Dawn chorus: Westpac NZ on the block

Westpac eyes exit from NZ; IPO or sale may further freeze mortgage market; NZ vaccination roll-out slightly behind schedule; Canterbury DHB hands out leftover vaccines to healthy locals

TLDR: This is big news for NZ Inc and the housing market. Westpac announced last night it is considering exiting New Zealand, which could mean a sale or a stock market float of one our big four banks. Along with this week’s interest deductibility shock, bank decision-making on mortgages will slow right down.

The move came after the Reserve Bank ordered Westpac NZ to commission two independent reports into its risk governance and to increase its cash holdings, although the regulator reassured savers Westpac’s current funding and liquidity positions were sound.

Elsewhere, our vaccination roll-out is already 7% behind schedule (Stuff) and looking slightly dishevelled as it emerged the Canterbury DHB is calling companies near its vaccination clinic so staff without any special conditions or position can receive leftover doses (The Press).

Overnight, overseas: Although it’s not as disastrous as in Europe, where authorities ‘discovered’ 26m missing AstraZeneca doses in Italy (Politico) and Angela Merkel cancelled an earlier plan for an Easter lockdown in Germany after widespread outrage. She then apologised. (Politico)

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