$200m education IPO prospect, economic complacency warning, Watercare’s $1m CIA bill fear and Shane Jones’ latest Countdown hit

A $200 million education listing may be in the pipeline.

In today’s National Business Review print edition, chief reporter Duncan Bridgeman reveals a roll up of New Zealand education providers could culminate in a sizeable equity raising and possible NZX-listing.

The entity will potentially be spun out of ASX-listed Arowana International – and Massey University chancellor Chris Kelly is being lined up for a key role.

Fresh off yesterday's official cash rate hike, to slow down the country’s “rock star economy,” economics editor Rob Hosking reports of concerns among economists about New Zealand’s long-standing imbalances, such as poor savings and high debt – which raises the question, is our recovery too narrowly based?

In other news, Watercare says it faces a $1 million-plus a year bill for cultural impact assessments if controversial mana whenua provisions in Auckland Council’s draft unitary plan are confirmed.

Business reporter Jamie Ball details how the Commerce Commission is checking out Shane Jones latest complaint against Countdown-owner Woolworths over representations it made over New Zealand products on Australian supermarket shelves.

Meanwhile, in an NBR special report, US investors continue to trade shares in biotech company Therapy Cells Inc based on the misguided belief it is still connected to a New Zealand veterinarian – who has been found guilty of professional misconduct – and his patented technology.

As civil action over the Feltex Carpets collapse reaches the courts, global bank Credit Suisse will come under the spotlight – and one of their executives may be asked to appear as a witness in the High Court trial.

In a columnist double-team, Neville Bennett and Michael Coote delve into the US unemployment statistics and why the true jobless rate is being disguised, and as evidence mounts the new jobs are of poor quality.

Les Mills IT manager Steve James talks technology editor Chris Keall through the gym owner’s transition from storage area network onto the cloud – and the pros and cons of Google Apps versus Microsoft Office 365.

In Heartland, University of Waikato’s Jacqueline Rowarth contrasts two reports about farming, and how New Zealanders may well see through an attempt by Fish & Game to set the foundation for these year’s election as, unsubtly, a choice between the environment and the economy.

Keeping the academic theme, Massey University’s Sasha Molchanov details how 42% of New Zealand’s exports go to emerging and developing nations, and why the Crimean crisis should cause exporters to consider the risks of over-investment.

In Media Watch, David Cohen argues asking journalists to declare their political views – aside from being impractical and possibly illegal – is like asking those who live in the Vatican to declare their denominational allegiences.


  • In Asia Watch, Nathan Smith argues China’s aggressive foreign policy moves are a distraction from its slowing economy.
  • NBR’s editorial says a Labour poll highlights skewed public attitudes over social inequality in the face of a lack of evidence an envy tax on the rich will result in windfalls.
  • In Browny Points, Wayne Brown predicts Auckland Council’s new chief executive, Stephen Town, will be more effective than most people think.

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

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