Rates rise risks motel closures, Super Fund may lose pay say in wake of ‘Orrgate,’ Wellington Drive’s stunning turnaround

In NBR today

In NBR today

Sally Lindsay writes that members of Auckland’s commercial accommodation sector may go out of business if Mayor Phil Goff’s 150% rates increase kicks in on July 1. Mr Goff insists the rates increase on hotels, motels, backpackers and camping grounds is a good way to inject $30 million of public money into the Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development agency to replace ratepayer funding.

The NZ Superannuation Fund’s Adrian Orr is now officially New Zealand’s highest paid public servant, Calida Smylie writes. Instead of being congratulated for this distinction, however, he’s had his remuneration scrutinised in a way few, if any, would welcome. Mr Orr received a 23% pay increase last year, taking his taxable income to $1.03 million but his board failed to make a persuasive case to the government that it should have been increased – and may lose its power to set the chief executive’s pay in future.

Back in 2011, Wellington Drive Technologies was not an obviously attractive prospect for a globally mobile executive when Greg Allen was approached about being its chief executive, Tim Hunter writes. With accumulated losses of $86 million, it had a history of tapping shareholders for more equity to stay afloat – and had even tried to raise $40 million via a scheme involving “sea vegetable” health supplements. But after some serious due diligence, Mr Allen decided the business could be fixed.

The bad news about traffic congestion, according to Auckland Transport CEO David Warburton, is “You’ll never build your way out of it,” Nathan Smith writes.

The stiff sentences handed down in the Auckland Transport corruption case are a strong, long overdue signal that financial crime is finally being taken seriously by the courts, an expert says, Investigations editor Karyn Scherer writes. But they haven’t cured Victoria University’s Lisa Marriott of her scepticism about New Zealand’s reputation for being corruption-free – or of her belief in the necessity of a formal review of the way white collar crime is treated in this country.

Briscoe Group has overtaken The Warehouse as the largest listed retailer, Jenny Ruth writes. The ‘big red sheds’ retailer is trying to reinvent its business model but, so far at least, the analysts are underwhelmed.

All this and more in today's NBR Print edition. Out now