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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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  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Bartlett case means Govt must act on equal pay
    The Court of Appeal victory for Lower Hutt caregiver, Kristine Bartlett demonstrates that both the Government and employers have been ignoring and not fully implementing equal pay law, the Green Party said today.The Court of Appeal today upheld earlier rulings...
    Greens | 27-10
  • Rotorua shift for Maori TV a bizarre move
    The bizarre idea to move Maori TV to Rotorua is either poor planning or possible political interference that adds to the perception of a service in crisis, says Labour MP for Tamaki Makaurau Peeni Henare. “Moving Maori TV to Rotorua...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Second rate deal a no go – Goff
    A second rate deal on dairy in the TPP would totally contradict the agreed purpose of the Pacific trade agreement, Labour’s Trade spokesperson, Phil Goff says. “Both the origin of the trade negotiations and leaders’ statements on its objectives emphasise...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Legal victory a boost for all working women
    Today’s legal victory for equal pay is a much-needed boost for working women at a time when the Government is pushing through reforms which will make it harder for them to get pay rises, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney...
    Labour | 27-10
  • National’s failed commodities export strategy exposed
    National's strategy to rely on commodities such as milk powder and logs has been exposed in the September trade figures released today, the Green Party said."National's strategy to hang all economic hope on exporting ever-increasing volumes of milk powder and...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Caution needed on calls to arm police
    There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status,...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Govt strains to get tea break law through
    The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“National desperately...
    Labour | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    The company says there will be economic benefits, which the EEZ Act says the EPA must consider, but even these benefits are in doubt. The royalties while not set will be tiny, the profits will flow offshore, and whatever phosphate...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Government loses the affordable housing race
    Nick Smith is dreaming if he thinks he can deliver affordable housing to Cantabrians on his current figures, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Minister’s announcement that the Government will build 237 new homes, most of which will...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Labour’s thoughts with Canadians
    Labour has offered its sympathies to the family and friends of the Canadian soldier who died in what appears to be a premeditated and unprovoked attack while standing at guard at the Ottawa National War Memorial. “Our thoughts are also...
    Labour | 23-10
  • What next for TVNZ? Outsourcing the news?
    Television New Zealand’s decision to outsource Māori and Pacific programming is a real blow to the notion that our state broadcaster is a public broadcaster, says Labour. “CEO Kevin Kenrick has said today that TVNZ has ‘a very long and...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Green Party expresses sympathy for Canadian shooting victims
    The Green Party expressed its solidarity with Canadians and the Canadian Parliament today, offering its sympathy for family and friends of the soldier killed in the attack. "Our thoughts are with all those caught up in the shooting in Canada...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • More Latté Than Lager: Reflections on Grant Robertson’s Campaign Launch.
    BIKERS? SERIOUSLY! Had Grant Robertson’s campaign launch been organised by Phil Goff? Was this a pitch for the votes of what few Waitakere Men remain in the Labour Party? Was I even at the right place? Well, yes, I was....
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • About Curwen Ares Rolinson
    Curwen Ares Rolinson – Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kelly Ellis
    Kelly Ellis.Kelly Ellis – As a child, Kelly Ellis didn’t so much fall into the cracks, but willfully wriggled her way into them. Ejected from Onslow College – a big job in the 70s – Kelly worked in car factories,...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kate Davis
    Kate Davis.Kate Davis – Having completed her BA in English and Politics, Kate is now starting her MA. Kate works as a volunteer advocate at Auckland Action Against Poverty and previously worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Kate writes...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Parker does a Shearer – oh for a Labour Leader who can challenge msm fals...
    Sigh. It seems David Parker has done a Shearer… Like a cult and too red – Parker on LabourLabour leadership contender David Parker says Labour borders on feeling like “a cult” and must look at its branding – including its...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • A brief word on the hundreds of millions NZ is spending on the secret intel...
    The enormity of the mass surveillance state NZ Government’s have built carries a huge price tag… Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spyingThe $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Invercargill
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Invercargill on Friday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Public now needs to have its say over new tolls
    “I welcome the likes of new tolls and fuel taxes going out for public consultation after these matters have been talked about for 20 years. However the timing is not ideal as it comes on top of the likes of...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis to fight back against TPPA ‘corporate trap’
    New Zealanders in at least sixteen different locations around the country are organising for an International Day of Action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 8 November, co-ordinated by It's Our Future NZ. This is part of an international...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes NZ First MP’s Resignation
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming NZ First MP, Clayton Mitchell’s resignation from the Tauranga City Council, despite Party Leader Winston Peters' public comments in July that Mr Mitchell would do both jobs if elected to Parliament. The Union's...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Stopping unnecessary roading projects solution to transport
    Today Auckland Council released the Funding Auckland’s Transport Future report which claims Aucklanders need to choose higher rates, petrol taxes or tolls to pay for future transport projects, when the real issue is the prioritisation of unnecessary...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Fixing Auckland’s transport
    Today marks a critical step in the most important funding debate Auckland has ever had: whether or not Aucklanders are willing to pay for the transport system this city desperately needs to keep it moving, says Mayor Len Brown....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • The New Zealand Gazette Moves into the Digital Age
    On Monday 20 October, the New Zealand Gazette was published completely online bringing to a close 173 years as a purely printed publication. First published in 1841 as the official government newspaper, the Gazette website gazette.govt.nz , replaces...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • International report shows NZ struggling with child poverty
    A report by UNICEF International shows that child poverty rates in New Zealand have scarcely changed since 2008 – this stands in contrast to a number of other countries that managed to significantly reduce child poverty in this time, including...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Dunedin
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Dunedin on Thursday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF Report a Waste of Paper
    In response to the hysteria coming from the far left, Josh Forman of slightlyleftofcentre.co.nz writes the following:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Press Council opens doors to digital media
    The New Zealand Press Council, the body which handles complaints against newspapers and magazines and their websites, is offering associate membership status to news and commentary-oriented digital media including bloggers....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Tolls Should Be for New Roads, Not Old Ones
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming Auckland Council for wanting to introduce a motorist tax under the guise of ‘tolls’. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Media freedom in West Papua: Protest at Indonesian embassy
    Today, Wednesday 29 October, there will be a peaceful protest at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington to call on new Indonesian President Joko Widodo to honour his election promise to ensure greater media freedom in West Papua....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Lack of leadership blamed for decline in Gender Equity
    BPW NZ challenges NZ’s lack of leadership with the decline in Gender Equity Ranking...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Richard Falk visit to NZ
    Professor Richard Falk, who recently completed a six-year term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, will deliver a public lecture in Dunedin on Monday 10 November....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Apprehension for meat workers as employment law bill passes
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill today will send a wave of apprehension through the workers in the NZ meat industry says the Meat Workers Union....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • “Yes to Children, No to Poverty” Says Commissioner
    Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills will describe impacts of poverty on children, with a focus on local solutions at the Tū Kaha biennial conference for Māori health for the central region DHBs at the Hawke’s Bay Racing Centre in Hastings...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF report card highlights need for action
    Unicef’s child poverty report released today shows that New Zealand needs to be more proactive in pursuing policies to protect our most vulnerable members of society....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Children of the Recession: NZ’s shame
    Children of the Recession : NZ’s shame Media release Wednesday 29 October 2014 “It is to New Zealand’s deepest shame that the latest Unicef report on children living in poverty ranks us 16th out of 41 developed countries. “Every day...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF cautions NZ child poverty rates are “stagnating”
    An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • TPP Too Important for Compromised Finish
    The New Zealand dairy industry is urging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners not to compromise on the quality of the deal to get it done quickly....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Nelson
    Labour leadership candidates in Nelson The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Nelson on Tuesday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • History is made. Equal pay not just legal but possible!
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) congratulates Kristine Bartlett and the Service and Food Workers Union: Ngā Ringa Tota on their historic win. Today the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from Kristine’s employer; opening the way for...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
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