Bank boss has own mortgage

JAMES WEIR
Last updated 05:00 28/09/2013

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Just as the Reserve Bank is about to bring in new measures to cool down the property market, it has revealed that its boss has two homes, and a mortgage.

According to the Reserve Bank's annual report out yesterday, governor Graeme Wheeler has a mortgage with Westpac Bank worth an unspecified amount of more than $50,000, with a family home in Wellington and a holiday home in the Coromandel.

In a more detailed financial disclosure than under former governor Alan Bollard, this year's Reserve Bank annual report shows Wheeler has two homes and two sections on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Governors and departmental managers at the central bank are required to declare their personal interests each quarter, so any potential conflict of interest is recorded.

As the bank has extensive and expanding responsibilities, the annual report said there was "merit" in reporting the governor's financial disclosure.

The Reserve Bank will next week bring in new "speed limits" on low deposit home loans. The Reserve Bank hopes to dampen property prices through new loan-to-value ratio rules that, from October 1, will limit lending to buyers with deposits of less than 20 per cent.

In the annual report, Wheeler said the two most significant challenges facing the bank were the overvalued New Zealand dollar and the overvalued housing market.

House prices and rents, in comparison to household disposable income, were high by international standards, Wheeler said, and household debt levels were rising.

The rapid rise in house prices in some regions, especially Auckland and Christchurch were "of concern for several reasons" not least the increasing risks they posed to financial stability and the wider economy, Wheeler said.

The annual report does not specify Wheeler's salary at the Reserve Bank, but the highest paid person at the bank earned between $470,000 and $480,000 for the year.

Wheeler took over as governor in September last year, so only worked for nine months of the financial year. Last year Bollard's pay package was just under $610,000.

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