New Zealand’s Treasury is looking into whether local bank Kiwibank is ready to take over from Westpac as exclusive provider of Crown transactional banking services to 35 government agencies when the current contract expires in 2023, reports Stuff. Westpac has held the contract since 1989. Treasury said the work, to begin next year, would “investigate the merits of growing Kiwibank’s capital base and capabilities so it is positioned to become the government’s banker when the contract is next renewed”.
The New Zealand government has reportedly quietly made a major change to its flagship KiwiBuild house building program, allowing purchasers to keep most of the capital gain if they sell off their home within three years. The original policy stated buyers of a KiwiBuild home would have to surrender all the capital gain to the government if they sold within five years, but Newshub says documents show the policy has been tweaked so buyers can keep 70 per cent of the profit if they sell up within three years. Housing Minister Phil Twyford told Newshub the “entire windfall gain would have been a bit draconian.” It follows intense criticism by the Opposition of the relatively high incomes of the first KiwiBuild occupants, and adds to speculation that demand for the homes is being limited by the price tag of at least NZ$600,000 in Auckland.