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NZ Gas Field May be a Goldmine

Todd Energy is planning to drill three wells in the next 18 months to check whether a little-known onshore Taranaki gas field could become a major producer.

Todd Energy is planning to drill three wells in the next 18 months to check whether a little-known onshore Taranaki gas field could become a major producer. In the past, gas in the Mangahewa field, 18km southeast of New Plymouth, was considered to be held tight and difficult to extract. But the Mangahewa-3 well, which was drilled in 2007 and brought into production last year using modern techniques, led to a reappraisal of the field's potential. If the three planned wells produced similar results to Mangahewa-3 "then we're on to something pretty significant and we're looking at something that is potentially a Pohokura size".

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Oceania's Dollar Rose for a Second Day

The Australian and New Zealand currencies were the second- and third-best performers among major currencies against the U.S. dollar over the past three months as interest rates of 3 percent in Australia and 2.5 percent in New Zealand attracted investors to the South Pacific nations' assets. South Africa's rand is the top performer.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars gained for a second day as speculation U.S. interest rates will stay low buoyed demand for higher-yielding assets. The currencies extended yesterday's biggest advance in a week against the U.S. dollar after futures traders added to bets the Federal Reserve will keep the benchmark rate close to zero for the rest of this year. Demand for higher-yielding assets was bolstered after the European Central Bank called for banks to bid in the first auction of 12-month loans, prompting speculation that the funds being made available will be invested in countries with higher benchmark interest rates. "People are afraid of strong comments from Fed officials that will reduce tightening expectations," said Masafumi Yamamoto, head of foreign-exchange strategy for Japan at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Tokyo and a former Bank of Japan currency trader. "Further ebbing of tightening expectations is weighing on the U.S. dollar, so it's weakening against currencies like the Aussie and kiwi," he said. Australia's currency rose to 79.85 U.S. cents as of 5:02 p.m. in Sydney, from 79.39 cents yesterday in New York. It bought 76.11 yen from 75.60 yen. New Zealand's dollar strengthened to 64.41 U.S. cents from 63.97 cents. It traded at 61.37 yen from 60.92 yen.

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New Zeland Increases Business Confidence

New Zealand is expecting to get out from the recession in the quarter this year, growing the economy confidence.

"This recovery supports our view that gross domestic product will return to growth later in 2009". And, "more confidence readings are needed to confirm this turnaround", the Wellington-based Treasury said.

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Kiwi Dollar Continues to Slide

The New Zealand dollar continued to drift lower today, ending up just above the US56 cent mark at the local close.

The New Zealand dollar continued to drift lower today, ending up just above the US56 cent mark at the local close. At 8am today the NZD was buying US56.49c and lost nearly half a cent to be worth US56.12c at 5pm. The only local data today was the Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence index, which slipped back into pessimistic territory (96.0 in March from 101.3 in December) but confidence is still seen as resilient. That caused only a "small dip" in the dollar , Mr Hindley said.

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NZ Gas Field May be a Goldmine

Todd Energy is planning to drill three wells in the next 18 months to check whether a little-known onshore Taranaki gas field could become a major producer.

Todd Energy is planning to drill three wells in the next 18 months to check whether a little-known onshore Taranaki gas field could become a major producer. In the past, gas in the Mangahewa field, 18km southeast of New Plymouth, was considered to be held tight and difficult to extract. But the Mangahewa-3 well, which was drilled in 2007 and brought into production last year using modern techniques, led to a reappraisal of the field's potential. If the three planned wells produced similar results to Mangahewa-3 "then we're on to something pretty significant and we're looking at something that is potentially a Pohokura size".

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New Zealand: Low Interest Rates Spark Resurrection

The dramatic fall in interest rates over the past few months has helped to kick life back into the commercial and industrial property agency business, says Chris Bayley, general manager commercial and industrial for Bayleys Real Estate.

The dramatic fall in interest rates over the past few months has helped to kick life back into the commercial and industrial property agency business, says Chris Bayley, general manager commercial and industrial for Bayleys Real Estate. "It remains to be seen whether this continues, given the challenges the New Zealand economy will face from the global downturn this year, but it's been an encouraging start to 2009." Bayley says a lot of the renewed inquiry is coming from investors who have had substantial funds parked in the bank and have witnessed their income returns almost halved in a matter of a few months.

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New Zealand Considers Cutting Fuel Tax

Auckland's planned regional fuel tax could be cut as the Government worries about levies pushing fuel prices up 14c a liter within three years.

Auckland's planned regional fuel tax could be cut as the Government worries about levies pushing fuel prices up 14c a liter within three years. But any reduction could jeopardize funding for several public transport projects, in particular the electrification of the rail network. The Government is expected to announce changes to the regional fuel tax, with other transport and infrastructure plans, early next week.

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New Zealand's Largest Port Operation Could Be Going Private

The prospect of New Zealand's largest port operation being sold to private owners has been raised as a result of the global economic situation.

The prospect of New Zealand's largest port operation being sold to private owners has been raised as a result of the global economic situation. Owned by Auckland Regional Council (ARC), the firm has had a 26 percent drop in profit from the same period last year to NZ$9.3 million. Managing director Jens Madsen said executive salaries had been frozen, and he hinted at possible job losses among the company's 600 staff. Dividends from the port company are one of the ARC's main sources of revenue, helping to pay for public transport and other civic developments worth more than $1 billion. They include rail electrification, an integrated ticketing service and the Tank Farm development on the western edge of central Auckland. Mr Judd yesterday said a capital structure review could recommend selling the ports into private ownership through a public share listing.

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New Zealand Company Failure Rates Soar by 40%

Failures of New Zealand companies are up over 40 percent on the same time last year.

Failures of New Zealand companies are up over 40 percent on the same time last year. The Ministry of Economic Development figures show that in the seven months since July 2008 a total of 3487 companies have run aground, 3270 have gone into liquidation, a further 217 into receivership. In the same period the previous year, 2424 companies hit the wall, made up of 2344 liquidations and 80 receiverships. The worst month was December, when 594 companies failed, 560 liquidations and 34 receiverships.

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Risk Averse Kiwis Flock to Debit Cards

Banks are tapping into a credit-shy mood among consumers which is seeing them flock towards a new breed of debit cards.

Banks are tapping into a credit-shy mood among consumers which is seeing them flock towards a new breed of debit cards. Kiwibank is about to become the second New Zealand bank to offer the Visa Debit Card, a piece of plastic that operates in every way like a credit card but for the bill at the end of the month. Westpac has been offering the Visa Debit Card for the past three years and has seen an explosion in demand. The bank says while numbers of new credit cards issued is static debit cards are growing by 50 per cent a year. It now issues three debit cards to every one credit card. Debit cards take funds straight out of the user's bank account just as an Eftpos card does, but where they differ is they can also be used for shopping online and overseas just like a credit card.

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New Zealand to Unleash $3 Billion in Projects

The Government hopes to unleash $3 billion to $4 billion in "ready-to-go" private investment through proposed task forces to help investors through regulatory hoops.

The Government hopes to unleash $3 billion to $4 billion in "ready-to-go" private investment through proposed task forces to help investors through regulatory hoops. The figure is likely to include major energy projects such as Transpower's upgrading of the national electricity grid, estimated at $3.8 billion over five years, and Genesis's proposed $500 million gas-fired Kaipara power station, which is waiting for a decision by planning commissioners. Other big projects would need consents from "housing" authorities, pointing to possible property developments.

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