Maori lose Chairman on 2Degrees Board (after Maori lose their 20pc share)

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(ANDREA FOX – BusinessDay) The chairman of new mobile phone network 2degrees, Bill Osborne, will step down from the job this month.

BillOsbourneCMr Osborne, who represents minority shareholder the Hautaki Trust, said after more than 10 years’ involvement in getting New Zealand’s third mobile phone player to its market launch in August, it was time to let US-based majority shareholder Trilogy drive 2degrees.

Last year Trilogy increased its shareholding from 26 per cent to 52 per cent, while Hautaki, a pan-Maori investor, was forced last month to dilute its stake from 20 per cent to about 13 per cent after being able to raise only $4 million of $20m in required new equity to hold its position.

Mr Osborne, chief executive of Quotable Value, will remain a director. The new chairman will be Trilogy’s Stewart Sherriff, at present deputy chairman.

Mr Osborne said Trilogy had asked him to head the board for the past year while it “got to understand the nuances of New Zealand”. It had been an “exciting, frustrating and very challenging” journey.

The biggest challenge had been trying to influence the regulatory environment to make a level telecommunications playing field to attract new investors to New Zealand.

Mr Osborne said Hautaki failed to raise enough funds to retain its 20 per cent stake because Maori, whose typical investments are in fishing, farming and forestry, do not understand the asset class.

But having made the investment opportunity available to Maori, Hautaki would continue to explore other spectrum options.

I’d like to see Maori involved across a wider spectrum than just mobile telephony. It is a truly moving feast. The more successful it [2degrees] becomes, the more interested Maori will become.”

13 COMMENTS

  1. Kia ora Bronson and choice korero everyone. Other telcos don't want to invest in NZ because Telecom have the Govt wrapped around their fingers and constantly dealt in anti-competitive practices. I heard there are over 4.6 million cellphones in Aotearoa (hands up all those who hold 2 cellies), which means we have more cellphones than people in this country but because the deals and plans are so shocking, we have to. 10 years seems a long time to get any return but the question I have is what have we lost? There are still so few Maori employed in 2D (with Bill stepping down that probably lowers the rate by 20%), no intention of directly marketing to Maori and no follow thru on their announcements to offer scholarships to Maori. If they're going to be stink fullas, maybe we should be boycotting them, just to let them know that as shareholders, Maori still retain rights…

    • Telecom should never have been privatised – how many years of corporate screwing over have we endured cos of that? Trust me, with the difficulties of setting up a Telco Company NZ ain't worth the effort which is unfortunate because it means unless the government grows a set we'll be at the mercy of 2D and hoping they help us instead of screwing us over like the rest. Did you know Vodafone in Fiji is cheaper than NZ? Did 2D say they'd offer scholarships to Maori? If so, remember they've been trading for less than a financial year, we'll be writing a while to see those. As for marketing directly to Maori, thats an interesting notion. A very hard market to approach, but if you can pull it off, it would be profitable…. eventually. Maybe they could get Temuera to do some ads? He does need the work.

  2. Your right maybe Ngai Tahu and Tainui should have invested in this as its growing every day. Not sure what's happening with Tainui but Ngai Tahu look like they are doing well but realisitly 'not too flash' its had to make money with Solomon is driving around in his new Ford Territory truck with fuel card and the average whanau member is trying to make due.

    • E Hoa, Tribal Money Management is a completely different take lol. Tainui are doing good, ever since the Paki and Rob died people with good business sense and slightly less extravagance have taken over. They have grants for Kaumatua for health, a doctors practice and some other stuff. Maybe Potaua should write an article about Tribal Management lol.

  3. Good point Moheka, but unfortunately 2D is a very long term investment, the returns, if any, will take a very long time to get. 2D invested about 200 million to get themselves off the ground. The reason why I know this is because I work for a 2D reseller (Warehouse Stationery), and thats what they told my boss (I was meant to be at that meeting but couldn't attend) . It'll probably be about 10 years before they'll even make their money back, even longer before the investors start making a profit. To be honest, NZ has such s small population on such a large landmass, you can see why other Telco providers won't bother with NZ at all. So much infrastructure investment, for so little (relative) return. To compare, Singapore has a landmass the size of Lake Taupo, yet they have the same population as us. It would be interesting to see why the Iwi groups didn't invest, but I betcha it was because they need heaps of money, and the investment term was too long. But if 2D went public, I'd buy shares.

  4. gotta say, Tainui and Ngai Tahu had a very good, solid investment in front of their noses, and missed the waka big time, what a shame. If I had the iwi purse strings, it would have been a no brainer to me, telecommunications? Hello Telecom anyone, it is not often that you get offered this type of opportunity in a very lucrative, and high return market.

  5. Current Iwi leaders need to realise the potential in IT technology other than the normal fisheries, forestry and farming. We (Maori) are still in the 'think now' buzz and not look into the future. Ride the wave into the future or get off and let others with the foresight take-over. Sad News but go hard 2D.

    • Thanks for explaining the meaning behind my comment, thats why this angers me. Another thing to is that 2D is a very long term investment, if you invest in it, you won't be getting your money back for a while, but typical, bloody Maoris with no vision. 2D should go public.

  6. Kia ora Myra. There were a lot of complicating factors behind not being able to group mum and dad investors and getting involved. The minimum stake available was set at half a million dollars (to do with the Securities Commission rules and 2d not wanting to go public) but ae, tautoko your korero. We wanted to invest as well but got the narps.

    It seems that stink that when the Maori TV looked like they were going to lose the bid for the Rugby World Cup a number of iwi rushed forward to offer financial support but in this instance, very little. While Bill is diplomatic in saying this was not a typical asset class Maori get involved in, my view is that many of the old boys who hold iwi money will only go in areas they can dominate and IT/Tech leaves them a little exposed. Straneg most Maori buy the phonesm the credit, the sky TV yet when it comes time to be an owner, most are shy.

    Bring on the next generation I say…

    • Ae tika tau e Potaua, this travesty can be compared to the Racing Industry, our people like to gamble but dont want to pool their money & buy a racing horse. Also much like the last elections regarding MMP. Had our people understood MMP we would have won all 7 seats for the M?ori Party.
      I am gutted Hautaki's stakeholding is now 13%.

  7. I’m truly gutted about this. I am also pissed that only Maori ‘entities’ were asked to invest. What about Mum and Dad workers. Couldn’t they have put a trust together so that every Maori could invest a small amount to make the big amount? How about thinking outside the box a little bit more in future.

  8. Such a travesty, Maori have the opportunity to walk in the 21st century controlling future digital utilities. Such a shame that there wasn't enough vision somewhere in the motu to take this kind of step… Kia kaha Bill, you've done us well!

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