Fletcher in crosshairs, Hirepool IPO questioned, Wherescape feeds the beast and who’s got $360m?

Official documents reveal the prime targets for government moves to reduce building material costs

The direct effect of removing duties for plasterboard alone will be a saving of between $680 and $4200 for the average house, MBIE  told the government in submissions made before the budget.

Business reporter David Williams reveals in today’s National Business Review print edition that plasterboard in general, and Fletcher Building's Winstone Wallboards in particular, were the prime targets for moves announced in the budget to try and reduce building material costs.

Also, chief reporter Duncan Bridgeman reports Sir Owen Glenn is taking legal action against business partner and fellow NBR Rich Lister Eric Watson over the Warriors rugby league club.

Meanwhile, Shoeshine takes the temperature of fund managers considering Hirepool’s initial public offering and wonders if there’s a little trash talk to drive the price down or something more substantial at work.

In technology news, Pacific Fibre alumnus Lance Wiggs lays out his four potential investors in the $360 million Hawaiki Cable project.

Wherescape founder and chief executive Michael Whitehead details the company’s capital-hungry growth plans: how many new staff it wants, its future funding options and whether it’s making money.

In On The Money, Michael Coote writes that egregious errors in Auckland’s proposed unitary plan are part of a wider problem and political parties could gain support from the ballot box were they to tap into public disquiet at attempts to racialise local government.

Trade Minister Tim Groser tells reporter Nathan Smith why the Trans Pacific Partnership is still the best way to de-risk and future-proof New Zealand’s trade relationships, and why he thinks the talks are more likely to work than fail.

Economics editor Rob Hosking outlines how greater information sharing between New Zealand and US tax authorities is just the beginning of a stepped up effort by global tax authorities.

Ad/Media reporter Campbell Gibson, who takes over from Victoria Young, gets behind AIG’s FanPic promotion, and what it means for corporate sponsorship.

Reporter Jamie Ball gets former Labour MP Shane Jones’ take on his new $180,000 job and asks when he first approached the government about a long-term role in the Pacific.

In Media Watch, David Cohen finds a curious parallel between events of 50 years ago at Lower Hutt’s Elbe’s Milk Bar and the moral panic over a group of unpleasant young men called the Roast Busters.

NBR’s editorial tackles two very different United Nations campaigns and finds more merit in former Labour prime minister Helen Clark’s bid to replace Ban Ki-Moon as security general than the “vanity project” of New Zealand joining the Security Council.


  • In Asia Watch, Nathan Smith posits an unlikely alliance between the US, Iran and Turkey.
  • Margin Call contrasts the fortunes of listed Bathurst Resources and Trans-Tasman Resources.
  • Khyaati Acharya explains why trains won’t save Auckland’s traffic congestion woes.

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