29 Oct 2009

Personal debt at seven year high - Baycorp

10:24 pm on 29 October 2009

New Zealanders' debt levels are at a seven-year high and people are taking much longer to repay what they owe.

New statistics compiled by Baycorp, which has 35% of the debt collection market, show the biggest amount owed is to finance companies, where the average unpaid debt is over $4000.

Chief executive Geoff Harper says New Zealanders are as willing as ever to pay off their debt, but their ability to repay what they owe has changed.

Younger New Zealanders and those over 50 are finding it the hardest to repay debt.

Mr Harper told Morning Report it is symptomatic of the employment market.

Those aged 46 to 55 have the highest average debt.

Debts now more complex - federation

The Federation of Family Budgeting Services says people seeking budgeting help now have higher and more complex debts.

Chief executive Raewyn Fox says Baycorp's figures are consistent with the people who are seeking help from budgeting services.

She says debts are higher and more complex, and it is becoming more difficult to pay them off.