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  • rmacculloch

Fletcher Building: is it the only Private Monopoly in the World that can't make a buck? It is time to break up NZ's most useless company.

Gosh, the CEO of Fletcher Building, Ross Taylor, says today's announcement of a half-year loss of $120 million for the company is "disappointing" and was "heavily impacted" by the Convention Centre losses. He must be crying all the way to the bank (to quote Las Vegas pianist Liberace). Taylor took home a salary of $6.9 million in 2021, $6.6 million in 2022 (which he stressed was "performance-based" - a "true reflection" of how the company had done) and $3.7 million in 2023. That's a total of $17.2 million these past three years. The company also shook you, the taxpayer, down for $68 million from the wage subsidy that it refused to pay back. Did that money go to paying directors fees? In 2022 Radio NZ reported, "The board chair received over $344,000 in directors' fees last year, and the lowest-paid director over $170,000". This year they asked shareholders for a 25% pay hike. I note one of Fletchers Board Members is Deputy Chair of the NZ Initiative. That "think tank" (read lobby group) is hugely influential with the new coalition.


It is time to break up Fletcher Building & end the dubious Fletcher legacy on this country. My grandfather employed Sir James Fletcher's future wife in his tiny law office. He said it was the best thing she ever did leaving his little firm to go work for Sir James, who she ended up marrying. He also joked how there was a time when Sir James was a National Party supporter but then "tore his pants climbing through the fence" when Labour came to power and he wanted building contracts from that government. The company has always enjoyed huge monopoly powers. These days, it has shown a special skill by struggling to make a buck whilst wielding those powers


National must prove it is pro-competition and pro-reducing-the-cost-of-living. So smash Fletcher Building into small bits and allow our building industry to function. It's not the low paid workers in this country who are responsible for our appalling productivity growth. It is the bosses - the management - the CEOs and Directors of many of our largest companies - who are failing us due to their ineptitude. When the boss is the wrong person, nothing else works no matter how good the workers on the ground. The Empire State building took just over one year to build - starting in 1930 and opening for business in 1931 (that includes the digging of the foundations). Nearly a century later, how long has it taken Fletcher Building to build the piddly-little Convention Centre? Nearly 10 years and counting.

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