Queenstown Hilton sold to Chinese, Countdown warned against ‘underarm,’ plasterboard claims challenged and taxman slams door

Pacific Alliance Group has sold the luxurious Queenstown Hilton, well-placed sources say.

In today’s National Business Review print edition, chief reporter Duncan Bridgeman reveals the hotel, managed by Hilton Worldwide, has been sold to Chinese interests.

In other news, Fletcher Building’s rivals are challenging government claims that plasterboard prices will drop because of a suspension of anti-dumping duties – in fact one company confirms it is hiking prices.

Countdown responds over criticism its parent, Woolworths, continues to sell Australian-made house brands into New Zealand while restricting this country’s produce from its own transtasman house brands.

Inland Revenue clams up over its policing of IPO stagging, including the floats of partially privatised power companies Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy, in a move dubbed “bizarre” by Labour’s revenue spokesman David Clark.

Business reacts to the government’s decision to hold off on meaningful Resource Management Act reforms until after September’s election, and there are calls for the next round of changes to go beyond mere tinkering.

Shoeshine runs the rule over Trade Me, and why analysts at UBS, the firm which underwrote the listed online auction company’s share sales, are seizing on a boycott by real estate agents as a catalyst for doom and gloom.

An Australian politician has a warning for her Kiwi counterparts over restrictions on overseas buyers of residential property, while an Australian property expert and academic says there is more bluster than substance behind the debate over foreign buyers across the Tasman, where restrictions are already in place.

In Heartland, University of Waikato agribusiness professor Jacqueline Rowarth argues organic agriculture is unlikely to be a sustainable saviour and that well-meaning moves to remove animals from farming will make only a marginal difference to greenhouse gas emissions.

Employers and Manufacturers Association chief executive Kim Campbell tackles the living wage, and questions some of the justifications for the idea when 79% of people who earn less than $18.80 an hour are in families with no children.

Online native advertising is a step closer New Zealand newspaper publishers, APN and Fairfax, media reporter Victoria Young writes.

Meanwhile, new research featured in Executive Health shows gluten may not be to blame for all eating disorders.

In a six-page special report, NBR covers the major issues keeping chief executives awake at night. The feature includes an illuminating interview with Plan B chief executive Ian Forrester about relying too heavily on your team and just how much data to back up.

Briefly:

  • In Foreign Affairs, Nathan Smith outlines why the election of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India might put a free trade deal with New Zealand might be on a fast track.
  • In Margin Call, editor-in-chief Nevil Gibson highlights the plight of Goodman Fielder and Treasury Wine Estates, which prove the theory the bigger the takeover target, the easier the task.
  • Media Watch columnist David Cohen unpicks the strongest criticism of former broadcaster turned lawyer Linda Clark and wonders why the New Zealand Herald is taking pot-shots at public policy experts involved in current affairs.

All this and more in today’s National Business Review. Out now.

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