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Westpac to refund almost $6m in fees to customers

The bank said the refunds would total close to $6 million. Customers with Access transaction accounts, which were phased out late last year, did not receive the correct discount on fees, it said. Westpac wrote to customers last week to apologise for its mistake, which resulted in them being charged more than they should have. The bank said it had ... Read More »

Wairarapa vineyard sold to Japan brewing company for $9m

Long-established Japanese brewer, Nishi Sake, has won Overseas Investment Office approval to buy Wairarapa vineyard, Urlar Farms, for $8.75 million. According to its application, Nishi Sake is a family company which has specialised in distilled beverage production for eight generations. Nishi Sake had recently expanded its product offering to include sake, bottled water and other Japanese soda drinks and now ... Read More »

NZ dollar trading at six-week high

The New Zealand dollar was trading at a six-week high after jumping when the US Federal Reserve sounded a more cautious note on future rate increases and after Standard & Poor’s revised New Zealand’s outlook to positive on its improving fiscal position. The kiwi traded at 69.15 US cents at 5pm in Wellington from 69.02 US cents at 8.30am in ... Read More »

NZ dollar drifts lower as China economy slows

The New Zealand dollar drifted lower with slightly weaker Chinese economic data offering few new leads and investors unwilling to make big bets amid mixed views on local consumer price. The kiwi was trading at 67.23 US cents at 5pm from 67.59 cents this morning and 67.61 cents here last week. The trade-weighted index was at 72.93 from 73.30 and ... Read More »

‘Low-wage economy’: What you need to earn to be an above-average earner in NZ

New Zealand workers need to earn more than $52,100 before tax each year to be considered an above-average earner. In a relatively low-wage earning society, full-time workers earning $1000 a week can think of themselves as lucky, as about 40 per cent of our full-time workers are on the minimum wage ($34,320 annually or $660 per week) and earning significantly ... Read More »

How $3.5b will be stripped from from our sharemarket this year

This year is already shaping up to be a big one for New Zealand mergers and acquisitions, with $3.5 billion in value set to be wiped off the local sharemarket, JBWere said. The investment and brokerage firm said the “disturbing” trend of merger and acquisition activity continued throughout 2018, which was the busiest since 2012. “We estimate about $1.5 billion ... Read More »

Seized: 1.5 million smuggled cigarettes, $2 million cash

About 1.5 million smuggled cigarettes and more than $2 million cash have been seized in what Customs says is New Zealand’s largest-scale alleged tobacco fraud. Five garbage bags full of cash were discovered by investigators, alongside 1.5 million cigarettes, when search warrants were executed at multiple Auckland addresses last week. “This investigation has uncovered the largest-scale tobacco fraud to date, ... Read More »

IRD warns of automatic tax refund scams

Inland Revenue is warning Kiwis to be aware of scammers looking to take advantage of next year’s proposed automatic tax refunds. New Zealanders were informed recently via email about proposed changes to the tax system, but already fake emails are making their way into people’s inboxes. Bernadette Newman, a customer segment leader at Inland Revenue, said scammers are trying to ... Read More »

Police in Europe, Latin America break up drug-smuggling ring

MADRID: European Union law enforcement agency Europol says police forces from three countries on two continents have broken up an international cocaine-trafficking gang. Europol says in a statement Friday that police in Spain, Italy and Argentina took part in the operation, which led to the arrest of almost 50 suspects. It says the gang is believed to have brought cocaine ... Read More »

Indonesian fishermen charged with smuggling NZ$85,000 worth of shark fins in US

Four Indonesian fishermen who were arrested in Hawaii and charged with attempting to smuggle shark fins have pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. Court records show the four men pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor charge that they attempted to export the fins. A judge sentenced them to time they already served in jail. Six others who were charged with ... Read More »

Man caught smuggling 70 live finches in hair rollers through New York’s JFK airport

It’s the time of the year when American song birds have migrated away from the cold north east, but these finches have flown back to New York – against their will. At JFK’s international airport last weekend, ABC News reports US Customs and Border Protection seized 70 live finches from a passenger. The man, who had travelled from Georgetown, Guyana, ... Read More »

More arrests expected after record seizure of 1.8 million smuggled cigarettes

Customs expect to make more arrests after a joint Customs and Police investigation uncovered the country’s biggest ever cigarette smuggling operation. Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry has told a press conference this afternoon that further arrests and charges are likely in relation to evasion of customs duty, conspiracy to evade customs duty and sale of goods not checked by Customs. ... Read More »

Brazilian woman jailed for six years for smuggling cocaine into New Zealand

A Brazilian woman who attempted to smuggle nearly a kilogram of cocaine into New Zealand has been jailed. Pamela Nascimento, 23, was sentenced to six years and three months in prison on Tuesday after she was found to be carrying 923 grams of cocaine in September. The drugs have an estimated street value of between $138,500 and $175,500, Customs says. ... Read More »

Orion Health to buy back up to $144.6m of investors’ shares

Orion Health will pay up to $144.6 million buying back shares from investors in the healthcare technology firm that struggled to achieve the big aspirations it had when it went public four years ago. The firm will pay $1.224 a share, around the mid-point of its last estimated range to $1.20-to-$1.25. Shareholders can opt to hang on to some or ... Read More »

Global finance giants pick NZ rates and dollar to rise

Global finance giants Goldman Sachs and Nomura aren’t buying in to the business gloom and both say rates will rise sooner than most local forecasts indicate. US investment bank Goldman Sachs says “the strength in New Zealand’s hard data means the chance of a 2019 rate hike are increasing”, Bloomberg News has reported. A Sydney-based strategist with Japanese bank Nomura ... Read More »

Fall of New Zealand dollar against Yuan helps boost spending by Chinese tourists

A weaker New Zealand dollar against the Chinese Yuan has helped boost spending from that booming tourist market. Latest Government figures show the kiwi dollar fell 9 per cent against the Chinese currency in the last quarter of the year to September and that’s given Chinese tourists great buying power and is one of the main reasons behind a surge ... Read More »

New Zealand is best place to do business but UK slips to ninth

New Zealand has topped the World Bank’s ranking of the best countries to start and run a business in 2018, ahead of Singapore, Denmark and Hong Kong. The World Bank said New Zealand had retained its position in its Doing Business report ahead of 190 other countries, despite not implementing any reforms in the last year. The UK slipped to ... Read More »

AMP sells off majority of NZ operations after scandals

The Australian financial services company is going to sell its Australian and New Zealand life insurance businesses to British-based Resolution Life, which has well known brands such as AXA, Royal and Sun Alliance, and BUPA. “The completion of our portfolio review marks a major step forward in reshaping AMP as a simpler, more focused group, that is well positioned to ... Read More »

Growers left out of pocket over ‘complex’ fuel tax rebate system

Farmers should be able claim back the regional fuel tax for on-farm vehicles and machinery using diesel. However, Horticulture NZ chief executive Mike Chapman said the rebate system was far too complicated and costly. Mr Chapman said on 9 October an online rebate system was launched by the New Zealand Transport Agency, but the situation had not improved. Growers were ... Read More »

Oil ban puts New Zealand on a ‘black list’ for investment, service companies claim

A body representing seismic testing companies is demanding more than $100 million in compensation for its members if the Government passes a ban on issuing new exploration permits. On Friday the International Agency of Geophysical Contractors presented on the final day of submissions on changes to the Crown Minerals Act to give effect to the ban on new permits the ... Read More »