New Year Resolutions

I know it is a little late in the year to talk about new year’s resolutions. However, I thought that I would write about my progress regarding these in order to keep track of my achievements.

My first resolution was to get more active and try to lose weight. I think that this would be the most common new year resolution people make. That being said, I put on around 10 kilograms over a year due a variety of factors. The main one being that I injured by back in January 2018 in which I still visit the physiotherapist once a month to keep in check. In order to keep my weight in check I decided to start going to the gym and aim to complete a half marathon on 3 August. So far I am managing to go to the Gym at least 2 times a week. I have lost around 2 kilograms since starting in February 8 May. I now weigh around 95kg. With respect to running the half marathon, my training has not really started. I know time is running out and I need to start training, this will require more of a commitment in my evenings and potentially reducing the amount of gym sessions I complete each week.

My second resolution was to deal with my property that is vacant in Turangi. This would either be by selling it, or doing it up so that it can be rented. I tried selling the property as is, however, received no offers on the property. This was rather disappointing. Therefore I decided I decided that I would do the property up so that it could be rented. So far I have completed the painting of the ceilings, and walls. I have also removed the old kitchen and the wall in the dining room. The new kitchen has been designed at cabjaks and I am waiting to complete the painting before installation. I have also moved the wall between a bedroom and the bathroom and the hallway and the bathroom. The goal of this was to make the bathroom larger so that it can fit a bath. So far I have made some progress, however, it is not complete.

My last resolution was to restart my french lessons. I was studying french from 2014 to 2017. However, in February 2018 Alliance Francaise cancelled their lessons in Pakuranga. Due to work and other commitments I never managed to re-enrol into one of their Grey Lynn classes. The last class I completed was their B2.1 class. I re-enrolled and started lessons in their B2.2 class on 7 February. I’m very rusty at the moment having not studied for over a year, however, I’m sure that I will remember my earlier studies once I get further into the classes.

Update: Turangi Property

I listed my property in Turangi in December. It appears that the market is not interested in do-it-up properties. Despite, according to the agent, numerous viewings and potential purchasers being “enthusiastic” or “showing interest,” I have not received any offers during the sole agency period. It seems as though potential purchasers see the property as “too much work.” This is despite it being the cheapest listing in Turangi. I have decided that I will do it up and rent it out. My reasoning behind this is that rents have increased significantly over the last 18 months. By investing in a new kitchen, bathroom and carpet I should be able to get $350 to $380 per week rent. The payback period on repairs and maintenance will be approximately 18 months based on the estimated net rents.

I’m not enthusiastic about the time involved in doing it up. I have spent so far 2 weeks in January plus Auckland anniversary weekend doing work on it. I worked Waitangi day (Wednesday 6 February) so that I could work Friday and Saturday on the property. However, I do see the long term financial benefits of doing the work. When finished it will attract a better standard of tenant and higher rents. Or should I wish to list the property again it will improve the chances of a sale.

My wife is not enthusiastic as it will take up a every second weekend of my time. This means she is left looking after two children (approximately 4 years old and 2 years old) by herself while I am away. I do miss spending time with my family in the weekends. With both of us working I only see my kids during the week in the mornings at breakfast and at dinner/bed time.

However, as I see it once all the deferred maintenance is sorted it should be easier to manage and not take as much time. I have learned my lesson and will not to defer maintenance. As it ends up compounding thus becoming a real problem that consumes a lot of time later.

I will post some pictures of the work as work has been completed.

Recipe: Smoked Trout

I went out fishing this evening and caught some good sized trout. I usually butterfly them and smoke them with manuka sawdust. The recipe I use for the smoking buffer is:

  • Butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Ginger

Ensure that you season the trout with salt and let it rest in the refrigerator for awhile prior to adding the buffer.

To make the buffer, melt the butter in a saucepan then add the brown sugar and stir. Once it has an even consistency add one or two teaspoons of ginger. Then pour the buffer directly over the trout and ensure it is evenly coated and smoke with manuka sawdust. Enjoy!

Recipe: Butterflied Leg of Lamb Barbecued

I really enjoy cooking on the barbecue during the summer months. One of my favourite recipes to feed 4-6 people is a butterflied leg of lamb. Below is a recipe I use to marinade the meat beforehand.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 kg leg of New Zealand lamb, boned and butterflied
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 2 teaspoons of rosemary (preferably fresh)
  • 2 teaspoons of thyme (preferably fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  • Place the lamb in a plastic bag.
  • Then mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl. Ensure that the honey is totally dissolved.
  • Then pour all the ingredients into the bag with the lamb and ensure that they evenly cover the lamb.
  • Tie the bag off with a twist-tie and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Occasionally turn the bag over to ensure that the marinade has a chance to completely cover all the meat.
  • Remove the meat from the refrigerator and ensure it has reached room temperature before cooking.
  • Remove the meat from the plastic bag and scrape off the onion and other loose ingredients. You want to do this as burnt onion does not have a good taste.
  • Cook on a charcoal barbecue on a medium heat turning every 10 minutes. A small leg needs around 30 to 35 minutes, a large leg may need around 40 to 45 minutes.

Christmas Puddings: The end result

I left the fruit to steep for around 4 days. Last night I decided to finish making the Christmas puddings.

Mixing the pudding

It is currently steaming in the pudding basin at the moment. When it is finished I will post a photo of the end result.

UPDATE:

Finished pudding

This is the end result. On the Christmas day this will require 3 hours of steaming before serving.

Kiwis in Australia: Tax Considerations

Kiwis who live in Australia should now be aware that they do not get permanent residency when they arrive at the border.  Instead they get a special category visa (SCV) that allows them to reside and work in Australia.  Depending on certain factors, including whether or not you are married to an Australian, applied and were granted residency, or arrived after 26 February 2011.  This SCV could be a non-protected special category visa.  Given the enormous amount of media attention recently in New Zealand around New Zealanders not being entitled to social welfare/assistance packages in Australia there also seems to be a lot of ignorance around a particular benefit of having this type of visa.

A SCV is essentially is a temporary visa.  This means that most SCV holders are treated as temporary residents for tax purposes.  The benefit of this treatment is that most forms of foreign income earned are deemed “non-assessable non-exempt income” for income tax assessment purposes.  This means that Kiwis resident in Australia generally don’t have to include certain types of foreign income in their Australian tax return.  Most Australian accountants provide incorrect advice to New Zealanders resident in Australian regarding the taxation of their foreign sourced income. It is important that you receive proper advice from an accountant or tax specialist prior to departing for Australia.

As an Accountant in Manukau I frequently provide tax advice to Kiwis who are leaving for Australia so they can structure their affairs in the best possible way before leaving.  However, if you have already arrived in Australia it may not be too late to get appropriate advice for moving forward.  You can contact my office using this link.

Finally some order

A textured ceiling in our bedroom was damaged due to a leaking roof during a storm earlier in the year.  As part of the repair the texture needed to be removed.  As such we were advised that we needed to vacate our house for approximately three weeks whilst they removed it and go various asbestos clearance certificates.  So this required us packing suitcases and moving to a studio at my parent’s house.  Packing enough clothing to last two small children was difficult, because at the best of times we do on average one full load of laundry a day.  However, we managed it.

Living in the studio was hard.  Our son slept in a porta cot that just fit into the small walk-in wardrobe.  My daughter slept next door in the main house.  We cooked using a portable LPG cooker, had no jug, no toaster or oven.  Though I did enjoy staying there, as the walks around Bucklands Beach were terrific due to it being so close to the sea.

While we were living in the studio the textured ceiling removal and ceiling repair were completed within five days of us leaving the house and a verbal clearance was given to the decorators by the removers.  By the start of the second week the written clearance had been given.  However, this was when things started going a bit pear shaped.  Firstly, the scope of the works was changed from not removing all the wallpaper and plastering and repainting to only removing the wallpaper on two walls.  The wallpaper was textured, you can imagine the finished result.  Then it was they were not going to remove any wallpaper and paint over the textured wallpaper.

Secondly, the painters could not find the colour we had selected. Which was quarter pearl lusta (a Resene colour) that even Dulux managed to tint for us in previous occasions.  I think they were using this as an excuse.

We then managed to finally get the loss adjuster to sort out the scope change and settled on getting the two walls that needed repairing plastered and painted (with the other two to be handled by us).  However, the project manager could not get the plasterer that he organised to do the job or find another to do the job.  After about 2 weeks the project manager found another plasterer and the painters then finished the job.  However, on inspecting the finished result, the plastering was an average, the skirtings were not painted and they had not removed our curtains before starting and had damaged some with paint.

Finally after around 7 weeks out of the house we managed to move in.  Our children had rooms, however, we still needed to finish the other two walls.  So we ended up setting up a makeshift bedroom in our living room for 2 weeks while I removed the wallpaper, plastered the walls and painted them.  We also had to accommodate my wife’s cousin and significant other who had decided at a whim to travel to New Zealand from France to walk part of the Te Araroa trail for a couple of months.  Fortunately, they were staying a couple of days and didn’t mind sleeping in an unfinished bedroom on an air mattress.

In any case after 9 weeks it is great to move into back into our room.  The only things that need finishing is replacing the door handle and painting the timber joinery.

After this episode I will definitely take a time frame and budget on it taking three times longer than expected!

Recipe: Cheese Scones

Here is a recipe for cheese scones that I use when I do baking with my daughter.  It is simple to follow and keeps my 3 and a half year old daughter entertained.  Here are some I made earlier today with her:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of plain flour
  • 6 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 75 grams of butter
  • 3/4 cup of grated cheese
  • Around 1-1.5 cups of milk

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  3. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with fingers until the mixture resembles the consistency of fine breadcrumbs and there are no longer any chunks of butter left.
  4. Add grated cheese to the bowl.
  5. Slowly add milk little by little and mix quickly with a knife until the mixture resembles a soft dough.  Sometimes you will need a little more or less of the milk to get this consistency.
  6. Kneed the dough a few times
  7. Line an oven tray with baking powder.
  8. Press scone dough down on oven tray and cut into 12 evenly sized pieces.  Leave around 2 cm between each scone.
  9. Brush the top of each scone with milk.
  10. Grate some cheese on top of each scone.
  11. Bake at 220 degrees Celsius for around 10 minutes or until the scones are golden brown.

This house oozes potential

Street view of house

Back in December 2005 I bought a house in Turangi.  My long term plans were to tenant it and then do it up when the tenant moved out.  However, at the age of 21 I never envisaged having a wife and children. As a result my priorities have changed between then and now and I no longer have the time or will to do it up.  I have two children that are 3½ years old and 18 months old which keep my wife and I very busy.  It now means I no longer want to spend my weekends doing houses up.  When I am down in Taupo I would rather spend time with my family and go trout fishing with my father and daughter.

The house has loads of potential.  Most importantly, the land area is more or less around 733m2 and it is a 4 bedroom house.  It has two fireplaces, one in the living room. The other one is in the kitchen and is a wet back (connected to the hot water cylinder) so you can save on electricity for water heating.

I had an idea to open the living room up by removing the windows pictured below and putting in bifolding doors.  These would then open onto a deck that flows onto the backyard.  This would give excellent indoor/outdoor flow.

Exterior:

Rear of house from backyard
Side view of house from Council reserve
View of backyard and Council reserve in background

Living & Dining Room:

Living Room
Dining Room & Kitchen

The Bedrooms:

Bedroom 1
Bedroom 2
Bedroom 3
Bedroom 4

Laundry:

Laundry & Front Door

Toilet and bathroom:

Separate Toilet

Once done up property managers have said this will attract around $280-$320 per week if you want to rent it.  Otherwise it is an affordable family bach.  My loss can be your gain!

Turangi is becoming a popular place to buy a house and use it as a holiday home.  In the general vicinity there is the best trout fly fishing in the world on the Tongariro river, skiing at Whakapapa is around 45 minutes drive, Taupo is around 40 minutes drive, and there are loads of Department of Conservation walks such as the Tongariro Crossing within one hours drive.

In any case I will be listing it on Trademe, I will post the link once I have completed this.  If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments section below.