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Budget 2010 Home Page Budget Economic and Fiscal Update 2010

Guarantees and indemnities

Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited

The Crown has indemnified Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited as contained in Airways' contract with New Zealand Defence Force for the provision of air traffic control services. The indemnity relates to any claim brought against Airways by third parties arising from military flight operations undertaken by the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

AsureQuality Limited

The Crown has indemnified the directors of AsureQuality Limited in the event that they incur any personal liability for redundancies arising from any agreement by international trading partners that allows post-mortem meat inspection by parties other than the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, or its sub contractor.

At Work Insurance Limited

The Crown has indemnified the liquidators of At Work Insurance Limited (Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu) against various employment-related claims.

Bona Vacantia property

P&O NZ Limited sought a declaratory judgement that property disclaimed by a liquidator is bona vacantia. A settlement has been reached, which includes a Crown indemnity in favour of New Zealand Aluminium Smelters and Comalco in relation to aluminium dross disposed of in their landfill, for costs that may be incurred in removing the dross and disposing of it at another site if they are required to do so by an appropriate authority. The Minister of Finance signed the indemnity on 24 November 2003. In February 2004, a similar indemnity was signed in respect of aluminium dross currently stored at another site in Invercargill.

Building Industry Authority

The Building Industry Authority (BIA) is a joint defendant in a number of claims before the courts and the Weathertight Homes Resolution Service relating to the BIA's previous role as regulator of the building industry. The BIA has been disestablished and absorbed into the Department of Building and Housing and, to prevent conflicts of interest, the Treasury was given responsibility for managing weathertight claims against the BIA on behalf of the Crown from 1 July 2005.

Contact Energy Limited

The Crown and Contact Energy signed a number of documents to settle in full Contact Energy's outstanding land rights and geothermal asset rights at Wairakei. Those documents contained two reciprocal indemnities between the Crown and Contact Energy to address the risk of certain losses to the respective parties' assets arising from the negligence or fault of the other party.

Crown Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme

On 12 October 2008, the Minister of Finance initiated an opt-in Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme. The objective of this scheme is to ensure ongoing retail depositor confidence in New Zealand’s financial system given the international financial market turbulence.

As at 31 March 2010, 73 financial institutions had joined the scheme and deposits totalling $132.5 billion had been guaranteed. This is the maximum exposure and does not include any offset resulting from the recovery of the remaining assets of the financial institution in the event the guarantee is called upon. The Crown assesses the potential loss to be associated with the entities that hold significant deposits (ie, greater than $5 billion) as being remote.

For other entities within the scheme (ie, entities that hold deposits less than $5 billion) a provision has been made to provide for losses that are considered more likely than not to occur. The Crown continually updates both the likelihood of further default actions triggering the guarantee and the expected loss given default. Based on these assessments, the Crown has provided for a net expected loss given default of $881 million as at 31 March 2010 ($899 million at 31 October 2009) being the cost of future payments under the scheme after expected recoveries.

While the provision represents a best estimate of likely loss, a significant range of outcomes is possible under the scheme in terms of which entities may default and the eventual loss to the Crown following an event of default. This reflects the significant uncertainty as to the value that can be realised from an entity's assets following an event of default. Except as provided on the Treasury website, further information on the Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme cannot be provided owing to commercial sensitivity.

Earthquake Commission (EQC) 

The Crown is liable to meet any deficiency in the EQC's assets in meeting the Commission's financial liabilities (section 16 of the Earthquake Commission Act 1993). In the event of a major natural disaster the Crown may be called upon to meet any financial shortfall incurred by the Commission.

Electricity Corporation of New Zealand Limited (ECNZ) 

The Deed of Assumption and Release between ECNZ, Contact Energy Limited and the Crown provides that Contact Energy stands in the place of ECNZ for those assets transferred to Contact Energy from ECNZ. As a result of the split of ECNZ, Ministers have transferred the benefits of the Deed to ECNZ's successors - Meridian Energy Limited, Mighty River Power Limited, and Genesis Power Limited.

The liability is open-ended and is of significant commercial value. Directors are unlikely to forego the indemnity without substantial compensation.

As a result of the 1999 split of ECNZ into three new companies the Crown has signed a Deed of Indemnity that has indemnified ECNZ in relation to all ECNZ's pre-split liabilities and any liabilities that arise out of the split itself. This indemnity is provided to ECNZ to ensure that directors can be satisfied as to the ongoing solvency of ECNZ following the split and to enable most of ECNZ's surplus funds to be distributed to the Crown. In addition, the Crown has indemnified ECNZ against any liability that might arise under its debt and swap arrangements as a result of ECNZ entering into the Agreements for Sale and Purchase on 22 December 1998.

In addition, the Crown has guaranteed ECNZ's existing hedge contract obligations, which remain with ECNZ after the split. The principal purpose of the guarantee is to provide sufficient credit support to ECNZ under the hedge contracts so as to avoid providing hedge counterparties reasonable grounds upon which to terminate their hedge contracts as a result of the split. In light of the expected future medium-term spot price of electricity, it is expected that most payment flows under the hedge contracts will be from the hedge counterparties to ECNZ, which will then be passed to the new SOEs. All hedges have now expired, although some are in litigation regarding errors in how payments were made.

Ministry of Fisheries - indemnity provided for delivery of registry services

The Crown has indemnified Commercial Fisheries Services Limited against claims made by third parties arising from Commercial Fisheries Services undertaking registry services under contract to the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Fisheries. This indemnity provided under the Fisheries Act 1983 and 1996, expires on 30 September 2010.

Genesis Power Limited - supply of gas

The Crown has entered into a deed with Genesis Energy to share a specified and limited amount of risk around the sufficiency of Genesis Energy's long-term supply of gas to cover the Huntly e3p's (a 385 MW combined cycle gas turbine power station) minimum needs. The agreement sees the Crown compensate Genesis Energy in the event it has less gas than it needs.

Genesis Power Limited - contractor claims

A subcontractor to the Kupe Alliance has presented several claims relating to the construction of the Kupe project. These claims have been disputed by the Kupe operator. There can be no assurances that such claims will not have an adverse impact on Genesis Energy's business, financial condition or results of operations.

Genesis Power Limited - financial guarantees

The company issued financial guarantees to the alliance contractor and other agents of the Kupe joint venture for the full and faithful performance of its subsidiaries in their capacities as joint venture partners, to the extent of their several liabilities under the development agreement.

The company issued a financial guarantee to Energy Clearing House Limited for the full and faithful performance of its subsidiary Energy Online Limited, to the extent of its liabilities for its retail electricity purchases.

These guarantees may give rise to liabilities in the company if the subsidiaries do not meet their obligations under the terms of the respective arrangements.

Genesis Power Limited - letters of credit and performance bonds

The company, as a participant in the electricity market, issued letters of credit to the Energy Clearing House Limited under the markets' security requirements. These letters of credit are issued as part of normal trading conditions and are to ensure there is no significant credit risk exposure to any one market participant.

The company has also issued letters of credit and performance bonds to certain suppliers and service providers under normal trading conditions. The liabilities covered by these arrangements are already provided for in the statement of financial position, and therefore not expected to create any adverse effects on the financial results presented. These are not material to the financial statements.

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