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Headlines From The NZ Business Times Friday Nov 30

Associate Education Minister Maharey Jumped The Gun Page 1

Associate Education Minister Steve Maharey publicly vilified a privately-owned education provider, even though his own ministry had given the company further time to explain itself. Despite the Ministry of Education (MOE) setting a timeframe to investigate the issues, Mr Mahery announced last week that a private education company might have failed to meet ministry standards. That company, the Practical Education Training Centre (PETC) of New Plymouth, said the minister jumped the gun for political gain, and its reputation is now in tatters. The NZBT is in possession of a letter in which Howard Fancy, the Secretary for Education, informs PETC chief executive Tony Zieltjes that he had until December 13 to comment on the allegations.

Fisher & Paykel Directors Stained By Gravy Train Page 3

Concern at the value given away by Fisher & Paykel directors in the spin-off of their healthcare business is growing into rage. A group of institutions, including BT Funds Management, Alliance Capital and BT Funds Management are plotting action to hold F&P directors accountable for what they see as an exorbitant giveaway of shareholder wealth. They are considering calling a special meeting of F&P shareholders to have the company¹s directors explain their actions.

IRD Persecution Damaging NZ Film Industry Page 1

The IRD is persecuting the New Zealand film industry by cracking down on tax evasion, a move that could stall momentum created by Lord of the Rings. That is the view of senior film industry sources ahead of a major summit to be hosted by Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton, where they will urge the government to make movie investment more attractive for private New Zealand and overseas investors. Industry sources claim film investment is being singled out for special attention by the Inland Revenue Department. It is also understood the IRD has launched exhaustive audits on both individuals and financial institutions involved in film projects.

Securities Commission Accussed Of Unfair Tactics Page 2

Securities Commission officials have been accused of taking a heavy-handed and unfair approach in the way they have warned consumers about investments in contributory mortgage schemes. The Commission has accused the industry as a whole of being dodgy, and some industry participants say this is unacceptable from an industry watchdog. ³We are not happy about the way they have [issued their warning]. We understand the problem, but unfortunately it has cast a bad slant on the industry as a whole,² said Neal Nicholls of National Mortgage Brokers.

Lowe Blow To Farmers Deka Page 2

Nick Lowe¹s woes as head of the Farmers Deka Group have increased a notch, and this time his former employees at Pacific Retail Group are the cause of his headache. Two key executives from Farmers have jumped ship to PRG, parent company of competing retailers Bond & Bond and Noel Leeming. Brent Powell, previously general manager of Information Systems at Farmers, and Mike Good, who was Farmers divisional manager for Supply Chain and Logistics, both announced this week they will move to PRG as general managers. Although all parties are claiming there is no bad blood in the moves, history reveals a murkier picture.

Happy Days For Valentine In The United States Page 1

Auckland businessman Miles Valentine packed up his family two years ago to chase business in the United States. Now he has landed a partnership with one of the world¹s largest company¹s. Mr Valentine¹s company, Zeacom, has just secured a deal with US-based technology company Expanets, which will next year see it supplying software to industry giant Cisco Systems. Cisco is a company with a market capitalisation of $US146 billion ($NZ352.4 billion) and is one of the largest company¹s in the world supplying products that connect computer devices with networks. Expanets is itself no mug, with revenues of $US1 billion and 455,000 business customers.

The Priest, The Trader, and Sir Tony O Reilly Page 2

Even the blessing of a priest was not enough to save Australasian investors in the failed international currency-trading house, Evergreen International. According to Terry Ward, the former managing director of Heinz Australia, now spokesperson for aggrieved Evergreen investors in this part of the world, ³there was never a hint of anything dodgy². Unlike many of the investors he represents, who have waved goodbye to about $150 million in funds, Mr Ward went as far as visiting the Evergreen headquarters in New York and lunching with star salesman Justin Fauci.

KPMG Set To Put Auckland Rentals In A Spin Page 4

Investors in Wellington-based property fund Waltus Prime Properties face an anxious few weeks, as the key tenant of its main investment property plays hardball over its lease. Accounting and legal firm KPMG has threatened to vacate the landmark building that bear¹s its name in Auckland¹s Princess Street. A move by KPMG out of the central business district site will put further downward pressure on Auckland CBD rentals, which have been the worst-performing sector of the New Zealand property sector for the past two and a half years. KPMG¹s lease is not due to expire until May 2005, but it is negotiating with other landlords now because of the lead-time that will be involved in any fitout.

Telecom Makes Australasian Top 20 Brands Page 5

What¹s in a name? In the case of Telecom, around $1.6 billion. The New Zealand telco giant has been rated one of most valuable brands in Australasia ­ the only locally-based company to make the inaugural top 20 from Interbrand Australia. The ratings, the first of their kind to look specifically at the Australian and New Zealand markets, are based not on the public¹s perception of names, rather an economic analysis of the true value of a brand to a company. Released yesterday, the survey estimates Telecom¹s brand value at being worth $A1.3 billion ($NZ1.6 million) or 18 percent of its market capitalisation. That places it seventh in a top 20 headed by its chief Australian rival Telstra.

Commerece Commission Urged To ClampDown On Telecos Page 3

The Commerce Commission is being urged to place pro-competitive conditions on the merger of TelstraSaturn and Clear Communications. Paul Budde of Australian telecommunications agency this week issued a new briefing paper on New Zealand industry restructuring and warns that the commission should be on its guard against duopolistic practices by Telecom and the enlarged Telstra-owned telco. He said the merger should be good for competition, but said conditions could be imposed to ensure that a solid wholesale regime is established in New Zealand. ³The merger is a unique opportunity for New Zealand to achieve a better competitive environment and it deserves the full attention of the Government to maximise its effect on competition in this country.²

Russel McVeagh Captures Young Lawyers Page 3

Law firm Russell McVeagh has surprised the legal industry by taking on a record summer intake of 56 under-graduates in its summer clerk programme. HR managers in rival companies are wondering what ³The Factory² will do to keep this many interns occupied during the summer. But Russell McVeagh is confident it can keep the clerks busy. From mid November to early February vast amounts of spare office space in the country¹s major law firms fill with young hopefuls having their first look at the profession. For most ­ around 95 percent according to Russell McVeagh¹s Jan Blair ­ this foot in the door later leads to an offer of fulltime work.

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