Auckland PR queen and Kiwi billionare named in Panama Papers web

A Kiwi billionaire, an Auckland PR queen and a former South Canterbury rich lister have all been caught up in the complex web of Mossack Fonseca's financial transactions.

The Panama law firm set up companies to hide the identities of trust benefactors, but a team of journalists from ONE News, Radio New Zealand and Nicky Hager have delved into New Zealand's connection to the Panama Papers.

Deborah Pead is well known in the Auckland PR scene and became the benefactor of a trust for a sick friend, which unwittingly landed her in the files of Mossack Fonseca.

In 2014 she enlisted the help of Chesterfield, a financial management company, to help take care of her friend's money.

Chesterfield in turn asked Mossack Fonseca to set up three trusts in the blacklisted British Virgin Islands.

Documents show when the companies were established using "business profits" they had a total value of $220,000.

Ms Pead told ONE News she had no idea Mossack Fonseca was involved or how the law firm structured finances.

Documents show the director and secretary of the trusts are listed as organisations in the Bahamas.

The late Allan Hubbard, a Canterbury businessman, and his wife were also named in the papers as directors of an Australian iron ore company, registered in the British Virgin Islands until June, 2015.

Kiwi billionaire Richard Chandler's Singapore-based company also enlisted the help of Mossack Fonseca.

Mr Chandler declined to comment on the "private investment fund".

Prime Minister John Key reiterated that the names on the list may have completely complied with all trust laws but said the database will help Inland Revenue.

"The really good thing about this, as I said earlier, the good thing about the release of the database is that IRD who really know what they are doing, they can go through it, they can sort out the wheat from the chaff."

The investigation into the Panama Papers New Zealand is a journalistic collaboration by reporters from ONE News, RNZ News and investigative journalist Nicky Hager.

It has been carried out with the assistance of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the German newspaper Süddeutshe Zeitung.

Their names were uncovered in a joint ONE News investigation into the complex web of transactions. Source: 1 NEWS

Is KiwiSaver or the bank the best way to save for your kids’ future?

Parents want pretty much one thing for their children - to give them a life where they can achieve anything they want to.

But that can often come down to money, so given it's Money Week, TVNZ1's Seven Sharp has been thinking about the best way to set our kids up for their financial future.

You can set up a savings account or a term deposit. But are there advantages to locking the money into KiwiSaver until they're 65, or at least want to buy a house?

One couple teaching their children financial literacy say KiwiSaver is one tool that's key to helping them have a better financial future.

The investment fund chief executive and former primary school teacher are so passionate about it they've just launched their own KiwiSaver provider, specially targeting young people.

Reporter Rebecca Edwards has the full story in the video above.

All parents want at least one thing for their children – to give them a life where they can achieve anything they want. Source: Seven Sharp

'We need to look at this' - Finance expert suspicious as Aussie banks rake in $5 billion from Kiwis

A finance expert has signalled his suspicion at the "enormous" profit the big four Australian banks are making off New Zealanders, indicating a royal commission into our banking sector may be needed.

Head of KiwiSaver provider Simplicity Sam Stubbs says the Aussie banks are making over $5 billion in profit after tax annually off New Zealanders, $1000 per person, but it's unclear why it's so large.

Mr Stubbs said he was unsure if Kiwis were bing ripped off by the banks, but said a royal commission into the sector like that undertaken in Australia could uncover similar malpractice in New Zealand.

"In Australia a whole lot of people were saying we don't need a royal commission, we don't need it. Actually when they had the royal commission, everyone's apologised from the Prime Minister down and said 'boy we needed this earlier'," Mr Stubbs said.

"I hope the politicians in New Zealand don't make the same mistake of delaying and delaying this, because with a sector that's making that much money, and so important to the financial health of all New Zealanders, we need to have a look.

Data has actually shown the big four Australian banks are making more money out of Kiwis than Australians, and they are 26 per cent more profitable in New Zealand than at home.

"We need to have a really good look and just make sure this industry is just behaving properly and appropriately," Mr Stubbs said.

"That profit number indicates that it might not be, let's have a look."

Mr Stubbs said a royal inquiry in the New Zealand banking sector would achieve two "amazing" things.

You would get banking chief executives before oath, unable to lie because it's a criminal offence - a condition that exposed several new scandals in Australia.

And, you would provide whistle blowers like bank tellers would be provided name protection and confidentiality to speak candidly.

But Mr Stubbs says the New Zealand banking sector is already lobbying and claiming it's not necessary.

"It's interesting isn't it. If the industry really had nothing to hide, wouldn't they be welcoming this commission, wouldn't they say let's get this sunlight in there, let's open the bonnet, let's have a look at what's going on.

"It's exactly the opposite of what's going on.

"They're making a lot of noise right now to not have a banking inquiry. It leads me to believe that's exactly why we should have one."

Data has revealed the big four Australian banks are making more money out of Kiwis than Australians, with the reasons unclear. Source: Breakfast


Westpac posts eye-watering NZ$4.55b profit, up 5.8%

Westpac has lifted first-half profit 5.8 per cent to NZ$4.55 billion (A$4.25b).

Westpac bank Source: 1 NEWS

Cash profit for the six months to March 31 was up from A$4.02 billion in the prior corresponding period, with consumer and business banking driving the increase.

Australian mortgage lending was up 5.6 per cent on the same time a year earlier and the lender says the quality of its loan book - which has been queried by analysts - remains "fundamentally sound".


Aussie-owned banks in NZ being asked to prove they're not ripping off Kiwi customers

Australian-owned banks in New Zealand are being asked to front up and prove they're not ripping off their Kiwi customers. 

It follows a string of revelations from a high-level inquiry in Australia, with banks now promising to change the way they do business. 

With revelations of lying and over-charging, major resignations and criminal accusations, Australian banks are in crisis.

Their bad behaviour has been exposed at the Financial Services Royal Commission in Australia.

"It has been a horror story," said Rob Everett of New Zealand's Financial Markets Authority.

Now those banks are being asked to defend themselves in New Zealand.

FMA and Reserve Bank bosses this week called in representatives from New Zealand's five big Australian-owned banks, asking them to show how their business practices are different.

"Please explain. Show us what work you have done, show us what work you are going to do and then we'll apply our own lens to that," Mr Everett said. 

Karen Scott-Howman of the Bankers Association says there are some differences between Australia and New Zealand.

"The tangible ones, I think, are in the way that we are regulated. So, we have strong regulation, we have strong regulators," she said. 

They are more likely to offer products to their customers that they haven't asked for and they probably don't need. - Sue Chetwin of Consumer NZ

Banks in New Zealand made $5 billion last year. And yesterday ANZ posted a record profit for the first half of this financial year.

Consumer NZ says Kiwi customers have concerns about banks.

"They are more likely to offer products to their customers that they haven't asked for and they probably don't need. So, sort of a good poke around in those areas I think would be really good and will provide some, I guess, reassurance to their customers here," said Sue Chetwin of Consumer NZ. 

The banks say they are happy to co-operate. 

"I think our customers should be confident that there is a strong banking culture here. But I totally respect that people want to have evidence of that," Ms Scott-Howman said. 

They are also proposing a register of bad behaviour, and removing financial incentives to staff for upselling. 

"Incentives are the key issue here. It's how you pay people, how you reward people.  And the banks really have got to change their models," Mr Everett said. 

Banks here now have three weeks to get back to authorities, and show they are behaving properly. 

It follows a string of revelations from a high level inquiry in Australia. Source: 1 NEWS