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Asset sales referendum is a go!

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 am, January 4th, 2013 - 92 comments
Categories: assets, class war, economy, Privatisation, treasury - Tags:

Asset sales petition organisers say they have the numbers of signatures for a referendum.  (h/t mickysavage) However, to be sure, they will continue to collect signatures up until the time to submit the petition at the end of January.  Congratulations and thanks to all who have worked so hard on the petition.

Grey Power national president Roy Reid said the group had collected more than 340,000 signatures, allowing for a percentage of signatures that did not meet the requirements under the Citizen Initiated Referendum Act.

After checking the figures at the end of 2012, Mr Reid was confident they now had the numbers to push through the referendum. …

Mr Reid said the anti-asset-sales coalition would continue to collect signatures over the new few weeks, before the petition was presented to Parliament when it opened again in the last week of January.

This should mean the campaign then shifts from collecting signatures to presenting the case against asset sales.  The referendum question is;

“Do you support the Government selling up to 49 per cent of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?”

While a high proportion of New Zealanders still support john Key, most New Zealanders are against asset sales. The Herald on Sunday reported on the 30 December 2012 that:

New Zealanders are loath to relinquish even a partial ownership share in national assets such as power companies – but the asset sales debate hasn’t harmed the Government’s polling one jot. …

Yet despite the opposition to the asset sales, Prime Minister John Key continues to enjoy unmatched favour in the Key Research- Herald on Sundaypoll: 59.8 per cent of eligible voters nominate him their preferred leader.

If an election were held tomorrow, 46.9 per cent of voters would tick the National box. As long as National’s coalition partners in Act and United Future held their electorate seats, John Key would be returned to the Beehive as Prime Minister.

However, the article also reports that:

A Key Research- Herald on Sunday poll reveals three out of five Kiwis want to keep tight hold of the country’s engine room. Only 32.1 per cent of eligible voters support the Government’s mixed-ownership model for Mighty River Power, Genesis, Meridian, Solid Energy and an increased sale of Air NZ; 59.2 per cent oppose the sales.

Those aged between 45 and 64 years – the voting bloc that lived through the dismantling of state-owned enterprises during the 80s – are the strongest opponents of the sales.

Organisers of a petition to force a national referendum on the asset sales told the Herald on Sunday they had now topped the magic number of 310,000 signatures and will present the petition to Parliament’s clerk next month.

Everyone of all voting ages need to be provided with the evidence that shows sale of the power companies will be very bad fro all New Zealanders, and to be encouraged to vote in the referendum.

And let’s not forget just before Christmas an OAI showed Treasury had warned against the rushed asset sales.  meanwhile there’s still a further court challenge by Maori groups over water rights.

92 comments on “Asset sales referendum is a go!”

  1. IrishBill 1

    Particular kudos to the Greens. While union, Labour, and Greypower members have done a great job of gathering signatures, the Greens (and a special shout-out to Lalia) have really organised around this issue and brought a lot of signatures in while also using it to build themselves a solid presence in Auckland – something that hadn’t previously been able to do and something that will stand them in good stead going into 2014. It warms my heart to see such solid organising on the Left.

    • Marty 1.1

      It’s a great outcome!!!! But I can’t help but cringe at the observation the Greens have once again taken a Labour policy, made it their own, and managed to do in a short time what Labour failed to do for years.

      Still. The Nats can’t stop us this time. The People will speak.

    • I am interested in seeing the break down of figures. I suspect the Greens may have collected more than Labour …

      • TightyRighty 1.2.1

        People respond to incentives. Splash the cash and people will commit. I think it’s why paying for votes is outlawed and political parties rely on volunteers to canvas.

        Not that this having all the signatures a wit of difference, being non-binding like the smacking referendum. What a laugh if this referendum were to get less support for anti-asset sales than for anti-smacking.

        • karol 1.2.1.1

          I would say, among the general public that keeping assets like power companies has more support than the amendment to remove justifications for beating children (aka the so-called “anti-smacking bill”).

          The more people hear about the damage that will be done by the sale of power companies, the more government support will drop.

          • The Pink Postman 1.2.1.1.1

            Nothing in the Herald Karol .I would have thought the petition numbers would have been headline news .
            Is Key now obliged to hold a referendum ?

            • lprent 1.2.1.1.1.1

              From memory, the electoral commission is obligated to hold a referendum (nothing to do with Key). They will decide when it gets called with some kind of limits on when it must be called – the latest would be the next general election.

        • Ennui in Requiem 1.2.1.2

          People respond to incentives if they have the wherewithal to respond. Therein is the basic failure of the core premise of neo lib economics (which incidentally fails on a number of other counts).

        • felixviper 1.2.1.3

          “People respond to incentives. Splash the cash and people will commit. “

          Eh? What do you mean, Tighty?

          Has someone been paying people to sign a petition?

        • Balu 1.2.1.4

          Erm I’m confused Tighty, are you perhaps referring to the $120 Million earmarked to polish the asset theft turd?

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6953031/Assets-selloff-to-cost-120m

      • Shane Gallagher 1.2.2

        We did – by quite a lot. :-) I know we collected over half the total given above.

        • Anne 1.2.2.1

          Yeah… and some of them were actually Labour’s. I went to local flea market one morning… collected 8 pages of signatures… was in a hurry to get away so left them at the nearest table – the Green table. I know at least one other person who did the same. :)

          Didn’t matter in my book. All for the same cause.

      • Green Viper 1.2.3

        They have but lets not be partisan about it Mickey. The important thing is that we have the numbers for a referendum..

        • Anne 1.2.3.1

          I don’t think Mickey was being partisan – just making a (probably true) observation.

          • mickysavage 1.2.3.1.1

            True Anne. I thought that the Greens may have collected the most.

            On a number of occasions when I was collecting there were Labour and Green activists working together on collecting signatures. It was a really good feeling really. hopefully this camaraderie will continue.

      • Rhinoviper 1.2.4

        No doubt in the next “Shearer Sayzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” we’ll read how this great initiative by the Pointy-Haired Boss shows that all Labour “followers” are behind him*, and oh, yeah, thanks to the Greens for providing tea and scones.

        *and it’s a “good start to the year” and they’re “holding the government to account” yadda yadda yadda.

      • Well M/S .Our small LP.Branch consisting of mainly us old wrinklies collected a huge amount and in Tory Stronghold the Waikato.so even the Tories are against it.

        • mickysavage 1.2.5.1

          On ya PP. My 75 year old father managed to collect a couple of thousand in Mangere.

        • tc 1.2.5.2

          It’s not so much a left right issue anymore especially with the crap going down about water in Hamilton, many Tories are seeing the plight their retired parents are having and realise it’ll be a lot tougher for them.

          People see how much of their utilities bill would go into foreign hands over the coming decades rather than nz or network reinvestment just so Johnny and bill can pay down a few billion of the many they’ve recklessly racked up with tax cuts and standing back after kicking the economy down a hill.

          It’s a con and even the hesrtland tories know it.

    • xtasy 1.3

      LAILA it is by the way, not Lalia, I am sure, but we forgive!

  2. Craig Glen viper 2

    Its fantastic that the people will have a say on asset sales, however the problem we have is even though people know Key/National would sell assets and they didnt want those assets sold they still cast votes for Key/National. Labour has to produce a new direction that presents a real alternative to National, both in the form of a Leader and well articulated policy. Labours message was not heard under Goff and Shearer has done nothing to show he can articulate anything.

    This is the chalenge for Labour its not good enough to just oppose shit policy, people want to be lead. What I have seen is the Greens have done a better job of opposing asset sales the Greens have a brand, mean while Labour are not inspiring anything.

    • Anne 2.1

      I don’t think that is strictly fair CGv. Labour also had a well run “Stop Asset Sales” brand. Overall, I think both Greens and Labour have had an equal amount of publicity over the issue. Since Nov. 2008, it’s the one area where Labour/Goff/Shearer did well. There can be no real complaints.

      • Craig Glen viper 2.1.1

        “stop Asset sales ” is not a brand Anne, its policy.

        Greens have a better brand than Labour now in my opinion. A brand Anne means people know what something is or stands for, a good brand produces emotional linkages weather they are warranted or not. The Greens are being very clever with their pictures (Billboard signage) during elections and use of words in media and sound bites on TV and Radio.

        I can tell you I personally got many emails from the Greens on asset sales encouraging me to get signatures and the communication was positive in comparison I got uninspiring communication from Labour. As a Labour member we in Labour need to learn to change or we will be even more irrelevant at the next election.

        • Napkins 2.1.1.1

          The title of leading Opposition Party needs to be re-earned by Labour. They have resources, expertise and experience within their organisation which in theory outmatches the Greens. However, the potential is not being realised, and in some senses has been squandered.

          • Northshoreguynz 2.1.1.1.1

            Yet the mighty Greens are still only at 12-15%, how can that calamity be. It must all be that dreadful Mr Shearers fault.

            • Napkins 2.1.1.1.1.1

              It’s the fight in the dog which counts mate, not its size. As for Shearer, this will be a very big year for him – one way or another. I wish him very good luck.

  3. Jester 3

    Quite puzzling that a “Citizen Initiated Referendum” ends with two political parties arguing over who collected the most signatures.

    #ironymuch

    • quartz 3.1

      You’re a rightwinger. You don’t understand irony.

      • Jester 3.1.1

        You may be correct quartz. We didn’t have National Standards when I was at school so I am probably less advantaged than those much younger than I.

        • mike 3.1.1.1

          “Quite puzzling that a “Citizen Initiated Referendum” ends with two political parties arguing over who collected the most signatures.”

          1. A couple of people on a blog doesn’t equal ‘two political parties’.

          2. I don’t see any claims being disputed or anything else that might constitute an argument.

          3. This referendum will ‘end’ with the people of New Zealand telling NAct where to shove their asset sales.

          Maybe you should go back to school and get yourself some of that National Standards advantage.

          • Jester 3.1.1.1.1

            Thanks Mike.

            Before you rush off and unscrew the lid off the bottle of chardy that you saved for a special occasion it may pay to rethink point 3. The CIR will not affect the rollout any more than Goffs lame “you can’t buy it back” election speeches.

            Let’s not kid ourselves here. At least Karol is being honest when she points out the real incentive of opposing asset sales at a political level.

            “The more people hear about the damage that will be done by the sale of power companies, the more government support will drop”

            • karol 3.1.1.1.1.1

              No, the real reason is that asset sales are damaging to the country. And that’s one of the main reasons for wanting this government to be sent packing. The two things go together.

              The government poll support is too high given that most people oppose their flagship policy. The more people know about the real long-term impacts of this government, the better.

              • Jester

                Make sense Karol. But any indication why govt polling is as you say too high.

                Surely you aren’t suggesting that even after being headline news since prior the election 11 that people still don’t understand, in opposition opinion, how bad asset sales are.

                Kind of smells of the Goff/Mallard train of thought post election 08 and 11 that it was the voters that got it wrong not the messengers?

                I’ve read enough of your posts to work out that a writer of such very insightful posts could not be so gullible.

            • mike 3.1.1.1.1.2

              “Before you rush off and unscrew the lid off the bottle of chardy that you saved for a special occasion it may pay to rethink point 3.”

              Nope, I’m gonna stick by point 3. I didn’t say the referendum would stop the asset sales, (Key’s too arrogant to respect the will of the people, he’ll just moan on about how people just don’t get it and he knows best despite being a failure in every other area of government), I said the people will tell them to shove it. See if you can figure out the difference.

              Are the opposition hoping to score political points here? Of course they are. But does that mean they are not allowed to pursue a referendum on an issue important to all NZers? Of course not. If you’re saying that the opposition cares less about stopping the sales and more about scoring a political win, then that’s your opinion. I think that at least for the Greens, they genuinely realize that the sales are bad for the country and don’t want to see them happen.

              Polls show that NZers don’t want these sales. The opposition is representing the will of the people on this matter, isn’t that what political parties are supposed to do? Maybe the referendum won’t stop the sales, but if helps to wake people up to Key and NAct’s arrogant contempt for democracy, then that’s a meaningful result I say.

              I’ll be holding off on the chardy until this bunch of incompetent front men and women are kicked out by Lab/Green and John Key says “Ackshully New Ziland, I’ve been great,” and pisses off to his next corporate money making scheme.

        • mike e vipe e 3.1.1.2

          Jester I thought you would have compared that to competitive free market forces!
          Or should they just have a cup of tea to sort it out and self destruct ie Nact!

    • Zetetic 3.2

      Not sure what the problem is. There’s a CIR coalition that includes political parties. Members of political parties are citizens. Nats can support CIRs if they want. I recall Nat mps collected for pro-smacking referendum

    • QoTViper 3.3

      ends with two political parties arguing over who collected the most signatures.

      [citation needed – mickysavage isn’t one political party, much less two]
      [citation needed – who’s “arguing”?]

  4. CnrJoe 4

    great start to the year

  5. Another Viper 5

    Now is the time for the Labour Party to put everyone on notice that it is quite likely that any sold assets will be re-acquired at market value with a cap of sale price plus 10% pa CoF.

    We have a duty to be be clear to potential investors.
    And to show we will put our money where our mouth is.

    • LynWiper 5.1

      +1 Absolutely. And not just quite likely, but definitely.

      • alwyn 5.1.1

        The proposal is certainly an interesting one. If you are so sure that it is “definitely” going to happen can you please provide a link to a senior MP, or any MP for that matter, in either the Labour or the Green party caucuses who has said it? They of course are the only ones who could do it and they have, as far as I have seen, all kept very well clear of any such statements.
        Simply having an anonymous commenter on a blog propose it certainly doesn’t make it something that will “definitely” occur.
        Incidentally Another Viper’s proposal would make it a wonderful investment as a guaranteed return of 10% pa is vastly better than any other investment that is around at the moment.

        • LynWiper 5.1.1.1

          Of course my ‘definitely’ was a hopeful directive not a quote from previous statements or policy. :-)

        • Another Viper 5.1.1.2

          “Market value” means the buy back price could be 50% of the sale price, Alwyn.
          The only guarantee is NO windfall profit. That is what the Cap achieves.

    • Pete 5.2

      I agreed with this until the thought occurred to me that this would be a recipe for asset stripping the SOEs, particularly when it comes to any overseas assets and any cash assets they might have in hand. In the lead up to the election everything the SOEs would have of value would be sold off, a special dividend would be paid to shareholders and then the new government would be stuck with buying back a shell for more than what it’s worth.

      The only way this is going to be stopped is either through the courts or making it politically untenable for the government.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 5.2.1

        They will be asset stripped anyway. I’m sure one of the attractions for private enterprise has always been the assets and land owned by councils and the state.

        We’ve seen time and time again good assets sold off once they fall into private hands / semi private control.

        And if they can’t sell things they bulldoze em so it’s too hard for a new government to put them back e.g. hospital wards, loco repair workshop and so on.

        Look around any town and I bet you can find plenty of buildings and land that used to be collectively owned by the state / local citizens.

        Asset stripping + wanton destruction + control over publically purchased items + rorting the public over pricing.

        Profit = private taxation.

  6. burt 6

    Has anyone got any detailed analysis of how much tax payers money was spent paying people to collect signatures for this Green/Labour Party electoral advertising campaign ?

    • Fortran 6.1

      +1

      • mike e vipe e 6.1.1

        Probably 10,000th of the cost that of $120 million govt(National party propaganda paid for by us tax payers) + the extra costs of delay and the loss of income treasury predicted would be more than the cost of borrowing the same amount.That report was suppressed by National!

    • karol 6.2

      This seemed to be a beat up by Key and co 6 months or more ago. I haven’t seen anything on it since.

      At the time, the Greens said they were being transparent about the money spent on the petition, with most of the signatures being gathered by volunteers. But if you have evidence on it, go for it.

      In contrast there’s been a lack of transparency on the amount of money the government is using to promote their asset sales policy.

      Estimates put it in the hundreds of million, as of August this year:

      Official Information Act responses from Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy, and Solid Energy show that they have collectively spent over $1.3 million on preparing themselves for sale. A request for the same data on Mighty River Power, the first company up for sale, was refused by the Government and Dr Norman will be questioning the Minister of Finance on the issue today in Question Time.

      These costs are additional to the $106 million in the Budget to pay for asset sales costs (of which over $10.5 million has been spent so far), the millions of dollars in Waitangi Tribunal costs, the pay-rises given to senior managers at the energy companies to bring them up to “commercial rates”, the potentially $200 million cost of a share give-away, and the $100 million a year that asset sales would add to the deficit due to the net loss of profits.

      • burt 6.2.1

        In contrast there’s been a lack of transparency on the amount of money the government is using to promote their asset sales policy.

        Here we go: Others were doing it too…. It’s the way we have always done it….. National did something worse….

        Let me guess, there is no need to be accountable to the tax payers because National were worse… Perhaps we had better denigrate the accusers, retrospectively validate the spending and move on ….

        Why is expecting a high standard of accountability from all parties impossible – Because apologists for a flag colour hide behind ‘they did it too so it’s not fair to single out…’

        You know karol – each deed by any political party should be measured for what it is – not for how bad it is compared to others. Perhaps I’ll get off a speeding ticket @ 120-kph because somebody somewhere was speeding at 125-kph… I doubt it though because I don’t have a bunch of apologists running around behind me excusing my bad deeds because others were doing it too or … doing it worse….

        • Zetetic 6.2.1.1

          I swear to god burt you dumb fuck. If you start doing your bold retrospective and ‘she did it too’ shit again, you’re banned.

        • karol 6.2.1.2

          Burt, did you read the bit where I said the Greens had been transparent about the money spent. Not to mention Zetetic’s figures on it. And that if you had evidence go for it? Do you have any such evidence to add?

          The amount of money spent by the government in relation to the (lack of) amount of economic benefit goes to the heart of the reasons for opposing the sales.

        • mike 6.2.1.3

          “Others were doing it too…. It’s the way we have always done it….. National did something worse….”

          Thanks burt, your comprehension fail made me truly lol.

          Here’s the bit you don’t seem to get. The Greens did nothing wrong. They were entitled to spend the $70,000 on the petition, and they were open about doing so. So what ‘standard of accountability’ have they breached?

          Karol and Zetetic have pointed out that NAct has spent or planning to spend $120,000,000 to make the asset sales happen, but doesn’t feel like telling you where it’s going exactly. Their point is that if you’re really worried about tax payer money spending re accountability, you might want to direct your attention there instead. Else you might look like a hypocrite.

        • mike e vipe e 6.2.1.4

          So which is the bigger crime $70,000 or the $ 200 million the govt is using to flog of the assets at fire sale prices!
          The bigger the crime the the lees the time!

        • mike e vipe e 6.2.1.5

          So burt using your analogy
          $70,000 is say 7km over the speed limit worth a warning
          $200,000, 000 is say 20,000 km over the speed limit!
          Lock em up up and throw away the key!

          • mike 6.2.1.5.1

            I appreciate what you’re saying mike e, $200m is much more than $70k, but I don’t like the implication, which seems to me to be buying into the spin burt is selling, than the Greens did a small thing wrong but NAct did a much bigger thing wrong.

            Because… The. Greens. Did. Nothing. Wrong. They spent their money openly and as they were entitled to. NAct asset sales costs are $100m+ (wtf) but transparency is notably lacking about where that money will go, and OIA queries reveal extra undisclosed costs, (see karol’s link above). That’s the issue, not $200m is bigger than $70k.

      • Anne 6.2.2

        This seemed to be a beat up by Key and co 6 months or more ago.

        Yes, and I can recall Bill English around the same time accusing Labour and the Greens of cheating by signing up under-voting age teenagers – and others who were not entitled to sign for one reason or another. Of course there will be individuals who are not yet naturalised and therefore not eligible to sign the petition. Most don’t realise it, and – as anyone who has ever been collecting at flea markets etc. can tell you – it’s impossible to check out the history of each and every person who signs, including their age. That’s one of the jobs of the Electoral Commission anyway – to check the signatures for validity!

        I remember signing up a couple of young women (or so I thought) when the mother of one of them pointed out to me they were only 14. They looked about 18/19!

    • Zetetic 6.3

      The Greens spent $70k out of their leaders office budget, money that they would have just spent on something else – like polling or advisers – otherwise. This spending was within the rules. Labour didn’t spend any of its public funding on the CIR.

      So far, National has spent $23m on asset sales and they haven’t even sold any yet. there’s another hundred million budgeted, plus hundreds of millions in off-budget costs, and the permanent hundred million per year net increase in the deficit from the lost dividends.

      Here’s those numbers in full so you can see the difference –
      $70,000
      $23,000,000
      $100,000,000

    • mike 6.4

      Apparently about $70,000. A bargain.

      Here’s John Key moaning about the Green’s ‘hypocrisy’ since they can pay for this but “…told you they don’t have enough money for Mojo Mathers to operate properly in parliament.”

      Then Russell Norman points out that a) they never said that, b) they were fighting for the principle that they shouldn’t effectively be financially penalized for having an MP that needs disability support (they won), c) he wouldn’t call John Key a liar, but gee he does say a lot of stuff that he knows isn’t true, d) Key talks about hypocrisy over the Greens spending $70,000 on a petition on an issue important to all NZers, but refuses to disclose where exactly $120,000,000 asset sales related costs have gone.

    • Burt as far as Labour is concerned $0.00.

    • felixviper 6.6

      “how much tax payers money was spent “

      None, burt. Not one extra cent of tax was raised for such purpose.

  7. Ad 7

    I don’t even mind that it wont stop them. It’s the best non election-year initiative to get some of the 800,000 non voters engaged in civic contests since “damn the dam” Manapouri, and I wasn’t even born then!
    I hope it reawakens some previous Labour members to sign up for any leadership challenge involving members too.

    Congratulations to all the organisers, whatever group they belong to.

    First pre-Coalition test coming up: coordinated messages please, all year.

    • Another Viper 7.1

      @AD 7
      Co-ordinated messages with the Greens?

      Labour can’t co-ordinate its own message on the Assets Sales.

      That MP Chris Hipkins recently was making comment on the optimal timing of the sales!

      Who is the Labour Spokesperson for Asset Sales?

  8. LynWiper 8

    +1 Agree Ad. Also thanks Karol, Zetetic and Mike for sorting burt’s gripe with this issue. Very helpful.

  9. xtasy 9

    Well, this is all good for enabling the opposition parties opposed to the MOB to resume political debate and demand a referendum to be held on asset sales the government has already passed and turned into law.

    But what is actually possible, and what will a referendum now achieve, besides of reactivated strong political debate?

    Perhaps stop cracking the champagne corks and have a read of what the law says:

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1993/0101/latest/DLM317193.html
    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1993/0101/latest/DLM318486.html
    http://www.elections.org.nz/elections/referendum/referendums.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendums_in_New_Zealand
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_voting_system_referendum,_2011

    There are only provisions for an INDICATIVE referendum to be held, which would NOT bind the government. It is unlikely that the government will back off from the asset sales, as the mixed owner ship bill has been enacted now, and as the government has already made substantial preparations and announcements for the first sale(s) to start early to mid this year.

    Key and consorts will simply ridicule this and frown upon the wider public’s views, and a propaganda battle will start, to “prove”, that not proceeding will mean fiscal and economic disaster, thus scaring many to perhaps rethink.

    But of course, this is a welcome chance, to hammer the message home to Key and NatACT, that they are passing law against the will of the majority of NZers.

    It will at least result in a great embarrassment.

    • Ad 9.1

      Lose the battle, win the war.
      We don’t have 1970s or 1980s activism any more, to win “on the streets”.
      But it will re-energise, and prepare us all to act like a coalition in waiting.
      Especially the political leadership of such a coalition.

      Let’s see who leads now.

  10. millsy 10

    The asset sales debate is a battle between the concepts of public/collective ownership, and the benefits of such going to the wider community (ie SOE dividends to schools and hospitals, reliable power supply, etc), and the the concept of individual shareholder ownership, and the benefits in the form of dividends to ‘mum and dad’ shareholders (with the non-share holders being told to screw themselves).

    This will be the defining date of 2013.

    Though, I am picking that while we will lose two of the power companies, the rest of the asset sales program will be postponed till after the 2014 election, by which we hope that Labour gets its act together.

  11. Murray Olsen 11

    The only way Labour could possibly have its act together after the 2014 election is if there is a high enough vote for Mana/Greens and the ACT/Nat lite component of Labour are hamstrung into insignificance. Labour will have to be pulled to the left, kicking and screaming and probably thinking of a coalition with National as a government of national salvation, to keep the “extremes” of both left and right at bay. It may sound unlikely, but who would have scoffed at predictions that a good part of the 1984 Labour front bench would leave to form ACT?
    I think we’ll see a cure for cancer before we see Labour collectively getting its act together.

  12. Alinsky 12

    Do you want to stop the sales or just whinge about them?

    We and the merchants we buy from all buy power everyday. That is huge leverage. If we organize, we can employ strategies that would make the sales impossible and/or unprofitable. Destroy the future value of the companies to be sold. No value; no buyers; no asset sales.

    We know this non-binding referendum will not stop the sales.

    If you are serious, ORGANIZE and use tactics to stop the sales, not just to try to embarrass a bunch of petty dictators who don’t give a stuff about your opinions.

    Did you not get the message from Collins, Bennett, etc., about how much they respect anybody’s opinion besides their own?

    • LynWiper 12.1

      +1

    • Tiresias 12.2

      A referendum will concentrate people’s minds and generate debate, and if Key & Co. get a sense that – especially in a run-up to a General Election – they have to stand against a powerful meme in the oposite direction it will concentrate their minds, too.

      However they have a lot of skin in the asset sales programme – if it doesn’t go through they’re either going to have to start making a lot of cuts or be left with some nasty-looking red ink in the books, so watch out for a carefully-crafted referendum question – perhaps something along the lines of “Do you think it better that the State should own commercial power companies or provide food, shelter, medical help and education for Tiny Tim?”

      There’s a better way of stopping the sales, as has been pointed out. A referendum would legitimise an Opposition promise to re-nationalise any assets sold in the interim should the vote go against the principle of the sale. Even the threat of such would blow a massive hole in any valuation.

      From Wikipedia:

      “During the 2008 financial crisis, Contact [Energy] decided to increase prices by up to 12% while doubling its directors’ fees. As a result, it lost more than 40,000 customers in six months – 10% of the total. Its profit was halved. Contact calls this the worst blow to its reputation in the company’s history.”

      A serious campaign to urge customers to shift business away from any sold-off Power Companies could also frighten away potential investors. However any such a campaign would need to have a serious, major promoter with clout and I can’t see Labour doing it. I can see the Greens doing it, tho’, and gaining a lot of kudos by the way – in fact continuing to grow to fill the vacuum on the Left left by Labour.

      (Declaration of interest – I have $50,000 coming off term deposit at the end of February in order to be buy Might River shares should they become available, unless common prudence persuades me it would not be a good investment.)

      Ps. I still own all the Contact Energy shares I purchased at the float in 1999 for $3.10@ – today worth $5.38 despite a board of pea-brained, overpaid directors.

      • Rogue Trooper 12.2.1

        thank you for your enlightening analyses.Night

      • Alinsky 12.2.2

        Make this a trans-party issue. There are plenty of independents and Nats who will switch power companies to block the sales. Ultimately, politicians can be counted on to disappoint you.

        If there is to be a buy-back, only buy back ONE power company. Then organize consumers to all shift to that ONE state owned company. That strengthens the one state owned company and damages ALL the privately owned ones, reducing the value of their shares.

        This need not be a Left/Right issue. Economically it is moronic to sell gold plated assets in order to borrow more money we can’t repay.

      • Tiresias 12.2.3

        Oh, and don’t forget the example of the poor Irish who twice (in 2001 and 2008) voted No in referenda called to approve EU treaties and were both times told by their ‘leaders’ to do it again and get it right which after suitable arm-twisting, obfustication and scare-mongering, they did.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.4

        However they have a lot of skin in the asset sales programme – if it doesn’t go through they’re either going to have to start making a lot of cuts or be left with some nasty-looking red ink in the books,

        Checked out the massive borrowing that this government has engaged in? Yeah, they’re not bothered about the red ink – they’re not the ones paying for it after all and they’re probably making money off of it. The sole purpose that this government has in selling our assets is to make themselves and their rich foreign mates richer at our expense.

        • Tiresias 12.2.4.1

          Two questionable statements of fact in one paragraph:

          “they’re not bothered about the red ink – ”

          Oh but they are – Bill English has hung his hat on getting back into surplus and their obvious failure to make any progress in that direction is going to be a massive millstone around this Government’s neck during the next General Election campaign. Moreover Governments clocking up the red in a recession, or to fend one off, is standard Keynsian economics generally more favoured by the Left than the Right.

          I have very little doubt that if English, Graeme Wheeler et al ‘explained’ that it was necessary for the Government to run a deficit in hard times no-one in Labour would argue counter to it – in fact they’d probably claim to have said so all along.

          Honestly I’m puzzled why the Government has taken this absolutist tack – apart from an attempt to appeal to the economically illiterate ‘middle-of-the-road’ voter who believes that a nation’s finances are the same as a family’s finances written large. But the asset-sales programme was always the Government’s ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card when it came to meeting this unnecessary pledge and now it’s hung up on it.

          “The sole purpose that this government has in selling our assets is to make themselves and their rich foreign mates richer at our expense.”

          No, that’s just a collateral benefit. While you and I might disagree with it, believing that the State has no business owning and running power-generation companies – or any other commercial operation – is as valid and unimpeachable a belief as is believing that a wafer of bread placed on your tongue is actually the flesh of some Jewish bloke who was nailed to a cross two-thousand years ago.

          Plus, Alinsky’s “economically it is moronic to sell gold plated assets in order to borrow more money we can’t repay.”

          The argument is that the proceeds of sale will obviate the need to borrow as much as we might otherwise need to. And consider – when I bought my Contact shares in 1999 the Government received a nice capital sum to either pay down borrowings and thus reduce the burden on repayments, re-invest in other projects with the potential to earn even more for the country, or to build schools, hospitals, roads or other socially desireable projects. And since I bought those shares the Government has taken income tax from the dividends plus GST from all the rest that I spent on goods and services in my local economy, so the state gained both capital from me, an income stream from me and a boost to the local economy.

          Tbe fact that the money the Government received from the sale was probably wasted and frittered away on non-productive projects comes down to the third-rate nature of our politicians and bureaucats, not the political principle itself which should be respected and understood even if, like me, you don’t agree with it.

          FWIW I’ve added my name to the anti-asset-sale petition and disagree with the sale of the power companies at least. But then, I’d go further than many on the Left including some of the commentators on this blog by arguing that electicity should be a utility of the commons sold at no more than cost – which hardly makes it a gold-plated asset.

          • Draco T Bastard 12.2.4.1.1

            Oh but they are – Bill English has hung his hat on getting back into surplus and their obvious failure to make any progress in that direction is going to be a massive millstone around this Government’s neck during the next General Election campaign.

            No they’re not even though they say that they are as the government being in surplus decreases profit. They know this but they don’t anyone else to know it.

            Moreover Governments clocking up the red in a recession, or to fend one off, is standard Keynsian economics generally more favoured by the Left than the Right.

            Two things:
            1.) Governments should never borrow and thus never go into the red
            2.) No matter what happens, as long as profit exists governments will run at a deficit

            I know the latter seems contradictory as NZ was running at a significant government surplus in the 2000s but I think you’ll find that that was offset by other governments running at an increased deficit.

            While you and I might disagree with it, believing that the State has no business owning and running power-generation companies – or any other commercial operation – is as valid and unimpeachable a belief…

            Tbe fact that the money the Government received from the sale was probably wasted and frittered away on non-productive projects comes down to the third-rate nature of our politicians and bureaucats, not the political principle itself which should be respected…

            Considering that selling assets has consistently made us worse off then no it shouldn’t. A persons beliefs should only ever be respected if they’re backed by reality and state assets sales aren’t backed by reality and neither is the idea that the private sector does it better.

      • karol 12.2.5

        I think the 2013 campaign around the referendum should be multi-pronged: communicating far and wide how damaging the sales will be; plus added campaigns as mentioned to undermine the sales; people shifting their power providers away from those being prepared for privatisation.

      • Daveosaurus 12.2.6

        watch out for a carefully-crafted referendum question

        The politicians aren’t going to get that chance. The question is (theoretically, at least) set by the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

        The biggest surprise in all of this is how invisible the petition has been. I’ve never seen people canvassing for signatures anyware. Compare this with the Family Fist child-abuse referendum which was hawked around constantly by its promoters – the local one of whom, after it initially failed, went around claiming that everyone had to re-sign it.

  13. karol 13

    A headlined Stuff article on the continued rising cost of liiving in 2013:

    Apart from other worries to do with the high cost of living many are likely to experience in 2013, the article includes the added problem of rising power prices as the powercos are prepared for privatisation:

    Article title: Higher cost of living expected: [Families fear a grim year- 2013]

    A survey by The Dominion Post paints a gloomy picture for many households: two-thirds of respondents said the cost of living is becoming too high. …

    But after a year in which electricity prices rose 4.4 per cent, power ranked as the number one burden, with 51 per cent saying household power bills hit them hardest in the pocket.

    Domestic Energy Users Network analyst Molly Melhuish said electricity and gas bills would keep growing because the five state-owned power companies were being primed for sale.

    Ever-rising electricity retail prices ensured ongoing profits would paint a rosier picture for potential buyers of state-owned power companies under the government's asset sales scheme.

    "For 2013, my crystal ball says electricity prices will keep going up and that's because the Government wants to sell assets and wants prices to keep rising."

    Yet wholesale prices should be falling because of a big electricity surplus, in turn pushing retail prices down, Mrs Melhuish said. …

    Labour MP Jacinda Ardern said the rising cost of living was a direct result of the National Government's failure to develop an economic plan.

    "This survey shows the Government's failure is hitting Kiwis in the pocket with increases in GST, increases in fuel tax and price rises as the Government prepares assets for sale – and that's going to get worse, not better.

    • Mary 13.1

      Ardern’s comments are so inane they almost support what she’s apparently opposing. When’s Labour going to start attacking the agenda? Answer: never. Why? Because Labour can’t guarantee it won’t itself do what Ardern’s complaining about. Sound familiar? That’s why Labour’s fucked.

  14. irascible 14

    Interesting to note that the Herald’s only comment was its Leader Article condemning the call for a referendum (not online as far as I can find) and the SST leader article also condemning the campaign as as a waste of time as Key will simply trample over the result and, with English’s conivance, simply proceed before the referendum is conducted. (also not online?).

    The argument seems to be that KeY campaigned on hocking off the family silver and won the election therefore any questioning of KeY’s competence on this issue, through a CIR, is a waste of resources and a further discrediting of CIR, the Labour Party and the Greens.

  15. Mary 15

    I like the typo in the post:

    “While a high proportion of New Zealanders still support john Key…”

    key doesn’t deserve his name to be written using capitals. john key suits him way better.

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    Greens | 16-11
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour | 13-11
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour | 13-11
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens | 13-11
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour | 12-11
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens | 12-11
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour | 12-11
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour | 11-11
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour | 11-11
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour | 11-11
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour | 10-11
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour | 09-11
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour | 09-11
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour | 06-11
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour | 06-11
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • How biased is the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog | 23-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog | 22-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog | 21-11
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog | 20-11
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog | 17-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog | 16-11
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog | 14-11
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • The Warehouse & Noel Leeming Praised for Principled Stand
    Family First NZ is congratulating The Warehouse and Noel Leeming for reinforcing their ‘family-friendly values’ by removing R18 games and DVD’s from its shelves, and is calling on other retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith...
    Scoop politics | 24-11
  • PM’s Post-Cab on Iain Rennie, China and the Smith Inquiry
    In a press conference held today in Wellington, Prime Minister John Key answered questions regarding Iain Rennie’s potential resignation, the independent inquiry into the Smith/Traynor escape, and recent trade deals with China....
    Scoop politics | 24-11
  • Safety Week 2014 focused on a safe summer
    ACC’s annual Safety Week kicks off today. With summer just around the corner, Safety Week this year is focusing on keeping safe when playing sport, enjoying recreational activities or drinking alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 24-11
  • Safety focus during motorcycle month
    As the Central District Police annual Month of Motorcycles campaign cruises into its second week, the results so far have been positive with many motorcyclists playing their part to keep our roads safe....
    Scoop politics | 24-11
  • Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST
    Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST The Sensible Sentencing Trust is slamming a decision which may acquit a Whakatane offender of serious dangerous driving charges....
    Scoop politics | 24-11
  • Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons
    Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons to show violence towards women is never OK...
    Scoop politics | 24-11
  • Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media
    Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media to say “no” to domestic violence Everyone has the right to feel safe at home. Many do not. One in three partnered New Zealand women report having experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner...
    Scoop politics | 24-11
  • Smoke Alarms in Rental properties
    TPA says recent calls for mandatory smoke alarm installations in rental properties is an opportunity for all parties to come together to improve the safety and quality of rental housing....
    Scoop politics | 24-11
  • CTU will not engage in Governments sham consultation process
    Today the CTU has sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key articulating serious concerns about both the content and the rushed process the Government has clearly signalled it intends to follow to progress the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Job vacancies steady in October
    The number of skilled job vacancies advertised online remained steady in October across most industry groups and occupations, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Jobs Online report....
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • 600 Slaves And Counting on New Zealand Soil
    The 2014 Global Slavery Index has just been released, and buried within its pages is New Zealand’s growing issue of human exploitation and slavery. When taken in conjunction with the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2014,...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and NZ
    Media Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand: Police Commissioners take a stand against violence against women and children...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • NZ Police Commissioner makes a stand against Family Violence
    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has joined with his Australian Police Commissioner colleagues at Parliament House in Canberra this morning to take a stand on violence against women and children....
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Amnesty International campaigns for end to domestic violence
    Amnesty International will be making a donation of over $500 to Aviva (formerly known as Women’s Refuge Christchurch) at the conclusion of Tuesday’s inner city march against domestic violence....
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Waka Hourua celebrates what’s working in suicide prevention
    On 19 and 20 November, Māori and Pasifika national suicide prevention programme Waka Hourua held its first national hui-fono in Auckland. The theme was Whakarauika Mai: Bringing Communities Together to Prevent Suicide in Aotearoa. ...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics | 23-11
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics | 22-11
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics | 21-11
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics | 20-11
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
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