NZ Herald

NZ Herald floats, then sinks

The NZ Herald parent company had a dreadful start to their much-vaunted float…dropping 20%, and aren’t Mediaworks gleeful about it all.

Newly listed media company NZME debuted on the New Zealand stock market today with its shares closing at 80 cents.

Shares were initially offered at NZ$1 as a reference point because it is a new company listing. It is now up to the market to determine what the company is worth. Shares initially traded around 85c but then closed down. At 80c a share, NZME would be valued at NZ$156.8 million.

NZME owns the NZ Herald newspaper, various regional titles, the GrabOne daily deals website and the Radio Network.

The NZ listing comes after its Australian owners APN News & Media decided to demerge its Kiwi business NZME so it could potentially merge with Fairfax NZ.

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Opposition cheer leaders say that Little and Labour are wrong over Iraq deployment

The NZ Herald has become a left-wing rag in the past decade. They’ve run hit job after hit job on anyone and everyone who is right of centre.

But today, bless, they basically told Labour they are wrong to want to pull out of Iraq.

The Government’s decision to extend the service of New Zealand soldiers in Iraq beyond next February’s deadline is the right one, even though the Prime Minister had previously indicated the troops were on two-year deployment due to end next May. The extension means 143 men and women from the Defence Force will be rotated through Iraq until November 2018.

It is a significant commitment, and was forecast to cost about $57 million by the time it was due to wind up next year. The longer stay will probably double the bill. A heavily-censored review of the deployment considered by the Cabinet in March said the work undertaken by New Zealand Defence Force personnel had been successful.

Since May last year, NZDF soldiers at the Taji Military Base near Baghdad, where they work with Australian forces, had trained some 4000 Iraqi troops. Instruction included weapons training, conflict first aid, human rights and planning for combat operations. Three junior leadership courses were completed and Iraqi medics attended a six-day course.

The review said the military training was having a “tangible and positive impact” on the ability of Iraqi Army units to wage war against the Islamic State or Isis. Groups which had completed training performed better than those which had not been through a programme.   Read more »

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APN to divest of NZME; a matter of cashing up before it keels over

This is what happens when the accountant has been put in charge and you’ve lost the trust and confidence of your customers.

NZME chief executive Michael Boggs will spend the next 10 days meeting and greeting current and potential investors after APN News & Media shareholders overwhelmingly backed plans to carve out the New Zealand unit.

The Auckland-based publisher and radio network operator will operate as a standalone listed company after the plan to demerge NZME got 99.98 percent backing at Thursday’s special meeting in Sydney.

The transaction will see a one-for-seven share consolidation in the Australian company, then a distribution of NZME shares to those investors on a one-for-one basis. The deal then frees up APN to focus on Australian radio and outside advertising business, while NZME can pursue its merger with rival Fairfax New Zealand.

Boggs told BusinessDesk he’s about to hit the road to meet current and potential shareholders in Auckland, Wellington, Sydney and Melbourne over the next seven to 10 days to engage and get feedback from shareholders on their views of NZME and where they think the media group should be heading.

“We now can control our own decision making around capital investment and funding,” Boggs said.

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Former owner of the Herald has strong words about latest developments

Michael Horton is the former owner of the NZ Herald, when it had a reputation as a newspaper of record and credibility as a prestigious media organisation.

Sadly, those times have passed and now it is a shadow of its former self.

He has written on Facebook, in rather strong terms for him, about the proposed merger and new corporate structure.

With the lack of critical financial reporting now endemic in the media, perhaps one could reflect on a few oddities of the imminent float of NZME on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. For the NZX not to insist on a prospectus for this new vehicle aimed at attracting fresh capital from New Zealanders would be one’s first misgiving. This means no audited accounts and no forecasts for which directors should be legally liable ( viz Feltex).

Punters may feel they can take a chance with their own money but with other people’s money they might like to think about a board some of whose directors transferring to the NZME board received a massive lift in fees last year despite another statutory loss and after years of not paying dividend and despite the company about to halve itself in size.   Read more »

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NZ Herald misleads and continues anti-Israel bias

The video above shows what really happened. Four Israelis were murdered, 20 in total were shot in Tel Aviv by two Arab gunmen.

The NZ Herald has different ideas….for them the gunmen are the victims.

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Guest Post: Some facts to dispel the alarmism over the “Debt Armageddon”

by Michael Littlewood

Two recent pieces in the Herald on New Zealanders’ apparently terrible borrowing habits caught my attention in the last couple of days.

1. Debt armageddon: In NZ’s Half Trillion Dollar Debt Bomb, 7 June, the Herald painted an apparently worrying picture of households overburdened with debt but there is actually another side to that story.

The latest Reserve Bank data on total household balance sheets showed that all households had borrowed a total of just 12.4% of total gross assets ($163 billion of debt on $1,286 billion of gross assets).  Perhaps not all debt was included (though that seems unlikely); certainly, not all assets were included as the Reserve Bank acknowledges.

The recent growth in debt and the sustainability of house prices are actually less concerning than the ability of New Zealanders to service what are relatively modest borrowings.  So income levels are more important than the total borrowed.  Some may have borrowed too much and will pay the price for that.  But across the whole country, there seems less to worry about than the Herald’s article suggested.   Read more »

Now we know why the Herald won’t cover local body politics: no clicks

The NZ Herald has a revealing article today that explains why they aren’t spending much time covering local body politics. There are simply no clicks in it for them.

Aucklanders are more interested in Kim Kardashian than local body politics, if their Google searches are anything to go by.

Postal voting for New Zealand’s last local elections began on September 20, 2013 and voting closed on October 12.

Auckland searches for the term “elections” relative to total searches reached its 2013 peak between October 6 and 12, according to Google Trends.

Google rated levels of interest from low at one, rising as interest levels go up. Search interest in “elections” went from 22 to 100 in one week.

However, election interest fell short of the relative interest in reality music competition X Factor NZ three months earlier.   Read more »

Herald and Labour are peas in a pod: Crim hugging ratbags

What do you do when you have someone with over 200 convictions?  Do you blame the crim, or do you blame the state?

Ministry of Justice figures paint a disturbing picture of Kiwis who spend their lives in and out of the court system, a system that experts say is failing.

The 20 people who have appeared before the courts the most times have been collectively sentenced 2562 times since 1980, but their offending is relatively low-level, raising questions about the effect of court sentences in curbing re-offending.

The man who was convicted 214 times is in his 70s, but was first convicted when he was 33, show figures obtained by the Herald on Sunday under the Official Information Act.

His most serious offence was a non-aggravated sexual assault.

The data revealed that all those in the top 20 were men. Seventeen were first convicted before they were 19 years old.

Lawyers and offender advocates said the high numbers raised serious questions about the effectiveness of criminal sentences.

Defence lawyer and former Crown prosecutor, Marc Corlett, said the numbers were “mind-blowing”.

“I have never seen numbers like this before,” he said. “It just goes to show that we are using criminal law as a solution to social problems like mental health and substance abuse, and it is an extremely blunt instrument.”

There is a very simple solution to this.  Don’t let him out.   He’s clearly a risk to himself and the community.  Read more »

Media’s Thelma and Louise strategy

With talks of a merger between NZME (publisher of the Herald) and Fairfax surely they will be considering the name “Ferald” for the new organisation?

Two of New Zealand’s largest media companies have confirmed they are in talks to merge.

The Australian parents Fairfax Media and APN said on Wednesday they are in “exclusive discussions to merge their NZ businesses” and list on stock exchanges on both sides of the Tasman.

The New Zealand businesses are Fairfax NZ and NZME respectively.

Between them, they publish Stuff, The Sunday Star-Times, The Dominion Post, The Press (Fairfax NZ), and the NZ Herald, Hawke’s Bay Today and Herald on Sunday (NZME), and other newspapers and magazines. NZME also operates radio stations including NewstalkZB and Radio Sport.    Read more »

They seem to be missing a word in the headline

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The NZ Herald has joined in with the Media party pile on regarding the Panama Papers.

Hamish Fletcher has joined the other idiot journalists clutching at straws. and decided to call NZ a tax haven and talk about tax evasion schemes.

New Zealand is complicit in tax avoidance schemes, says an academic.

“It’s shameful for New Zealand to be caught up in international tax avoidance,” Deborah Russell from Massey’s School of Accountancy said this afternoon.

“The loophole in our laws that allows New Zealand foreign trusts to escape taxation has been known about for years, but nothing has been done to shut it down. This makes us complicit in schemes to avoid tax,” she said.

Another tax law expert has also said that the rules around the what foreigners with New Zealand trusts must disclose to Inland Revenue are “weak”.

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