Debt Repayment Plan (or Summary Instalment Orders - SIO)

A Debt Repayment Plan (SIO) is probably the best insolvency option for you if you owe less than $47,000 in unsecured debt and are able to make some repayments on your debts.

What it is

A Debt Repayment Plan (SIO) gives you extra time to pay back some or all of your debt — usually 3 years, though it can be more or less.

It's a formal debt repayment plan with the people or organisations you owe money to (your creditors). After applying for a SIO, you'll sign up with a SIO Supervisor, who'll work with you, the Official Assignee (the government official who oversees the management of SIOs), and your creditors to arrange the details and your payments.

You can only get a SIO if you owe less than $47,000 in unsecured debt.

You must be unable to pay off those debts right now, but be able to make some repayments towards them over time.

It may not be a good option if most of your debt is secured or relates to student loans, fines, penalties, and reparation orders, as that debt would be excluded from the SIO and you would have to find a way to pay it as well.

To work out what your SIO repayments might be, use our repayment calculator.

If you are living overseas you can still enter a SIO, but you need to be able to make regular repayments. You will need to find a Supervisor in NZ. Creditors that are not based in NZ might continue to chase you for any money you owe them.

The public register can be searched from overseas. Several credit reporting companies operate in more than one country so your credit rating outside of NZ may be affected.

How it works

A SIO Supervisor will work with you, the Official Assignee and your creditors while the Summary Instalment Order is in place.

You must:

  • do everything you're asked to do by the Official Assignee and your SIO Supervisor
  • make the agreed repayments
  • tell the Official Assignee and your SIO Supervisor if you change your:
    • name, e.g. if you get married
    • address
    • employment
    • terms of employment
    • income and/or spending
  • comply with the terms of the order
  • keep paying any other debts that aren't part of the SIO.

You must not:

  • take on any new debt over $1,000 without making the new creditor aware that you are currently in a SIO. You should let them know in writing to avoid any misunderstandings.

Once you've entered into a SIO, creditors can't continue to chase you for any debt included in your SIO, or add any extra penalties or interest to that debt.

Once you've completed the SIO, you don't have to pay any more of the outstanding amount owed to the SIO creditors. Any creditors not included in your SIO can continue to chase you for payment.

Included debt

Your SIO can include:

  • contingent debts — e.g. when you sign as guarantor for a friend’s finance agreement. You don’t have to pay any money now but you might have to repay the debt in the future if your friend doesn't pay
  • joint debts — if you owe a debt jointly with another person, the creditor has the right to claim the full amount from either person
  • overseas debt — if you owe a debt to a creditor that is based overseas you are able to include them in your New Zealand-based bankruptcy — but your bankruptcy will only apply while you're in New Zealand. If you return to the country where the money is owed, the creditor can chase you for any debt that's still owing.

Only unsecured debts can be included in your SIO. Unsecured debt is anything where the creditor doesn’t have the right to repossess your property to repay the debt.

Excluded debt

Some debts are legally excluded from the SIO. You have to pay for them as well as your SIO payments. Excluded debts include:

  • child support and maintenance orders
  • student loans
  • court fines and reparation
  • debt that you incurred after applying for a SIO
  • secured debt.

Secured debts

Secured debts are any debts where the creditor can repossess your property if you stop making payments.

For example, if you stop making the arranged payments for a car you bought on finance, the creditor can repossess the car under the finance agreement.

Secured debt is excluded from SIOs because the creditor can repossess the property if you don’t pay, and sell it to get their money back. If there's still money owing after they've repossessed and sold the property, that amount becomes an unsecured debt — you still have to pay it unless it's included in the SIO.

You keep control of your assets, income and spending when you're in a SIO.

If you want to, you can offer to sell some of your assets in your SIO application, e.g. if you have a car that's not under finance, you can offer to sell it and use the money to pay off some of your debts. Talk to your SIO Supervisor if you want to do this.

Your SIO is administered by a SIO Supervisor who will help you deal with your creditors. You'll appoint a SIO Supervisor after you've applied for a SIO. They're independent from the Official Assignee, who oversees the management of SIOs.

The Official Assignee is responsible for making sure that SIO Supervisors do their job according to the law. If they don’t do this the Official Assignee may cancel their appointment and can appoint a replacement Supervisor.

Your SIO Supervisor can:

  • make sure that you comply with the terms of the SIO and any other orders made by the Official Assignee
  • make your employer pay some or all of your wages into your SIO
  • charge a fee for doing their job.

Their job includes:

  • sending notices to all of your creditors and asking them to make a claim
  • providing information about your SIO to the Official Assignee
  • making sure that all creditors' claims are correctly checked
  • making sure that all payments to creditors are correct.

If you have any questions about your SIO you should talk to your SIO Supervisor first.

You can also find contact details of Supervisors at local support offices like Citizens Advice Bureau, Budget Advisors or Community Law Centres.

Your Supervisor will pay the money from your SIO in the following order:

  1. Administration costs — currently 7.5% of your payments.
  2. The Official Assignee’s costs — currently $102.22 application fee plus 2.5% of your payments.
  3. The debts owed to your creditors — the amount agreed to when you entered the SIO.
  4. Any extra money back to you.

To work out what your repayments might be, use our repayment calculator.

Your SIO won't be advertised in a newspaper or the New Zealand Gazette, but it will be listed in the SIO Register on this website. Until your SIO is finished, people can search to find:

  • your estate (reference) number
  • your full name and any other name you may use
  • your address when you entered the SIO
  • the date you entered the SIO.

As soon as the SIO is finished, the record will be removed.

How creditors are notified

When you enter a SIO, the creditors will get a report from the Supervisor. They can log onto our website to get updates after the report is sent.

Although a SIO can help to resolve your financial problems, it will have a wider impact on your everyday life.

[image] Usual life cycle of a SIO diagram

Note: This is a typical SIO - your SIO might be different depending on your situation and conduct.

1 If your situation changes, including your job, tell your Supervisor.

2 If your situation changes, the Order may be varied.

 

How to apply

You can apply for a SIO online by completing these four steps.

1. Understand how it works and impact

2. Use the checklist to make sure you've got everything you need for the application

3. Register as a user of the website by going to the Do It Online tab 

4. Make your application by following these steps:

    • Once you've logged in, click on Do it Online and then Apply for Summary Instalment Order.

    • Complete the application (Statement of Affairs) — you'll need to include all money that you owe, both secured and unsecured.

    • When you finish entering information, the system will use it to show you any other insolvency option(s) — you can change if you want to. Or, you can save your application and get advice before you finish.

    • Submit your application. 

    • You will need to sign a Verification page which you need to complete and return to the Insolvency and Trustee Service. You can choose to have this emailed to you so that you can print it or you can choose for it to be posted to you.

    • Find a SIO Supervisor. The Supervisor needs to provide a consent form before your application is considered. View the list of SIO Supervisors.

    • Wait for the Official Assignee's decision. You should get a written answer within 10 working days, including a reason if your application is rejected. If you provide a mobile phone number, you'll get a text message when your application is received and another one when it's been accepted or rejected.

Note: It's quickest and easiest to apply online. But, if you'd rather apply manually, you can download the application form from Forms.

After you've applied

  • If we need any extra information from you, we'll contact you. If you don’t provide the information quickly, your application may be rejected.
  • You'll usually hear from us within 10 working days. If we accept your application, your creditors will be told and given a chance to object. If they don’t object then the order will be made.
  • For privacy reasons your application won't be put on the public register unless it's accepted.
  • Until your application is accepted, you'll need to keep dealing with your creditors and make payments as usual.

If your application is rejected by the Official Assignee, you’ll be given the reason in writing. You can ask for the decision to be reviewed. You need to do this in writing within 15 working days — complete the application form below and send it to the Official Assignee by email or post.

Your application will be reviewed and you'll be notified within 15 working days of the Official Assignee’s decision.

You should get advice before making a new application, e.g. from the Budget Advisory Service.

  • Your details will appear on our website.
  • All of your creditors included in the SIO will be contacted.
  • You should contact your secured creditors and arrange to either:
    • keep making payments under the agreement, or
    • have the secured item returned/repossessed. You can then stop making any payments under the agreement. They can claim against you for any unpaid amount.
  • Your Supervisor will tell the Official Assignee if you fail to make any payment due under your order.
  • If your circumstances change, you may need to change your order.
  • If you don’t make the payments the SIO can be terminated. Then your creditors can start legal proceedings to chase you for the full amount they are still owed, not just the amount you had agreed to pay them under the order. Then your only option might be to go into a No Asset Procedure or bankruptcy.

Some debts are not included in a Debt Repayment Plan (SIO). Creditors can keep chasing you for payment of those debts, so you need to make arrangements with them directly.

You can check your estate details on our website to make sure we've been told about the creditor. (You should have been sent an activation code and instructions for setting up an account when your SIO started, if you didn’t already have a username and password.)

  1. Search the SIO Register for your own name.

  2. Click on your name (in blue and underlined) to see the basic details screen.

  3. Click on the More Info button to see details of the claims and check whether the creditor is on the list.

If the creditor is already listed against your estate, then let them know that they need to contact your SIO Supervisor with any questions. If they keep harassing you, tell your Supervisor.

If the creditor is not listed against your estate, then give your Supervisor their details so that they can be contacted and given a chance to file a claim.

Once you have entered an SIO you need to cancel any direct debits, unless the type of debt isn’t included in your SIO, e.g. court fines, Child Support. The Official Assignee cannot cancel the direct debit for you. You will need to contact your bank.

If you have an attachment order over your wages for a debt that is included in your SIO, your creditor should tell your employer to stop making the deductions once they receive the report from the Official Assignee. If this does not happen you need to take a copy of your SIO acceptance letter to the District Court that made the order and ask them to cancel the order.

After your SIO application is accepted

Once your creditors have been notified of your Debt Repayment Plan (SIO), some details of your file will be available on this website. You can log in to see your file and track the progress of your SIO, like how much you have paid so far.

  • If you applied for your SIO online, you can use the same details to log in and look up your file.
  • If you applied manually, you should have received an activation code or link with the written confirmation of your SIO acceptance. You can use this activation code to activate your account on the website.
  1. Once you’ve logged in, scroll to top of page and click on SIO Register in the header of website.

  2. Enter your estate number or your name, and click Search.

  3. Click on your name when it appears in blue - this will show you basic information about your file. This information is also available to the general public.

  4. View extra information about your file by clicking on the More info tab at the top of the page.

 

Once you agree to a SIO, you have to meet its conditions.

If your circumstances change you may need to change the SIO — this is called a variation. You, your creditors or your Supervisor can apply for a variation. Your application must clearly explain what changes you want and why, and be sent to the Official Assignee by email or post.

If the change might be negative for your creditors, e.g. increasing the time or reducing the amount they would get, your Supervisor will contact them, and they'll have 10 working days to object. The Official Assignee will make the final decision.