ANZ and Westpac restrict lending to foreign home buyers

Two major banks have announced they will stop lending to offshore home buyers and Labour says it's confirmation the market is out of control.

Westpac has confirmed that they have tightened policies in relation to lending and foreign income for non-residents, effective today.

The changes mean that Westpac will no longer lend to non-resident borrowers with overseas income.

For New Zealand citizens and residents with overseas income, Westpac's loan-to-value ratio has been steeply increased, meaning buyers will need to deposit 30 per cent of a property's value, up from 15 per cent.

Borrowers on temporary resident visas will be accepted only if they have a New Zealand address and a New Zealand-based income, the bank said.

ANZ has also announced a tightening in its lending policies, with Fairfax reporting that the measures include:

- A maximum LVR of 70 per cent is applied

- Loans are restricted to owner-occupied properties

- Boarder income is not permitted

- No interest-only lending will be available

- ANZ Flexible Home Loan will not be available

- Loans will not be available for the purchase of bare land or construction

- Lending is only available to individuals

- Refinances are available, however no additional lending is permitted

- No cash contributions available

- Existing pre-approvals will be honoured

It's understood that New Zealand passport holders living overseas and earning overseas income will be exempted from the restrictions.

Labour's Grant Robertson has welcomed the announcement, saying the banks appeared to be limiting their exposure in case the housing market falls over.

"It's the goal of a bank to make money from mortgage lending," he said.

"If they are pulling back from lending on New Zealand housing, then there really is a crisis in the market."

Mr Robertson says the banks are acknowledging a crisis the government won't admit exists.

Opposition parties have persistently blamed foreign investors for adding to Auckland's soaring house price inflation.

Westpac has announced that they will no longer lend to offshore buyers, while the Reserve Bank has signalled it plans to crack down on local property investors. Source: 1 NEWS


South Auckland charity The Aunties takes home top Women of Influence Award

The founder of a South Auckland charity group dubbed The Aunties has won the top honour at the Women of Influence Awards.

Jackie Clark set up the not-for-profit organisation six years ago to help vulnerable women and children who've experienced domestic violence.

The group's primary aim is to provide material needs to those they support.

"The Aunties believe everyone has the right to be safe, to have shelter, to be fed, to be loved, to dream, to read, to write, to have their say, and to be heard," the group proclaims on its Givealittle page. "Where any of those things are missing, the Aunties mission is to help provide them - the practical things, and also in terms of advocacy and pastoral care."

The group says it believes in manaakitanga - protecting the mana of the people they help so that they can find their way towards living independently, and with dignity and joy.

"Jackie and her fellow Aunties give without seeking anything in return and without judgement," said Westpac NZ chief executive David McLean, whose company co-sponsors the Women of Influence Awards. "She, and her core of other Aunties, ask vulnerable women what they need and then set about making it happen, in a completely selfless way.

"They have made an enormous contribution to our local communities at grassroots level."

The award ceremony was held last night at SkyCity in Auckland.

Here's the full list of winners:
Supreme Winner: Jackie Clark
Lifetime Achievement: Theresa Gattung
Arts and Culture: Miranda Harcourt
Board and Management: Dr Farah Palmer
Business and Enterprise: Angie Judge
Rural: Rebecca Keoghan
Public Policy: Charlotte Korte
Community/Not for Profit: Jackie Clark
Innovation and Science: Professor Wendy Larner
Diversity: Sarah Lang
Global: Sarah Vrede
Young Leader: Maddison McQueen-Davies

Jackie Clark set up the non-for-profit six years ago, which aims to help vulnerable women and children who have experienced domestic violence. Source: Breakfast


Around 360 Glenorchy homes still without power 48 hours after early spring snowfall

The Glenorchy township in Central Otago is still without power 48 hours after a spring snowfall caused major disruptions in the deep south.

Around 360 households have been affected.

Aurora Energy is hoping to have power restored to the area by this evening.

Around 360 households in the central Otago town are affected, with Aurora Energy hoping to have electricity back on by this evening. Source: Breakfast

In many places power was cut, schools were closed and flights cancelled. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Artist uses pyramid in central Auckland to spread some joy around town

A Kiwi artist are architect is using a pyramid in central Auckland to spread some joy.

Matt Liggins has made it his mission to ask people what makes them smile, but instead of rolling up to you on the street he's built a pyramid to help lighten people's moods.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp's Lucas de Jong went along to take a look and share a laugh in the video above.

Matt Liggins has made it his mission to ask Kiwis what makes them smile. Source: Seven Sharp

Meet the transgender Wellington school caretaker brightening up kids' days

A transgender caretaker at a Wellington school has been using her musical talents to brighten up the kids' days.

Molly Mason was born as Michael, but soon discovered she was a female born in a man's body.

"I believe I'm a woman, and I associate as a woman, so I live my life as a woman," Molly told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

Molly has a love of music that began when she was just six.

Now, in her role as caretaker at a Wellington school, she uses her talent to good effect by beat boxing with the kids at lunchtime.

"When I realised that beat boxing and making sounds was something I couldn't live without, that was it, nothing else mattered."

However, to be this woman - that little boy Michael, had a fight on his hands.

"I got bullied from primary school right through until the day I left college and left Blenheim."

Molly is now proud to be transgender and says the stage is her safe place. She performs as her drag alter ego called Bette Noir.

"Anything that makes me sad, makes me worried, makes me scared, anything that I find stressful, it's not there, it's gone." 

Seven Sharp’s Arrun Soma spoke with Molly Mason. Source: Seven Sharp