Liu’s milk powder bunfight, business’ budget wishes, Kiwi heads $100m colostrum business and pondering a Fletcher break-up

A mysterious Chinese investor is taking legal action over a failed plan to build a $100 million infant formula plant in the Waikato.

In today’s National Business Review print edition, chief reporter Duncan Bridgeman reveals the investor, Bill Liu, also known as William Yan – who was famously granted New Zealand citizenship by then association immigration minister Shane Jones – is seeking a High Court injunction to enable his company to take possession of a property near Lake Karapiro.

The company behind the plan, South Waikato Processing, faces liquidation.

Meanwhile, it’s no surprise what business wants from Budget 2014 – a surplus. Business leaders tell reporter David Williams that the mounting pile of government debt has them nervously eyeing the Tasman.

Economics editor Rob Hosking picks up the budget theme and tackles the current account deficit – what it actually is, despite opposition party claims, and the difficulty with Labour’s “big tool.”

Rounding out our coverage, columnist Michael Coote argues there’s no strong reason to make KiwiSaver compulsory while NZ Super is still being paid out.

Editor-in-chief Nevil Gibson talks to the Kiwi head of Arizona-based APS Biogroup, which has quietly built a $US100 million business through making half of the world’s annual demand for the colostrum product.

Shoeshine asks if it’s time to break Fletcher Building in two, considering the listed company's tension between needing to grow and having a regulator knocking at the door.

Former finance minister Sir Roger Douglas takes a category-by-category sweep over government spending and finds an alternative fiscal policy that will reduce spending and lower taxes, while not hurting the poor.

In other news, NBR understands a potential sale of Jasons Travel Media has fallen through as owner Bennetts Group failed to reach agreement on price with a large US publisher.

Technology editor Chris Keall highlights two recent cases involving Xero customers which have highlighted an important question: do you know who controls your cloud account?

Media reporter Victoria Young finds out which top suit has been stolen by recently merged indie Rainger and Rolfe.

In Foreign Affairs, Nathan Smith opines the initial results of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s controversial economic reforms are encouraging, but he’s walking a fine line.

Reporter Jamie Ball finds out why Citi environmental finance boss Michael Eckhart thinks New Zealand is better placed than any country in the world for 100% renewable energy.

A four-page special report into executive development and education finds out who pays for study embarked on by working people – and explores the tension between investing in training and taking the risk the employee leaves, or not investing at all and taking the risk the employee stays.


  • In Media Watch, David Cohen picks apart the danger of slamming tobacco lobbyists
  • Business Traveller peeks inside Emirates and Etihad’s hotel-style, in-flight bedrooms.
  • Order Paper questions the wisdom of policies which force people to save during times of rising inflation

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

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