What's happening in the world of business, finance and economics today?
We have the latest business, markets, currency and personal finance news as well as opinion and financial market reports.
1. Full interactive, searchable Panama Papers information will be released overseas for the first time today. That is from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and will enable New Zealanders to search the full database for the first time. This release is the largest data set on secret offshore companies and the people behind them. "The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists will release on May 9 a searchable database with information on more than 200,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers investigation," the consortium says. That's May 9 overseas but today for us here. "The data comes from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, one of the top players in the offshore world, and includes information about companies, trusts, foundations and funds incorporated in 21 tax havens, from Hong Kong to Nevada in the United States. It links to people in more than 200 countries and territories."
2. The year's most important tourism conference in New Zealand opens in Rotorua today. The Trenz four-day event has attracted more than 350 tourism and trade buyers from 28 countries, numbers not seen for more than a decade. Tourism now tops dairy as New Zealand's biggest foreign exchange earner, bringing in more than $11 billion from overseas visitors in the past year, and worth close to $30 billion annually when domestic travel is counted. The conference not only attracts buyers who sell packages to future visitors but key industry figures and politicians who are grappling with the consequences of the pressure.
3. A major economic gauge is electronic card transactions and this data for last month will be released by Statistics NZ at 10.45am today, revealing New Zealanders' spending habits for the latest period.
4. The ANZ truckometer is out today. That is a set of two economic indicators derived using traffic volume data from around the country and is a timely barometer of economic momentum. The ANZ Heavy Traffic Index shows a strong relationship to GDP, while the ANZ Light Traffic Index has a six-month lead on activity as measured by GDP.
5. The Ockham NZ Book Awards are on tonight in the Auckland Town Hall, and although this is a literary event, its sponsorship is by one of Auckland's most active property developers.