The Fletchers Reserve bank conspiracy

An e-mail alleging some sort of conspiracy involving Fletchers, and the Reserve Bank has been circulating for a few weeks. I’ve received it multiple times.
The e-mail alleges the Government through the Reserve Bank is a shareholder in Fletchers and hence awarding contracts to itself. The situation is:

This anonymous email’s author has discovered the Reserve Bank’s custodial service and drawn the conclusion that the Reserve Bank, and hence the government, owns the shares held in it. In reality this is a nominee company through which local and international institutions hold shares in a range of companies, one of which is Fletcher Building. It is an absolutely standard structure, common worldwide, and which has been in place for over 20 years.

This link to the Reserve Bank website sets the NZClear system out in very simple terms.

In brief, NZClear is a real-time settlement system which members access from their premises. Each member has a security account on the system which records the securities “lodged with New Zealand Central Securities Depository Limited” (NZCSD), a custodian, fully owned by the RBNZ. NZCSD becomes the legal owner of the securities on the relevant register and holds securities on behalf of the member, the beneficial owner. The inventory of securities held in the depository currently stands at around NZD92 billion.

So it’s very clear, the government is not “the beneficial owner” of Fletcher Building shares or any other shares held under the NZClear system.

The e-mail also asks some questions. The responses to them are:

Q. Who appointed RCP (Resource Coordination Partnership Ltd) as Project Managers for the management of ‘critical buildings’ following the February 22nd earthquake?

Christchurch City Council appointed RCP to help project manage the demolition process.

Q . Who appointed Fletcher Building to manage the demolition works and then, reconstruction works?

Fletchers have not been appointed to any such role.

Q . Who called for the tenders for the demolition of the Grand Chancellor?

Originally the owner, then Civil Defence was working through the tender process. Since its establishment, CERA has been coordinating the tender process.

Q . Who was/is to be the Principle to the demolition Contract (i.e. the Payer)

CERA is the principal. However, all costs associated with the Grand Chancellor demolition will be recovered from the owner.

Q . Who assessed the Tenders for the Demolition of the Grand Chancellor?

Initially Civil Defence appointed engineers in association with the owner’s engineers. It then went to CERA appointed engineers in association with the owner’s engineers. A recommendation was then made to CERA and the owner before a final decision was made.

Q . Who has been awarded the Grand Chancellor job (at whatever price and/ or conditions)?

Fletcher Construction Company. The contract is worth in excess of $10 million – this was stated openly by the owner of the Hotel Grand Chancellor when the contract was awarded.

Q . Who has been blind-sided?

The tender process was, and is, an open tender process. It was done with all due care and with impartiality. The preferred contractor was awarded the contract based on the best deconstruction solution for the Grand Chancellor. The ultimate decision was the owner’s.

This public service announcement was brought to you by the letter N and the number 8.

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