Ministers dodged meeting with MRP chair Withers over share buyback

Bill English
Tony Ryall

MightyRiverPower's shareholding ministers Bill English and Tony Ryall dodged a phone conference with chairwoman Joan Withers in the lead-up to the power company announcing its share buyback after Treasury officials warned they needed to know what was going to be discussed.

Documents published by the Treasury's Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit show Withers sought an "urgent teleconference" with the ministers on Oct. 9 to discuss an unspecified market-related issue, a day before the power company announced its intention to buy back as many as 25 million shares on-market.

Treasury analyst Juston Anderson sent a heads-up to the ministers' offices, saying MRP had told the department it was considering the buyback and asking whether it should consult the Crown before making a decision.

"Our advice is that ministers should not discuss a buyback proposal with Ms Withers," Anderson said in an email. "We suggest that ministers avoid having any urgent discussions with Ms Withers, unless she advises in advance what the subject will be, and until ministers have the opportunity to seek legal advice on that subject, if necessary."

Two days later a Treasury report said the government could have sold about 955,000 shares, but recommended against the government participating in the buyback, which would be consistent with its decision not to take part in Air New Zealand's share buyback.

The report said ministers may want to tell Withers about their decision, but recommended against issuing a media release announcing its position.

The shares rose 0.9 percent to $2.23 in trading today, having slid from the $2.50 IPO price in May.

(BusinessDesk)


2 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

2 Comments & Questions

Commenter icon key: Subscriber Verified

it was a pure political play and nothing was going to sway govt from it's predetermined course,regardless of commercial or economic realities.
liberte

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Shouldn't the headline read "Ministers follow advice not to talk to ...."??

"We suggest that ministers avoid having any urgent discussions with Ms Withers, unless she advises in advance what the subject will be, and until ministers have the opportunity to seek legal advice on that subject, if necessary."

Reply
Share
  • 0
  • 0

Post New comment or question

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7282 -0.0001 -0.01%
AUD 0.9496 0.0030 0.32%
EUR 0.6481 -0.0008 -0.12%
GBP 0.5610 0.0025 0.45%
HKD 5.6459 0.0007 0.01%
JPY 73.9540 0.4370 0.59%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1319.6 -1.410 2016-09-29T00:
Oil Brent 49.8 0.570 2016-09-29T00:
Oil Nymex 47.8 0.780 2016-09-29T00:
Silver Index 19.2 0.070 2016-09-29T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 7343.4 7343.4 7343.4 -0.10%
NASDAQ 5311.3 5317.0 5318.5 -0.93%
DAX 10545.6 10575.3 10438.3 -0.31%
DJI 18322.9 18366.2 18339.2 -1.07%
FTSE 6849.4 6941.1 6849.4 1.02%
HKSE 23435.3 23483.5 23739.5 -1.21%
NI225 16474.5 16480.0 16693.7 -1.55%
ASX 5471.3 5471.3 5471.3 -0.71%