Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Wild West Goes Mickey Mouse

Wild West Goes Mickey Mouse

Wednesday, September 26 2001 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Commerce

The Prime Minister's 'don't sell' advice on Air New Zealand last night takes the Government's handling of Air New Zealand beyond disgrace into farce, ACT Commerce Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"While appearing as a 'don't sell', it was really advice that the shares were worth more than the market was expecting.

"Her tip on national television may have squeezed through a little-known loophole of insider trading law. None of the offences cover using inside information to tip people not to buy or sell.

"Unavoidably, the Government is an insider through what they have been told in confidence. But whether getting through the loophole was good luck, or on the advice of a cunning lawyer, the Mickey Mouse effect is the same. Insider trading regimes regard an insider who gives a 'hold tip' as unethical, even though enforcement problems mean that it is not punishable here.

"Commerce Minister Swain came to power on an election promise to toughen up insider trading law. He and Ms Clark have delighted in reviving the false claim that New Zealand is a wild west securities market. Now the Great Helmswoman has made it really a Mickey Mouse country.

"In the midst of delicate negotiations, while possessing price sensitive information the Prime Minister went and tipped the whole market.

"Among the effects:

If it was in effect thinly disguised 'buy' advice (which is how an information-starved market naturally saw it), the Prime Minister may yet be made culpable under insider trading law. She will remain exposed until all the price sensitive information the Government has given has been released publicly.

Under disclosure rules, the directors must stop any further supply of confidential information to the Government. Due diligence is already a clear breach of insider trading law. The regime the Exchange developed to regulate it turns a blind eye to the breaches, provided the directors can be sure the information will be kept confidential, and those getting the benefit of due diligence do not trade or tip. The directors have now lost that defence.

BIL's bargaining position is strengthened enormously. They can now calculate that the Government can't pull out - because the Prime Minister has stacked both political credibility, and maybe even personal liability exposure (for negligent advice), on the rescue succeeding. "And still they have not done the obvious, lawful thing - assuring ticket buyers that the services will keep operating, and that tickets will be honoured. Instead, they are rescuing BIL and Singapore Airlines," Stephen Franks said.

For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Juggling Covid, And France’s Trump-like Populist

It is the age-old Covid problem. How to balance the needs for firms (and schools) to re-open against the need to protect public health. In the past, the balance has been struck by insisting that the best public health outcomes also deliver the best economic (and educational) outcomes. While that may still be objectively true, it is no longer a politically tenable position... More>>

Covid-19 & Education: NCEA And NZ Scholarship Exams To Proceed

NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams will proceed, including in areas where Alert Level 3 has been in place, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health have been working together to ensure exams can be managed in a safe way, so students have the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned... More>>


Government: New Zealand Secures Historic Free Trade Deal With The United Kingdom
New Zealand and the United Kingdom have agreed in principle the details of a historic Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will further accelerate our COVID-19 economic recovery say Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor... More>>


Ombudsman: Launches Investigation Into MIQ Booking System
The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is launching a broad investigation into the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) booking system after receiving hundreds of complaints... More>>


National: Launches Back In Business Plan

Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins has today launched National’s detailed plan to save livelihoods and unleash our economy in the face of the huge damage being wrought by the extended Covid lockdown... More>>


Pay Cheque To Pay Cheque: Half A Million New Zealanders Have No Savings
New findings from the Consumer NZ sentiment tracker found that 15% of New Zealanders had no savings, and a further 27% were anxious about their level of savings and would like to have more tucked away... More>>

Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>

Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>




InfoPages News Channels