Types of creditor

Am I a creditor?

A creditor is a person who is owed money by a person or company, who is referred to as a debtor.

What if my debtor isn’t paying what they owe me?

If you are owed money by a person, check our public registers to see if the person is bankrupt or has entered a No Asset Procedure (NAP) or Debt Repayment Order (DRO). 

If they have, you are considered a creditor in the debtor’s estate so long as you were owed money before they entered the insolvency procedure. You should file a claim so the Official Assignee knows you are a creditor. You will then be able to receive any dividend payments from the sale of their assets.

If you are owed a joint debt, each person is responsible for repaying the whole debt to you. If one person becomes bankrupt or in a NAP, you can make the other person pay the whole amount. If you are not sure if your debt is joint, you should get advice.

If you are owed money by a company, check to see if it is in liquidation. You can do this by:

If you are owed money by a person or company but you cannot find them on the registers, you may be able to recover the debt yourself by:

  • referring it to a debt collection agency
  • applying to court for a judgement against the person who owes it
  • starting bankruptcy proceedings, but only if you are owed more than NZ$1,000. You should seek independent legal advice if you do this.

Am I a secured creditor?

You are a secured creditor if you have the right to repossess and sell your debtor’s assets if they fall behind in their payments to you – e.g. if you have a mortgage over their house or a hire purchase agreement over their car.

You won’t be able to claim in the bankruptcy, NAP, DRO or liquidation process unless you are still owed money after you have valued or sold their assets. If this is the case, you will become an unsecured creditor for any shortfall. 

If there is any surplus after the assets are sold, it must be paid to the Official Assignee. This amount will be used to repay any other creditors.

Bankruptcy or NAP secured creditors

If the person who owes you money is in a Bankruptcy or NAP, it might be possible for you to continue with your finance arrangement.

If the person falls behind on their payments during bankruptcy or NAP, you are not permitted to pursue the unpaid monies, but you may choose to exercise your right to repossess. You should contact the Official Assignee to see what your options are.

Liquidation secured creditors

If you are owed money by a company that is in liquidation, your finance agreement cannot continue. You will have to make a decision to either:

  • sell the secured assets and file a claim for any shortfall  
  • value the secured assets and claim as an unsecured creditor for the expected shortfall, or
  • give up the security and claim in the liquidation for the whole debt as an unsecured creditor.

Am I an unsecured creditor?

An unsecured creditor is someone who is owed money by a person or a company, but does not have the right to repossess or sell any of their assets if they default on the payments.

Unsecured creditors in a bankruptcy or liquidation

If you are an unsecured creditor, you may be able to file a claim in the bankruptcy or liquidation estate so that the Official Assignee knows that you are a creditor. You can then receive any dividend payment from the sale of their assets. 

The simplest way to do this is to file an electronic claim. You will need to provide evidence to support your claim. If you file a claim you will not be able to take other recovery action, e.g. take your debtor to court.

Unsecured creditors in a No Asset Procedure

A person who enters a No Asset Procedure (NAP) doesn’t have any assets that can be sold or enough income to pay any money back. 

If you are an unsecured creditor in a NAP, you can but aren’t required to file a claim. You also cannot continue to chase the debtor directly for payment.

Unsecured creditors in a Debt Repayment Order (DRO)

A Debt Repayment Order (DRO) is a formal arrangement that allows a debtor to pay back some or all of their debts to their creditors in instalments. DROs usually take place over three years, but they can last up to five years in special circumstances.

If you are a creditor, you will be sent details before the DRO is made. You have a right to object to the proposal.

Once the DRO is made, you can file an electronic claim. You will need to provide evidence to support your claim.

If you are included in the DRO as a creditor, you will not be able to take other recovery actions, e.g. take your debtor to court.

Payments will be made to creditors at regular intervals (usually 6 monthly) during the term of the Order.

Unsecured creditors in a Voluntary Administration

A company can be placed into Voluntary Administration (VA) as an alternative to liquidation. In this situation, the administrator calls a meeting of the creditors to vote on the future of the company. 

You have to file a claim with the administrator before you can vote. Search the Companies Office Register(external link) to find out who your debtor’s administrator is.

How do I find out what procedure a debtor has entered?

You can find out which procedure your debtor has entered by searching our public registers for free. 

The Debt Repayment Order Register(external link) will show you if a person is in a Debt Repayment Order.

The Insolvency Register(external link) will show you if someone is currently bankrupt (or has been in the last seven years) or has entered a No Asset Procedure. It will also show you if the Official Assignee is the liquidator of a company.

You can find out if a company is in receivership or if another liquidator has been appointed by doing a free search of the Companies Office Register(external link).

How do I provide information or lodge a complaint?

If you have information about a debtor that you think the Official Assignee should know, you can tell us by:

  • Email
  • Phone
    0508 467 658
  • Writing
    Insolvency and Trustee Services
    Private Bag 4714
    Christchurch 8140

If you want to make a complaint about a debtor whose estate we are administering, fill in a complaint form and send it to the Official Assignee by:

DOWNLOAD | Complaint form [PDF, 947 KB]

Complaints are investigated by the Integrity and Enforcement Team. If appropriate, the Team will prosecute offences under the Insolvency Act 2006.

Important note

Information you provide to the Official Assignee can only be used for the specific purpose of administering a bankruptcy, No Asset Procedure, Debt Repayment Order or liquidation, or to investigate possible offences against the Insolvency Act 2006 or Companies Act 1993.

If a third party makes a request to the Insolvency and Trustee Service to access this information it will only be released in accordance with the Insolvency Act 2006, the Privacy Act 1993, the Official Information Act 1982 or any other legislation.