Fran O'Sullivan injects some reality into the Airport debate

Fran O’Sullivan: Politicking may sink deal – 08 Aug 2007 – NZ Herald: Opinion, Editorial and reader views and comment from New Zealand and around the World

Fran O’Sullivan injects some much needed reality to the debate over the proposed deal for Auckland Airport. She is scathing of Goff’s underhanded destruction of shareholder value and of government interference in a sale that they aren’t even stakeholders in.
[quote]But Goff knows very well that Auckland International Airport is 75 per cent owned by private shareholders. The Government does not have a stake in Auckland Airport – unlike, Christchurch, Invercargill or Dunedin airports.

Auckland City Council and Manukau City Council have less than 25 per cent between them, hardly public control.

Auckland Airport shareholders also have rights which Goff has been ready to trample over to make cheap political capital.

His comments knocked the guts out of Auckland Airport’s share price, diminishing the on-paper wealth of the thousands of New Zealanders who have shares. His speech reaffirmed fears that a minority government hostage to the whims of smaller parties will cave in to their fearmongering.[/quote]
As Fran says; It is stretching credulity to use sensitive land rules, which were designed to assuage concerns over the sale of prime coastal farm land, to assess an airport sale.

If the Government truly believes airports are a strategic asset, it should clarify the overseas investment rules.

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