Aussies subsidise Kiwi wine. Believe it or not but Australian taxpayers are subsidising Kiwi winemakers to flood us with those rivers of sav blanc, to the tune of up to $25 million a year via what’s called the wine equalisation tax rebate. According to a New Zealand media report this morning, “more than 200 New Zealand wine companies have been claiming rebates of up to A$500,000 each (NZ$815,620), equating to about A$23 million in 2013 and up to A$25m a year in previous years”. But the scheme is up for grabs in the Abbott government’s tax review, and there’s suggestions Australian wine companies want the Kiwis punted. Kiwi winemakers managed to get their hands on the loot via the Closer Economic Relations agreement between Australia and NZ, which extended the deal across the Tasman. Now smaller Kiwi winemakers are moaning that they will be hurt if they lose their access to the Australian rebate because they would become less competitive (by losing their Australian subsidy). -- Glenn Dyer

The Sage sells. Warren Buffett and his fund managers have been quick to heed the message from the collapse in oil prices. According to a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing this morning, his company, Berkshire Hathaway, sold its entire stake in Exxon Mobil, the world’s biggest oil company in the three months to December, and quit its stake in the smaller US oil group ConocoPhillips as well. Berkshire had held 41.1 million Exxon shares -- worth nearly US$3.9 billion -- and 471,994 shares in Conoco (worth US$35 million) around at the end of September. But he hasn’t gone completely bearish on energy -- Berkshire still owns shares in Suncor Energy and National Oilwell Varco at the end of December. Berkshire topped its stake in struggling IBM by more than 6 million shares in the quarter and surprised by picking up shares in 21st Century Fox -- Buffett is a believer in the magic of Rupert Murdoch, a fellow octogenarian. Berkshire bought a total of 4.2 million A-class shares (the non-voters) worth more than US$143 million last night. But Buffett is more a believer in John Malone’s Liberty Media (he’s only in his 70s) with a series of holdings totalling more than 12 million securities with a value of more than US$400 million. -- Glenn Dyer