Real estate agents fined $10k after failure to act on $1.2m vanished client funds

Two Auckland Harcourts real estate agents found guilty of misconduct this month have been fined a combined $10,000 for their failure to tell a state authority about $1.2 million vanishing client funds.

Joe Voordouw has been fined $6000 and Garry Mason $4000 by the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal. Both were censured but the tribunal said it did not consider an order for further education was needed for the men and they noted their honest reputations and long industry careers.

The misconduct finding alone sent “a strong message to the industry”, the tribunal said.

The agents worked at the now-failed Preet franchised operations owned and headed by Gurpreet Grewal who Harcourts Group has sued in the High Court at Auckland for $1.27m. The outcome of that case is pending.

The Harcourts Preet businesses had 10 branches in south and east Auckland. Voordouw was branch manager of Harcourts Preet & Co in Ellerslie and Mason was chief operations officer, based in Manukau, the tribunal said.

Last year, Voordouw signed a trust account statutory declaration about the balance of the agency’s funds. He was told $1m had been transferred from the agency’s trust account and into another account and purchase deposits had been put in the wrong bank account, it said. A further $200,000 was also discovered to be missing from the trust account.

Voordouw and Mason met Grewal to raise issues about the missing money and Voordouw made notes about a breach of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 and “potentially fraud”.

Yet the tribunal said he did not notify the Real Estate Authority, as he was bound to do under law.

Instead, he emailed the auditor to “have a look at the trust account” which did not indicated the scale of the issue or any urgency, the tribunal said. It found a number of trigger points after the initial discovery of a missing $1m from the trust account.

The tribunal found the men’s conduct in failing to report issues “constituted seriously incompetent and/or seriously negligent real estate agency work” under the law. They relied on the auditor to take steps but that did not absolve them from their obligations. They should have gone to greater lengths to make the auditor aware of the seriousness of the issues and the need for urgent investigation and to query the auditor about his reference to $1m being used to finance the purchase of branches, the tribunal found.

Despite the missing money, they left the investigations up to Grewal and relied on him to seek legal advice and advise the franchisor when the proper course of action would be to notify the auditor then to report to the authority, the tribunal said.

Despite the trigger points, they did not make any report to the authority. That failure could not be justified on the basis they were waiting for the auditor, it said.

Simon Waalkens, the Meredith Connell lawyer who acted for the authority’s complaints assessment committee which brought the action said the men’s failure to report the issues was a serious breach of acceptable standards.

Protecting the agency’s clients should have been foremost in their minds, he said. Voordouw’s lawyer said the offending should not be characterised as being towards the upper range of serious negligence misconduct.

Voordouw’s lawyer told the tribunal his client had admitted the charge of misconduct, had acted honestly and in good faith and believed he was acting diligently, did not get any personal gain from the conduct, had a long and unblemished career in the industry and was currently employed in the industry.

Waalkens asked that Mason be fined up to $8000 but Mason’s lawyer said steps were taken to investigate the missing money, Mason had taken the matter seriously and he was only peripherally involved, not responsible for the trust account. He did not get any personal benefit from the breach, and had clearly paid for his mistake and its consequences.

The tribunal cited a Bayleys Real Estate case where a salesperson had forged or falsified a rental appraisal and presented that to prospective buyers.

It decided the men should have acted promptly but it cited mitigating factors, including the men’s long industry career and character references. Both had earned excellent reputations for honesty, integrity and diligence, the tribunal found and they had both contributed significantly to the industry.

They were ordered to pay the fines within 20 working days.

Auckland bus driver denies careless driving which left two dead

A 72-year-old bus driver has denied careless driving causing the death of two Aucklanders earlier this year.

Ngatokoitu Tapora entered not-guilty pleas today in the Manukau District Court.

Taylor Charles King, 23, and Jeremy Tokotai KauKasi, 34, were struck by a bus on Puhinui Rd on April 14.

The two mates worked together at Altus Enterprises, a social enterprise that employs nearly 200 people with disabilities.Both men died at the scene.

Police said at the time the passengers on board the bus were not injured.

Tapora faces two charges of driving carelessly, causing death.

The maximum penalty for each charge is three months’ imprisonment and a fine of $4500.

She is also charged with careless driving on Neilson Rd, Onehunga, on March 28, the maximum penalty for which is a fine of $3000.

Tapora appeared briefly before Judge Josephine Bouchier this morning.

The public gallery was full of bereaved supporters, also sitting outside the courtroom and waiting to hear what happened.

As Tapora, who is represented by defence lawyer Karl Trotter, left the dock a woman said: “You took my son.”

Outside the courtroom she began sobbing.

Tapora left the courthouse flanked by supporters.

She is due to appear in court again next year.

NZ Herald

Donald Trump could use Democrat House win to his advantage, says Tony Blair

A cunning Donald Trump could “back the Democrats into a corner” by using their midterm elections win to his own advantage, former British prime minister Tony Blair warns.

The former British Labour leader took centre stage at the Web Summit in Portugal’s capital Lisbon last night where the implications of the elections dominated his agenda.

Blair — who often spoke of the “special relationship” between the US and UK during his prime ministership — told the Lisbon audience overnight the US President was “divisive”.

Blair drew laughter from the crowd when he said it was almost “impossible” to predict what he was going to do next. But the experienced political operator offered a warning to the Democrats.

“I think sometimes he will try and work with the Democrats and trap them into an argument if they are not going to work with him and the other thing he could do — I have seen this with other American presidents — is if you lose the House at the midterms, and it can block your legislation, the advantage is that you can play off that.”

If the Democrats blocked too much legislation, Trump could simply turn to the electorate and accuse them of being wreckers.

“You could say to the constituents ‘I want to do all of these things but they won’t work with me.’ So I think that poses a challenge for the Democrats.”

The danger for them was a politics-weary public thinking they were just “going after Trump”.

They would have to pursue his policies and be willing to engage with him if he made them “a reasonable offer”.

If not, they would be backed into a corner.

“This is where the politics is going to get quite tricky. If you think back to 2016 election and the first months of the Trump presidency, it seemed like it all might fall over … and it hasn’t collapsed. It will require smart politics.”

Blair said the Democrats would have to think “very carefully” about their 2020 strategies, policies — and their candidate.

“What this shows is they can’t take it for granted.”

The three-time general election winner said the results of yesterday’s midterms were going to prove a problem for Trump.

“Because a change in Congress means they are going to have the ability to investigate, to inquire, to come after him, and after his people.”

But the results suggested trouble lay ahead for the Democrats — both due to their natural inclination to block the passage of legislation in the House of Representatives and because of the relatively strong Republican performance.

“I think if I was the Democrats this morning I would be doing some head-scratching … if you look at previous presidents’ midterms, like Bill Clinton in 1994 and Barack Obama in 2010 … it’s not actually that bad a result for Donald Trump.”

Blair thought voters were “settling into” the Trump presidency and appeared to be able to separate the “what you could call ‘stuff’ around the presidency and Donald Trump the tweeter” and the US Government’s policies.

All that made it so much harder to be able to judge what was going to happen next.

“I think when it comes to 2020, the race is up in the air. And when you think about even a year ago, lots of people would have thought surely this is a one-term president.”

Both sides could therefore take some comfort in the results.

Asked whether the vote could be seen as referendum on Trump, he said it was hard to escape that view when the President dominated US politics to such an extent.

He was loved and loathed in equal measure, so whether Trump could secure a second term rested with the independents in the middle — and how many of them could be moved back to the Democrats.

“Where might they move? And from those results last night, they are split. It’s not really clear and if you look at them … and what it means for 2020, it’s far from certain.”

One thing was certain though — the surge of populism from the right was far from over.

“Donald Trump is such a divisive figure that it is hard to have a rational debate about the policies … the divisiveness I’m America is profound and what last night’s result shows is it’s not resolved for sure one way or the other.”

NZ Herald

How to become a fire engineer?

Out of all the jobs that are full of responsibility, fire engineering tops the list, but not many of us go for this career option. The reason behind it is that most of us do not know about it and also about the procedure that is required for becoming one. So, Following are a few of the steps that you need to follow if you want to become a fire engineer.

  • The first thing that you need to do for becoming a fire engineer is that you have to realize the duties that a fire engineer performs. This is important as the job of a fire engineer is very responsible. If you are not that responsible you should not go for this career option.
  • Now, that you have realized that this is the career option that you will go for, you need to search for institutions where they offer courses related to this job. If we talk in the Indian context, then there are several colleges and institutes from where you can pursue this course. So, search for colleges and then know about the minimum qualification required for getting the admission there.
  • If we talk about the minimum qualification required for becoming a fire engineer, then you should have an engineering degree that should be specialized in fire sciences. It is very obvious that you are going to become a fire engineer, so you should have this degree.
  • After the completion of the degree, you should look for various internship programs, related to this course. Internship in any of the course is very important these days. This provides you work experience related to the field in which you are interested and thus helps you in getting an idea of the work that you will have to do once you will get a job.
  • After the completion of your internship, you should look for the various exams that different organizations conduct for calling candidates. You should get all the related information. This information should include the syllabus for the exam, qualification and other things.
  • Try for the license, which a fire engineer requires. You should not have heard about the license for other engineers, but in the case of a fire engineer, the license is a must. It states that the engineer is well experienced and will work efficiently when required. A license will increase your visibility, so keep that in your list of priorities.
  • Search for vacancies and join. There are a lot of requirements coming in this field and this is going to be one of the top career options in the coming days. So, vacancies are lined up.

Basically, fire engineering is more of a responsibility than a mere job. A fire engineer does a great job of designing and supporting certain things that are used in getting rid of the unwanted fire in any area. So, to be a fire engineer one has to be a good and responsible person.

Why You Should Opt For Outside AV Providers?

When hiring a conference center or hotel for carrying out your presentation or event, people often opt for just using the hotel or center’s in-staff AV hire services and equipment. But it’s actually advisable to hire an outside AV provider for all your rental needs. So if you want to get a reputed AV to hire from Auckland for your local needs or want to get a service from a little far, here’s why you should go for it:

Use Your Freedom

This might seem silly, but many hosts don’t even realize that an in-house AV service isn’t just the only option available. There’s also the factor that many events charge extra for using an outside AV service provider and others don’t allow for outside services. This is done to keep all business in-house. But that isn’t a guarantee for top-notch service. Also, with a little tact, you can get out any such restrictive clauses and even avoid paying extra commissions with the outside quotes you can bring in.

Allows You Get The Latest equipment

AV services which are not part of any hotel in-house team try to stay ahead in the business and for that, they frequently upgrade their equipment. You are much more likely to get the latest gears from an outside reputed service than getting the same from an in-house AV service. Even if you won’t need the fancy equipment, you will still get to choose among a wide variety of gears available, which will be the best for your needs instead of struggling with a few.

Experience Matters

While one can certainly argue that an in-house AV team is better experienced in handling multiple events. As such, it is also better in dealing with a wider variety of possible problems which might arise. But the best way to undoubtedly ensure that you are getting reliable service is to invest in hiring an outside AV service which specializes in multiple event coordination of that’s your need of the hour.

Better Dedication

Remember that an in-house AV team will be responsible for and attend various events which will be going on at the premises. This will make the time dedicated to your needs shorter and you might have to run from pillar to post at the last minute to get a technician in case things go haywire. So by getting an outside AV hire, you will be paid for the support and get a team which will be dedicated to solving your problems and working on your event exclusively.

Mishaps Are Easily Taken Care of

No matter just how much you plan out every single detail in regards to your events, things can go wrong within the blink of an eye. Using an in-house service can mean you don’t get the necessary equipment which might be needed to get your event back on track as it may as well be engaged in another event. But a reputed and reliable outside AV service will ensure that you never face that issue.

These points will hopefully make you wonder over hour decision regarding which service would work best for your event and organization as a whole.

What are popular flavours of ice cream across the world?

Ice-cream is the favourite dish of almost every person in the world. The reason behind it is that it is one of the most easily available dishes. It could be made at home also. Along with that, it could be made using the least items. Also, it does not take that much of time in its making. So, it has all the qualities in it that have made it the favourite of all. One of the most important thing that you find in ice-creams is flavour. Without flavour it is nothing and it becomes an ice cream actually after the flavour is added to it. It is the flavour, which makes the difference between two ice-creams. Here, we are talking about some of the most loved flavours of ice-creams across the whole world. Here is a list.

Strawberry

It is very obvious that a strawberry ice cream is made from strawberries. If we talk about the time when this flavour of ice cream was first made, then it dates back in the year 1813. John Madison, who is known as the father of the constitution was served this ice cream on the occasion when he became the president of the US for the second time. Along with the strawberries, vanilla, eggs, cream, and sugar are also added to it, in order to give the full flavor to it.

Vanilla

Vanilla is one of the most popular flavours of ice cream eating across the whole world. If you talk about the history of Vanilla ice creams, then it is said that it was first introduced in Asia. After that, it made the room for its acceptance in Europe and then to Arab countries. During the mid-nineteenth century, it was Italy and France that felt the influence of this flavour on their ice creams. After that, it spread all across the world and we can find a Vanilla flavoured ice cream everywhere. This flavour also included other important ingredients for the complete taste.

Chocolate chip

In this flavour of ice cream, the main ingredient is the Chocolate chip and it is because of this ingredient only that this ice cream is so popular amongst all the ice cream lovers. As the name suggests, this ice cream includes, chocolate chips in it and thus is among the best ice creams in the world. You can find this flavour of ice-cream wherever you go.

Chocolate

Surprisingly, this flavour is the second most wanted flavours of ice-creams in the world. If you talk about the invention of it, then it dates back to the year 1692. The country that made this ice-cream first was Italy. The reason for the second-ranking of this ice-cream is that there is not much difference between the dishes made in this flavour.

So, these were some of the popular ice-cream flavours that are known across the globe. These all are the most popular flavours amongst all and are eaten the most.

Why choose diamond engagement and wedding rings for men?

 

At weddings and engagements, the use of diamond rings is very common. We all know that the girls love these rings, but no one has ever paid attention as to why boys too wear the same type of ring. Following are the reasons for which one should choose diamond engagement and wedding rings for men.

To match with his partner

If you go and ask any girl about her favourite types of ring, then the answer will definitely be the diamond ring. This is a very common and each man have this thing in their mind. So at their wedding or engagement day, they too prefer wearing these rings to match with their respective partner. This looks lovely. The trend is that the ring of the groom and the bride should look the same. This because of this reason that we see the couple rings on the jewelry shop. So, there is a necessity to buy diamond rings for men for their wedding and engagement days. If we talk about the quality then the diamond rings Auckland is the best.

Diamonds are valuable

Diamonds are very valuable and this is known to everybody in this world. There is the notion or we can say the trend that the groom’s ring comes from the bride’s family. So, if the family is gifting a ring to their son in law, they will certainly want to give the best. As mentioned earlier, there is nothing so valuable than diamonds in this world. This is the reason that they chose diamond rings for the groom for their wedding or engagement days.

Diamonds are the symbol of love and prosperity

As we all know that diamonds are the symbol of love and prosperity. This is the reason that we all should wear diamonds, if possible. The men too want that love and prosperity and thus the bride’s family give this to their future son in law. If you believe even a little bit in magic and things related to it, then you must believe that diamonds have such properties that they could bring harmony in your relationship.

They are long lasting

If we talk about the design, fitting and the style of the diamond rings, then they are generally fitted in platinum metal. Now, a man has to perform different activities. Now, all these activities are generally tough and challenging. This may affect the wedding ring that is there in their fingers. Now, both the diamond and the platinum are very durable. The quality of these things will ensure that the ring lasts for long. This is one of the most important reasons for the selection of these rings as the wedding or engagement rings for men.

If we talk in more detail then the diamond ring may symbolize the equality in both the partners. However, this is the symbol of love between them and always reminds them about the reason for which they are together. After reading this article, one can simply advise anyone to buy a diamond ring only for their wedding day.

Flexibilities that you will enjoy after hiring a mortgage broker

When a person is buying their first house, then it becomes a confusing and overwhelming process and there are so many steps that they might feel it be daunting in the first place. Be it the paperwork or the steps of analyzing a deal everything can be sorted if they can hire a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers are basically those individuals who are helping people in obtaining the home loan. Their task is to be the middleman between the bank or any other lender and the borrower.

  • If it is your first house, then it is quite understandable that you are not aware of all the steps that are involved in the process. Mortgage brokers are working with people and helping them to pass their mortgage loans and which is why they are aware of all the procedures and criteria for availing the mortgage loans. A professional and qualified mortgage broker will help you to decide the type of loan that you must opt for and they will do the necessary paperwork for availing it.
  • As mortgage brokers are working with many lenders, so they will always help you to get the best deals in the market. Instead of spending money on the wrong deals you should always hire someone who will guide you through the process and help you to get discounts on the loan rates as well.
  • Instead of interviewing several lenders, credit unions or the banks you can simply hire the best mortgage dealer and they will spend their effort and time for picking the best deal for you. It will not only help you to save a lot of time but sometimes assigning things to people who have skills in that field is a wise idea.

 

  • Nobody has the time for interviewing money lenders and which is why when you are collaborating with any mortgage broker they are going to help you with this process. They know a lot of lenders and depending on your budget they will provide you with a stable interest rate. They will always provide you with the loans that can get easily approved with the credit history of yours. Even if the bank is rejecting your loan they will still have people or lenders who can lend the money to you.

 

  • Negotiation is a skill and not everyone can do it properly because it can be both uncomfortable and awkward for many. Instead of negotiating the deal all by yourself,  you will need to hire someone who knows how to communicate with the clients for getting reasonable rates.

 

Mortgage brokers in Auckland will not only help you in simplifying the task of availing the loan but they will also help you to just concentrate on the purchase that you are going to make instead of worrying about the loan. As the task is going to get divided among you and the mortgage broker so the result will be fruitful. Always look for mortgage brokers who have certificates and is enough skilled in their field.