Very interesting letter in the Mercury today. Warwick Raverty highlights John Gay's lack of understanding of the pulp and paper industry. I'd been wondering about John Gay, especially after reading the interview which ended on the subject of endangered animals (excerpted below). Now it becomes clearer. John Gay is just as incompetent as Paul Lennon! A friend of mine with much greater economic and business knowledge told me bluntly that the pulpmill would "bankrupt Gunns" when I enquired of him about the economics of the mill. I thought he was probably being overly dramatic, but maybe not. Surely now the shareholders of Gunns will be asking questions. John Gay and Gunns have exposed themselves to $60M in "hedging fees", without approval for the mill, without any guarantees. They don't properly understand the pulp and paper industry on a world scale. They have apparently deliberately failed to provide the data the RPDC required, delaying their own project. While we the taxpayers of Tasmania try to remove Paul Lennon, maybe the Gunns Board need to remove Mr Gay. The crowning stupidity for Mr Gay appears to be his advice to the ASX on 27 Feb that he is confident of gaining government approval for his mill, shortly after the meeting he had with Lennon et al. Only in Tasmania would a business leader signal his inside knowledge in such an open and potentially damaging way - over-confidence is apparent.
Interview from Nine's Sunday
GRAHAM DAVIS: The chasm of perception here is obvious when you go to see logging's Mr Big. What's good for the forestry business in Tasmania is always good for the rest.How do you feel about protected species dying for your business?
JOHN GAY: Well, there's too many of them and we need to keep them at a reasonable level.
GRAHAM DAVIS: You're saying there's too many wombats and ring-tailed possums?
JOHN GAY: Yes, most certainly.
GRAHAM DAVIS: Why are they protected then? Why are they classed as endangered?
JOHN GAY: Well, because the numbers are getting too great and the ring-tailed possum is a very small proportion of this. It's usually the brush possums that are poisoned, not ring-tails.
GRAHAM DAVIS: Well, how can you say that, though, when you concede that this thing kills everything?
JOHN GAY: Well, that everything that goes there to eat, but I believe it is an acceptable practice.
GRAHAM DAVIS: It is acceptable practice to knock off all the wildlife in the surrounding areas, so that you can put your tree seedlings in?
JOHN GAY: Yes.