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Asset sales grind on

Written By: - Date published: 5:50 pm, October 15th, 2012 - 37 comments
Categories: Maori Issues, national, Privatisation, water - Tags: ,

Amidst all the current scandal and chaos, the Nats’ privatisation agenda grinds on, as reported by various sources this afternoon. More reaction later I’m sure, but for the moment here’s the bare bones from the 3 News coverage:

Government goes ahead with share sale

The Government is forging ahead with its asset sales agenda, choosing not to adopt the ‘shares plus’ option suggested by the Waitangi Tribunal.

Prime Minister John Key announced this afternoon there will be no further negotiations with Maori on the issue of water ownership after the Government’s hui with affected iwi. He says the Government will now focus on removing Might River Power from the State Owned Enterprises Act and preparing it for partial sale. …

The decision not to settle the dispute over water ownership means the Government is likely to be on the receiving end of legal action from the Maori Council and other interested parties.

Mr Key says if the Council wants to take the Government to court, they can. “That’s entirely a matter for them. From the Government’s perspective, it would not be unexpected,” he says.

Might as well slip that announcement out while everyone is distracted by the appalling incompetence of Paula Bennett’s department eh?

37 comments on “Asset sales grind on”

  1. Merrill Lynch will be so pleased,
    They can start asset stripping NZ as soon as Johnny Sparkles is ready for them.

    Can’t wait for the Gnats’ NAZI propoganda engine to start up (i.e Main Stream Media).

    • Jim Nald 1.1

      Was speaking with some friends today about our past leaders who were Nation Builders.

      We agreed unanimously that, as befits the anxiously greedy and desperate desire of the current snake in power in wanting to strip the nation of our assets, we would award him the title ‘Nation Stripper’.

      • Jim Nald 1.1.1

        I should add that we thought a new Natz motto should be:

        “smile, wave and strip”.

        • PlanetOrphan

          I was talking to a friend who thought much the same.
          He’s wanted to be on TV since he was ten,
          Thought being PM would get him there.

          Been rehearsin his lines ever since M8

          “Can’t wait for Johnny Sparkles does dallas M8!” |-{

          • Jim Nald

            Maybe the PM would like to say he can’t recall whether there might be a GCSB tape of his recent overseas trip?

            A tape of his meeting with Big Boys which can be referred to as:
            Johnny does Hollywood – Bl _ _ for US, Part XXX ?

        • Dr Terry

          Hold it, Jim, I would HATE to see Key strip in front of my eyes!!

      • Reagan Cline 1.1.2

        I would not want to be part of some Psycho’s idea of a nation.
        Nations are bullshit.
        All human beings are free to wander.

  2. karol 2

    Dotcom, Asset Sales, insecure MSD files….. so many stories jostling for headlines… gonna be a bumpy journey for Key inc and NAct of the next week or so.
    And I see the Maori Council are ready to rumble, coming out assertively, and positioned to stay the course in this (legal, political, cultural and economic) tussle:

    “This is clearly a disappointing, if unsurprising, announcement from the Government,” said Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie, co-chair of NZMC.
    “The Government appears determined to push this matter into the Courts. That’s not the right way for this case to be resolved. That is why the NZMC has been doing all we can to keep this case out of the Courts.”
    “The right way to resolve this issue is around the negotiating table. The Prime Minister has previously said exactly that himself,” said Sir Edward.


    “The Government will not talk to the New Zealand Maori Council. It will not talk to the pan-Maori group set up by the Maori King. It only offered to meet with a few groups, which Government itself selected and then refused to discuss the main issues with them.”


  3. Dr Terry 3

    Hope you are right about the bumpy journey for Key and NAct, Karol. I am a bit of a pessimist and acknowledge the fact, but somehow it seems to me that they are sailing along smugly, without a care in the world. I mean, WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO DO to get offside with their blinded and deafened supporters? (Also, how many politicians OR Pakeha REALLY CARE about Maori complaints?)

    • karol 3.1

      Dr Terry, I didn’t say they wouldn’t come out smiling again – just a little bumpy patch.  Bennett certainly looked a little chastened on TV 3news tonight.

  4. karol 4

    English explains the government plan “flush out” court action in the next week, win, then on with asset sales. 

    Speaking at the Prime Minister’s post-Cabinet press conference, Finance Minister Bill English made it clear the timing of the Crown statement today was intended to flush out likely Maori Council and any other legal action “in the next week.”

    Geez, they just won’t listen to any opposition.  It IS their main agenda!  Selling NZ.

    • Wayne 4.1

      Well, asset sales was the biggest issue in the 2011 election, and that is why the Govt can say they have a mandate (which is also why they don’t listen to the “opposition”). If you have a mandate you are expected to carry it out. That is why elections count. The “opposition” has to win an election if they want a different outcome.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        They don’t have a mandate. This has been explained to you several times. Now STFU with the lies.

        • Wayne

          Your view, not mine. Just because you have a fixed view does not mean you are right. Of course I know your view, but it is not mine. By the way what else did the Opposition (at least Labour) actually campaign on.

          • Draco T Bastard

            My view happens to backed by the facts. A mandate requires 50% or more of the voters to agree. National+UF+ACT got about 35% and thus not a mandate.

            Your view is pure Planet Key.

      • Dv 4.1.2

        They did NOT win 65% of the voters for asset sales.

        • Wayne

          Not necessary to carry out an election mandate. No Govt in the last 70 years has got 65%. It is “majority rule”.

          • lprent

            No Govt in the last 70 years has got 65%

            I’d be surprised if any got 40% of the electorate in the last 70 years. Certainly none have in the decades I have been voting. There really is no such thing as a “mandate” in politics.

            • Wayne

              Well, on what basis do Government govern? Most governments implement the manifesto they campaigned on. Of course the parties who lose say the elected government does not have a mandate. However, the incoming government must have a mandate; governments are not simply caretakers put in to do nothing. If that was the case there would be no point in having elections. And I am sure you don’t believe that.

              • lprent

                They govern by getting enough MP’s in parliament to agree to pass legislation, and as importantly to not overthrow the legislation when the political mix changes a term later. That is a mandate that leads to a political shift.

                Convincing 30-40% of the voting population to vote for you isn’t a mandate when many of your own supporters voted for you despite the policy, and where most other others and non-voters strongly opposed that policy. Convincing a few journos doesn’t make a mandate.

                That means that political will to overturn the decision is there and will happen a term later. In fact I can’t recall such a strong movement for doing exactly that in my time around politics, but also out in businesses. I’m certainly more heavily interested in reversing any such sales than I can ever remember being in the past.

                In this case I’d also say that the government parties didn’t even attempt to make a mandate for the sales of the main asset – electricity. They simply lied about the reasons and consequences of the proposed sales.

                The electricity “marketplace” is a ridiculous farce that is just a thin veil over what are effectively either natural monopolies or some kind of silly cartel behaviour. There have been no observable efficiency gains from the partial privatization of electricity in the 90’s apart from an ability to cream ever increasing low risk profits out of businesses and other consumers who are unable to have any effective choice. Furthermore, they have shown no ability over the last 15 years to actually add significiant capacity to the grid in either generation capacity or grid capabilities. The effective ability of the country to generate power and deliver it to where it is needed is effectively decreasing as the population rises.

                In other words Max Bradford was selling a complete crock of crap in the 90’s because virtually nothing he said actually happened, and the actual results were a lot closer to those predicted by his opponents. Exactly why National returned to this dumbarse partn isn’t exactly non-obvious either.

                The main reason the current government appears to be interested in offloading the power systems in my view is because they don’t want to pay for the lack of investment that has been going into the power systems over the last 20 years as both the government and previous investors creamed the profits. Just doing a relatively straight forward upgrade to the grid is causing major power price increases now because the money that should have been sequestered for the task was squandered in profit taking. The problem is that the dumb suckers buying won’t be able to pay for the upgrades so power prices will continue to rise rapidly.

                At best the sell off of power utilities will require some quite some pretty strong regulation to cause enough retained profits to do the required upgrades so they don’t cripple the rest of the economy. At worst the subsequent governments will be required to prop up and even nationalize the failing infrastructure. The only people who will make much money out of the sale will be the middlemen during the processes – where curiously enough there appears to be a lot of enthiusiam for it and a lotof oval support for National… I wonder why?

                So no, national didn’t get a “mandate”. Not everyone is as shortsighted and as stupid as they are. What they managed to do was to get a lot of people interested in preventing such a sale and in a fallback position of the mechanisms of regulation and nationalization of assets.

                • Draco T Bastard


                  Just doing a relatively straight forward upgrade to the grid is causing major power price increases now because the money that should have been sequestered for the task was squandered in profit taking.

                  And all because they were scared of raising taxes.

              • Colonial Viper

                Did National really campaign on a platform of gifting our strategic energy assets to foreign owners?

                If you really believe that, let’s test it via referendum. What are you afraid of?

      • mike 4.1.3

        Despite what Key Ltd would have you believe, the election was not a referendum on asset sales. It was about who NZers wanted to run the country. Polls on the asset sales issue show, pretty fricken clearly, that NAct won despite their asset sales stance, not because of it.

        Their election campaign was pretty misleading – but I guess changing their name to The Sell Our Assets And Let Everything Else Go To Pieces Party would have been counterproductive for them.

        • Wayne

          The campaign was not misleading at all. National could not have been clearer that they intended to sell 49%. There can hardly have been a single voter in the whole country who did not know that, and people voted for them knowing that. No one can say they did not know.

          And I guess the TV3 poll shows that people still support National notwithstanding all the publicity on this issue (and everything else) over the last few months. Nationals support is pretty much the same as election night.

          • Colonial Viper

            Nationals support is pretty much the same as election night.

            So National would get in again if a snap election were called?

          • felix

            Is that the poll that shows Nat dropping, ACT and UF vanished, and Labour up?

            Just like all the other polls do?

            Thought so.

            Oh and Wayne, what was National’s polling when they got “pretty much the same” as this in the election?

    • ianmac 4.2

      Native Affairs Julian Wilcox tonight had a conversation with Bill and a panel discussion followed. The discussion on water “ownership” has been sidestepped and consultation is a farce. It was never about “shares plus”. Regardless of where each of us stands, I think the meaning of “water ownership” must be had by us all.
      Will be repeated Wednesday 10:30pm

  5. Regardless of “Winning” this in court how fast do they really think those shares will sell?

    It’s a GFC you keep telling us, so Who’s gonna buy them John/Bill?

    If it’s Merrill Lynch people would want too see you hang John/Bill.
    What LAW you say John/Bill?

    We’ll come up with something I’m sure M8!
    20 years plus for mis representing NZs’ financial state as PM maybe.

    A court case will make those share less enticing yet again John/Bill.

  6. tc 6

    As predicted on the back of the Kim Dotcom, MSD, lowering youth wages, charter schools, league tables, dictating the chch school reshape, dodgy John Banks etc etc the asset sales are slinking back toward the hollowmens ownership.

    Forget the water rights for a minute, what about the value of power generators with no Tiwai point, reduced Kawerau and the other decline in large industrial consumers, doesn’t matter when you can plunder the ordinary kiwi.

    Watch them play the maori card for all it’s worth, they withdrew for sham consultations and created all this diversion to slam it through as they were always going to do.

    NZ you are being conned and sold out all in one move, Bennetts incompetance isn’t news it’s SOP.

  7. Lou 7

    I was recounting the ‘NZ Company’ story and relationship to Wellington street names to my young person the other day and couldn’t help thinking the latest “asset” sales were a bit like groundhog day, people selling stuff that wasn’t really theirs to sell, except at least in 2012 there is someone to fight it unlike in the 1800’s. I had to point out to my young person tho that this had been happening again and again thru history to the pakeha’s shame. Locally – the DHB wants to sell land in Napier that was ‘gifted’ to them for the purposes gifted and now if sold will be for the purposes of buffering the DHB’s coffers.

    We don’t learn by our mistakes. What a shame local iwi can’t use the consumer gaurantees act.

    My young person was disappointed that we don’t learn by our mistakes.

  8. JonL 8

    Alan Bennett – “How do I define history? It’s just one fucking thing after another” ……

  9. There IS something you can do folks!



    Remember, ‘People power’ campaigns DO work!

    Did you know that in 2008 Contact Energy increased electricity prices 12% and doubled Directors’ fees. After public outrage they lost over 40,000 customers within six months and their profit was cut in half!


    Penny Bright

    • Observer 9.1

      Hi Penny

      You are so right about People Power.

      I think decent members of Parliament should get together and demand that the Government reduce power costs to residences and small business by two thirds. The 7% annual ramp up over each of the past 10yrs – is callous bastardry. A minimum 70% rise is outrageous.

      Governments are elected to remove unreasonable costs on citizens.

      There is no more important task in New Zealand right now – than to make the Government restore Power to affordability. One way or another, the people have to bring Parliament relentlessly to its senses.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        The 7% annual ramp up over each of the past 10yrs – is callous bastardry. A minimum 70% rise is outrageous.

        You forgot the compounding factor.

        It’s actually a 97% price increase over 10 years.

        • Observer

          Hi Colonial

          I did leave the compounding out. Glad you have posted it.

          We need to get politicians to do what we want. We have to force them into this democratic frame of mind. They will kick and scream, bite and lie. But we must get them to change their ways.

          The bastards heave bunted up our Power Costs by 97% in 10years. What a callous cruel mob they are.

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