T20 cricket tickets, Warriors tickets, champagne, and cheese boards were among gifts and hospitality given to staff at New Zealand's financial regulators by big corporates last year.

Corporate gifts have come under the spotlight in Australia this week after the Sydney Morning Herald revealed officials at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumers Affairs Commission have accepted gifts, ranging from meals at top restaurants to sports tickets, from corporations like Macquarie Bank and the power company Energy Australia that they are supposed to keep an eye on.

The revelations have sparked questions over whether regulators are too cosy with the companies they are meant to be policing and come a week ahead of the final report is due out on the Royal Commission's investigation into misconduct in the financial services sector.

Queries by the Herald to New Zealand's finance regulators show there are variations in how they treat declaring gifts and, despite potential for conflicts of interest, staff are still allowed to accept some freebies.


The Commerce Commission has the tightest rein on gifts and hospitality with it having to report anything valued over $30 on a register, while Financial Markets Authority staff have to report anything over $50.

The Reserve Bank has the highest cap with staff having to surrender gifts valued over $100 or reporting those they accept.

Reserve Bank officials are allowed to keep gifts of a lesser value except where they may be perceived as a conflict of interest.

Those accepted included a ticket and drinks paid for the World of Wearable Arts Festival by the Bank of New Zealand in 2017, corporate box tickets to the T20 cricket in February 2018 - paid for by Buddle Findlay and a golf tournament invite by Aon.

The Reserve Bank is in charge of regulating both banks and insurers which include BNZ and Aon.

The most number of items given by a corporate to the Reserve Bank came from the Industrial and commercial Bank of China (ICBC) which gave cheese boards, a mobile power pack, notepads and other technology and a brocade silk weaving.

Big law and accounting firms were among those who gave gifts or hospitality to Commerce Commission staff.

Minter Ellison gave bottles of champagne to ComCom staff in August 2017 with an estimated value of $60 a bottle.

While KPMG provided lunch, and Russell McVeagh gave chocolates.

Westpac was the only bank to give a gift to the Commerce Commission, giving a book of unknown value to a general manager.

Staff at the Financial Markets Authority are prevented from accepting any cash under its policy and must consider whether any other gifts will "be seen to compromise their
integrity or the integrity of the FMA" .

"If an employee considers that this would be the perception then, if practicable, the employee must decline the gift before it is accepted. If in doubt the employee must decline, or where practicable discuss with the relevant manager before accepting the gift."

Gifts over $50 in value must be declared on its register but the register does not include information on the giver.

But an FMA spokesman gave some details of big ticket items including tickets to Warriors games supplied by Air New Zealand, an Expedia travel voucher worth $2000 which was won by a staff member at the Christmas party and supplied by the FMA's travel firm.