This is cute. John Armstrong, the Herald’s chief political courtier stands in awe of John Key’s mathematical analysis:
Shearer was the first to cop it. He asked Key if it was correct that under the provisions of just-introduced legislation covering the part-sale of state-owned enterprises like Genesis Energy, “half a dozen foreign investors” could legally purchase all the listed shares.
“No,” Key replied firmly before adding that no-one would be able to hold more than 10 per cent, that six times 10 was 60, and the Government was retaining 51 per cent.
It was the equivalent of the maths teacher handing a pupil the dunce’s hat and telling him to go and stand in the corner.
But . . . 49% of shares will be publicly listed, meaning half-a-dozen foreign investors could each buy 8.1%, and own all of the listed shares. Shearer was correct. Like, obviously, glaringly so. You’d think that with all the time Armstrong spends licking politicians’ fingers he’d have learned to count to ten.