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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  • Cobalt Wizard

    I reckon mafia Fay will get the bid then on sell to the Chinese pocketing a a cool 25-30 million. Then mafia Fay will run off to his tax exile leaving us to clean up his mess (and pay for his daughters musical career). And we’ll probably give him another knighthood for his efforts. Who says crime doesn’t pay!

  • Frederico

    Didn’t Fay and Richwhite, so confident of their own innocence, first hold-up in Ireland until the winebox inquiry was over (then moved to Switzerland) as NZ doesn’t/didn’t have an extradition treaty with the Irish?….Poor old JK can’t win on this issue, if Fay were to buy the Crafar farms can you imagin the howls from the loony left, “ex money trader PM does a backroom deal to help out his banker buddy”…groan

  • excuse me

    Agree with you, Whale. This issue is now wrapped up in nationalistic crap, and not a little xenophobic / racist prejudice against largely unknown Chinese top bidders. The kind of influence peddling that that environment can create is unhealthy in an open society.

    The Cray farms are being sold in a “distressed sale” situation where the receivers’ obligation is to obtain the best price for the benefit of creditors. Why should those creditors take a hit so that people with no financial stake in the game can feel warm inside?

    The amount of land involved is relatively piffling, not sufficient to cause concern about domination of NZ land ownership from any particular quarter. The Chinese bidders have apparently passed normal OIC tests. If Fay’s group cannot beat the best existing offer for the Crafer farms, it deserves no Wellington insider assistance.

  • Kiwidon

    Also Fay Richwhite also did “extremely well” in their handling of the NZ Rail sale to Wisconsin Rail!  

  • Kthxbai

    Well done Fran.  It’s extraordinary how short most people’s memories are in regard to people like Fay, the name alone should set off alarm bells in any taxpayer’s head.

  • Politically Unstable

    Fay seems to have the same attitude to New Zealanders (moronic with no memory) as Winston Peters. They are also arrogant hypocritical and dishonest.

    They say its better the devil you know but I know sod all about the Chinese bid and still favour them over Fay. Anyway Fays offer is a low ball opportunist offer that should be treated as such

    • What will be delicious is watching Winston Peters sticking up for Michael Fay against Chinese.

      • Dr Wang

        Exactly! – Winnie may disappear up his own arsehole trying to argue this one.

  • Ploughman

    Another commercial cock up.  If the farms were sold individually there would be much more interest and the aggregate price might well be better than the farms being sold as a single unit.  

    I thought that technical capability was necessary.  What skill in dairy farming does Michael Fay have?  Oh the thought of him with a three legged stool and a bucket trying to milk his dairy stock in Queen Street. Raw milk is great in lattes though. And now the “protesters” have been moved on there is some cheap grazing in Aotea Square. 

    When FR were running rail the balance sheet was crap.  Little provision was made for R&M so the taxpayer had to fork out vast sums to make up for the neglect.  Why did the other directors not object?  All directors should have been taken to task.  Asset stripping  was FR’s sole goal and an essential national asset was run down to achieve their selfish goals. 

    Michael Fay must never be let near any important assets ever again.  He’s a loyal Kiwi just as I am a loyal Aussie.

    • Frederico

      Fay has had a dairy farm at Reparoa since the mid 70’s. operated by sharemilkers so he probably does know a thing or two about dairying, his mate Trevor Farmer is one of the owners of the Wairakei Pastures estate, the large forestry plantation at Taupo, Landcorp are converting to dairy farms..she’s a small world at the top eh!

  • napalm in the morning

    Fay is not too worried about crafar farms,he is here for the big fish(power companies etc later in the year) This is just away of getting his name out there.

  • Politically Unstable

    I am surprised that the Farms are considered to have a higher disposal value as one parcel rather than being sold separately. But then Recievers do not have an enviable track record at this stuff. They just keep on filling in timesheets for 12 hours days and work about 6 or 7. Reminds me of the Wharfies a little bit….