Southland's $20.5m Lotto winner lies low
Invercargill is buzzing with speculation as to who the lucky $20.5 million winner is after the South Island's biggest-ever Lotto win.
The ticket was sold at Windsor Stationery & Lotto in north Invercargill with its excited owners saying it showed big wins could come to the south.
The winner won both Lotto and Powerball first division in what was New Zealand's sixth-biggest lottery prize of all time and the biggest ever in the South Island.
New Zealand Lotteries spokeswoman Karen Jones said the odds of winning were one in 38 million per line played.
The new multimillionaire had not turned up at the shop and had not contacted New Zealand Lotteries late yesterday, she said.
Betty and Noel Sinclair, who have owned Windsor Stationery & Lotto for 15 years, said they had been out celebrating their daughter's 40th birthday on Saturday night.
Mr Sinclair had left to collect something and heard on the radio the winning ticket had been sold in their shop.
Mrs Sinclair said he returned to the birthday celebrations and told her but she said, "I don't believe you, don't be so stupid."
The largest Lotto prize the shop had sold was more than $1m. It also sold two winning wheel tickets. Many people came into the shop to buy tickets because of the large prize up for grabs and the pair had no inkling as to who the winner could be.
"But I'd love the winner to come in and see us," Mrs Sinclair said. "It would be very special."
The pair said they would be quite happy to open the doors after hours, any time, for the winner to come in.
On Invercargill streets yesterday, everyone seemed happy the prize had been won in the south.
Jenny Anderson, of Invercargill, said it could have been someone from out of town here for the Burt Munro Challenge but either way it was special. "I think it's great. I hope it's somebody deserving."
Brittany Caughey, of Gore, said it was great and if she had won she would pay for university, shopping and possibly a holiday.
Mayor Tim Shadbolt said yesterday it would be great for the economy if the money was spent in Invercargill.
His advice to the winner was to go overseas for a couple of years until it all died down and have a good think about what to do with it.
Invercargill SBS bank chief executive Ross Smith advised the winner to sit on it for a while, not to rush into anything and to think hard about it. "I would invest it in the short-term and then decide what to do with it later."
Look after yourself and family first, he said.
Deputy Mayor Darren Ludlow said if he had won he would donate some to the museum, family, and then invest it until he found things he could support over a long period.
New Zealand Lotteries chief executive Wayne Pickup said the Invercargill winner is the ninth Lotto multimillionaire this year. "A win this big is simply life-changing, no matter what your situation - so no doubt they'll be celebrating."
A Christchurch player also won a $500,000 share of Lotto first division and another Cantabrian won $200,000 on the winning wheel at the live draw on Saturday.
- The Southland Times