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The latest from Editor and chief executive Pattrick Smellie

Pattrick was judged New Zealand's best overall columnist and business columnist of the year at the Voyager 2021 Media Awards. He has more than 35 years’ experience reporting and working in New Zealand politics and the commercial sector. A former Press Gallery chairman, he is an award-winning journalist and has worked for titles including The Dominion, The Press, Sunday Star-Times and National Business Review. He was the first NZ correspondent for The Australian and co-founded BusinessDesk in 2008.

KiwiRail pushing for NZTA to fund rail network
Pattrick Smellie | Thu, 29 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 29 (BusinessDesk) - State-owned KiwiRail is pressing the New Zealand Transport Authority to take over funding the national railway network and believes it has Transport Minister Simon Bridges onside in a way not true of his predecessors, Gerry Brownlee...

Kupe oil and gas field commercial reserves increase by 35%, NZOG says
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 27 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 28 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand Oil & Gas, Genesis Energy and Australian operator Origin Energy all stand to gain from what NZOG declared today was a 34.7 percent increase in "developed reserves" from the offshore Taranaki oil and gas field, Kupe. T...

Hager exploring options as Westpac privacy breach becomes public
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 27 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 27 (BusinessDesk) - Nicky Hager , the author of the "Dirty Politics" book, says he "fully intends to explore all options open to him" now that Westpac Banking Corp's release of his banking records to the police without a court order has become public....

WORLD WEEK AHEAD: Room to rally
Pattrick Smellie | Sun, 25 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 26 (BusinessDesk) - By Margreet Dietz Oct. 26 (BusinessDesk) - The US Federal Reserve two-day policy meeting starting this Tuesday forms the key focus in the coming days after central banks in the euro-zone and China helped bolster financial markets...

GST laggards, wealthy migrants in tax department's sights
Pattrick Smellie | Thu, 22 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 23 (BusinessDesk) - The tax department is using big data analysis to "reliably predict customers who are highly unlikely to file GST returns on time" and try to help, while its investigators will be singling out "high-income individuals, in particular...

Contact Energy nabs Xero MD, Victoria Crone, in board refreshment
Pattrick Smellie | Wed, 21 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 21 (BusinessDesk) - Contact Energy has appointed Victoria Crone, managing director of accounting software firm Xero, as a director as the power company continues to refresh its board following the selldown by former majority shareholder Origin Energy i...

Sky TV warns of 2016 profit fall on new service investment, shares drop 12%
Pattrick Smellie | Wed, 21 Oct 2015

By Fiona Rotherham Oct. 21 (BusinessDesk) - Sky TV has warned shareholders today of a forecast drop in net profit of between $14 million and $16 million for the 2016 year due to higher costs rolling out new services and increased programming costs, including for the Rugby Worl...

Soil compaction affecting 75% of dairying lands in NZ, environmental report finds
Pattrick Smellie | Wed, 21 Oct 2015

Oct. 21 (BusinessDesk) - The government's new national environmental reporting regime has kicked off with a benchmark report covering known data for five key areas, with highlighted findings including declining freshwater quality through intensively used land and three-quarters o...

Let central government intervene on housing land, Productivity Commission says
Pattrick Smellie | Wed, 21 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 21 (BusinessDesk) - The government should be allowed to force local authorities to release land for urban development in the face of rampant house-price inflation and current land allocation policies cause "a number of harmful social effects", the Prod...

Leaving agriculture out of global climate deal justified, NZ climate scientist says
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 20 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 20 (BusinessDesk) - Global efforts to combat climate change should focus first on eradicating carbon dioxide emissions, while less action on agricultural greenhouse gases is justified in the short term, a New Zealand climate change scientist says. A...

Further land sale restrictions possible under TPP, Labour 'very interested'
Pattrick Smellie | Fri, 09 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 9 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand will still be able to make its foreign investment rules "more restrictive" under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade guidance note, opening up a way for the Labour Party to...

Labour says jury's out on supporting TPP
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 06 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 6 (BusinessDesk) - Senior Labour Party politicians are waiting for the detail of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade and investment pact before declaring whether it breaches any of the five "bottom lines" the party says the TPP must meet before decidin...

Fonterra 'very disappointed' with limited TPP dairy deal
Pattrick Smellie | Mon, 05 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 6 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand government faces a tough job defending the outcome of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment agreement, in which it gained limited new access into the highly protected dairy markets of the US, Canada, Japa...

TPP deal gives limited win for NZ dairy, US gives way on drug patents
Pattrick Smellie | Mon, 05 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 6 (BusinessDesk) - Twelve Pacific Rim nations have reached a deal on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership in the American city of Atlanta, ending more than five years of negotiations to create the largest trade and investment pact since the Urug...

Atlanta TPP talks head into the night
Pattrick Smellie | Mon, 05 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 5 (BusinessDesk) - Intensive negotiations are going on into the late evening in Atlanta, Georgia, as trade ministers from the 12 nations seek to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment pact, seven years after talks first began. A...

Meat workers square off with Talley's Affco in Employment Court
Pattrick Smellie | Mon, 05 Oct 2015

By Fiona Rotherham Oct. 5 (BusinessDesk) - Wairoa meat workers who’ve refused to sign individual contracts with Talleys Group-controlled meat processor Affco New Zealand packed the public gallery of the Employment Court today in a hearing on a long-running stoush between the c...

New deal with union underpins NZ Steel's A$50M savings drive
Pattrick Smellie | Sun, 04 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 5 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand Steel's blue collar workforce has agreed to forego annual bonus payments during unprofitable years to allow the Auckland-based unit of ASX-listed Bluescope Steel a fighting chance as it seeks A$50 million in annual saving...

Blue skies funding worthwhile, selection process has needless costs, Motu says
Pattrick Smellie | Thu, 01 Oct 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Oct. 2 (BusinessDesk) - Government spending on 'blue skies' research could be increased without lessening the value of the increased output, but current funding selection processes are almost certainly adding cost for no good outcome, economic consultancy M...

Shell postpones summer drilling in Great South Basin
Pattrick Smellie | Wed, 30 Sep 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Sept. 30 (BusinessDesk) - Global oil company Shell's New Zealand arm has postponed plans to drill an exploration well over the summer in the lightly explored Great South Basin, south of the South Island, where oil companies have looked for deep sea oil and...

Groser confirmed for Atlanta TPP talks as dairy deal heats up
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 29 Sep 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Sept. 30 (BusinessDesk) - Trade Minister Tim Groser will attend a meeting of trade ministers in Atlanta, Georgia, where negotiations are attempting to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment pact. Groser had been playing hard to get f...

Nova Energy's stake in King Country Energy reportedly in play
Pattrick Smellie | Mon, 28 Sep 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Sept. 29 (BusinessDesk) - Todd Corp's energy retailer, Nova Energy, is reported to be seeking a buyer for its 54.1 percent stake in King Country Energy, the central North Island electricity generator and retailer. The Australian Financial Review's 'Stree...

Brownlee urges China to act like a 'big' country in South China Sea
Pattrick Smellie | Mon, 28 Sep 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Sept. 28 (BusinessDesk) - Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee has used an address to China's National Defense University in Beijing to urge the North Asian giant to behave like a "big country" in the South China Sea, where its creation of islands to compete for...

Crown Law defends Groser's inaction on TPP OIA request
Pattrick Smellie | Mon, 28 Sep 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Sept. 28 (BusinessDesk) - The Crown Law Office faced questions in the Wellington High Court from a judge keen to understand why Trade Minister Tim Groser dismissed an Official Information Act request for the confidential texts of Trans-Pacific Partnership t...


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