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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 »

Cocaine smugglers ‘targeting NZ’


A South American drug syndicate appears to be targeting New Zealand, as the amount of seized cocaine this year has increased more than 10-fold on two years ago, says the Customs Department. Customs has intercepted more than 10kg of cocaine this year, compared to just under 3kg in 2009 and 733 grams in 2008. “The high purity of the cocaine ... Read More »

NZ dollar eases against the Aussie


The New Zealand dollar eased against the Aussie after the International Monetary Fund lifted its 2018 economic growth forecast for Australia while lowering its global expectations. The kiwi traded at 90.95 Australian cents at 5pm in Wellington from 91.13 Australian cents at 8am and from 91.23 cents yesterday. It traded at 64.44 US cents from 64.39 cents yesterday, with US ... Read More »

Man who ‘used Irish backpackers to smuggle cocaine into New Zealand and Australia’ has €50k fortune seized, court hears


POLICE in New Zealand have frozen the bank account of a Dublin man with links to the Kinahan cartel. A court heard allegations that Fran Fennell had used a network of Irish backpackers to smuggle cocaine. Socialite Fennell, who gardai suspect operated as a cocaine dealer to the stars in Dublin, was named in New Zealand’s High Court this month ... Read More »

New Zealand determined to stamp out people smuggling


The global fight against people smuggling and human trafficking will be more effective when governments and businesses combine their powers, continuing the momentum of the Government Business Forum at the Bali Process, says Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway. Minister Lees-Galloway highlighted the need for government and business to work together at the Seventh Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in ... Read More »

New Zealand resident involved in people-smuggling to be deported


A Pakistani man involved in a people-smuggling operation in America, who gained residence in New Zealand, is the subject of a fraud investigation and is going to be deported. But he has been told he can make a fresh application for residence. In 2005, the stepfather-of-two was caught by a United States border patrol crossing from Canada, driving a van ... Read More »

NZ economy may not be as slow as business confidence suggests – for now

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A boost in farm production during autumn could have seen strong economic growth in the June quarter, but any disappointment could tip the scales towards an interest rate cut. Statistics New Zealand will release figures on how quickly the New Zealand economy grew in the three months to June 30. Despite months of headlines about weak business confidence and the ... Read More »