The Official Assignee is responsible for administering equitably and independently the affairs of people who become bankrupt under the Insolvency Act 1967.   All bankruptcies are advertised in the appropriate local newspaper and the New Zealand Gazette.   The Official Assignee, as trustee, sells the assets within each bankrupt estate and distributes the proceeds, if there are any, amongst the creditors.   Where appropriate, the Official Assignee will investigate the bankruptís past financial affairs and follow up any matters likely to result in the recovery of money for unsecured creditors.   Breaches of the Insolvency Act 1967 are investigated and appropriate action taken.


Bankruptcy occurs in the High Court either upon your own action or the action of one of your creditors.   As a debtor you may voluntarily file a Debtors Petition for bankruptcy at the nearest High Court when you are unable to pay your debts as they fall due and your financial position is irreversible.   Alternatively one of your creditors may apply to the High Court which then decides whether you should be made bankrupt on the evidence supplied by the creditor and by yourself, or your representative. 



All your assets subject to the following exceptions automatically become the property of the Official Assignee.   The exceptions:

1.       furniture and personal effects to the combined total value of $2,000

2.       money to the value of $400

3.       if you are a tradesperson, tools of trade to the combined total value of $500.

   The Official Assignee becomes responsible for most of your liabilities incurred up to the date of your bankruptcy.   You must not pay these creditors directly.   You are still, however, personally responsible for:

1.       fines imposed by the Court

2.       mantenance and child support commitments

3.       any orders for reparation made by the Court

4.       all debts incurred after the date of your bankruptcy

   you will be requested to attend an interview at the office at the Official Assignee and complete forms which indicate the background to your bankruptcy ande your assets and liabilities

    a house inspection may be conducted in order to assess whether you have any saleable assets to help pay your creditors

   a meeting may be held to give an opportunity for the Official Assignee and Creditors to ascertain the cause of you bankruptcy and to allow examination of any matters that arise.

  If your property is registered under the Joint Family Homes Act 1964, there is a specified sum which is not available to the Official Assignee

     The decision whether you retain your motor vehicle will be made by the Official Assignee.   Factors considered by the Official Assignee include the value of the vehicle and your personal circumstances.

   Once you become bankrupt, creditors are usually prohibited from continuing or commencing any action to recover money owing.

     If you have paid employment you may be required to complete a budget form which will be used to assess your ability to make regular payments to the Official Assignee.   The Official Assignee will not ask for contributions if your only income is a welfare benefit.   If your financial circumstances change, you must advise the Official Assignee immediately so that a fresh assessment can be made of your circumstances.

Earnings by a non bankrupt spouse/ partner do not pass to the Official Assignee. 

 You must co-operate fully with the Official Assignee and comply with all requests for information

  You must disclose to the Official Assignee whenever you have a change in address or employment.

  You must fulfil any other duty imposed on you by the Insolvency Act 1967

 You must not:

1.       be self employed, employed by a member of you family, be involved in the management of a company or business or be a partner in a business without obtaining consent of the Official Assignee

2.       leave New Zealand without obtaining consent of the Official Assignee

3.       withhold information sought by the Official Assignee

4.       raise credit exceeding $100 without disclosing that you are an undischarged bankrupt

  usually you will be automatically discharged on the third anniversary of your bankruptcy, however you may apply to the High Court for a discharge at an earlier time.   In some circumstances the Official Assignee may either object to a discharge or seek a conditional discharge such as obtaining an order prohibiting you from entering into business.


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