Fair Go queen values quality

16:00, Feb 22 2014
Pippa Wetzell
PIPPA WETZELL: ‘‘I’m becoming more aware of things but I haven’t necessarily changed my behaviours.’

Fair Go presenter Pippa Wetzell doesn't sweat the small stuff but is staunchly conservative when it comes to big expenses.

Fair Go presenter Pippa Wetzell started out doing the "graveyard shift" on the assignments desk at TVNZ 16 years ago.

The mother of three has had leaving drinks four times to date but has always returned to the state-owned broadcaster in various reporting and presenting roles.

Last year she took over as co-presenter of long-running consumer affairs show Fair Go.

Wetzell says she's learnt a lot about consumer affairs in her new role and enjoys the reporting side of the job.

"It's nice to be back out."


How financially savvy are you?

I'd put myself somewhere in the middle. I wouldn't say I'm really financially savvy by any means but I'm naturally conservative.

How has working for Fair Go changed your attitudes towards spending?

I'm becoming more aware of things but I haven't necessarily changed my behaviours. It was interesting to discover a lot of New Zealanders don't know what their consumer rights are. We are working on a story at the moment about counterfeit products. I looked around the house at things I bought online and thought, "I hope these are actually real." I can be a little bit relaxed about buying stuff online.

What was your first paid work?

Just helping my dad in his clothing warehouse. I can't remember how much I was paid but, knowing Dad, it was probably pretty generous.

How did your upbringing shape your attitude to money?

My dad is by nature an incredibly generous man and my mum is incredibly fair. She always makes sure everyone has an even slice of the pie. I was the middle child so I got a lot of hand-me-downs but I didn't suffer as much as my little sister. We shared one Barbie doll and if we wanted something special we had to work for it. We were never spoilt.

What's the biggest lie about money that people routinely tell or fall for in your view?

We fool ourselves into thinking we're saving money when we buy something cheap. It might be a good deal but it is often not a good investment. I'll buy a cheap pair of kids' shoes and end up replacing them. Whereas if I'd spent a little bit more for a decent pair they could've gone through three children.

I went through this for three years with can openers. I had a wide selection of can openers because they kept breaking. In the end I spent $35 on one and I've had it for about three years.

If a child asked you the best way to make money, what would you say?

If it was my kids I'd ask them instead. They made a killing over the summer selling Anzac biscuits and watered-down lemonade. But I would shift the conversation and tell them it is important to do something they enjoy.

How has having children changed your perspective about money?

It's interesting to learn about their relationship with money. My daughter thought to make more money you had to spend money because if you handed over one note and you received a note and two coins in change then you had made money. You have to explain that there is money behind eftpos and credit cards and Mum and Dad have to go to work to earn the money to put on the cards. It's about getting them to grasp that idea.

Do you think people expect you to buy nice clothes and drive a nice car because you're in the public eye?

I don't think so. Maybe they do. They're probably disappointed most of the time. If I'm not at work, I'm Mum with three little kids. I don't put that sort of pressure on myself.

Tell us about your best investment decision?

My husband and I have been quite lucky with houses. We have bought and sold at good times in the market cycle, and rented before buying again. I'm not worried about interest rate rises because we've had a good rate for a long time. At the start we were paying rates that were significantly higher than what they are now. We've made the most of the last few years and are aware rates had to go up.

Are you in KiwiSaver and if so, which fund and why?

I'm not in KiwiSaver but I've been in a superannuation scheme for about 12 years. I'm conscious of saving for that part of my life.

Do you trust the money men?

I have no reason not to. My husband is very responsible. He's a lawyer. At age seven he strolled the streets of the neighbourhood looking for a job and has had employment ever since. It's good having someone like him around.

Do you like a flutter now and again?

Usually just once a year when I put a few dollars on the Melbourne Cup.

Sunday Star Times