Improper and Absurd

Fran O’Sullivan tells a few home truths about Michael Fay, though she gets the golden rule story just a bit wonky. Fay used to have a brass plaque on his desk that said “Nothing for nothing Fuck you!”.

And given that this probably still holds true then Fran O’Sullivan is right in questioning the motives and tactics of Sir Michael Fay.

It’s all part of the carefully orchestrated “patriotic” campaign that Fay is spearheading to wrest the ownership of the Crafar farms his way.

But it will be interesting to see whether Fay – who spent a good deal of time out of New Zealand as a tax exile in Switzerland – still carries the sway he used to enjoy with previous Governments.

The most interesting example of the influence game that I can recall was with the September 1990 sale of Telecom to the US “Baby Bells” consortium for $4.25 billion. Business readers will recall that Fay Richwhite and Co (the merchant bank controlled by Sir Michael and David Richwhite) and the Freightways partners Alan Gibbs and Trevor Farmer effectively pulled the deal together for Bell Atlantic and Ameritech and emerged with minor holdings themselves after the share float.

The Baby Bells consortium was not the highest bidder when the then Labour Government put 49.9 per cent of Telecom on the block. The top bid was said to have come from Australia’s Optus.

But as former Telecom chief executive Peter Troughton revealed in a National Business Review article in 2006, a few days before the final bids were due, “I was informed that a non-conforming bid would be submitted, and that the government might be prepared to accept it.”

Other bidders were given just 24 hours to match the Baby Bells’ bid.

One thing is for sure about any bid from Sir Michael Fay is the only winner will be him. He might lose the battle but he always seems to win the war.

If any of the under-bidders were really serious about their altruistic saving of kiwi farm land then they should simply bid the same as Pengxin plus $1. If they aren;t prepared to do that then the government should simply allow the sale of the land to the highest bidder provided all other regulations are squared away.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.