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Assets sales make Crown a billion poorer

Written By: - Date published: 9:22 am, November 29th, 2013 - 122 comments
Categories: class war, privatisation - Tags:

In the Budget, the Government said asset sales would increase the net worth of the Crown by half a billion dollars because eager mums and dads were going to snap the shares up for more than they were worth on the government books. As we know, it didn’t quite work out that way. The Greens have updated the Budget and found the impact is $1.5 billion worse than expected.

The Greens have plugged the real sales proceeds figures into the Budget table and added in the sales costs that National mysteriously forgot to include.

The results:

The sales that were meant to pocket $6b have only netted $3.9b.

Rather than ‘only’ increasing the deficit by $180m by 2017, as the Budget projected, the asset sales so far will actually make it $650m worse. Mainly because the government is saving far less on borrowing than it thought it would, because it has been pocketing less money from the sales.

Rather than increasing the net worth of the Crown by $520m, they’ve decreased it by $959m. Whoops. That’s down to a combination of the bigger deficit hit and getting less for the companies than they were valued at on the Crown’s books, not more as they hoped.

If the sale of Genesis goes ahead, then it will get $120m worse.

Remember, that’s just by 2017. Because we keep on losing the dividends forever, it just gets worse the further you go into the future.

Key, as is his wont, has dissed the Green figures without any real reason. I don’t see him putting up his own numbers either. Because one thing is for sure – the asset sales have earned the Government a hell of a lot less money than they thought it would, and the sales have cost more, yet we’re still losing just as much in dividends. How Key can claim that’s a success and keep a straight face, I don’t know.

122 comments on “Assets sales make Crown a billion poorer”

  1. Peter 1

    Would Helen Clark have got away with Key’s “I have not looked at the figures ….. but they are rubbish”.

    Shonkey as always!

  2. wtl 2

    The bottom line is National sold MRP and Meridian for ~30% less than their valuations, netting only $3.6B for 49% of both when valuations had 49% of the companies at $5.1B. This is before sale costs are subtracted. The asset sales have been a complete joke.

    • Sisko 2.1

      Maybe they were worth $5.1 billion before NZ Power was announced. It’s pretty stupid to argue that they were sold too cheap when all there companies are trading at or below their listing price. You can complain about the fees, but not the listing price.

    • Sisko 2.2

      Maybe they were worth $5.1 billion before NZ Power was announced. It’s pretty stupid to argue that they were sold too cheap when all there companies are trading at or below their listing price. You can complain about the fees, but not the listing price.

    • Sisko 2.3

      Maybe they were worth $5.1 billion before NZ power was announced. It is hard to argue that the price of the sale was too low when all three companies are currently trading at or below their sale price on the share market . You can complain about the fees, but with hindsight the sale prices look to have been decent for the government.

      • wtl 2.3.1

        If you are in charge of selling some assets for your company, good luck explaining to your boss/shareholders that you just sold $5.1B of assets for 30% less than their valuation. The obvious thing to do if you are not going to get a good return is TO NOT SELL THEM.

        • Bazar 2.3.1.1

          “good luck explaining to your boss/shareholders that you just sold $5.1B of assets for 30% less than their valuation.”

          Thats just it, you seem to think that because something is valued high in the books, that makes it true.

          We could of had the power companies valued at 10 billion if we so pleased. That doesn’t mean they were actually worth 10 billion, it was only a guess.

          But i’ll concede that it was probably worth more than the price given, but NOT after Labour’s share price vandalism.

          Then again i’m not surprised that people here would rather build an economy based on lies and pretend wealth.

          • wtl 2.3.1.1.1

            See 8.1.1 below.

            The valuation is a key part of the sale process – you need to know how much you expect to get before you can decide to sell. If you are getting anywhere near what you expect, you shouldn’t just go ahead and sell – that’s just stupid.

            I have no idea how all you RWNJs can claim to be ‘business-savvy’, you don’t even know the first thing about how to sell something.

      • Sisko 2.3.2

        Sorry – page crashed with first two posts – I thought they weren’t submitted

        • framu 2.3.2.1

          yes – the site is being seriously weird

          [Akismet is playing up and throwing lots of comments into moderation – MS]

    • infused 2.4

      Yeah, thank Labours asset sale sabotage for this one. Bunch of fucking idiots.

      • wtl 2.4.1

        LOL. Let’s see Nokia was trying to sell their phone business to Microsoft. And then Apple said, “We will aggressively compete against all phones sold by Microsoft”. So should Nokia do?

        1) Sell the phone business to Microsoft for a rock bottom price and whine that Apple is being mean?
        2) Deal with it, doing what is necessary to ensure the sale price is reasonable (or stop proceeding with the sale). It’s just part of doing business.

        How the f**k do anyone of you think you can run a business?

        • Draco T Bastard 2.4.1.1

          How the f**k do anyone of you think you can run a business?

          They’re too ignorant to know better and when they or their leaders fuck up they’ll make excuses that invariably blame someone else.

      • framu 2.4.2

        so your saying the shouldve kept their policy ideas secret?

        its a fucking political issue you fool, national knows it, labour knows it, everyone knows it – going around blaming the opposition is a bullshit weak excuse. Especially when theres a whole lot more affecting the price here.

        I guess you also blame the opposition for bills shit accounting as well?

        If you were going to invest in asset sales without asking “hmm what might happen if the govt changes at some point in the future?” your an idiot

      • dave 2.4.3

        blame labour that is rich it is up to the government and john key to provide the political management the labour/ greens are only doing there job thats why there called the oposition

        • Dumrse 2.4.3.1

          Doing their job is right, being a bunch o f sabotaging cunts.

          • Jesus Wept 2.4.3.1.1

            Dear boy. Medication.

          • felix 2.4.3.1.2

            Sabotage? My dear boy you must be joking.

            The sabotage began in the 80s when the neoliberals in labour decided that the electricity network built by generations of kiwis to provide ourselves with essential energy could instead be operated as a business to make money off kiwis, and thus the boring old NZED became the shiny new Electricorp.

            The sabotage continued in the 90s when the neoliberals in national decided that having just one electricity company was still too boring, so they split it into a bunch of new ones. They had some to make the electricity, and some to get it to your house, and even some pretend ones that don’t really do anything except charge money for sending out bills.

            The next bit of sabotage was to take those companies and sell them overseas. The neoliberals in national made a start in the 90s but they were briefly interrupted for 9 years. The program of sabotage continues today.

            Regulating against price-gouging isn’t sabotage, and neither is saying what you’ll do after you’re elected.

            NZ Power is the first step in undoing the sabotage of the last 30 years.

  3. Chooky 3

    What a disgrace for John Key’s and Bill English’s National Party (mis)management of New Zealanders assets and money!!!

    …..I hope this is sheeted home in a thousand different ways leading up to the next election.

    Good on the Greens for calling this National financial mismanagement disaster out !

    ….where is the pincer action from the other opposition parties?….especially Labour ….they should be making hay out of this!

    • wtl 3.1

      If you are in charge of selling some assets for your company, good luck explaining to your boss/shareholders that you just sold $5.1B of assets for 30% less than their valuation. The obvious thing to do if you are not going to get a good return is TO NOT SELL THEM.

  4. thatguynz 4

    “How Key can claim that’s a success and keep a straight face, I don’t know.”

    Of course you know James – because the success wasn’t about gaining a big return for the people of New Zealand… It was twofold – a naive doctrinaire neo-liberal belief (or commitment to the IMF/WB) that productive assets are best held in private rather than public hands, and a nice chunk of fees to a sector that our “dear leader” is all too fond of.

    • Murray Olsen 4.1

      And that is all that needs to be said about the asset thefts. From the Tory point of view, they are an incredible success, because more of the common wealth has been shifted into the hands of the right people. Whether there is a case to be made in terms of sensible business is irrelevant. This is not business. It is class war. Why do we keep arguing on their terms?

  5. Disraeli Gladstone 5

    I do think it’s a tad unfair to use the $5-7 billion figure as something to hit National over the head with. That’s was meant to be the final figure after all sales. Genesis hasn’t been sold yet. Solid Energy can’t be sold now. Their figure was probably actually in the right ball park.

    There’s so many other things that are genuinely and horribly wrong about the sale to hit National over the head with instead.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      “Solid Energy can’t be sold now.”

      As a result of National’s own incompetence. You don’t get to say “it isn’t National’s fault the money didn’t add up, they couldn’t sell Solid Energy” when the reason they can’t sell Solid Energy is entirely their own making.

      • dave 5.1.1

        blame labour that is rich it is up to the government and john key to provide the political management the labour/ greens are only doing there job thats why there called the oposition

  6. emergency mike 6

    Surely it’s time for the opposition to ressurect Key’s own “Show us the money” line and use it against him.

    National, a constant stream of failure to deliver on promises.

  7. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 7

    You know that “getting less for the companies than they were valued at on the Crown’s books” just means that the value in the books was over-inflated, right?

    I have valued the drawing of a crocodile I have just made at a million dollars. Therefore, I am a millionaire.

    • Pascal's bookie 7.1

      Reckon the government’s way of going about this sale had no effect whatsoever on the price it recieved gormless?

      For examples.

      If the Crown had sold these assets when people had moar money floating about?

      If they spaced them out so they weren’t dumping very similar stocks into the market over a short time period?

      basically, efficient market hypothesis is pretty much nonsense. It one sense it’s a useless tautolgy, but that’s it’s good side.

      • Plan B 7.1.1

        Why create in your head a comparison that is simply not comparable to make a point that is pointless. Your crocodile drawing does not provide a return except when sold, therefore in your invented world, yes the sale price determines the value. If however people paid to view the crocodile drawing you could determine the value of the crocodile to you by way of how much money you earn per day less expenses. I guess in the end it would all depend on how good your crocodile drawing was. But crocodile drawings are not a useful way of helping us all understand the value of hydro dams to New Zealanders.

    • Lanthanide 7.2

      “You know that “getting less for the companies than they were valued at on the Crown’s books” just means that the value in the books was over-inflated, right?”

      Yes, so it means you shouldn’t go around making policy on dodgy figures, and when it becomes obvious the figures won’t pan out, you should change your policy to reflect reality, not blindly charge onwards.

      • Bazar 7.2.1

        “Yes, so it means you shouldn’t go around making policy on dodgy figures, and when it becomes obvious the figures won’t pan out, you should change your policy to reflect reality, not blindly charge onwards.”

        In a way they did. They lowered the share price of the company to better reflect reality, rather than blindly selling them at what the books listed them at.

        Oh i’m sorry, did you mean they should of kept the companies listed at unrealistic prices and stopped the sale midway.
        Should of made that clear.

        “Once the government realized the assets were overpriced, they should of stopped the sale process.”
        There, fixed it for you.

        • Lanthanide 7.2.1.1

          Um, Bazar, the purpose of the sale, and why we were told it was good, is because it would bring in heaps of money for the government.

          When that was no longer true, the appropriate response, given the stated aim of the plan (to raise $5-7bn) is not “oh, sell them cheaper then”, which is what you are suggesting, and what the government did. The appropriate response is to change the policy, eg stop the sales until such time as they could generate the promised $5-7bn in returns.

          • Tracey 7.2.1.1.1

            Well said. Need a Panadol for that pounding from the banging against the brick wall? Everything is always labour’s fault even when it isn’t

          • Bazar 7.2.1.1.2

            This will be the last time i say this, but national never said anything about making lots of money.

            It wasn’t about selling the assets for profit.
            It was about financing.

            I have never seen a national MP, and certainly not john key or bill english state they were selling the assets just to make money.
            Money raised has been mentioned, but usually as an estimate of how much would be raised, not as some target goal post to be met. The estimate was 5-7 billion, which was before labour and Tiwai Point pulled their stunts. So perhaps they would of made 5 billion+ otherwise.

            Its always people who never understood the asset sales, that keep thinking that its about making money. Or perhaps its because its an easier concept to rally against profits, then it is to rally against financing.

            This’ll be the 3rd and last time i point out that the asset sales were not about making cash on this topic.

            • ghostrider888 7.2.1.1.2.1

              Excellent, cos’ like, 88 is a number of comments we are quite partial to round these here parts, pilgrim.

            • Tat Loo (CV) 7.2.1.1.2.2

              Of course the asset sales were not about making cash. They were about transferring valuable assets to foreign investors at low cost to them, and major loss to us.

            • Lloyd 7.2.1.1.2.3

              I am aware of several people who have told me they voted National not only because of that nice man, John Key, but also because the Nats were going to square the books by selling off the power companies.

              They believed that the government would get squillions from selling those companies, and obviously they would get tax cuts because of the sell off of these companies that had cost the government a lot of money.

              Reality doesn’t count, its what the voters believe that counts.

              They believed the Nats said they would make lots of money selling those companies.

              • Tat Loo (CV)

                “Reality doesn’t count, its what the voters believe that counts.”

                That’s good electoral common sense. Not always in ample supply.

            • Lanthanide 7.2.1.1.2.4

              I’m glad it’s the last time you’ll say that, because it isn’t actually true.

  8. Appleboy 8

    What a pathetic analogy. your personal valuation of your crocodile drawing is a little different to the independent valuation of power companies by financial institutions. Moronic.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 8.1

      Appleboy, I cannot see anyone else talking about crocodile drawings, so I will assume that your comment is directed at me. The software has an helpful reply feature which you may find useful to avoid confusion like that I have momentarily experienced.

      1. Can we agree that if the Crown got the market value of the assets it has sold, it has lost nothing?
      2. What is it that the financial institutions were doing when they valued the power companies?
      3. Was it trying to establish their market value?
      4. Of actual sale price and valuation, which is a truer indication of market value?

      • wtl 8.1.1

        Irrelevant. When you decide to sell something, the valuation is an important part of that decision to sell. For your crocodile drawing example, if you really thought your crocodile drawing was worth a million dollars and but the highest offer was 30% less i.e. $700K, you could:

        A) Accept the price the buyer is offering regardless.
        B) Refuse to accept the offer and instead re-evaluate the sale process. e.g. Was my valuation correct? Is there something I can do to make the drawing more attractive to a buyer? Should I be selling the drawing in a different way? Were all prospective buyers aware of the sale? Should I hold on to the drawing for a longer time and sell it later?

        Option A might make sense if you was desperate for cash or if the asset (the crocodile drawing) was losing money. However, if the drawing was providing a good return (e.g. people paying to see it), you would be utterly incompetent if you immediately chose to go for A without some re-
        evaluation. After all, the decision to sell the asset would have been made with the valuation in mind. If you are going to sell the asset regardless of price, why even bother getting a valuation?

        • Bazar 8.1.1.1

          But the painting was sold at $700
          It was well advertised, it was packaged as best possible, even sitching up a deal with the smelter to make buying easy.

          Instead you still couldn’t get the 1 million you wanted, so after all this effort sold it to the highest bidder for $700k

          Did the bidder get the $1 million dollar paining for cheap?
          He doesn’t tihnk so, hes offering to sell the paining to anyone for just $599k (Based on current share price of $2.14)

          Not a single person believes that painting is worth $1 million dollars.
          Holding onto that painting doesn’t make it more valuable.
          “Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it” Publilius Syrus – 1 Century BC

          Even back then they could understand that basic concept.
          Believing something is worth more then what anyone will pay for it is what we call naive.
          Otherwise i do have a painting i value worth 1 million dollars, and i’ll sell it to you for $10k, this week only.

          • Pascal's bookie 8.1.1.1.1

            “it was packaged as best possible”

            No it wasn’t. The whole design of the policy has been about how to get sales made without damaging the government’s popularity too much. Maximising the Crown’s return from the sales has been a secondary consideration at best.

          • wtl 8.1.1.1.2

            You are missing the point of my post. Regardless of what the painting is ‘really worth’, the decision to sell the drawing was made assuming the sale would net around ~$1 million. If you aren’t going to get ~$1 million, then you don’t just proceed with the sale, you re-evaluate whether it is worthwhile to sell, especially since the drawing is still giving me a healthy return.

            Of course, National did nothing of the sort.

            • Bazar 8.1.1.1.2.1

              You’re under the assumption that the sole goal of selling the painting was to raise money.

              Its been explained serveral times that the goal wasn’t just about raising money, its more of a lowering of debt/trasnfer of finances

              Selling these power generating assets to kiwi’s, and using those funds to build new things

              To quote from http://www.national.org.nz/mixed-ownership.aspx

              “This will broaden the pool of investments for New Zealand savers and deepen capital markets, helping Kiwi companies access the funds they need to grow.

              Listing on the stock exchange will also provide stronger commercial discipline, transparency, and greater external oversight for these companies. And it will give each company access to an alternative pool of capital for growth, other than the Government.”

              Now if the painting is $1 million, $700k, or even $1.4m, that doesn’t change the goals of the asset sale scheme.

              But again, if you’ve only ever seen the asset sales, as assets for cash, you’ve only been looking at 1 part of the economy, a single transaction.

              As key pointed out during the debates of the election (When the public were voting on the future government), he pointed out that we currently have kiwisaver and retirement funds investing in Australia because there is nothing for them to invest in here.

              This just created a 3.9 billion dollar investment in nz with funds that could quite easily have be invested in promoting the australian economy instead.

              The government has now 3.9 billion they can spend on other things, or just keep debt low.
              Personally if it was about making money, or reducing debt, i’d of thought it a stupid idea. Because anyone can see you can’t make money long term selling assets, and the rate of return is greater then international borrowing rates.

              What this can do is increase the investment in NZ, while forging the public assets to conform to public scrutiny. The latter is also very important because state owned assets have a tendency to underperform, fall victim to political goals, or worse, fall apart (See solid state energy, New Zealand Rail Limited).

              • Pascal's bookie

                Think it through.

                They used to be 100% NZ owned. They are now around 15% foreign owned with returns going off shore. Few people think that number isn’t going to get bigger as time goes on.

                The ‘investment’ in NZ is being done where? By the govt doing shit with the money it raised from the sale, on things it would have done anyway. There has been no investment into the MOMs.

                The money paid for the MOM shares would have otherwise been doing what? Sitting under a mattress perhaps? Earning money from overseas investments? Going into companies maybe?

                What this does is takes investment money, and spends it on things the government would be doing anyway. It is saying that the private sector in NZ is so woeful that investors have nothing better to do with their money than swap it for some govt stock so that the govt can spend that money on schools and stuff.

                So the govt loses out on the returns and saves on the interest. Treasury reckons that it loses on that swap, certainly in the medium term.

                The idea that the MOM policy would stimulate people towards the NZX and away from property seems to have been a complete fizzer, unsurprisingly.

                The hodge podge of reasons National gave for the policy don;t really add up. they remind me of the reasons the Bush admin trotted out for invading Iraq. Oh it’s this, and that, and this other thing! None of which really seem to be worth the candle.

                At the end of the day, they sold some stakes in some companies, in a rush and structured in away that didn’t maximise the return to the Crown for those assets.

                All else is fluff.

              • Pascal's bookie

                The latter is also very important because state owned assets have a tendency to underperform, fall victim to political goals, or worse, fall apart (See solid state energy, New Zealand Rail Limited).

                Missed this part, which is just hilarious.

                Why is it then, that the only things that can tempt private investors to do all this miraculous ‘deepening of the capital markets’ and bliggedy blah blah, are things the state built and will retain a 51% stake in?

                Please explain this to me.

                • Bazar

                  You could of phrased that 2nd half a lot better, i can only guess its meaning.

                  Because you can’t deepen the market by having investors shift money from one NZ company to another NZ company.
                  The depth remains the same.

                  If the government sells its assets, and then uses that money to produce more, that in effect creates more assets and thus more capital has been sunk into nz.

                  Your stance is that the government won’t use that money on assets, or that it won’t be spending a dime more than it was going to regardless.
                  And so on that stance, there isn’t anything further to be said. Time will tell.

                  Also if your question was asking why stop at 51% (and again, your question wasn’t easy to understand)…
                  The government has made a call to sell its assets and use the funds elsewhere.
                  As for the government holding 51%, it means it still retains control of the assets, but now has public accountability, feedback, and more independence from political motives.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Because you can’t deepen the market by having investors shift money from one NZ company to another NZ company.

                    Well no. The question is why is it that state built companies that can attract capital into the market, if we believe that state is such a poor builder of companies?

                    Why isn’t the private sector using that capital to build things, given it does a better job of doing that?

                    And why is it that the best thing we can think of to do with that capital is have the govt direct it to things via the Future Investment Fund?

                    This capital that the state is sinking onto the FIF didn’t come from nowhere. What is the opportunity cost?

                    The argument behind the MOM policy is that the government knows what to do with that money better than the private sector does. That it is worth not only forgoing the dividends in a time when interest rates are globally low for govt borrowing, but that it is also a better use of investment capital to spend it on the things the FIF spends it on than it would be to spend it on whatever else private sector investors would have been doing with it.

                    This may be true.

                    But it is ironic, given the idea that the govt is wasteful and prone to all these political risks and so on and so forth.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Because you can’t deepen the market by having investors shift money from one NZ company to another NZ company.

                    The question is why is it that it is state built companies that can attract capital into the market, if we believe that state is such a poor builder of companies?

                    Why isn’t the private sector using that capital to build things, if we believe it does a better job of doing that?

                    And why is it that the best thing we can think of to do with that capital is have the govt direct it to things via the Future Investment Fund?

                    This capital that the state is sinking onto the FIF didn’t come from nowhere. What is the opportunity cost?

                    The argument behind the MOM policy is that the government knows what to do with that money better than the private sector does. That it is worth not only forgoing the dividends in a time when interest rates are globally low for govt borrowing, but that it is also a better use of investment capital to spend it on the things the FIF spends it on than it would be to spend it on whatever else private sector investors would have been doing with it.

                    This may be true.

                    But it is ironic, given the idea that the govt is wasteful and prone to all these political risks and so on and so forth.

                    And I am most certainly not saying that govt won’t be spending the money it gets. Of course it will. You have been saying throughout this thread that this isn’t about the govt raising new money, it’s a swap between debt and equity in these assets. That only makes sense if the government would have spent the money anyway. If they didn’t, then there wouldn’t be the extra debt.

      • adam 8.1.2

        Oh my The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell, let the unseen hand rule the day – any other fantasies you want to embrace – how about dialectic materialism or the fairies at the end of the garden. Market or reaching for the market to explain things is pure fantasy at work, and quite frankly – lazy thinking at it’s worst. I don’t believe in fairies at the end of the garden nor do I believe in the unseen hand of the market – what I do believe in was that the economics of this issue are ideological led – This current government are ideological and can’t have a rational debate based on logic or reason – even if there was a gun held to there head.

        I’m sick of people reaching for irrational mythical explanations to justify there position – at the end of the day, ask these questions – are people better off with this programme of sale – nope. Is the sale a positive for freedom – nope. Is this sale programme run by idiots in love with Anna Rand and living in a fantasy la la land – probably.

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 8.1.2.1

          I don’t remember mentioning Anna Rand.

          The point of the post is that by selling the shares at less than what they were valued at, the Crown has somehow lost money.

          You can think something has a certain value all you like but it doesn’t make it so. Selling it it tells you what it is really worth. If you sell and asset for less than you have told yourself it is worth (rather than what it is actually worth), you have not lost anything.

          • adam 8.1.2.1.1

            But that was not the logic that was presented at the point of sale. They themselves said this was an asset worth selling and they would make loads of money for the crown. They haven’t, and appealing to the market to justify this failure – is lazy thinking. It’s the fantasy, dreamy logic I have seen by many woollies of the left – but to tell you the truth, those who call them self right wing are more in this fluffy dream state these days.

            The argument is really quite simple – they said (the crown) we will make loads of money from this sale – they have not = fail.

            Any justification at this point is wrapped up in ideology – your arguments point in case. Lost of an asset which makes you money for a short term gain, seem irrational to me. And appealing to the market to find it’s value is another irrational argument – if you don’t know it’s value – why sell it? Is that not like cutting off your nose, despite it being part of your face. Your arguments are a post fubar justification for irrational behaviour.

            Bugger either left or right spin, this is a government who is ideological to the extreme and using ideology to justify irrational decisions.

            I didn’t say you were an Rand worshipper – are you? Key has quote Rand a few times, so I feel I can bring her up. Do you really think fairies live at the end of the garden?

            • Bazar 8.1.2.1.1.1

              Thats something the left has repeatedly said, about the government doing this to make money.

              National has never said selling assets was about making money. Its just something the Left keep repeating because then they have something uninformed citizens can join to rally against.

              It has always been about financing. About covering the cost of new infrastructure, and creating a massive capital injection into NZ’s economy.
              And on those grounds, i still see it being a success.

              How it will affect the budget will be interesting to see. But this trash report of $1.5 billion loss is nothing short of propaganda. But coming from the greens, i’m surprised they managed to count that high.

              The real cost will be the loss of dividends and cost of sale (not made up valuation loss) vs reduced borrowing costs

            • greywarbler 8.1.2.1.1.2

              Ayn Rand I think. We don”t want any more Rands of her ilk, one was more than enough.

            • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 8.1.2.1.1.3

              The argument is really quite simple – they said (the crown) we will make loads of money from this sale – they have not = fail.

              That may be your argument. It is not the argument of the post. That is: Assets sales make Crown a billion poorer.

              And they don’t. The assets are worth the same as they were worth when the government owned them. They are worth less than they were valued at, but that’s not the same as they are worth.

              I am unfamiliar with Anna Rand. What is her field of expertise?

              • Appleboy

                My god. You are saying that selling for less than valued is not a loss? They chose to sell now out of blind ideology – and to sell pre the referendum, and well ahead of the 2014 election in the hope it would be yesterday’s news cost that this scam cost US a billion.

                So, if i sell my car right before Xmas when it’s not a good time to sell and get $7,000 instead of $10,000 (normal valuation) I’ve lost nothing.

                Moronic.

                • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                  Found the reply button. Clap clap.

                  You want to have an argument about when the state should be selling assets? OK.

                  When do you think they should have sold them?

                  • Appleboy

                    You’re giving moronic a bloody good go. They should not have sold them, strange concept that seems to have escaped you. Now answer my question – which was a far better analogy than yours. It was very simple :

                    So, if i sell my car right before Xmas when it’s not a good time to sell and get $7,000 instead of $10,000 (normal valuation) I’ve lost nothing.

                    And your answer is?

                    Clap clap for the avoidance in advance

                    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                      You understand that your question aims to get to the bottom of the best time to sell your car not whether it should be sold ?

                      Accepting that your car should be sold (I feel like I am winning already) after you sold the car, if there was some real time market establishing the value of your car on a minute-by-minute basis, you would know whether the time you sold it was a better time to sell than subsequent periods.

                      If only there were such a market for the assets the government sold. We could look at it and see if the price had gone up or down since they were sold.

            • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 8.1.2.1.1.4

              The argument is really quite simple – they said (the crown) we will make loads of money from this sale – they have not = fail.

              That may be your argument. It is not the argument of the post. That is: Assets sales make Crown a billion poorer.

              And they don’t. The assets are worth the same as they were worth when the government owned them. They are worth less than they were valued at, but that’s not the same as they are worth.

              I am unfamiliar with Anna Rand. What is her field of expertise?

        • Bazar 8.1.2.2

          Well played
          You managed to write 2 large paragraphs full of banter, without actually answering even a single question of his.

          I also like the irony of how you rant about your ideology and ignore the debate, and instead turn to attack the government for being ideological and not having a debate.

          I’m left looking forward to reading many more of your subtle troll jokes.

          • adam 8.1.2.2.1

            No I was not being subtle about the rash of woolly thinking – I see your another one – what debate – which is being side tracked by you and yours for ideological reasons. The crown said, these were assets we should sell – these assets would make them lots of money and be good for the country. That has not happened, purely and simple – the maths does not add up.

            They didn’t make the money they said, and your all rushing to sure up a bankrupt ideology to justify bad management, poor decision making and the end of rational and logical economic debate. Excuse me for cutting to the heart of the matter – And not getting bagged down in your fluff and misdirection. 30 years of irrational debate and arrogant tards like you Bazar, wanna come out from behind your avatar?

            If I’m a troll for standing up to irrationality, then I’m a troll.

            • Bazar 8.1.2.2.1.1

              You keep spouting the word “Ideological”. Does it give you pleasure to use it so much?

              But to correct your assumptions.
              I’m not sidetracking any debate, although i am ridiculing posts which are nothing but fluff (and thats putting it nicely).

              If you want to have a debate, by all means go ahead.
              Spouting crap like the invisible hand of the free market, fairies, and ad hominem attacks against those with differing views isn’t a debate.

              Oleolebiscuitbarrell even made it easy for you, and gave 4 points of the same topic, and you completely ignored them, so you could rant about the government. Thats not arguing, that’s just someone who enjoys the sound of their own voice.

              Moving on.
              You claim that the government said selling these assets would make them lots of money. Please provide a citation.
              Never, not once, have i said the government would make a profit from this. It was always about financing and debt management.
              I’ll even dig up a page direct from national.
              http://www.national.org.nz/mixed-ownership.aspx

              Its the leftwing who keep insisting that the government is doing this to make money, its an easy strawman arguement to make afterall.

              “Excuse me for cutting to the heart of the matter”
              YOU ARE NOT EXCUSED.
              You skipped the argument, provided no workings, and are now giving the celebration speech.
              Thats just poor sportsmanship at best, the rantings of an idiot who doesn’t know what they are talking about at worst.

              Did you ever sit high school exams?
              You always have to show your workings, otherwise we can only assume you’re guessing. Its also just good habit to allow someone to review your findings, so any faulty assumptions can be pointed out.

              “30 years of irrational debate and arrogant tards like you Bazar, wanna come out from behind your avatar?”

              Ah yes, attacking the messenger. A tried and tested approach for when you don’t want to debate the issue. Bonus points for coming from a person calling themselves “adam”.

              In that case, you can call me Mr Smith. So does knowing my name make my points any more meaningful “adam”?

              • Rogue Trooper

                I found no need to “show workings” for learning high school math; merely the pedagogues required it for standardization.
                “Go on my son, ‘ave a go.”

    • Melb 8.2

      And this valuation of the power companies, was it done before or after NZ Power was announced?

      • Pascal's bookie 8.2.1

        If the NZ Power announcement was so damaging, then the Crown should have held off on the sale until after the election.

        At the end of the day though, the government wanted to sell these assets fro ideological reasons, so it went ahead anyway, with a number of factors built into the sale process that reduced the return the crown got.

        For example, why the restriction on sales to off shore investors? That probably reduced the price as much as the risk of NZ Power.

      • wtl 8.2.2

        Before, but it is irrelevant. The decision to sell was made with the original valuations in mind. If something happened that meant that the return from selling wouldn’t be as high as initially expected, National should have re-evaluated whether or not to proceed with the sale.

      • framu 8.2.3

        yeah – its funny isnt it how the opposition announce their idea on policy ahead of time so voters know what might be on the cards. They should just keep it secret and spring it on people aye?

        fucks sake, what a bunch of pathetic cry babies

        honest question – are you seriously saying that the idea of NZ power is the ONLY thing that affected the result?

        • Melb 8.2.3.1

          “its funny isnt it how the opposition announce their idea on policy ahead of time so voters know what might be on the cards.”

          Just like how selling 49% of these assets was announced months before the election.

          NZ Power is a major thing because it introduces so much uncertainty.

          • Lanthanide 8.2.3.1.1

            Just like how the referendum was announced months before the sales started, too. Yet the government pressed on anyway.

          • Naturesong 8.2.3.1.2

            Actually, NZPower introduced certainty to the market.

            Specifically, that wholesale prices would be managed in a way to ensure reasonable profits, but restrict price gouging.

            If you want to argue that the share price has fallen because Labour and Greens floated a policy to restrict price gouging, go for it.

  9. Will@Welly 9

    Key, if he gets back in, will use this as justification for selling the remaining shareholding.
    The opposition now cannot afford any more stuff ups. No more skeletons in the closet. Time to hammer and hammer the bastards like an old record, be relentless in Parliament and around the traps, embarrass the buggers time and again.
    Key, if he was in opposition, would not take his foot off the throttle. Labour/Greens need to do the same – Russel Norman has provided good cannon fodder, Chorus is another stuff up

  10. Will@Welly 10

    Key, if he gets back in, will use this as justification for selling the remaining shareholding.
    The opposition now cannot afford any more stuff ups. No more skeletons in the closet. Time to hammer and hammer the bastards like an old record, be relentless in Parliament and around the traps, embarrass the buggers time and again.
    Key, if he was in opposition, would not take his foot off the throttle. Labour/Greens need to do the same – Russel Norman has provided good cannon fodder, Chorus is another stuff up

  11. captain hook 11

    when are some of the wiseacres round here going to understand that the price of the assets had nothing to do with it.
    Its the long term value and paying off of political debts by looting the treasury that is operating here.
    the sooner National is turned out the better.

  12. Rogue Trooper 12

    National, “the party of better economic management”!

    • infused 12.1

      Damm right.

      • Rogue Trooper 12.1.1

        now, I understand how typos occur, transposing letters and words myself today, and I can see you meant ‘Damn the right’. No probs, happy to be of assistance at road-side breakdowns.

  13. Tracey 13

    nomination for most accidentally ironic post of the month

    “Then again i’m not surprised that people here would rather build an economy based on lies and pretend wealth.” Bazar

    ” “

  14. Tracey 14

    since when has an opposition party been not allowed to announce a future policy just cos it doesnt make things smooth fir the govt.

    the nats and their supporters are deliberately obtuse over this nz power thing.

    dont sell if price drops. dont point and go wah wah wah

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 14.1

      But the point Tracey, is that once the shares have lost value (for whatever reason) that is their value whether you own them or sell them. You cannot make them still worth the valuation price by not selling them. You get that, right?

      • framu 14.1.1

        so your saying the nats didnt think that the announcement of NZ power would affect the price?

        really?

        NZ power was announced before the sales – the price went down after didnt it

    • Bazar 14.2

      The opposition government wasn’t forbidden. Not once has anyone said they couldn’t do what they did.

      Doesn’t mean they should of.

      What person would create a policy that was :
      1. Badly thought out
      2. Very little chance of actually being implemented
      3. Timed to inflict maximum damage to the sale process
      Just to spite the government in power.
      4. Going to have collateral damage that hurt every single kiwi. Or did you think that wiping hundreds of millions of the share price is a victimless act?

      “dont sell if price drops. dont point and go wah wah wah”
      We right wings aren’t the ones crying. You seem to be thinking of another group…

      • bad12 14.2.1

        Little pig, little pig…

      • Naturesong 14.2.2

        1. Partly Disagree. The Greens had run the numbers, but Labour under Shearer were pretty luke warm. I don’t think it was badly thought out, they were undecided on the politics – which was the whole problem with Shearer anyway.
        2. Disagree: Election is 50/50. … and this model has been implemented in several countries around the world to great effect, so grabbing the best parts of those models should not be a problem. No links cause I’m lazy, but if you really insist I’ll google them.
        3. Disagree: The timing was to ensure that peoiple would be making an informed decision. Givin that polls have consistantly shown 70% – 75% opposition to the sale of these public utilities, announcing this policy before any sales went ahead was the responsible thing to do.
        4. Disagree: The treasury outlined in March 2011 the main reasons why the National would not be able to meet their targets. Basically, dumping a shitload of power companies onto the sharemarket at a time when most folks don’t have spare cash is a dumb idea. Their recomendation was that the domestic market would only be able to absorb $2B per year.

  15. Puckish Rogue 15

    Well done to the NZ govt, they got more money for the partial sale of shares then they were worth…thats a good thing for NZ

    What would the left be saying if the value of the shares had gone up after they’d been sold…

    • Rogue Trooper 15.1

      the ‘left’ were saying “do not sell strategic Asset shares”. On ya go now.

    • framu 15.2

      so they got more than they turned out to be worth and its still going to leave a huge hole in the finances

      well fucking done national – champion stuff there

  16. Tracey 16

    bazar

    if it has no chance of being implemented and this is apparently self evident it shouldnt affect the sale price?

  17. Tracey 17

    gormless

    does the value of the shares on the market affect tge dividend

  18. joe90 18

    A text book wealth grab – gain control, sell assets, extract millions in fees and load the corpse with debt.

    • Will@Welly 18.1

      Then unload it back onto the unsuspecting “moms and dads” – where have we seen this before? Sound familiar.

  19. Tracey 19

    For bazar to whom the truth is so important

    http://thestandard.org.nz/an-honest-man/

  20. bad12 20

    What tho is being ignored here tho is the ‘real’ reason for the sale of these assets, forget highways, schools, hospitals and the zillion other false reasons put up by Slippery the PM and the rest of his tawdry bunch of used car salesmen that was simply a trail of LIES,

    This Government would have by the time it is kicked from the Treasury Benches borrowed some 70-80 billion dollars, like any entity the ability to borrow and the interest rates charged for that borrowing are judged on assets and the earnings ability of the entity borrowing the monies,

    What Slippery’s Government is intending to achieve via the part sales of the assets is the knee-capping of any incoming Government after this one is given the kick,

    Selling off parts of the assets against which they have previously borrowed 70-80 billion dollars is (a) intended to have the lenders balk at the lending of more and (b) have the ‘ratings agencies’ downgrade the New Zealand Governments credit rating on a future call,

    You might ask are not Slippery and His Government worried that the lenders and/or the ratings agencies might move ‘now’ to restrict the Government’s borrowing,

    They thought of that, this Government has borrowed ‘forward’ the amounts of money needed to run the Governments accounts for the next couple of years,(remember Bill English a couple of years ago boasting how they were borrowing more than needed as money was ‘cheap’),

    Off of that ability to ‘borrow forward’ Slippery and Bill(not from Dipton),are going to claim a balancing of the Government books next year saying they have not borrowed in that year which while technically correct is absolute bullshit as the monies propping up the Government accounts will have been borrowed in years 11-12,

    This is a smoke and mirrors Government, cynical but hardly stupid, the sell down of the State assets was for a reason all right just not the one Slippery and Co gave to the public…

    • Tracey 20.1

      For those who say ho does this benefit Key’s rich mates if th eprice has dropped I say;

      1. How much have brokers/traders made?

      2. How many bought and then sold on opening to a slight spike in price (particularly in MRP)

      Both or the first of these scenarios benefitted those of whom Key formally was one

  21. Mr Interest 21

    BERLIN REVERSES PRIVATIZATION

    3 November 2013: German call to ‘undo’ energy privatisation amid Berlin vote

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24763311

    Is the tide now turning against privatisation? In the 1990s, a wave of sell-offs swept away countless publicly owned enterprises (though privatisation’s fans would say that “enterprise” was the wrong word to describe them).

    AND THE RESULT:

    BERLIN REVERSES PRIVATIZATION

    http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2013/11/19/berlin-reverses-privatisation

    This is only 150,000 less than the combined vote of the Social Democrat and conservative Christian Democrat parties (who run the federal state of Berlin) in the last regional elections. The referendum was held after around 230,000 signatures had been collected by the “Berliner Energietisch” campaign, calling for democratic control over and public ownership of the energy supply (and of other basic necessities), 100% green energy, any profits going into public services, and full transparency in the running of the new municipal utility and grid company.

    Berlin’s regional government sold off their remaining 51% majority in the local electricity supplier and producer, Bewag, in 1997. Eventually the Swedish state-owned power company Vattenfall took over. Its name means ‘waterfall’ but mainly produces power from coal, as well as nuclear energy (and a not insignificant number of serious accidents, in Germany at least). Vattenfall had also bought the local electricity works in Hamburg, the HEW from the regional government.

    Two years later, Berlin sold 49.9% of its water board, BWB, to Vivendi (today Veolia), power firm RWE and insurance company Allianz as part of a public-private-partnership deal. PPP was, as usual, to be particularly expensive for service users, and the citizens of Berlin got the most expensive water supply in Germany as a result. The PPP deal, however, which guaranteed profits to Vivendi & Co. was kept secret by the government and was only released after a long political campaign by the “Wassertisch” and a successful referendum (in the process of which the treaties were leaked to the media, and only then released by the government — before the vote was held, incidentally). By September this year, the government had bought back the 51.1% from Vivendi and RWE — at ‘market price’, meaning that the company will be run as before and that water and sewage charges are not expected to fall.

    The campaign to take (or, as happened, to buy) back the water authority inspired a number of similar campaigns. The suburban rail service, the Berlin S-Bahn, is, since 1994, a division of the state-owned, though explicitly run according to the logic of profit, railway company Deutsche Bahn AG. Berlin’s suburban services are paid for by regional government, yet these subsidies have not been used to improve services or even to maintain them.

  22. Mr Interest 22

    BERLIN REVERSES ELECTRICITY PRIVATIZATION

    3 November 2013: German call to ‘undo’ energy privatization amid Berlin vote

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24763311
    Is the tide now turning against privatization? In the 1990s, a wave of sell-offs swept away countless publicly owned enterprises (though privatization’s fans would say that “enterprise” was the wrong word to describe them).

    AND THE RESULT:

    BERLIN REVERSES PRIVATIZATION

    http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2013/11/19/berlin-reverses-privatisation
    This is only 150,000 less than the combined vote of the Social Democrat and conservative Christian Democrat parties (who run the federal state of Berlin) in the last regional elections. The referendum was held after around 230,000 signatures had been collected by the “Berliner Energietisch” campaign, calling for democratic control over and public ownership of the energy supply (and of other basic necessities), 100% green energy, any profits going into public services, and full transparency in the running of the new municipal utility and grid company.

    Berlin’s regional government sold off their remaining 51% majority in the local electricity supplier and producer, Bewag, in 1997. Eventually the Swedish state-owned power company Vattenfall took over. Its name means ‘waterfall’ but mainly produces power from coal, as well as nuclear energy (and a not insignificant number of serious accidents, in Germany at least). Vattenfall had also bought the local electricity works in Hamburg, the HEW from the regional government.

    Two years later, Berlin sold 49.9% of its water board, BWB, to Vivendi (today Veolia), power firm RWE and insurance company Allianz as part of a public-private-partnership deal. PPP was, as usual, to be particularly expensive for service users, and the citizens of Berlin got the most expensive water supply in Germany as a result. The PPP deal, however, which guaranteed profits to Vivendi & Co. was kept secret by the government and was only released after a long political campaign by the “Wassertisch” and a successful referendum (in the process of which the treaties were leaked to the media, and only then released by the government — before the vote was held, incidentally). By September this year, the government had bought back the 51.1% from Vivendi and RWE — at ‘market price’, meaning that the company will be run as before and that water and sewage charges are not expected to fall.

    The campaign to take (or, as happened, to buy) back the water authority inspired a number of similar campaigns. The suburban rail service, the Berlin S-Bahn, is, since 1994, a division of the state-owned, though explicitly run according to the logic of profit, railway company Deutsche Bahn AG. Berlin’s suburban services are paid for by regional government, yet these subsidies have not been used to improve services or even to maintain them.

  23. Pascal's bookie 23

    Ok righties.

    It’s a fairly simple question you’re all avoiding.

    Has the timing and structure of these MOM sales maximised the return the Crown has received,, or would another structure for sale have returned more?

    Specifically, to help you out with just one aspect, (there are more), has the government’s policy to maintain 85% NZ ownership meant that the crown has received a lower price than it would have by selling selling it on an open market?

    If the answer to that question is ‘Yes’, then how can it be the case that the price reflects any sort of ‘objective value’ for the company?

    The prices of things are determined by all sorts of factors. Just saying ‘OMG the market said it was this, therefore the valuations were wrong’ is just childish nonsense.

    But the main point is that the government said they were worth x in the budget. That’s what they budgeted for. They failed to get x. Blaming ‘NZ Power’ is irrelevant to that. And even if NZ Power lowered the price, that’s only an argument for delaying the sale until after the election. If protecting the Crown’s accounts is a factor of course.

    • Lanthanide 23.1

      I suspect we’re not going to get any better answer than Bazar’s weird take on reality that the government didn’t actually want to get lots of money when it sold the assets, it was just doing it for shits and giggles. Or something.

  24. Macro 24

    “How Key can claim that’s a success and keep a straight face, I don’t know.”

    In his former job he would be down the road by now…

    We will have to wait until next year :(

  25. Macro 25

    “How Key can claim that’s a success and keep a straight face, I don’t know.”

    In his former job he would be down the road by now…

    We will have to wait until next year :(

  26. Murray Olsen 26

    I suspect the government got advice from John Banks on these sales. Archie would have taught him at an early age that you never get the full price for stolen goods. In fact the rule of thumb was one third, so they probably think they’ve done well.

  27. Steve (North Shore) 27

    Now James you know why the arse dropped out of this. Someone high up in Labour said that when Labour is Government they will buy back all of the shares. Now I can’t be bothered finding/proving this. Not mentioning any names but you know who it is.
    I was thinking of investing but I decided the Labour policy was more like a scam, they would borrow to buy back – but how much they would borrow to prove a point worried me.
    My wallet gets emptied by someone who just can’t help themselves

  28. Steve (North Shore) 28

    Now James you know why the arse dropped out of this. Someone high up in Labour said that when Labour is Government they will buy back all of the shares. Now I can’t be bothered finding/proving this. Not mentioning any names but you know who it is.
    I was thinking of investing but I decided the Labour policy was more like a scam, they would borrow to buy back – but how much they would borrow to prove a point worried me.
    My wallet gets emptied by someone who just can’t help themselves in the Tax and spend game

  29. tricledrown 29

    That’s why you follow Keys beg borrow ,steal and lie program.
    Steve.

  30. Marcus 30

    @ Steve, Yet you can support Nationals top earner tax cuts that Bill English has admitted $220 million pw.
    Do the math on that & then tell me why we’re borrowing so much.
    The assets should never have been sold, full stop, as the revenue derived from them provided government with a steady income stream.
    A short term gain to fund their tax cuts with long term losses in terms of future revenue streams.

  31. Naturesong 31

    @Marcus – Post 31

    I don’t think $220M per week for tax cuts is correct.

    The net tax cuts (including tax increases, GST et al.) are estimated at $1.6-$2.2 billion per year.

    Weekly, that comes to a shortfall of $30M to $42M per week. And as the Government is currently running a deficit, that shortfall must be borrowed.

    I think your figure of $220M per week is the average weekly budget deficit for this government so far.
    It comes to $11B annually, or $55B over the last five years.

  32. Ian 32

    I work big days and coming into this debate without reading any of the previous posts. I also bought Mighty River Shares and a heap more Meridian shares. I will receive dividends over the next few years and the share price is of no concern to me whatever (Don’t you hate that word ]
    My focus is on what Bill English does with the money. The assets are not lost forever. New assets are bought with the money. If Norman and Cunliffe manage to get the numbers next November , The negotiations over their compulsory buy back of private assets won’t be easy .

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