister or just as an MP, but it is not clear.

As Minister of Commerce, Clark has faced intense criticism from the financial sector over the changes to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act.

Although Clark inherited work from his predecessor, Kris Faafoi, he had around a year as minister when the final work was being done on the CCCFA rules.

When the law was passed, it led to an outcry, and Clark began the first of two sets of changes to soften the impact of the new rules.

However, these do not go far enough, according to critics in the industry.

The complexities of the Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Act also fell under Clark's oversight.

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