State Owned Enterprises

Fran O’Sullivan on Labour and Air New Zealand

Fran O’Sullivan holds Labour and David Cunliffe to account over their silly scare-mongering over Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand has frequently been a political football for politicians of all stripes who have wanted to calibrate its operations towards spurious “national interest” grounds which owe more to politics than this country’s future.

So it was no surprise that this week Labour politicians claimed all sorts of calamities potentially face the airline – including another financial disaster on the scale of the 2001 bankruptcy (yes, I’m thinking of you, David Cunliffe) – simply because the Government has reduced its stake. It is an absurdity.

It sure was.

There has been a lot of political hogwash about the sell-down by the National-led Government and the underlying philosophy of the mixed-ownership model.

But in essence, Labour invented the mixed-ownership model with its 1980s privatisation of the Bank of New Zealand and its later recapitalisation of the airline in 2001 which put it in the box seat with an 82 per cent stake (later reduced to 76 per cent after a rights issue).

It’s also worth recalling that the Clark Government wanted Air NZ to form an alliance with Qantas a decade ago, which would have resulted in the Government’s stake being reduced to 64 per cent. No Labour politician – including Cunliffe – raised a squawk then about how allowing another player onto the Air NZ share registry would result in the airline heading towards the knacker’s yard, though arguably (and in hindsight) given Qantas’ subsequent fortunes that prospect would have held more water than the subjects of this week’s politicking.    Read more »

Air New Zealand sell down returns $365 million, asset sales programme on track

The government is looking like realising their goals from asset sales with the return from Air New Zealand bringing in $365 million.

The Government has completed the sale of 20 per cent of Air New Zealand, selling just over 221 million shares at $1.65, Finance Minister Bill English and State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall say.

“The sell down of shares has returned $365 million, which will now be allocated to the Future Investment Fund so we can keep building new assets like schools and hospitals while controlling Government debt,” Mr English says.

“This brings the total share offer programme proceeds to almost $4 billion after three partial sales.   Read more »

Air NZ sell down started

The government has started their sell down of Air New Zealand shares. It is already o the NZX so the process is much easier.

The NZ Herald reports:

The Government has confirmed plans to sell down its stake in Air New Zealand, with 20 per cent of the shares on sale from tomorrow.

The state owns 73 per cent of the national carrier, and plans to reduce that were tipped last week.  Read more »

Crown Wins Water Case

Radio Live have just tweeted:

Good stuff.

Tony Ryall and Bill English have said in their Press Release:

Finance Minister Bill English and State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall today welcomed the High Court decision in favour of the Crown following last month’s High Court action regarding the sale of shares in Mighty River Power.

“The High Court decision confirms the Government can proceed to sell up to 49 per cent of shares in four state owned energy companies, in accordance with the legislation passed by Parliament earlier this year,” Mr English says.

“The Government is firmly of the view that the partial sale of shares does not in any way affect the Crown’s ability to recognise rights and interests in water, or to provide redress for genuine Treaty claims.”

UPDATE:

Deep pockets. For the lawyer troughers.

Brash email saga continues on

Roarprawn has posted some documents last night. They are very illuminating yet deeply disturbing at the same time.

On page three of the Ombudsman’s letter of 28 November (see doc on roarprawn called brash 2):

In the face of … uncertainty, I consider it prudent to err on the side of caution as I am conscious of the fact that each serious or high-profile criminal investigation that remains unsolved can have a discernable effect on public confidence in the maintenance of law and order.

I have carefully weighed up all the relevant factors in this case (such as the length of time since the file was “active” and the stage the investigation had reached) and I am persuaded that the dissemination of the information at issue would be likely to prejudice the maintenance of the law by compromising the criminal investigation.  I am limited in the extent to which I can elaborate further on my reasoning for reaching this view.

Beverley A Wakem

Chief Ombudsman

28 November 2008

Hooton replies to the Chief Obbudsman (see doc called brash 1 on roarprawn) pointing out that there is no doubt at all the Chief Ombudsman is wrong in law. 

Therefore the questions are:

Why was the Chief Ombudsman willing to reach even a provisional position which is so obviously wrong in law, when the Office of the Ombudsman usually gets the law right?

Why is the Office of the Ombudsmen keeping secrets about the Police keeping secrets about the secret email stealer?