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What’s in the newspapers - Feb 19

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will keep his Ministerial portfolios as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigates the New Zealand First Foundation; and buy-now-pay-later schemes have been a headache for banks in a year when profits have dropped, 

* The New Zealand Herald

In the New Zealand Herald, a young man died after a freak accident when he fell back off a handrail at Auckland’s Viaduct Basin. Tim Rogers, 24, had his life support switched off by his family at Auckland City Hospital on February 8. His last act was to have his organs donated to 10 strangers.     

In other news, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters will keep his Ministerial portfolios as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigates the New Zealand First Foundation. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday afternoon told reporters her Deputy deserved "natural justice" and would not pass judgement until the SFO had completed its probe.

In business news, profits across the New Zealand banking sector fell slightly last year reversing a trend of strong profit growth seen in previous years. Figures from KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey for 2019 show bank profits fell by 1 per cent to $5.71 billion in 2019 - down from $5.77b.

* The Dominion Post

In the Dominion Post, the courage of one woman has seen Wellington poet Lewis Scott convicted of rape for a second time after the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial. Scott had a trial in 2017 where he was found guilty of rape but the convictions were overturned on appeal and a new trial ordered. Just like she had before, his victim went before 12 strangers to tell her tale.

In other news, there's more than one festival in the New Zealand Festival of The Arts. Te Ata, a festival within the festival, will focus on young people and issues of identity, social justice, and postcolonialism through the arts. Curated by Lemi Ponifasio, Te Ata will be based in Porirua with artists from all over the world coming to perform, teach and engage with audiences. 

In business news, as the first tranche of Kiwibuild homes become sale-ready, there is excitement building in the Marfell community about the benefits its new housing development will bring. The construction site on Banks St and Discovery Pl was a hive of activity on Tuesday, as the finishing touches are completed on six of 27 of the total number of  68 homes planned in the suburb under what was the Government's flagship policy. 

* The Press

In The Press, while Harjit and Shereen Singh’s company was being investigated for failing to pay liquor store staff the minimum wage, the couple were designing a palatial multimillion-dollar mansion. The Press has obtained architectural drawings for the 1200-square-metre home over three floors, which, if built, will be one of Christchurch’s grandest and most expensive. 

In other news, Canterbury authorities have dropped their goal of 20 million annual bus trips by 2020 as public transport use declines in Christchurch.The service, run by regional council Environment Canterbury (ECan), is to be overhauled in a plan that will contribute to a planned 9.8 per cent rates increase – almost double what was previously forecast.

In business news, buy-now-pay-later schemes have been a headache for banks in a year when profits have dropped, KPMG says. It has released its latest Financial Institutions Performance Survey for 2019, which shows New Zealand banks' combined net profit dropped 0.99 per cent to $5.71 billion in the year.

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