Has the government broken the law over Air New Zealand?

Fran O’Sullivan: Risky intrusion into Air NZ – 22 Aug 2007 – NZ Herald: New Zealand Business and Personal Finance News

Fran O’Sullivan seems to think they have in her article in today’s Herald.
[quote]Air NZ – in which the Government holds a 76 per cent stake – is not a state-owned enterprise.

But Cabinet ministers – embarrassed by the political fallout over two Air NZ “ferry” charter operations carrying Australian troops to the Middle East – now seem to believe they can order the publicly listed company to uphold non-specified “national interest” considerations.

This is extraordinarily rich from a majority shareholder which has already intervened to force Air New Zealand to give up highly profitable business leading to a loss of future revenue for the company.

Under the Companies Act it is clear that majority shareholders do not and cannot direct the company. Air NZ directors have fiduciary duties to run the company in the best interests of all shareholders – not to suck to the majority shareholder who appoints them.[/quote]
This government shows almost daily that it is commercially inept and this is the second time Clark has had a go at destrying shareholder value in Air New Zealand. I agree with Fran, the NZX should be issuing “please explains” all round, given the huge number of uncertainties now on the table.

Now we hear that Air New Zealand’s contracts to the ADF for engineering may be in jeopardy all for Labour’s cheap political points scoring.

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