Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Andrew Williams, the Great Panjandrum

More sleaze and innuendo, no not from Dunkin Donut Garner from TV3 but from our self appointed king of the North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams.

I have been called much worse than a selfish nasty person in my life but my favorite description of Andy comes from John Roughan from the NZ Herald who called him "North Shore's panjandrum ".  I had fun looking it up too. 

This from the Sunday Herald:

Heather McCracken

Nobody likes being called names, least of all North Shore mayor Andrew Williams. After the outsider wrestled the city's weighty chain of office and $350 million budget from the incumbent in 2007, Williams now believes he has the qualities necessary to become mayor of the new Auckland super-city.

The problem, he said, is that he is being "victimised" by a "nasty and vicious super-city faction" that is out to get him and seize control of the big new council proposed for the region.

He named right-wing Auckland politicians and bloggers, including the author of the Whaleoil blog, who calls him "the Mad Mayor" and "the Clown of Campbells Bay".

But now the criticism is coming thick and fast: Television's Breakfast show labelled him "egg of the week" for spending $1300 of ratepayers' money on Stop Banks sauvignon blanc for the council chambers; NZ Herald columnist John Roughan tagged him "North Shore's panjandrum", and the Herald on Sunday's Dylan Cleaver dubbed him "a joyless sod" for his objection to an Auckland bid for the Commonwealth Games.

Williams is increasingly responding in kind.

Yesterday morning he emailed arch-critic Cameron Slater, the Whaleoil author, with one word: "Tosser!". Earlier this week he called blogger Darren Rickard a "selfish nasty person"; he called email correspondent Stan Blanch a "loser" and a "tosser" ; and a few months ago he left a council meeting in haste after he called councillor Chris Darby a "smart arse".

His own councillors are now divided about the image he presents of the North Shore. The concerns were exacerbated by his absence - cycling around Central Otago - when the region's leaders gathered for the publication of the Royal Commission's report on Friday.

Most were quick to back Williams yesterday, saying he was a tireless campaigner who was prepared to speak up on tough issues.

"I think there's a silent minority who quietly say 'Good on you, mate'," said Callum Blair. "There's a noisy minority who are trying to attack him."

But Ann Hartley, supported by two others, said: "He's burned his bridges on so many issues on the Shore and offended so many people. I don't think he'd get elected as mayor of North Shore again, let alone anywhere else."

Williams was unperturbed about the criticism, blaming it on a "faction" led by Slater, Auckland City councillor Aaron Bhatnagar and the Newmarket Business Association's Cameron Brewer.

"They're all over there in a super-city faction wanting to get control of greater Auckland," he said yesterday. "They attack anyone who opposes them, and they do it in a particularly nasty and vicious manner."

A vocal opponent of a one-city structure, he said the holiday had been planned months in advance and he couldn't return when the report was released early.

Favourite in a crowded field:

Auckland Mayor John Banks is the favourite for the race to be Auckland's first super mayor, but it's shaping up to be a crowded field. North Shore mayor Andrew Williams hasn't ruled out standing but added there was "a lot of water to go under the bridge".

Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee wants to see the city structure sorted out before making any decision. He said the candidate would need to be someone with a vision for Auckland, who can work collegially.

Broadcaster and columnist Paul Holmes said the increased powers of the new mayor to "get things done" were attractive. However, it was too early to say whether he would run. "I'll be talking about it with friends, and running it past she who must be obeyed."

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    Monday, March 30, 2009

    Shareinvestor.net.nz - The Home for New Zealand Stockmarket discussion

    I launched a stockmarket forum last year but haven't had the chance to spend much time on it for one reason or another and it hasn't had much traffic as a result.

    Diddly squat really.

    It is still there, it has been since May last year and it isn't going anywhere. I still intend to compete with the big boys.

    So here is what you get.

    The site is called Shareinvestor.net.nz and can be reached by using that address.

    The site is free to read and join, you can post text, pictures, attachments and video and email other members if you want to have that option.

    You also have the ability to social bookmark posts.

    The forums covered are companies listed on the NZX, ASX and global indices as well-listed with the company prefix.

    Forex, property and a beginners section is also included.

    There is also the obligatory off-topic section.

    Oh and you should see the smiley icons!

    Come and have a look, join up and have your say.

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    VIDEO: Daniel Hannan MEP - The devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government

    A saw this early last week but this is the first time I have had a chance to post it.

    It is essential watching/listening for everyone because governments around the world are spending taxpayer money we don't have like drunken politicians trying to solve a problem caused by the very same practices.

    Some governments are not, and John Key and the like are the ones on the right track.

    In this speech Daniel Hannon gives the globe a wake up call in his speech to the European Parliament last week and we need to head his advice.

    Enough ranting, watch it.

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    Sunday, March 29, 2009

    A Hickey in Bernard's Advice

    I usually rate Bernard Hickey very highly, he basically tells it like it is and is right more often than wrong.

    He knows interest rates, property and all investment categories generally very well.

    His latest column on the death of stocks as a long term investment bugs me a little though because I think he has got things horribly wrong.

    There has been much talk about the end of equities or the end of buy and hold but my experience in the stockmarket would prove otherwise.

    After more than 10 years of market experience(not long at all and still learning) and my stock portfolio which is 7 years at its oldest and 2 years at its youngest and given one of the worst stockmarket routs since the Great Depression my portfolio is still in the green.

    Granted things could get worse and they probably will but the thing that Bernard et al are forgetting is that investing in good companies and time will take care of your stock investment for the positive.

    Generally, the longer you have held the stocks in your portfolio the better for your wallet.

    In my series of Long VS Short columns I have proven after looking at six different stocks in my portfolio that the longer you have held the better you have done.

    Bernard either has a different view to me what long term is (10 years plus is my interpretation)or he has neglected to take into account all aspects of long term investing; tax credits, compounding dividends when combined with length of time.

    Any asset class (bar residential housing for living in) is better for your pocket in the long-term, especially if you have chosen well and at the right price at the get go.

    You simply cannot beat compounding investment over time and while getting out of that investment is usually inevitable the timing of that must be made before you make that investment.

    Stick to your initial investment intention(if it is a short term investment, stick to it as well) and only alter it if you know you have made a mistake or see circumstances drastically change.

    Bernard Hickey may be right now but I can almost guarantee that years from now he wont.

    Be patient!

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    Saturday, March 28, 2009

    Nuplex rights decision a dilemna for shareholders

    I have been chatting to a customer about his Nuplex Industries Ltd [NPX.NZ] shares for around a year now.

    A year ago he was very positive about the company and its prospects for the long term.

    He was also in the money because his shares had risen, up to over 8 bucks.

    Oh how times have changed.

    Since then then the stock has crashed 90% to finish at 89c today (it hit a low of 51 c on Mar 23) it has announced a big drop in profit and also a rights issue to raise more capital because of high debt levels and therefore a lack of cashflow for the day to day running of the company.

    The rights issue key points are:

    - Entitlement Ratio: 7 new shares for every 1 existing share
    - Issue Price: NZ$0.23 per new share
    - Total New Shares: 577,643,738 million new shares to be issued
    - Gross Proceeds: NZ$132.8 million to be raised (fully underwritten)

    My customer asked my advice on whether he should in effect chase good money after bad by participating in the issue.

    I wasn't about to give him advice because everyone has different financial circumstances but I did tell him what I would do given the same situation.

    It went sort of as follows.

    You would have to consider that given they are in their current situation after the beginning of an economic downturn, then when things get worse will they have the cap out again in another 12 months for more money?

    If the answer is no and the company will recover and you may get a recovery in profitability and share price.

    Then and only then if I was sure about the long term viability of Nuplex then I would participate in the rights issue.

    If not then the only other thing to consider is when to cut and run before the share price is diluted, presumably down to 23c, the rights issue price.

    I am not sure if I was helpful at all to my client but I think he is erring on the side of pluncking down some more money.

    I hope his hunch is right.

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    Friday, March 27, 2009

    Earth Day 2009: Time to turn it on!

    Just like last year, this year's "Earth Day" will prove to be the biggest waste of time since Al Gore's parents decided to have sex.

    Demented unwashed dipsticks all around the world will be turning off electrical appliances for an hour.

    Imagine streets and homes without lights, what a wonderful opportunity for the less law abiding citizens.

    No lights, no heat, no air-con, no commerce, no business...

    All for "climate change", a non-existent problem.

    As I did last year this is what I propose we do this coming Mirth Day March 28:

    My proposal is this. At 8.00pm sharp, when the dolphin loving, Volvo driving, mung bean eating, bearded female, non smoking, non drinking, Leo Dio loving, vegetarian, hairy arm pitted, sandal wearing , finger pointing, lesbian school teachers are sitting in the dark with all their lights out for an hour, playing with the insert appropriate expletive here next to them, I will turn on every light, appliance and electrical device that I can lay my meat eating, chain smoking, 6 litre V8 Holden driving hands on... for two hours.

    My first earth day last year was a success and I will update you afterwards to let you know how much power we used.

    We managed to use so much energy and waste so many of the earths resources we did enough to cancel out the efforts of a dozen brain-dead morons who switched off(their lights as well).

    This year we are hoping to double our efforts.

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    Herald On Sunday to publish Andrew William's Expose'

    An article will be coming out in the Herald on Sunday about North Shore Mayor Andrew William's recent and historical shenanigans with his constituents and other individuals and groups that have had the unfortunate opportunity to meet with him.

    It is being written by Heather McCracken. 

    She has asked me a few questions about that email and is currently trying to get hold of the great one on his cycle trip around the South Island (we on the Shore are grateful he has gone) to get his views about why he is so unpopular.

    It is to be published either this week or next.

    If you have any input you would like to add to the article I am sure Heather would like to hear from you, especially if you are a 'Shore boy(okay or girl) like me.

    As Heather pointed out to me, it seems strange, given Williams very vocal opposition to the "Super City" plan that he would be absent from his post when the news came out that this plan is going ahead.

    Kinda nutty if you ask me.

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    Hirsute Heffer Hogs the Headlines

    There has been much fuss made over Stephanie Mills from Greenpeace and her rather masculine mustache which was made the centre of media attention by Paul Henry, host of the Breakfast show on TV1.

    Lets face it it is hard to get a laugh these days without offending someone and if you are going to offend anybody to get a laugh who better than an officious little hippy commie, with hairy armpits, legs, bum, boobs, and face and a penchant for wrecking the planet.

    Tom Selleck would be proud to call  her his Moustache buddy.

    Well done Henry.

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    Thursday, March 26, 2009

    Share Investor's 2009 Stock Picks: Looking Back

    Back on December 17 2008 I picked a handful of stocks that I thought were good ones to pick up while they were cheap. Most of them I already own but some I don't.

    It has been the most read article on the Share Investor Blog and like every successful smash hit it deserves a sequel.

    I have added 3 additions to the picks at the end of 2008. They are at the end of this post.

    Over 3 months later lets see how they have done. The chart below compares my four original picks; Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Mainfreight Ltd, Pumpkin Patch and Ryman Healthcare against the NZX 50 gross index.

    The NZX 50 gross is down around 2% since December 17 2008.

    Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

    My first pick was Fisher & Paykel Healthcare [FPH.NZ] and I picked it for its very good long term outlook and its resilience in times of economic downturns.

    How has it done since then ?

    Well against the NZX 50 about 20% better and against itself share price wise around 4% better than December 17 2008, to finish at $3.16 today.

    It has been as high as 15% up from December 17 levels on March 11 2009 and the company is due a good result in May thanks to higher sales and a stronger US dollar.

    Not a bad pick by me and the share price will pick up more this year.

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    Ryman Healthcare

    Ryman Healthcare was my second pick and one again its long-term prospects was the main reason I included it in my 2009 picks and in my long-term portfolio.

    How has it done in the last 3 months?

    Down 4% more compared to the NZX 50 and down 3% as of publish date of this column compared with its share price on December 17 2008.

    Pretty good result so far.

    I also picked Metlifecare [MET.NZ] for my watchlist. A competitor of Ryman Healthcare it has done badly since December 2008.

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    Mainfreight Ltd

    Mainfreight Ltd [MFT.NZ] is one of the better run companies on the NZX but the share price hasn't done well since we last met it in December.

    It is down 8% compared to the NZX 50's 3% since December 17 2008, even though its recent profit was up slightly.

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    Pumpkin Patch Ltd

    Pumpkin Patch Ltd [PPL.NZ] was well and truly battered and bruised during 2008 with a 60% share price drop so I figured there was room for some upwards movement in share price.

    It reached a low of 78c earlier this year but it is actually up by around 4% since December 17 2008.

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    Other Quotable Notables (Part 2)

    Telecom NZ [TEL:NZ] is at exactly the same price it was on December 17 and my pick remains to buy on weakness close to 2 bucks.

    Contact Energy [CEN:NZ] Trustpower [TPW:NZ] and Vector[VCT:NZ] are still good buys and Contact Energy has lost 15% of its share price since December 18, mainly due to regulation uncertainty and clearly the weakened share price makes it even more attractive. Trustpower remains pretty even and Vector has risen around 5%.

    Auckland International Airport[AIA:NZ] has rise a few percentage points and still remains a strong buy on weakness.

    Westpac [WBC:NZ] and ANZ Bank [ANZ:NZ] have both risen by 15% in the last 3 months .

    Additional Stock Picks for March 26 2009

    I would include all my December 17 2008 picks on share price weakness and would include the following.

    Goodman Fielder [GFF.NZ] because it is near its all time lows while still an attractive long term proposition.

    Michael Hill International [MHI.NZ], like Goodman, its share price has been given a good beating and I think great value. Its in good financial shape but under short-term pressure from a sales slowdown.

    Sky City Entertainment [SKC.NZ], my biggest holding, has been beaten down since December 2008 but has still managed a good profit result for half year ending December 31 2008, buy on any weakness below the current share price of NZ$2.78.

    Disclosure: I own RYM, FPH, PPL, AIA, SKC, MHI, GFF and MFT shares

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    c Share Investor 2009