Tracking down the mystery $17m Lotto prize winner

Photo: Lotto NZ
Winners had 12 months from the time of the draw to claim their prize.Photo: Lotto NZ

The winner of a massive $17.1 million Lotto draw is yet to come forward and claim their prize 12 days since it was drawn on December 28.

The winning ticket was bought from the Market Store in Twizel.

And while Lotto expects the new multi-millionaire to step forward soon, they were prepared to throw the kitchen sink into efforts to find them.

Channelling in their inner spy agent, Lotto could drill down specific information about the winning ticket such as when and where it was bought and whether an Eftpos or credit card was used.

"We will make every effort to find the $17.1 million winner if they don't claim within the next few weeks," head of communications Marie Winfield said.

"We're assuming they are enjoying an extended summer holiday and what a lovely surprise they have waiting for them."

But there's no rush for the winner to step forward, as winners had 12 months from the time of the draw to claim their prize.

However, most winners claimed their earnings within a month of the prize draw, with 98 per cent of Lotto, Powerball and Strike winnings claimed.

All profits from Lotto NZ went back to the community so the unclaimed money always went to good causes, Winfield said.

In the past seven years, only three division one prizes were not claimed before the money was taken away.

A $1 million Lotto First Division prize from Pam's Corner Dairy on Auckland's North Shore went unclaimed in 2015.

Meanwhile, two $200,000 Strike prizes were unclaimed in 2017 - one from Pricecutter Four Square Raetihi and the other from Paremata New World in Porirua.

Winfield revealed three First Division prizes from 2019 hadn't been collected and were still up for grabs.

• $200,000 from Countdown Westgate, draw 1894 from September 28.
• $166,667 from Whitcoulls Chartwell, draw 1898 from October 12.
• $166,667 from Countdown Otorohanga, draw 1920 from December 28.

"We'd love to be able to pay these prizes – so now is the time to check," Winfield said.

"We strongly encourage anyone who purchased tickets from these stores to check their drawers, wallets, glove boxes and all of their other hiding places as they could be oblivious to the fact that they have won a big prize."

Every day the $17.1 million goes unclaimed, the winner is losing thousands of dollars in potential interest.

If the money was sitting in the bank in as a 12-month term deposit rather than in Lotto's coffers, the winner could be earning an interest rate as high as 2.9 per cent per annum.

Based on a straight calculation, this would equate to $493,000 in pre-tax interest in the first year.

This equates to around $1350 in potential pre-tax earnings every day.

Given the money has remained unclaimed for nine days, the winner has already inadvertently lost more than $12,000 in pre-tax earnings.



"But there's no rush for the winner to step forward, as winners had 12 months from the time of the draw to claim their prize".
Then why splash all over social media that the person must be found?, leave them be.






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