Page 2: Power struggle

By Hamish Fletcher, Grant Bradley

Skyline Rotorua is targeting mountain biking, which it calls the "new golf". Photo / Ben Fraser
Skyline Rotorua is targeting mountain biking, which it calls the "new golf". Photo / Ben Fraser

A Mighty River Power shareholder is trying to drum up opposition to the company changing its name to Mercury.

The partially-privatised firm signalled the rebrand earlier this month and said it would begin later this year. Known as MRP since it was split out from Electricity Corp in 1999, the "mighty river" reference was to the eight Waikato River hydro power stations the company inherited in the split, but it kept the Mercury retail brand it inherited in Auckland from the old Auckland Electric Power Board, where it remains the dominant supplier.

Lower Hutt businessman Michael Jacomb thinks the new name is "ludicrous" and wants the matter to be decided at the next annual meeting.

He is now attempting to get contact details of other investors from the share register so he can get in touch with them, find out what they think, and try to put pressure of MRP's directors to get it put on the agenda at the next AGM.

However, a Mighty River spokeswoman said there had been overwhelming support for the move.

"Of the calls we've had from our customer base of more than 370,000 homes and businesses, not a single one has expressed concern," she said.

Skyline on show

The final night bash at the Trenz travel trade extravaganza was held at Skyline Rotorua where hundreds of exhibitors, buyers and industry bigwigs relaxed at the end of the frenetic three-day event. It gave Skyline chief executive Bruce Thomasen the chance to showcase changes which have ditched "pies and fries" in favour of quality food from a market kitchen and a revamped restaurant and bar, which had an overnight impact on earnings and the bottom line. It's also got rid of the fridge magnets and postcards in the gift store, replacing them with a gallery of work by New Zealand artists and now has a wine tasting venue as the 31-year-old attraction joins others in Rotorua with a more sophisticated offering as more "free and independent travellers" visit.

Skyline was also increasingly targeting mountain biking which Thomasen said was "the new golf".

Te Puia visit

The night before media and tourism industry leaders got an insight into another Rotorua institution that is being transformed, Te Puia.

The impressive arts, crafts and education icon with its associated thermal attraction has amassed $18 million in the bank as tourism has boomed and with the help of a $2.5 million grant from the Government is about to embark on further multi-million dollar development.

Chief executive Tim Cossar, an industry veteran, said he's never seen the tourism market so healthy and the extra airline capacity coming into the country was feeding directly into Te Puia's bottom line.

Cue: Bachelor

Inevitably there was The Bachelor news from Trenz, with Prime Minister John Key proving he's tuned in.

As Tourism Minister he announced some modest support for infrastructure, and also picked up on remarks made by Air New Zealand boss Christopher Luxon who said the airline was promoting this country as the most romantic place in the world for couples.

"We are selling to honeymooning couples in their 30s with the slogan 'every day is Valentine's Day in New Zealand'," Luxon said.

Key quipped that could be a "bit of a stretch" in the case of one famously brief liaison last week.

"I challenge you to say that to Fleur and Jordan."

Holly Ryan's column will be back next week.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 22 Oct 2016 23:05:22 Processing Time: 693ms