Mortgage News March 25, 2019
Proposed Kiwisaver Tax Changes

Proposed changes to KiwiSaver have been designed to redistribute wealth across New Zealand, with the Tax Working Group working on new initiatives to boost savings for low and middle income earners while reducing them for higher income earners. People earning up to $70,000 a year are likely to see benefits under the proposal, most of which will outweigh the extra taxation. Despite these intentions, not everyone is on-board with the proposals, with some critics warning of new complications and unintended consequences. 


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House Sales Slump

Property sales volumes continue to drop across New Zealand, with the housing market downturn leading vendors and investors to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. Sales volumes were very weak in February results, at a time when the market is usually running hot. Auckland is leading the downturn, with New Zealand's biggest real estate market recording its lowest number of sales in any non-January month since 2010. There are many reasons for the current level of caution, including growing uncertainty around Capital Gains Tax reforms, unrealistic price expectations, and a more difficult lending environment.


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How to Stop Using Plastics

Plastic is absolutely everywhere, with plastic bottles, bags, and packaging posing a very real threat to marine life and sensitive global ecosystems. Due to its extreme durability, plastic products last for centuries and often end up in landfill or floating around in the ocean. Despite efforts being made to reduce plastics by eliminating single-use plastic bags, there is still so much we can do as individuals to reduce our plastic consumption and become part of the solution rather than the problem. 


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Technology Predictions That Will Never Happen

The introduction of new technologies has a huge effect on the world, with mechanisation, computerisation, and the Internet changing every aspect of global culture. As forward-thinking humans, we like to make predictions about possible new technologies and how they will shape the world around us. While science fiction books and futurologists have made some very accurate predictions, there are lots of other examples that were way off the mark. From hoverboards and jetpacks through to teleportation and free energy devices, let's take a look at some tech predictions that are unlikely to ever happen.


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The Health Impacts of Eating Less Meat

This article is part two of a two part discussion. What we eat has a huge effect on our personal health and the health of the entire planet. With obesity on the rise across the western world and many people struggling to meet their diet and exercise goals, perhaps there's an easy way to improve our health and well-being. According to a new report published in The Lancet, eating less meat is crucial if we want better environmental outcomes and improved personal health. We have already looked at the environmental angle of this report in part one of this article, now let's analyse this important issue from a health perspective.


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Global Trade & the NZ Economy

The relatively small and isolated New Zealand economy is largely dependent on the rest of the world. Global trade conditions have become increasingly uncertain over recent months, with tariffs between the United States and China and Britain's divorce from the EU both having a negative impact on global sentiment. While favourable production conditions and strong commodity prices are great news for New Zealand farmers, the local economy continues to face a number of challenges.


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First Home Buyer Numbers on the Rise

First home buyers are on the rise across New Zealand, with new buyers enjoying a record share of mortgage money despite a recent drop in overall housing finance. According to figures from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ), national mortgage values were worth $5.371 billion in December 2018, which is $300 million more than a year ago and $850 million down from November. First home buyers made up 17.2 percent of the overall market with $924 million borrowed over the month, which is the highest level recorded since RBNZ started publishing data back in August 2014.


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Renewable Energy Around the World

When it comes to the design and implementation of renewable energy solutions, not all countries are created equal. From solar and wind power through to hydro and geothermal energy solutions, some nations are doing much more than others in the movement towards a low-carbon future. According to the Climate Council, Sweden is aiming to be the world's first 100 percent renewable country when it comes to electricity generation, with other ambitious green nations including Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Scotland, Germany, and Uruguay.


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World's Smallest Animals

For better and worse, humans have undoubtedly taken over planet Earth. Our use of tools and knack for self-awareness has given us an edge over the rest of the animal kingdom, to the point where many other species are under threat as the result of our existence. While our ability to learn, be creative, and solve problems is impressive and unsurpassed, a number of other species also show remarkable signs of intelligence. Let's take a look at the world's smartest animals and see how their intelligence differs from ours.


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The Environmental Impacts of Eating Less Meat

This is the first part of a two part discussion. What we eat has a huge effect on the world around us, with our diet closely linked with global farming practices and the health of environmental systems. With agriculture responsible for up to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, and most of these emissions coming from red meat production, simple changes to our diet could have a huge impact on the world around us. According to a new report published in The Lancet, eating less meat is critical if we want better personal health and improved environmental outcomes. Let's analyse the rather persuasive environmental argument, and leave the health argument to part two of this article.


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> In This Issue...
1. Proposed Kiwisaver Tax Changes
2. House Sales Slump
3. How to Stop Using Plastics
4. Technology Predictions That Will Never Happen
5. The Health Impacts of Eating Less Meat
6. Global Trade & the NZ Economy
7. First Home Buyer Numbers on the Rise
8. Renewable Energy Around the World
9. World's Smallest Animals
10. The Environmental Impacts of Eating Less Meat

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