IN A FULL PAGE ARTICLE IN THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD, REPORTER ANNE GIBSON WAXED POETIC ABOUT HOW
IMPORTANT MICHAEL STIASSNY'S VISION IS FOR THE COUNTRY. THE ARTICLE WAS PROMPTED BY STIASSNY'S
WISH TO BE INTERVIEWED NOW THAT THE COMMERCE COMMISSION HAS SIGNALED IT MAY TAKE OVER
VECTOR ENERGY (OF WHICH STIASSNY IS CHAIRMAN) AS A RESULT OF OVERCHARGING TO CONSUMERS.
IT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS FROM THE SHORT RESPONSE BELOW WHAT THE ARTICLE WAS EXACTLY ABOUT AND
WHY IT WAS WRITTEN.
To: Anne Gibson
New Zealand Herald 25/8/06
Dear Ms. Gibson,
Your article on Stiassny (19 –8 –06) reminded me of Saddam Hussein’s staged photo-op just prior to the war where he held a young boy
on his lap in an effort to show his love and compassion. You fell right into it.
You say: This ‘king of business with a conscience’ is concerned for all of us that the pendulum of regulation has swung too far.
The reality is, before regulation – and under Stiassny’s stewardship:
1) Maintenance costs at Vector had increased 35% per year, electricity prices to consumers had increased, company debt soared,
and yet Stiassny (no doubt showing what a champion he is of the investors) raised dividends.
2) Stiassny’s creative – and flatly erroneous – accounting showed he made a whopping $500,000,000 unrealised gain on the
purchase of NGC when the independent valuers were evenly split on whether Vector actually had overpaid.
3) Stiassnys base compensation doubled to $180,000 per year (for this part time position).
You say: “If Vector (i.e. Stiassny) loses confidence in the regulatory framework and stops investing, the country could face
The REALITY is this is exactly what ENRON threatened, and later artificially created in California – the only U.S. State that did NOT
regulate electrical utilities!
You say: “Stiassny himself takes credit for championing (minority shareholder) rights” and you accept it as gospel without question,
even showing him as the martyr who is trying desperately to cut the red tape.
The REALITY is shareholders almost always suffer significantly and unnecessarily in companies that Stiassny targets. I suggest you
enquire of the Institute of Chartered Accountants as to how many shareholders have complained about losing their investments as a
result of alleged suspect accounting and overcharging by Stiassny, only to become frustrated by Stiassny hiding behind “confidentiality
agreements” he claimed to have with the noteholders as the reason he will not provide financial disclosure.
You say: “(Stiassny) played a key role in Air New Zealand’s dispute with its engineers when he was called in as a troubleshooter last
The REALITY is Stiassny injected himself into the situation for the purpose of gaining some much needed PR to clean up his tarnished
image – resulting from years he raided employee entitlements, as he did in the N Z Stevedoring debacle he ultimately lost in Court.
You say: “(Stiassny’s) economic anxieties are the country’s concerns.”
I am sad for you putting your name on this public disservice. But I am sadder still for the disservice to your children and grandchildren,
for it is they who will likely suffer for your failures here. By then, Stiassny will likely have taken his family and ill-gotten gains to exile in
Israel or Switzerland.
Vince Siemer, MBA
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