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:


  • 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


  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.


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 & 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.


Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism : Phase 2

As an Accountant I am captured by the recent changes to bring in phase 2 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT Act).  Phase 2 extends the current AML/CFT Act 2009 to cover more businesses. It now includes lawyers & conveyancers, accountants,  real estate agents, and the New Zealand Racing Board (aka the TAB) as well as some businesses that deal in expensive goods.

These changes came/come into force on the following dates:

  • Lawyers and conveyancers – 1 July 2018
  • Accountants – 1 October 2018
  • Real estate agents – 1 January 2019
  • The TAB – 1 August 2019
  • Businesses that deal in expensive goods – 1 August 2019

As an accountant I was preparing for these changes in the lead up to 1 October 2018.  I had to document a “risk assessment,” “risk rating” and “anti-money laundering programme.”  These documents form part of the process that is required in our office in order to comply with the AML/CFT Act.  The compliance programme also needs to be audited every two years and can be subject to spot checks and penalties can be applied for non-compliance.

What does this mean for clients of accountants?

Accountants will now require more information from their clients before they can act for them. Client due diligence (CDD) must be completed on new and existing clients.  This process includes verifying identity documents, addresses, entity structure and in some cases the client’s source of wealth (enhanced due diligence).  Once these documents are obtained reasonable steps must be taken to verify their authenticity.

Enhanced due diligence will be required for the following types of clients:

  • All trusts
  • Charities/Incorporated Societies
  • All companies that have a trust that is a shareholder
  • Clients that come from countries that are deemed high risk (such as tax havens and non-democratic countries)
  • Clients with significant wealth

So what happens after CDD?

Accountants will be required monitor and report to the financial intelligence unit of the New Zealand Police:

  • any suspicious transactions
  • where a client wants to conduct a transaction with more than $10,000 of cash; or
  • by international wire transfer over $1000.

Also, the accountant is obliged not to tell the client that they have reported them to the relevant authority.

Reaction of some accountants

In the circles of small practitioners I associate with, initially some decided that they would restructure their accounting practices so that they would not be captured by the act.

I have only heard of one small practitioner managing to not be captured under the AML/CFT Act as he doesn’t do any captured activities.  For my practice this wouldn’t work as most clients expect me to do these captured activities.  Most practitioners have now accepted that they are captured and it now means an additional compliance cost they will bear.  Ultimately and unfortunately this cost will end up being passed onto the client.

From discussions with other practitioners, for many new clients completing CDD has not been a problem.  However, some existing clients that have been with firms for many years have been questioning the process.  There is also an issue with clients that accountants act for that do not visit due to being in different regions or countries.  This has required some clients to visit solicitors or justices of the peace to certify documents and post them to the accountant. In most cases I have seen the compliance burden from complying with the act turn a relatively straightforward and quick job into something that can take weeks to start, especially with overseas based clients.  Do you remember how quick it used to be to open a bank account?

With respect to the legislation/regulations, personally, I believe this is the government extending itself into a police state.  Also the examples listed in Appendix A of the Department of Internal Affairs Guidelines for accountants only involve accountants that wilfully and knowingly entered into money laundering transactions on behalf of criminal clients.  None involved cases cited were examples of an accountant that unwittingly laundered money for a client.  All this legislation does is essentially apply a hammer to crack a nut mentality and will not stop the types of accountants that are mentioned in the cases from doing doing business with people who want to launder money.

This also places me in a conflicted position.  Professionally under my code of ethics I take client confidentiality very seriously.  This is to the point if the IRD is not formally requesting information under their powers under the Tax Administration Act I won’t give it to them until they compel me to do it.  Now I am obliged to report clients to the FIU and not alert them. This makes me feel uneasy.

In any case watch this space it has only been six weeks since implementation.  I am sure that I will post some further comment on AML/CFT and the way it is affecting clients and accountants.


Recipe: Christmas Puddings

Since Christmas is on the way you should start preparing your Christmas puddings for the following year.  Puddings always taste better if they have had at least a year to mature.  Here is the recipe that I use to make my Christmas puddings.  You will need at least a 1.7 litre pudding basin.


  • 150 grams of currants
  • 150 grams of sultanas
  • 150 grams of chopped prunes
  • 150 grams of cranberries
  • 200 millilitres of pedro ximenez sherry
  • 100 grams of plain flour
  • 125 grams of breadcrumbs
  • 150 grams of suet (make sure this is real suet not vegetable, talk to your butcher)
  • 150 grams of dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 size 7 eggs
  • 1 large granny smith apple
  • 2 tablespoons of manuka honey


  1. Put the currants, sultanas, prunes and cranberries into a bowl with the with sherry and steep for 1 week.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the steeped fruit to the ingredients including all the liquor.
  4. Grease the 1.7 litre pudding basin.
  5. Scrape the mixture into the pudding basin press it down and put the lid on.
  6. Place the pudding basin into a slow cooker with around 1-2 inches of water in the bottom and set to low.  Place lid on slow cooker and cook for around 4-5 hours.
  7. Carefully remove the pudding basin from the slow cooker and leave to rest and cool.
  8. Once the pudding has cooled, remove from the basin and wrap in baking paper and store in your pantry for around 1 year.
  9. Around 1-2 months prior to Christmas take the pudding out of the baking paper, place in a greased pudding basin and drizzle one teaspoon of sherry over the pudding every 2-3 days.
  10. On Christmas day steam the pudding in a pot with the lid on for 3 hours prior to serving.
  11. Serve with vanilla ice cream and/or custard.

Recipe: Spicy BBQ Chicken Nibbles

Since BBQ season is approaching, I have a recipe for a marinade that I like to use for BBQ chicken nibbles/drums that I thought I would share.

  • 1 kg of chicken drums or nibbles.
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce.
  • 1/3 cup Kecap Manis (or to substitute 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part brown sugar simmered at a low heat until it obtains a syrup consistency then left to cool.)
  • 2 tablespoons of tumeric powder.
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli powder.
  1. Mix in a bowl the soy sauce, kecap manis, tumeric and chilli powder.
  2. Mix the chicken drums/nibbles into the marinade.
  3. Leave in the fridge for at least two hours, however, overnight is best.
  4. Ensure to that you stir it a couple of times to ensure the chicken marinades evenly.
  5. Cook over a charcoal BBQ with the lid down.
  6. Enjoy!



International Fraud Awareness Week: Inheritance Scams

International fraud awareness week is observed 11-17 November 2018.  Only the week prior I saw first hand a person who has fallen victim to an elaborate international scheme set up by dishonest individuals.  An elderly man popped into our office asking for advice on investing a large inheritance he was going to receive.

The AML/CFT rules now apply to accountants. So I asked him for some further details regarding the inheritance as well as some personal identification.  Apparently, the inheritance was coming from somebody the victim has never known but “shared the same last name.”  The inheritance (which was in the millions) was brought to his attention by a letter received unexpectedly in the post from overseas.  On top of that, the funds were frozen and required a court order to unfreeze them to make them available for distribution to him as the beneficiary of the estate.  In order to do this he was required to pay money by wire transfer to the lawyer who had contacted him to cover the legal costs to do this.  Unfortunately, the man happily obliged and parted with a significant sum of money.  This was done without seeking any advice from any professional in New Zealand such as a lawyer, accountant or financial planner.

I advised him that he had probably been a victim of a inheritance scam. Unfortunately, I am under the impression he didn’t believe me.  He didn’t come back with the details I needed so that I could act for him.  When he left the office he said was going to contact the “lawyers” to see if he could provide that information.  I did, however, offer some parting advice. This was to not pay any further money if requested unless he consulted a professional.

So after seeing this first hand I thought I would point out some warning signs of an inheritance scam.  Remember to stay safe out there!

Warning signs:

  • You are contacted out of the blue by a scammer posing as a lawyer or banker and offering you a large inheritance from a distant relative or wealthy individual.
  • There may be requests to pose as next of kin to an unclaimed inheritance.
  • The offer comes on official looking letterhead, however, contains spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • The size of the inheritance is large.
  • You are provided with fake bank statements, birth certificates and other documents if you question the legitimacy.
  • You are asked to provide your bank account details, copies of identity documents as verification.
  • You are asked to pay a series of fees, charges or taxes to help release or transfer the money.
  • The fees may initially be for small amounts, however, you are then asked for further larger payments.
  • The scammer offers to meet you in person to verify the proposal, but this rarely eventuates.
How to protect yourself:
  • Never send money or give credit card, account details, copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
  • Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up front payment by money order, wire transfer, pre-loaded card or bitcoin. It is very difficult to recover money this way.
  • Seek advise immediately from an independent professional such as a lawyer, accountant or financial planner if in doubt.
  • Do an internet search using the names, contact details or exact wording of the letter/email to check for any references to a scam.
  • If you think it’s a scam, don’t respond.
  • Remember if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
What to do if you have been scammed:
  • Contact your bank immediately and see whether they can cancel or reverse the transaction.
  • Report it to the police.

Yoast SEO Plugin – Provides interesting content analysis

I recently installed the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress. The plugin has provided me with an interesting analysis on how I write content.  I have noticed that I use the passive voice far too much in my posts. Also my sentences and paragraphs are too long, and I use far too many consecutive sentences.  It would also help me if I use more transition words.  Wow! I knew that my English was not great but from the analysis it sounds that my writing is terrible!

This sounds like an opportunity to look at how to write better.  But, as far as this post is concerned it says I don’t have too much to be worried about!


The First Post!

Welcome to my blog.  I am writing this sitting in my office waiting for a manual backup to complete so I can complete a practice management software upgrade.  In the past I wanted to get into blogging to teach myself how to set up and use WordPress as a content management system.  Also it is an opportunity to provide comment on the things that interest me.

I’ve had plans to set up a personal blog for some time. However, over the last 3-4 years time constraints due to work and my family life have been prevented from doing this.

I wanted to register or as a domain name.  However, an Australian underwear club managed to register all those domains in tharlt time as part of their “intellectual property.”  Therefore I have settled for a Belorussian domain name.

You are probably wondering why I want a domain name with knobby in it.  Firstly, it was the nickname I was called at school and through the sports I played. Secondly, my wife hates the nickname for some reason and has never called me by it :).