New Zealand

New Zealand's government said on Monday it had transferred Kiwibank's assets to a new state-owned company, since the lender no longer fit within the long-term plans for two state entities that currently own it, Reuters reported. Kiwibank, which is New Zealand fifth-largest retail bank, was owned by state-owned entities New Zealand Post, Accident Compensation Corporation and sovereign wealth fund New Zealand Superannuation Fund.
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New Zealand home prices fell on an annual basis for the first time in 11 years in July, adding to signs of a slowdown for the global economy as central bankers worldwide try to tame inflation, the Wall Street Journal reported. The national median sale price of 810,000 New Zealand dollars, equivalent to $519,000, was 1.8% lower than a year earlier, cooled by higher interest rates and lending restrictions, the country’s real-estate institute said Thursday. It was the first annual fall in prices since July 2011.

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A large creditor of failed Wellington construction company Armstrong Downes Commercial is trying to replace the liquidators with someone with “some teeth” to ensure subcontractors get paid, Stuff.nz reported. Armstrong Downes (ADC) shareholders had appointed David Ruscoe​​ and Russell Moore​​ from Grant Thornton as liquidators. However, Lower Hutt developer Kevin Melville, whose High St Holdings 2020 Ltd was a client, said he wanted to replace them with Damien Grant of Waterstone Insolvency as the new liquidator. ADC had two directors, Doile​ and Taylor​.
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A New Zealand wholefoods shop and education centre is facing an uncertain future. An email sent to customers from Wholegrain Organics on May 13 said the business was entering voluntary insolvency, and it would “review the business to see if there are possibilities to restructure,” Stuff.NZ reported. The email said that any orders in process or refunds due at the time of the notice would still be completed. The non-profit business has a shop, bread mill, distribution centre, cafe and a children’s workshop at its premises on the north side of The Square.
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New Zealand welcomed tourists from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Japan and more than 50 other countries for the first time in more than two years Monday after dropping most of its remaining pandemic border restrictions, the Associated Press reported. The country has long been renowned for its breathtaking scenery and adventure tourism offerings such as bungy jumping and skiing. Before the spread of COVID-19, more than 3 million tourists visited each year, accounting for 20% of New Zealand’s foreign income and more than 5% of the overall economy.
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Air New Zealand Ltd will centralise operations in Auckland and move its workforce in the city to a refurbished airport campus, the airline said on Wednesday, adding that the decision will help it cut costs by a fifth over 15 years, Reuters reported. The move, expected to occur in 2024, comes as New Zealand's flag carrier looks to reduce property costs while aiming for an uptick in business after two years of hard-line international border restrictions at home.
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The man behind Tauranga's failed Bella Vista development is fighting a New Zealand High Court challenge to declare him bankrupt, promising the court he has a plan to pay back a $1 million debt to a building materials supplier, the New Zealand Herald reported. Danny Cancian, former director of the now-liquidated Bella Vista Homes company, shed tears as he appeared via audio-visual link in the High Court at Tauranga yesterday. The 21-home Bella Vista development in The Lakes was evacuated by Tauranga City Council in 2018 over claims of construction deficiencies.
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New Zealand banks are calling on the Reserve Bank to delay implementation of new mortgage lending restrictions such as debt-to-income ratios as the housing market cools. Existing restrictions and rising interest rates are already slowing home-lending growth, and banks are concerned the introduction of further limits could have “unintended consequences,” the New Zealand Bankers Association said in a submission to the RBNZ posted on its website. It urged the central bank to assess the impact of market changes before using additional tools.
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New Zealand’s central bank is expected to raise interest rates for a second straight month and signal a more aggressive tightening cycle to contain inflation amid a labor shortage, Bloomberg News reported. The Reserve Bank will lift the official cash rate by 25 basis points to 0.75% on Wednesday in Wellington, according to 21 of 23 surveyed economists. Two predict a hike to 1% and investors see a risk the RBNZ will opt for a 50 basis-point increase, but the bank could instead signal faster tightening ahead.
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put the nation into a three-day lockdown after the discovery of the first community case of Covid-19 since February, Bloomberg News reported. The snap lockdown will begin at midnight tonight as authorities rush to identify the source of a single infection in largest city Auckland, Ardern said at a news conference Tuesday in Wellington. While genome sequencing has yet to be completed, the case is assumed to be the highly infectious delta variant, she said.
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