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How low can ETF fees go?; Saving challenges for the 95%; Target 8 times your end salary for retirement; The making of a millionaire; 10 lessons for business start-ups

How low can ETF fees go?; Saving challenges for the 95%; Target 8 times your end salary for retirement; The making of a millionaire; 10 lessons for business start-ups

By Amanda Morrall

1) ETF fees

The appeal of exchange traded funds is they are low-cost and highly diversified investment instruments, at least relative to most managed funds. U.S. discount broker Charles Schwab, in a move that could trigger a bidding war for ETF investors, this week slashed its fees on its 15 ETF from 0.06% to 0.04%.

According to the website, company officials at Charles Schwab said it would bring the weighted average overall expense ratio of its EFTs down to 0.077%. All eyes on index tracker Vanguard, who built a reputation on low fees, to see whether it will follow suit.

Most managed funds charge around 1%.

According to the IndexUniverse, total U.S. listed ETF assets are now worth US$1.309 trillion.

2) Saving the 95%

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, in its most recently released report entitled "Equity in Superannuation: The Real Issues" says the savings debate needs to be refocussed to secure retirement security for the masses.

The ASFA identifies five groups most at risk of saving deficiencies in old age.

  1. The self-employed
  2. Individuals on paid parental leave
  3. Those under the $450 a month threshold for receiving the Superannuation Guarantee (SG)
  4. Indigenous
  5. Recently divorced men and women.

I expect a similar demographic is as vulnerable in New Zealand.

3) A new rule of thumb

Obviously your desired lifestyle in retirement will dictate how much you need to save for it however as a rule of thumb financial planners often suggest you'll need between 50 to 75% of your pre-retirement income (annually) to get by. Because of extended longevity, low inflation and other factors financial planners are revising their estimates. The following Wall Street Journal article reports that the new rule of thumb for retirement income planning is to target eight times your end-salary as savings.

Here's how that savings target breaks down by life stages:

"Getting there, however, will require that a worker save about one times his or her salary at age 35, three times his or her pay at 45 and five times the salary at age 55."

Remember, that's just a rule of thumb.

Here's a link to's retirement planning calculator.

4) Millionaire's row

After that scare, many of you are undoubtedly wondering how to make your fortune and fast. Sadly, no quick fixes for retirement savings deficiencies friends. That said hope springs eternal and it's never too late to up your personal finance game.

There are as many ways to become a millionaire as there are ways to skin a cat, although whoever came up with that expression seriously needs therapy. outlines three key considers on salary, saving and going solo.

5) Accidental entrepeneur

The following first person blog written by an accidental entrepreneur (who turned a simple on-line book sale into a booming business) may serve as an inspiration. If you read through to the end, the author offers up 10 lessons for start-ups.

Have a great weekend.

To read other Take Fives by Amanda Morrall click here. You can also follow Amanda on Twitter @amandamorrall

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Finally! Sleep in a little this morning Amanda? ;-)

#3,#4, and #5. It's such a cracking day here in Sydney today that I'm going to fly off on a  tangent...

Probably the wrong comment to make on a financial website, but rather than pursuing riches because you (erroneously, as many studies have concluded) believe that being rich will make you happy, why not just aim to be happy instead?

Of course happiness is a rather wooly goal to aim for, so you have to work out what makes you happy first, but there are many great websites that describe the traits of happy people, like this one...

and who knows, in the course of being happy you might accidentally become rich (not that it will make you any happier)

Happy Friday everyone!

I hear daily how lovely it is in Sydney. Stop or I might have to join the masses!
On the happiness front, you might enjoy this interview I did with Shawn Achor author of the Happiness Advantage.

Nice article. Good that you asked for some clarification on 'vertical coupling" - it wasn't what I was thinking at all :-)   So um, if the boss-employee is verticle coupling, is the relationship between our work collegues and friends horizontal coupling?

I recently ripped through 'Stumbling on Happiness' and 'The How of Happiness' and they have some very interesting results from studies about how rubbish we are at predicting the future and gauging what makes us happy - factors well worth considering when you are thinking about retirement and being happily retired.

Sydney is rocking along at the moment. And the contrast to Wellington is unbeleivable! You should seriously consider it as a financial option - yes it's quite expensive but the wage inflation in Oz is fantastic and you get to make around 25% on every $AUD you send back to NZ, all while getting 12% of your gross salary extra tucked away in a nice little super fund. WIN!


Stan, the super system here in Aus is one of the great things about living and working here. I feel so much more confident in my distant retirement here than I did in NZ, where I was struggling to put away the 2% from Kiwisaver 

It's not because the super system is different that you are better off in Australia.  It is because your remuneration is higher. 
If you were earning exactly the same in Australia as you were earning in New Zealand, the Australian super system would make you worse off now and better off later.

Sorry, I don't follow. 
I earn crica 100K here in Aus, I earnt circa 120K in Auckland
I get 9% of 100K ie. 9K paid into a super fund each year here. 
In Auckland I struggled to pay in 2%, and this was matched by my employer.
If I was earning 120K here like I did in NZ, why would I be worse off now? My employer would pay in 9% on top of the 120K 

How come you are apparently living happily on $100k in Australia but you struggled to save 2% out of $120k in Auckland?  
And why do you say you are better off in Australia, if you have a total remuneration of $109k ($100 + 9% employer contribution to your super) there, compared to your total $122k ($120k + 2% employer contribution to your KiwiSaver) in Auckland?

I'm with Matt:

I earn twice what I was getting in Wellington 3 years ago, and on top of that I get 9% (going up to 12%) of that salary paid into a super fund. If I decide to go permanent here at The Bank then it goes up to 17%! On top of that I could quite easily afford to salary sacrifice the allowable amount of $25k pa before tax and still be better off than I was in NZ.

My only surprise with Matts position is that he went down in salary moving to Oz. There must be a very good reason why that is so, as the opposite is usually the case.

I repeat:  You are better off because your total remuneration is higher, not because of the Australian super system. 
Suppose an employer could afford a total $100k for your services in Australia or in NZ.  In Australia, he'd have to put 9% into your super so you'd get $91k.  In NZ, you can choose whether $4k goes into your KiwiSaver, so you get $96k, or not to join KiwiSaver and take home $100k.
No, the 9% is not "on top of" your salary.  It is part of your total remuneration.  

nnnnnnggggggggg wrong! (that's the red buzzer sound btw).

My 9% (going up to 12% and could be 17% if I go perm) is on top of my salary (double what it was in NZ). So for sake of your argument my A$100k is actually A$109k.

Nominally only. In practice it is money that your employer could pay to you in salary if he was not being forced to put into your super account.  In New Zealand you would have the choice.

Ok now we are just down to semantics. We'd have to move the debate onto the merits/evils of compulsory super to proceed any further.

All I know is that I look at roles based on what salary they are quoting, as per NZ, and then I get 9% (did I mention that it's going up to 12%?) on top of that. And as Matt points out, it's a good thing for people like me who are a tad ambivalent about retirement planning...

Hi Stan
I went from a Managerial position to a senior position, also Adelaide does not pay as highly as other Aus cities. Overall the pay here seems about the same as Auckland
But as I say in another email, the costs of living is so much lower here than Auckland that even with a significant salary decrease I'm better off.
I'm much less stressed and healthier too, life is more than just the $$$$$!!!!
I'm free from unrealistic director expectations, and can just do the work I enjoy doing without all the crap  

Nice one. I must say the workplace is a lot less stressful than NZ. I do a poxy 7 hours a day but I elect to do an extra (back-breaking I can tell you) 22 minutes each day so I get a flex day each month (I can save up to 5 of them before I have to take one) so that totals out to 6 1/2 weeks leave pa, plus 18 personal days, plus stats (including a bank holiday in August) - I worked out I'm only here 9 months of the year!

I liked the beach in Adelaide and of course you have the Barossa Valley aka Heaven. One can never have too much shiraz in life :-)

Fortunately I've never really suffered from stress. I'm more of a stress giver LOL

great culture here too. Awesome festivals ,and plenty of great food / wine events. 

ummm, have actually had last few days as annual leave, for school holidays, hence my much increased activity here
Be careful making ill informed assumptions!

"is that the best you can come up with"
Actually its the truth. Your problem if you don't believe it.

Wow Ivan you really don't want to know about my situation then if the above makes you sick!

Life's what you make it buddy. I chose to make mine as easy and as much fun as possible. Matt seems to be doing pretty well with his choices also. 

Young dudes from NZ with no skills are heading to WA and getting paid $150k to drive a truck. Big money for a 20 year old. Do you begrudge them that too? It's a world of opportunity out there and if you can get rid of that chip on your shoulder you might be able to take advantage of it like the rest of us.

Peace :-)

because I also receive circa 7K per year of family benefit, save about 10K per year on housing, and save about 10K per year on costs of living - petrol, electricity, groceries etc
My power bills this winter were $100 per month compared to $500 per month in Nz   
Our groceries are usually $180 pw here compared to $250 pw in NZ
How do you get to $134K? $120K plus 2% equals $122,400 

Fine, so it's not because of the Australian super system that you are better off in Australia, it's because of several external factors which are completely unrelated to the super system.
Sorry about my rubbish maths; I've corrected that.

no worries, saw that :)
I DO think I will better off in retirement though because of the super scheme here. Its the compulsory, untouchable element that makes it work for poorly financially disciplined buggers like me!

with the added bonus we can take our Aussie super out and hide it offshore then move back to NZ and claim the basic pension. Apparently. Not that I would ever do that. Obviously.

Sydney is a great city but the housing is way too expensive. 
Amanda, with her dependents, would be way better placed to go to one of the other bigger Aus ciites. Here in Adelaide, you can buy a 3 bed 120 sq m new house in an OK suburb, within 30 minutes drive of the CBD, for circa 300K. I hear similar stories in Brisbane. Melbourne might be a tad more expensive, but still you can buy a new 3 bed house there say 40 minutes commute from the city for circa 380K, I hear. In Sydney, add another 20 minutes to the commute and another 70K to the price  

In ChCh you can buy a do-up about 5 minutes from the CBD for mid $100s.  (A 1920s bungalow on a full 750m2 in North Linwood sold for $144k at auction 2 weeks ago).
On top of that there are lots of construction and related professional services jobs in the offing.

No offence Chris_J but WHY would anyone want to buy a house in Christchurch??? It was a bit of a hole before the earthquake; knowing that it's now smack in the middle of a very dangerous faultline makes it even less of an attractive place to live than Wellington, and that's saying something. I saw enough during the big quake to realise that my personal happiness was dependent on not being squashed to death, or living in fear of such a thing.

You couldn't pay me to live there.


Okay, I might be slightly one eyed, BUT Christchurch is actually a very nice place to live.  It's close to the mountains and skifields, an easy drive to areas that tourists fly halfway round the world to explore.  Dunedin too is very underrated.  The South Island overall is much nicer than the North (except for Blenheim!).
Auckland is a fine city though (but Penrose through to Otara and south isn't exactly pretty).  The centre of Melbourne and Sydney are fantastic too, some of their suburban environs not so much.
But the problem with Auckland, Melbourne and Sydney is that you essentially live in the locale of your home and or work, and that might well be a horrid nondescript outer area.
In ChCh and Dunedin you can be close to the centre of town for absolute peanuts.
BTW you're dreaming if you think ChCh is more dangerous than Wellington.  Wellington sits on a fault line that slipped 18m horizontally last time and created 10m a high tsunami in the harbour, and is calculated as almost ready to release a similar size quake in the not distant future.  When a fault scarp dissects the Wellington CBD with large concrete framed buildings straddling it, it is hard to consider that safer than a region with a few modest faultlines.

yep I really like ChCh. As I said in another post, GREAT hinterland. Good international airport  with good international access. Cold in winter, but often those crisp, blue sky kind of days.
Dunedin? Not so convinced. I've been there once for a few days, was a bit disappointed in its heritage, lots of old buildings really poorly maintained, and lots of ugly 70s / 80s mall intrusions around the main strip. And terrible climate. Was there in mid November and had three days of rain and 11/12 degree days
Auckland is a good city, but overrated. Its cultural life compares poorly to Adelaide, let alone Melbourne / Sydney. Its CBD is OK. Great harbour though.

Now I have to defend Dunedin!
I think it's actually one of the nicest spots in NZ.  Yes the weather can be brisk, but honestly I've lived in Auckland, and you need to put a jacket on there too most summer and winter!
Dunedin City has a huge variety of suburbs much like Auckland, there are areas of fantastic villas and late 19th C and early 20th C housing.  The streets of Maori Hill have the same grandeur as Remuera just a little faded without the modern infill.  City Rise has housing that can rival East Melbourne or San Francisco.  Vauxhall and Sunshine have fantastic views across the harbour to the city.  The upper harbour, the port and Blueskin Bay have some spectacular hidden spots.  Karitane and Doctors Point have some of the nicest beaches in NZ.  Then it's only a fantastic 60 minute drive from the CBD to the spectacular schist outcrops and Central Otago climate at Middlemarch.  Dunedin's CBD is just 2 hours to Roxburgh where 30 degree summers days are the norm (I've experienced nearly 40 degrees there once), and only about 3 and a half hours from Queenstown.
To be honest you could buy a 400m2 grand victorian mansion in Central Dunedin for say $500-700k ( ) and a crib in Wanaka, Alex or surrounds for $300k ish for the weekends:
Or for low $100s if you don't want it too flash:
That's a mansion and a holiday home for less than the price of a cross lease in Sandringham.
There's nothing wrong with that.

Sssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ! .....
........ one of the delights of Dunedin is that it ain't infested by hoards of Aucklanders  swanking around the joint , with designer sunglasses perched atop their heads , bellowing into cell phones , and out-bidding each other to the moon at every house auction ...........
Let's just keep it our little secret ..... OK ?

I'm not sure why Aucklanders actually live in Auckland if they aren't in jobs that require them to be there!
I could rave about Invercargill too! 
And have you been to Stewart Island?  Sparkling clear seas, golden sands, spectacular bays, wild kiwis wondering amongst the cribs, kakas as prolific as pigeons are to Wellington, hardly any cars, all set in stunning rimu forests - and you can have your own acre piece of it for as little as $40k freehold or a house for $150k.

Gummy loves Invercargill ..... never had the chance to nip over Fouveax Strait ..... but I have heard that the cost of basic necessities are prohibitive on Stewart Island  .....

Shhh....we don't want too many people to know about Dunedin......

fair enough, its got nice natural surrounds, agreed, but IMHO the CBD is a bit of a hole, and the weather IS crap
I just couldn't live in a place which has a "summer" where highs are usually in the late teens or early 20s
At least ChCh gets a few degrees warmer

According to Wikipedia, quoting NIWA, the average highs for Dunedin in Jan, Feb, March are 18.9, 18.7, 17.2
that's not a summer, that's a spring!!!!
As I expected, ChCh came in a few degrees warmer, at 23,22 and 20 degrees average highs over those 3 months. That qualifies as a summer...just!
Meanwhile, the capital city comes in kind of in between the two, almost scraping a summer together with average highs of 20.3, 20.6, and 19 over those 3 months

The key to Dunedin Matt is that you don't spend your summer there.  Everyone (at least most people) head up to Central for most of January.  Dunedin actually becomes a bit of a ghost town at that time of year.
But the good thing is while you are baking in 35 degree weather in Alexandra you are only 2 and a half hours drive from the lawns in Dunedin and any other urgencies that need attended to.
Quite often I've driven up to Middlemarch just for the hotter weather.  It can be 16 in Dunedin and 30 in Middlemarch just 60 minutes drive away.

Alex's average summer temps are 22.1, 23.5, and 23.8 which are each higher than Auckland's for the respective months.
Note if you live in Dunedin (in a professional job) you'll probably save enough on your housing to holiday on the Gold Coast or in Port Douglas each winter anyway (while you're not skiing)!

.....if you're a heat freak and wanna long hot summer , head off to Kuwait City , where the June to August monthly average daily maximum temperatures  are 43.3 / 46.7 / & 46.9 'c .......

Fair call. I stand corrected.


that sounds too good to be true, there must be a con?
If I was ever to return to NZ, chch would probably be my choice to be frank, or perhaps Tauranga
Wellington has terrible weather, sits on a earthquake timebomb and has overpriced housing, Auckland has mediocre weather, overpriced housing, terrible traffc and a boring population (property, rugby, property etc)

Not that I am biased at all but Rodney is good - close enough to Auckland for decent contract work but far enough away from Aucklanders to keep your sanity. Apart from an ongoing minor battle to stop them turning the whole area into another Omaha (currently fighting against a gold course at Te Arai), you can have the best of both worlds. And no earthquake risk. And for half a mill you can get a bit of land with a sea view and maybe even a house

Tauranga was marvellous in the 80's, now it's an overpriced retirement village.

Gisborne has long term potential. Some beautiful older Villas or places close to the beach, and some fantastic coastline nearby. A bit small-town still, but then so is Wellington and Chch really.


yes I agree re: Rodney, nice part of the world. 
The council should be opening up Dairy Flat to new res development - OK access to Auckland, great access to the coast of Rodney and beyond

As someone who lives not too far away, my guess is EQ damaged and the seller took the benefit of the claims with them. There are a few properties on this side that have sold on this basis. Could be difficult to insure.
Just to correct Chris (whose property judgements I respect), it is 5 min from the FORMER cbd - as he well knows, it isn't really there anymore :<).
Stan I would rather stay in Chch than live in Wgtn my former home town. We've had our EQs here, a repeat of a mid-19th century shake in Wgtn would make what happened here seem like a picnic.

CT, living anywhere other than Wellington is a total no-brainer. I hope your optimism about that being the last of the earthquakes is justified; I was under the impression that the hitherto unknown fault under Chch might be active for the relatlvily brief geographical time span of several tens of thousands of years before it settles down again for a few millenia.

Also this recent news article about the whopping quake in Sumatra earlier this year would give me concern about living anywhere near a fault line or earthquake risk...

That plate is fracturing and it's not good for anywhere nearby (i.e. on the planet).

I was born and bred in Welli, although I think it's quite a cool city in its own way and I enjoy going back for a visit, it is also a bit of a hole and the weather really is crap no matter what its staunchest defenders say. It amuses me when I speak to my parents in late September, we've had beautiful weather in the early / mid 20s here, and they say "Oh, we had a cracker here today, only a LITTLE wind, blue skies, and hot - 15 degrees!!!!" Wow 

Well I grew up in *cough*wanganui*cough* so, you know, there are worse places than Wellington, although at gunpoint if I had to choose I'd probably still take Wanganui over Wellington.

As you say the weather is appalling, and the way Wellingtonians go on about how great it is - I mean I could accept it if they just said "yeah we know it's not great but we like and we are happy here" but instead you get "its the coolest little capital in the world - lonely planet says so" and "you can't beat it on a good day" - both of which are utter shite :-)

I just don't understand it all. Total disconnect.


Yeah I really get sick of all that BS too. "Absolutely Positively Wellington" set the scene for all that nauseating stuff
Look, for a very small city it's got quite a lot going for it. Its got a vibrant cultural scene, some good (but not great) galleries / museums. The cafe scene is quite cool, and there are some nice restaurants. Oriental Bay is a lovely spot. I still love Thorndon, alot of character, and the botanic gardens are great, as is Eastbourne.
But really you'd only really call the CBD "vibrant" if you've come from the provinces in the lower half of the north island, and most of the suburbs are pretty daggy 

27 'c and clear blue skies here in Toowoomba , Queensland .... ....... and it's the flower & food festival .....
..... life can be great , wherever you are ....... unless you happen to be locked in Bernard Hickey's dirty laundry basket , of course .....  or Syria .....

 Gbh be sure  to hike up Gary Mountain while your there...just fer ol times sake.
Gotta you remember the story bout Brother Mooney n Brother Schofield n the bike sheds....
 Towoomba ...matey...Towoomba.

It seems the good brothers both mis-heard the recruitment advisor , when the Catholic Church offered them a career path with a spiritual route .....

MIA, Crooked Thumb, that property was 706 Worcester (check it out on google maps if you want it was 759m2 with a 2007 GV of $240k), I believe that there was some EQ damage but it was a mortgage sale, not a write off due to EQ damage.  There have been numerous sales at that level, one a good looking bay villa on Gloucester went at $141k on 506m2 with little damage bar the chimneys.
If you look at the EQ write offs there is much more selection.  A 3 year old 3 bed double garage brick townhouse with virtually no damage to the house apart from an indiscernible tilt (written off earlier on when eqc were more accommodating) in Wainoni (not a desirable area) sold for an unbelievable $90k.  Good hardly damaged near new big full size homes in the North East are selling for as little as $150k after being written off for ground damage.
In general you can get new insurance for the indemnity value of an uninsured property for fire or other non earthquake related events.  You may be able to get insurance for EQ on an undamaged or repaired house that was previously uninsured for up to $115k indemnity in many areas (we have).

good deals. You could demolish and walk away with a brand new house on full section for circa 400-450K in a central location, versus what maybe 800K in equivalent Jaffa location? 
I know which I'd go for, provided the rebuild can proceed and the chch economy can get back off the ground
Chris, what makes you so enamoured with Auckland? 

Good points Chris. Yes if you can get non-EQ insurance cover and the insurer bills you the EQC levy (which I think they have to) then you have $100K + GST EQC cover even if it is only indemnity type. I do wonder though, given the EQC business model is so broken financially, what that cover would actually offer in practical terms should another damaging quake occur.As you note EQC morphed from being (over) generous to now unrealistically penny-pinching.
I agree there are good opportunities here for property investors wanting to invest for income. Have you moved on anything here?

Stan - did you not post lately about your home in Tomarata/Te Arai? You did wax quite lyrically about it back now it's Sydney....hmmmmm........

Keep up Gertraud - it's about wherever I happen to be at the time LOL

I love Tomarata/Te Arai, and I love London, and I love Sydney.

Right now I'm in Sydney because out of the three it's IMHO the best spot to be in at present. One day I will make it back to Tomarata (I think), and then I'll annoy the crap out of everyone by going on and on about how great it is there.


Also I owe you one for the quality video's you posted this week *ahem* so here's the Research In Motion (RIM) cover of REO Speedwagon classic "Keep on Loving You" for your Friday viewing pleasure...


I should thank you as RIM is a Canadian co. but sorry that song hasn't improved with age.
Argh, I need a reset or it'll be ringing in my ears all weekend....

OK here you go. This was my Friday tune for last week, but it can go another.

Feel The Love!


RIMM's shares had a 14 % bounce overnight on the NYSE , Amanda ..... because the latest quarter's result wasn't catastrophically appalling , as the market had anticipated ....
...... merely dreadfully appalling , instead ....
RIMM = R.I.P. ..... it's nearly dead !

yeah, I was remembering RIM from better days, before I came to NZ. Right you are again Gumster. Howz things?

Life is amazing , Amanda ...... we popped into Toowoomba for a holiday , and within 60 seconds of getting our feet onto the good red soil , were offered jobs !
.... Australia truely is an awesome place ... are you contemplating coming over ?
( sorry to see the Black-Berry die out ; the directors of RIMM seriously lost their way )

This thread certainly has me thinking about it....Glad to hear life is treating you well. So E Asia is a closed chapter now?

The year in the Philippines was a test run , to see if we could cope with a permanent retirement there sometime in the future ...
..... best to put your dreams to the acid test , before you take the plunge , and burn your bridges ....

The only ETF provider in NZ, SmartShares, has fees from 0.6%. Better than the managed funds but still too high.

2 - Oh, what a surprise.  A fund managers industry association thinks that more people ought be forced to hand over more of their money to fund managers.
I really do think you might have acknowledged that the retirement income system in New Zealand is completely different from that in Australia.  One of the ways in which that shows up is that people who don't, or can't, save very much during their working lives are considerably better off as pensioners in New Zealand than they would be as pensioners in Australia. 

And the winner of Hospitality New Zealand Award for Excellence comes from: Invercargill!
Three Southland businesses scooped the top prize at the Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence in Wellington.
The Batch Cafe in Invercargill won the Best Cafe section; Thomas Green, Gore, won Best New/Redeveloped Bar/Restaurant category and Fiordland Lodge, Te Anau, won the Best Environmental, Sustainable and Ethical Practice section.
19deg down on the farm there today so not too a shoddy climate either.  Been beating the temps in the Eastern Bay lately.

Thanks for the heads up on those awards ..... some of us love the deep south ( sadly , the squeeze doesn't ! ) .....
...... 19 'c huh ........ break out the mankini !

The Batch Cafe well worth a visit if you ever get down that far south again Gummy. 
Yep the mankini isn't too far away. ;-)

LIved  in Invercargill for a bit. We had 32°C there one day which was the national high but......then the next winter was the coldest on record, didn't get above zero for a week.

Just back from a break in Borneo, and it has been most enjoyable to read the good-humoured and positive conversation on this thread. Back to some good news for Chch too; it looks as though the Coastal Pathway will go ahead, and we got a letter from the CCC to say they hope to have Evans Pass Road open next month.