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Cullen Fund earns more for New Zealand than Asset Sales

Written By: - Date published: 7:14 am, December 19th, 2013 - 170 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags: ,

Michael Cullen

So the Cullen Fund shows the Government that it does not have to sell strategically important assets to improve the country’s finances, all it has to do is continue investing in the fund.

From Stuff:

The “Cullen” superannuation fund has posted a return of 1.66 per cent in November, taking its overall value to $24.93 billion – roughly half the Government’s net debt.

Over the last 12 months, as world equity markets soared, it earned 27.76 per cent or about $5.5b. That was more than the Government’s asset-sales programme, which is forecast to bring in between $4.6b and $5b.

The fund’s annual return since inception in 2003 has been 9.55 per cent.

Please remind me, why did we stop contributions to the Cullen Fund and why are we selling the country’s silverware?

170 comments on “Cullen Fund earns more for New Zealand than Asset Sales”

  1. One Anonymous Knucklehead 1

    Teaching the National Party basic economics is a waste of time: they lack the cognitive ability to apply the lesson.

  2. Ad 2

    Great stuff Mickey.

  3. Che'sCrushedSkull 3

    Please remind me, why did we stop contributions to the Cullen Fund and why are we selling the country’s silverware?

    —————–

    As stated, the Cullen fund has earned it’s returns from overseas – because there is bugger all in NZ to invest in – and if you increase the contributions to the Cullen Fund, then even more money flows overseas. That is not what NZ needs if it is truely a ‘low wage economy’ and has ‘high unemployment & under employment’ amongst of course, other things.

    Now, if power companies are the silverware, then they too, SHOULD BE returning at least what the Cullen fund is investing in – of which I doubt – but if they are – then why can’t ‘mum and dad kiwi investors’ not have the opportunity to invest in them – as they are giving the best returns – better even than the Cullen fund investments! As an aside, there is probably a better term to use to describe those public assets[what ever that means] than ‘silver ware’. ‘Nostalgia’ maybe? Anyway, the Cullen fund managers don’t describe their investments as the ‘silverware of the market’ as they sell their assets to ‘realise a profit’.

    Anyhow it doesn’t matter either way if they are sold as electricity prices are the least of peoples worries – just look at the price of oil, sorry, I mean petrol. Have a nice day.

    • Puckish Rogue 3.1

      You didn’t get the memo I take it, let me remind you: National bad

      • Paul 3.1.1

        Nice to see some growing perception on your part pr

      • framu 3.1.2

        on this subject – theyre so fricken appalling its bordering on criminal intent

        so yes your right

        if you want to play the 1 = good, 2 = bad game, you might to pick a topic where you can actually argue that the nats have been successful

        • alwyn 3.1.2.1

          I suppose that the simplest and yet most important one will do.
          It is also the reason that New Zealand has been much more successful in the last five years than has Australia.
          National have kept the Labour and Green nutters away from the reins of Government. Long may it continue.

          • framu 3.1.2.1.1

            that doesnt make much sense

            me – “you might to pick a topic where you can actually argue that the nats have been successful”

            you – “I suppose that the simplest and yet most important one will do.”
            - which one then, you didnt specify

            “It is also the reason that New Zealand has been much more successful in the last five years than has Australia.”
            - the unspecified topic is the reason?

            no wonder you think nats are good economic managers

            aaaand considering that asset sales have been an economic clusterfuck in slow motion, thats still going…….

            • alwyn 3.1.2.1.1.1

              The third sentence is the reason Framu.
              To spell it out a little more clearly for you.

              The Nats have been successful in that they have kept the Labour and Green nutters away from the reins of Government. and that is the reason that New Zealand has been much more successful than Australia in the last five years.

              There. Is what I meant clearer this time?

              • KJT

                If success is the “communists” paying more for our milk.

                Offsetting the swath of destruction National are leaving.

                National. The party that cannot run a business, or a country.

                Even National’s MP’s are well aware that if they had been in power for the 9 years before the GFC, we would be on par with Greece.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Even National’s MP’s are well aware that if they had been in power for the 9 years before the GFC, we would be on par with Greece.

                  We would have been much, much worse than Greece. They would have been cutting taxes and increasing borrowing for the entire 9 years before the GFC. Essentially, we would have been economically devastated and then the GFC would have hit.

                  The rich would have been a hell of a lot richer though.

                • alwyn

                  Do you have any vidence for that rather incredible statement in the last sentence.
                  I’m sure you wouldn’t say such a thing if it was only your unsupported opinion would you?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    The present National government and it’s massive, unneeded borrowing.

                  • KJT

                    If you had the attention span of more than a Gnat, you would remember Brash, then Key, planning to follow the “successful” policies of Ireland.

                    Fortunately for us they did not get elected until the folly of that approach was obvious, even to the greedy delusional prats that are in charge of the National party.

                    9 extra years of lolly scrambles for National’s rich mates, borrowing for unaffordable tax cuts, running down infrastructure, fucking with education, asset stripping, de-regulation, slavishly following policies that have failed elsewhere, “because they are a good idea” sic, and the financial “free for all” would have meant bankruptcy.

                    We weathered the GFC so well because Cullen paid down debt and Keating regulated the Aussie banks. Both policies National would have reversed.

                    Now National; are taking credit for the effects of coming out of recession aided by high dairy prices and an earthquake.

                    Rather fortuitous for National.

                    Even National MP’s are not stupid enough to think it was anything they did. Though they are happy to have unthinking followers give them the credit.

                    • Tracey

                      you are speaking to the ideologically blinded who still think that golden rain is the trickle down they have waited so long for.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Even National MP’s are not stupid enough to think it was anything they did.

                      I’m pretty sure that some of the are – probably most in fact – with the egos to match.

                    • KJT

                      The term “useful idiots” does come to mind.

                    • alwyn

                      In other words, and in much shorter words, you haven’t any information that any of the National MPs think any such thing.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Aaron Gilmore comes to mind about the stupidity and the ego.

              • framu

                ahh righto – was reading that as more a conclusion or aside – aint it funny the order you put things in your mind :-)

                sorry – my bad

                still disagree with you though – but the place would be boring if we all got along

              • Tracey

                which is odd because apparently being able to bring resources tot he surface is a panacea. Was it not so for Australia?

              • Crunchtime

                Please tell us how New Zealand has been “more successful than Australia in the last five years”.

                Economically by almost every measure, NZ has done better under every Labour Government than it has under National.

                The only ones who are better off under a National Government are a small rich minority and large corporations (many of them foreign).

                The current National government is just another typically poor economic manager who is especially harsh on low and middle income earners as well as beneficiaries.

                • alwyn

                  I suppose that I could point out that New Zealand expects to get the budget back into surplus in the 2015 year, rather than continuing in the 10 years of deficits that were predicted when they got into office at the end of 2008.
                  Australia on the other hand is forecast, not to be back in surplus as their six year Labour Government promised for 2014, but to have a deficit of about $NZ51 billion next year.
                  If you prefer unemployment rates the IMF made predictions for 2014, and actuals for 2013 of
                  Australia 2013 5.6% and 2014 6%
                  NZ 2013 6.0% and 2014 5.3%
                  We are picking up n’est ce pas

                  • Tracey

                    so dredging up minerals isnt a panacea as so many in this country keep preaching????

                    Did Australia have minimal govt debt in 2008?

                    I’m just trying to recall who got us to a place that this government could borrow so heavily (50+B and rising) and still see “growth”?

                  • KJT

                    Didn’t you have a look at the census results. The falling unemployment rate is bullshit.

                    Newsflash. All those people basher got off the welfare rolls did not suddenly “find jobs”.

                    • alwyn

                      What census results do you have that are supposed to be relevant to the overall figure for 2013 and for the forecast for 2014?
                      After all the census was held on 5 March 2013, which is nine and a half months ago. If the figure you have is above 6% that shoes that the unemployment rate is dropping.
                      Actually I find it very difficult to see, from the questions asked in the Census, how they could come up with any unemployment rate at all, much less one that uses any methodology like that in the household labour survey. Have a look at the questions and see what combination of answers would lead to an interpretation that the person was unemployed and that it was comparable to the HLFS..

                    • KJT

                      You can try and spin it all you like, but less people on the dole, does not equate to less unemployed.
                      When people are being dropped off the dole for all sorts of dodgy reasons by WINZ, pushed by Basher and National determined to get the headline numbers down..

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    The 10 years of deficits was a load of BS as you well know and if unemployment drops below 6% with this government in charge then it will be by accident. Blinglish is on record, after all, of saying that it’s a hoax to get unemployment below 6%.

                    • alwyn

                      Is your statement, that the 10 years of deficits is bs, to be preferred to the Treasury one, and do you have any evidence to back it up?
                      As for English saying it was a hoax. You give a link to someone else on the Standard saying that English had said it. That is hardly a reliable reference. Do you have an actual link to English actually making such a statement?

                    • KJT

                      Given treasuries strike rate, anything they say should be taken in the same vein as predictions of the “second coming”. or is it the third.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The decade of deficits would only have happened if:
                      a) Nothing changed
                      b) Treasury was actually right

                      Labour were altering the budget to address them thus no decade of deficits despite increased borrowing in the short term. As for Treasury, well, their projections aren’t all that accurate. How many times did they say that the surplus during the last Labour led government was X with it ending up being X+2b+? IIRC, it was close to every fucken year.

                      I actually recall English saying that but I can’t find any news item on the web. But you have to consider the NAIRU which has been estimated as 6% and, yes, that was the rate that I was taught at uni for NZ. So, would Bill English, who slavishly follows the free-market dogma, say anything else?

              • If Labour and the Greens are such nutters, why is it that all the government’s most successful policies are the ones it has kept from the previous Labour government?

      • Tracey 3.1.3

        John key made his living buying low and selling high, of telling people to put in an even amount over a whole year to spread he risk of low and high swings. For NZ he decided we should stop buying when the price was lowest, despite a return of more than 5% per annum (more than the price of borrowing). It is odd that he broke this golden rule just for us.

        • Ricky Rogers 3.1.3.1

          Its not odd, its simple maths.
          Cullen Fund return = 1.66% (income).
          Interest on bond debt 3.5% to 4%

          The numbers say, stop contributing to cullen fund and focus on minimising debt.
          Any genius can work that out.

          The cullen fund might return 1.66% but that is still a net loss of 2.34% against national debt.

          I’m glad you monkeys aren’t running our country, you can’t even do simple maths!!!

          [Please enlighten us. The article says the return per annum has been 9.55% which is over twice what we are paying on debt. So this is a bad thing? - MS]

        • srylands 3.1.3.2

          [deleted]

          [lprent: currently banned. ]

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3.2.1

            A country is not a house/family and thus it’s budget doesn’t resemble that of a house/family no matter how much you RWNJs like to think it does.

            • Melb 3.1.3.2.1.1

              The overarching point was did you take on debt of some sort in 2010 and invest it in the stockmarket? No? Didn’t think so.

              • Draco T Bastard

                And the bit you fail to understand is that a country is not a household or an individual.

                BTW, have you heard of the Carry Trade? It’s where individuals and conglomerates borrow money cheaply and stick it in the bank at higher interest rates. When the loan is paid back at the end of it’s term the people who took out the loan have made a profit.

          • Matthew Whitehead 3.1.3.2.2

            Are we? A lot of posters and commentors here criticized the decision to stop investing in the fund back in the day. Seriously, go back and look.

            As to your analogy, this is where the metaphor with a household budget breaks down.

            Firstly… continued investment in the Cullen fund is nothing like maxing out your home equity, as the deficit is caused by other policies. The fund is a drop in the bucket, not the culprit. To stretch the metaphor a bit, you’re doing the equivalent of complaining that we’re still buying food with the household income when there’s a debt to service, and it’s not like we can stop Daddy gambling.

            Secondly, f I could borrow money on the same terms and conditions as the New Zealand Government, it might actually be pretty advisable for me to take out quite a large loan, if I were using said loan to start or improve a business. In the long term I’ll pay it back and if I’m a good business owner (ie. if we have a good government or at least a good budget) then I’ll be making more than enough profit to service the incredibly small interest.

        • alwyn 3.1.3.3

          John Key made his living dealing in currency. He was never a share broker or an investment adviser who would have given the type of advice you propose.

          • Tracey 3.1.3.3.1

            So his knowledge is even more limited (about business and economics than we all thought)?

            • alwyn 3.1.3.3.1.1

              In fact no, he is very good on those subjects. However you claimed that he was telling people to “put an even amount in over the whole year to even out etc”. I am merely pointing out that that might be the advice of a stockbroker or investment adviser but it would not have been done by someone giving advice in foreign exchange trading. You are clearly making it up and it is you, I am afraid, who is displaying your ignorance.

          • KJT 3.1.3.3.2

            More like a crooked poker player who got lucky, then!

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.2

      “Mum and Dad” investors? Won’t someone think of the mum and dad investors, those battley strugglers who comprise two percent of the population and just happen to have $18k lying (speaking of lying, have you been listening to the National Party?) around?

      I say fuck them, let these two-percenter leeches take a haircut.

    • framu 3.3

      ” and if you increase the contributions to the Cullen Fund, then even more money flows overseas.”

      yes – and then what happens?

      – “The “Cullen” superannuation fund has posted a return of 1.66 per cent in November” – oh look profit! – your a real genius arent you

      also you do know that infrastructure assets and investment funds are utterly different things that work completely differently to each other dont you?

      • Che'sCrushedSkull 3.3.1

        “…..also you do know that infrastructure assets and investment funds are utterly different things that work completely differently to each other dont you?…”

        No I didn’t actually……I just took it for granted that investment funds were a much needed ‘infrastructure asset’ in…well…..all modern economies…….and that it didn’t matter at all that they worked completely different to each other.

        One generates power and one generates profit……..much like unionists and capitalists I suppose…..you may be right then….maybe they do ‘work’ differently…..I wonder then if the ‘outcomes’ are the same?

        • framu 3.3.1.1

          one creates a product and sells it – the other invests money hoping for a return

          one is vital to all of the people and businesses in NZ being able to function on a day to day basis in a modern society – the other is a scheme to lessen govt burden for superannuation

          im guessing you do know this stuff and are being deliberately thick

          so drop it and stop playing trool games

    • felix 3.4

      “As stated, the Cullen fund has earned it’s returns from overseas – because there is bugger all in NZ to invest in – and if you increase the contributions to the Cullen Fund, then even more money flows overseas. “

      Err, “flow overseas”? I think you’ll find that more money flowed back. That’s kinda the point.

      Sorta like what happens when you let overseas investors buy all your assets, only in reverse.

    • Tat Loo (CV) 3.5

      You’re an idiot.

      The power assets are amongst the highest returning most low risk physical assets in the world.

      Where the hell do you righties get off spewing crap like that? Sure, you could have invested in Bitcoins this year for a 2000% return, but its not quite AAA rated (if that means anything), you know.

      • Lanthanide 3.5.1

        I really regret not buying bitcoins back when they were 6c each.

      • Che'sCrushedSkull 3.5.2

        “……The power assets are amongst the highest returning most low risk physical assets in the world…..”

        Compared to what?

        Kiwi Rail? Kiwi Post? Kiwi Bank? Kiwi Assure?

        “……Where the hell do you righties get off spewing crap like that? Sure, you could have invested in Bitcoins this year for a 2000% return, but its not quite AAA rated (if that means anything), you know…..”

        Compared to what…..Kiwi…..?

        “….You’re an idiot…..”

        Yeah…….so…….What was your point again?

      • Ennui 3.5.3

        I bought them at around $80s not so long ago, they crashed 50% this week…I cashed out the actual dollars on an earlier price rise months ago by selling a few…so the remainder owe me nothing. Which makes them a good investment…its a day at the races. I will sit tight and watch.

      • aerobubble 3.5.4

        The power assets are rigged to produce dividends. The energy market is not competitive. Our economy is not competitive when gouging is so widespread. Welcome to NZ.

    • greywarbler 3.6

      She’sSlushed
      It’s good for you to come here to get facts and informed opinion on your economic concerns. It is obvious that you are getting bogged down and anxious. If you read the replies and try to understand them uou’ss get the picture. But there are always some who have great difficulty with this.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.7

      because there is bugger all in NZ to invest in

      Actually, there’s a huge amount that NZ could be investing in but the returns would take decades and everyone seems to not have the patience for that.

      then why can’t ‘mum and dad kiwi investors’ not have the opportunity to invest in them

      Why should they? Why should a few people get to be bludgers on the rest of us?

      Besides, when the power companies were owned by all of us we all had an equal share and an equal return.

      Anyhow it doesn’t matter either way if they are sold as electricity prices are the least of peoples worries

      Actually, for a lot of people power prices will be the most of their worries. Not being able to afford to heat the home and thus dying of cold would be a worry.

    • Francis 3.8

      Like most other people, you focus on the principal rather than the returns. Yes, the initial amount has flowed overseas, but the 5.5 billion returned this year will flow into New Zealand, when it’s needed. That’s besides the fact that the principal amount will eventually come back into New Zealand, when it’s needed.

      The reverse is one of the reasons why our current account is in such a bad state, and has been for a long time. While we do get the initial “investment”, all the returns flow directly out of the country. Good in the short term, bad in the long term.

  4. philj 4

    Asset sales are a collective I Q test that we failed. Albeit facilitated by a biased media. It’s called thought control.

    • Paul 4.1

      Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

    • Ennui 4.2

      We the citizens failed the IQ test…we are still looking at this as a financial issue. It most surely is not. For the millionth time I will point out it is about asset transfer of ongoing means of clipping the ticket from the people to a few wealthy individuals.

      Every time we look at this issue as an economic failure we fail the IQ test. The robber barons are laughing at how cheaply they got hold of the crown jewels, they know their true worth. Which makes us fools and them geniuses.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1

        I will point out it is about asset transfer of ongoing means of clipping the ticket from the people to a few wealthy individuals.

        QFT

        • Naturesong 4.2.1.1

          It’s about democratic control of infrastructure critical to the country.

          As an example, how easy is it going to be to decomission coal based power plants once they are all in private hands. Same for Solid energy.
          Doable, but the private companies now lobby the government, the owners of capital will fight tooth and nail (legal and stirring up public opinion – Democracy under attack anyone?)

          All critical infrastructure that is a natural monopoly should be democratically accountable (we also, we built the bloody stuff in the first place).
          That is
          – Power Infrastructure
          – Copper and Fibre networks
          – Rail
          – Roads
          – Bridges
          – Water supply
          – Water Waste and purification
          – Education
          – Sewage
          – Hospitals
          – etc.

          They should all be run to make zero profit. And either be free (education), or charge enough to pay for maintenance, wages, planning for future projects.
          The future planning horizon for capacity should be measured in decades rather than quarters.

          This does not preclude the use of other small businesses and contractors for specialist work. But core capabilities should reside with the state entity.

          It comes down to the role of government – should a government legislate to ensure capitalists local and overseas can make profit (and as a by product occasionally hire people, and pay tax on profit they are unable to hide).
          Or for the citizens of the country, ensuring all citizens have the opportunity to have good lives, healthy communities (both physically and mentally), learn as much as their abilities allow, make discoveries, create new technology.
          New Zealand could literally be paradise on earth. All it needs is the political will – and about 2 generations of concentrated work.

          Oh, and points to any commentator who leans toward the right if they know why this is not socialism.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1.1

            It comes down to the role of government – should a government legislate to ensure capitalists local and overseas can make profit

            That’s what both National and Labour think. It’s really the heart of neo-liberal economics. Everything that you listed is an expense upon the community as a whole but the RWNJs and economists think that a few people should make a profit out of them.

            Once it’s accepted that they are an expense then those making a profit from them are obviously bludgers of the first order as they choose to be bludgers.

          • Ennui 4.2.1.1.2

            The whole argument about necessities, utilities and monopolies is older than Adam Smith. It predates the formalised concepts of socialism such as Marxism. To call state ownership or regulation of natural monopolies etc “socialist” is to ignore this. In his treatise Smith considered any meeting of business people behind closed doors a reason to suspect they were up to no good (form a public perspective).

          • ropata 4.2.1.1.3

            +1 googolplex :)
            Please add:
            Access to capital at fair market prices … not rigged to enrich a useless bankster class
            Forex not rigged by LIBOR scams
            Insurance prices not rigged by cartels

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 4.2.1.1.4

            Well, what about noncritical stuff like airlines and TV stations? Could the money that the government has tied up in equity in AirNZ and TVNZ be put to better use? Do those companies have a profitable future? Seems hard to justify having millions tied up in 100% ownership of shrinking enterprises like those two when the money could get spent on teachers and nurses and policemen.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1.4.1

              Well, what about noncritical stuff like airlines and TV stations?

              What makes you think that they’re non-critical?

              We really do need a cheap way to distribute information. Just because TVNZ no longer does this doesn’t mean to say that it’s not needed.

              I’m also pretty sure you’ll find that a lot of businesses would collapse if our airline wasn’t there to provide that service for them. In fact, I believe that was why the 5th Labour led government had to buy it back.

              And what you spend on teachers and nurses isn’t one off income from sales. You need to keep them on and so you need to pay them from ongoing income.

      • Tracey 4.2.2

        +1

  5. Tat Loo (CV) 5

    Gamed, hyper-financialised, paper asset markets manipulated by automated high frequency trading algorithms and fuelled by billions in newly digitally printed money (how many zeroes would you like with that) from world central banks.

    Its great to see that NZ can play the Wall St game with the best of them.

    Meanwhile I saw a report earlier saying that we have 250K kids in poverty and we just must must raise the retirement age because “we cant afford not to.” Even though the RBNZ tells us that household wealth increased by $5B in the last 3 months alone.

    Add into this the asset sales debacle.

    Friends, we are being made fucking fools of.

  6. tricledrown 6

    We could end up paying no tax in fact the govt could pay us all if we put aside a small investment over time!
    The right wing fundamentalists havr no where to hide on this one.
    Compulsory Kiwisaver with govt contributions from the Cullen fund surpluses would be the way to get every body onboard.
    Come on you right whinging nutjobs gazumped again.
    Assey sales are dumb thosr assets were providing govt with
    Dividends that you dumbarse Bumptious Midden idiots Now have to make up in increased taxes.
    As you right whinging idiots continually point out that you pay more taxes than everyone else !
    Own Goal shooting one self in the foot backing a loosing horse cutting ones nose of to spite onrs face.
    Come on BM SSlands tighty almighty etc where the hell are your comments Cowards

  7. Tat Loo (CV) 7

    We can easily get sucked into this game of maximising ROI. Let’s just remember that this is what all the capitalists in the world are doing. And they are willing to consume and hollow out both people and the natural world in the process of doing so.

  8. Lanthanide 8

    “all it has to do is continue investing in the fund.”

    And hope that the fund beats the market returns, which is a very difficult thing to do that most investment managers don’t ever pull off.

  9. tricledrown 9

    Still no comment from the Right Whinging Hollow grinches.
    Cowards

  10. tricledrown 10

    Lanth that’s the pathetic spiel Dickhead Nick Smith tried with ACC .
    Borrowing bling English pushed that pathetic propaganda in 2008.
    Longterm investments something That the Right you would think would be pushing!
    No.
    Why.
    So they can keep the peasants in place while as individuals they practice longterm investment for finacial independence .
    Hypocrites.
    Its about power(sick joke)
    The filthy few just eant to laude it over the peasants.
    Results 100,000 starving children in poor health and poor education outcomes!
    While the Gringes get a Narcissistic BUZZ.

  11. Natwest 11

    I heard on the radio this morning that Cullen and Labours stroke of economic genius in buying back Tranzrail for $750m odd has reaped huge benefits for NZ, not.

    Now valued at -$500m.

    Brilliant!

    • Tat Loo (CV) 11.1

      Infrastructure to take 50% of heavy freight traffic off our highways: priceless.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      And I heard that you’re a moron.

      If the value has reversed like that then it must have something to do with the government undermining it. Probably has something to do with them building uneconomic roads for the roading lobby.

      • framu 11.2.1

        hes also only focusing on a dollar value, and missing out how the rail network fits into the wider infrastructure network and what the cost impacts of having it fail might be

        • KJT 11.2.1.1

          RWNJ’s can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Don’t confuse them by showing there are other sides to a ledger.

      • KJT 11.2.2

        The cross subsidies for trucking, a big National party funder, by the way.

        If roads were expected to make the same “opportunity cost” return as rail, or ports, there would be bugger-all trucks on the road.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.2.2.1

          That’s why I want fuel taxes that relate to paying for the roads removed and put into RUCs with the price on them related to maximum mass. Damage to the road goes up as an exponential of mass – 2^16 in fact, a doubling of mass will see 16 times more damage. Start off with a one tonne base and even a really low base rate for that means that 50 tonne trucks will pretty much disappear over night.

          • Murray Olsen 11.2.2.1.1

            I think you mean that the damage goes up as the weight to the fourth power, which is true to a first approximation. This means that doubling the weight, with the same number of axles, does 16 times the damage. A twenty ton truck with four axles will have ten times as much weight on each axle as a one ton car, and do approximately 10,000 times the damage. The road transport agency needs those mates in government or it would go broke within a week.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.2.2.1.1.1

              I think you mean that the damage goes up as the weight to the fourth power, which is true to a first approximation.

              Damn, you’re right :oops:

  12. tricledrown 12

    Grinches all spewing on whaleoil

  13. infused 13

    Easy solution then. Lets borrow, sorry print, another 50b and invest it in the fund.

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    Please remind me, why did we stop contributions to the Cullen Fund and why are we selling the country’s silverware?

    To do two things:
    1.) Impoverish NZers so that they would have to work harder for longer and
    2.) Transfer the commonwealth in the hands of the few so that those few could live as bludgers on the hard work of the rest of NZ.

  15. Saarbo 15

    Faaarrrrrr…this just shows how incredibly inept this National Party is, fucken hopeless. Good post Micky!

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      They’re neither inept nor hopeless – they’re achieving exactly what they set out to do. It’s just that it’s not in NZ’s favour but it does it make the rich richer.

  16. srylands 16

    Why are we selling the country’s silverware? Because it is tarnished.

    “While some State-owned enterprises have performed well, overall performance of the Crown’s commercial portfolio has been mediocre, with poor performance by Solid Energy, KiwiRail and Learning Media,” the Treasury said in a statement.

    “Total shareholder return across the wholly owned commercial priority companies was 3 per cent,” the Treasury said, adding that this did not include KiwiRail because of the change in its structure at the start of 2013.”

    The Treasury

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/business/9531728/SOE-performance-mediocre-Treasury

    We should sell TVNZ and the rest of the power cos while we can. Solid Energy is too far gone. NZ Post is dying.

    The Cullen Fund has performed well. It is managed by brilliant fund managers (an occupation that most commentators here deride – how ironic.).

    Unfortunately in the long run, borrowing money to invest in equities is a high risk strategy. Personaly, I woudl rather do my own investing than have the State do it on my behalf.

    • Will@Welly 16.1

      Treasury’s mantra is for us to sell everything. They are God’s arsehole. If one outfit can take credit for the state of New Zealand, and for the way National has lead us in the last 25 years, look no further than Treasury.
      Look back to 1984. When Labour won the election, they advised the incoming Government to devalue. In the weeks before the election, money had flowed out of the economy, when the Government devalued, that money flowed right back in. Who made money? The likes of John Key, money trader.
      So don’t tell me Treasury works in the best interests of New Zealand. They are in the pockets of the rich and powerful elsewhere, singing a tune that rhymes with America.

      • srylands 16.1.1

        [deleted]

        [lprent: currently banned. ]

        • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1.1

          Treasury is simply an impartial economic advisor to the government of the day.

          BS. The ideology that they follow removes all impartiality.

          It promotes prosperity and has a deep interest in equity.

          And that would be why poverty in NZ has been increasing since government started listening to them. /sarc

        • KJT 16.1.1.2

          Given treasuries strike rate so far, we may as well go back to reading chicken entrails, or replace them with a walking talking Don Brash doll saying, “cut taxes, cut Government spending, cut wages and sell everything”.

          Worked well so far hasn’t it!

        • Murray Olsen 16.1.1.3

          You have a great future in comedy, SSlands. Treasury is impartial and the GCSB acts to protect New Zealand sovereignty, right? And Gerry Brownlee has the physique of a personal trainer.

    • Tracey 16.2

      so now you accept the treasury statements? That’s good because you may be beginning to see some truth at last.

      I didnt pick you as someone who thinks you sell the high dividend yielding companies and keep the ones dragging you down.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.3

      And that’s one of the times where Treasury is so far wrong it’s obvious that they’re not in this reality.

      Government services such as power, telecommunications, health etc aren’t supposed to make a profit.

      • srylands 16.3.1

        [deleted]

        [lprent: currently banned. ]

        • Will@Welly 16.3.1.1

          We didn’t lose the argument. We never had the discussion. We were railroaded by the neo-liberals who high-jacked the Labour Party for the own ideological benefits. Look at whose still there. This is not the country I was raised in. This is not the country our forefathers fought for. Oh, that’s right, John Key’s father didn’t fight for New Zealand.
          Originally our services were modeled on the British system, now we want to run it along the American model. If that’s the case, then lets declare ourselves a republic, but J.K. won’t have a bar of that, it’ll mean he’ll miss out on his precious knighthood.

        • Draco T Bastard 16.3.1.2

          There’s a difference between the way things are and the way things should be. Government services should not make a profit/pay dividends.

  17. captain hook 17

    the thing about the Cullen fund is that it is very hard to sell pieces of it to your mates.
    National is all about doing back room deals and special considerations and any other euphimisms you might dream up for malfeasance and looting the treasury for your own benefit.

  18. Ricky Rogers 18

    A return of 1.66% is less than the ~4% we pay in interest on Government Bonds on our $65b of debt.

    Therefore, the most prudent financial decision would be to cash in the Cullen Fund and put it on our national debt.

    At present the Cullen Fund is the personal equivalent of having a massive mortgage and borrowing a whole pile of cash off your credit card to invest in the stock market.
    The best financial decision would be to not borrow that $25b and instead pay it off our ‘mortgage’.
    We would be better off in the long run without the Cullen fund and to simply borrow the money for superannuation as we need it.

    • Hayden 18.1

      Er…

      The “Cullen” superannuation fund has posted a return of 1.66 per cent in November, taking its overall value to $24.93 billion – roughly half the Government’s net debt.

      Over the last 12 months, as world equity markets soared, it earned 27.76 per cent or about $5.5b.

      Also…

      The fund’s annual return since inception in 2003 has been 9.55 per cent.

      Can you spot your error?

      • Ricky Rogers 18.1.1

        oops, sorry I thought that was 1.66%. I’ll admit when I make a mistake.

        However I still stand by my comment, what happens when the market drops by 27% as it inevitably will at some point?

        Just because the fund made a whole pile of money in the short term, doesn’t mean long term its the
        best option.

        Ask any financial adviser in the world anywhere and they will always tell you that paying off debt is the best financial strategy and borrowing money to take a punt while you have debt is highly risky.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.1.1.1

          What do they say about deliberately slashing your own revenue stream?

        • KJT 18.1.1.2

          Worse than borrowing for unaffordable tax cuts/current consumption, while selling the tool kit to pay the grocery bill, and claiming a surplus, for example?

        • Draco T Bastard 18.1.1.3

          Ask any financial adviser in the world anywhere and they will always tell you that paying off debt is the best financial strategy and borrowing money to take a punt while you have debt is highly risky.

          That would apply to an individual but it does not apply to a nation. As a nation is a permanent entity it can ride out the slumps and get the long term average rise.

          • Ricky Rogers 18.1.1.3.1

            So you are advocating that we should borrow say $500 billion and invest it in the cullen fund because the same universal laws of financial investment don’t apply to us because we are a country.

            If its ok for $25b why would it not be ok for $500b or 10 trillion?

            • Tracey 18.1.1.3.1.1

              Oh I dunno, I suspect the current PM has made calls similar to this over the years…. at the moment he and you are the only ones who think prudence is to stop buying into the sharemarket when it is at rock bottom and only start buying when the market has climbed high again. Contrary to the very way Mr Key would have made his money.

              • Ricky Rogers

                So you are saying Key is trying to deliberately get the country to perform poorly.
                Man, that is serious conspiracy stuff.

                In reality, when you are a young single guy you are prepared to take risks because you don’t have a lot to learn.
                You can make a lot of money doing that but you can also lose a lot.
                You read about the financial traders who make millions, but you don’t often read about the ones who lose everything and believe me there are far more of the latter.

                When you grow up and run a country, you are a little more prudent because you are risking the future of the entire country. If you go bankrupt taking a risk, nobody cares. But if you sent an entire country bankrupt by making stupid financial decisions then a lot of people suffer.

                It seems odd that so many lefties are advocating for investing in the right wing capitalist share market. What is going on here?

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  Yeah, the problem with making up homilies as you go along is that you end up looking like a bit of a numpty, but now it’s time for your reality check: only people who’ve actually gone bankrupt learn the lessons that bankruptcy offers. The rest (of the currency trader types) often mistake their luck for skill.

                  PS: you probably got your notions about what lefties think from some righty, in which case the chances are you’ve been lied to.

        • Tracey 18.1.1.4

          so if the sharemarket is such a risky investment how come so many of the right of the political spectrum think one way to deal with issues like property prices is to encourage people into the stock market

          • Ricky Rogers 18.1.1.4.1

            Its risky to borrow to invest in the stock market.
            Its less risky to invest savings in the share-market.

            Its not rocket science.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.1.1.4.1.1

              Is it risky to sell high dividend-yield assets, thereby slashing your income, or is that just considered sub-moronic?

              • Ricky Rogers

                FFS, this forum is frustrating.

                We get far to attached to ‘owning things’. The financial side of asset sales is rather irrelevant.

                If you look at it from a purely rational perspective, the value of a power plant is that it exists in the first place. The value of a power plant that exists is much higher to a country than the value of a power plant that doesn’t exist. It generates power that we need at a price the market is willing to pay.

                You can’t pick up a power plant and move it to another country, therefore who own’s it is rather irrelevant so long as it exists in the first place.

                The revenue it generated for the government is minuscule relative to the value it represents to the country in generating power. (a country without power is pretty screwed).

                Now if you sell half of it, you still control it and it still has all its value to you because nobody can pick it up and take it away. But you now have a big wad of cash in your pocket that you can invest in other infrastructure that adds value to the country.

                Everyone gets far too hung up on owning stuff and the lost revenue. We can’t own everything and we are far better off owning a smaller portion of a lot of things than 100% of a small number of things.

                Think of all the lost value we have tied up in state assets. Those assets aren’t going anywhere no matter who owns them. So imagine if you could take all that money out and invest in more new assets. All of a sudden that same capital is delivering far more value to the country than having it tied up in a small number of very expensive things.

                If you have 10 power plants and you own 100% of them, then no private company will build a power plant because you have a government monopoly. You can’t get another power plant until you spend more money.

                However, if you sell a half share in your ten power plants and then use the money to build another 5 power plants, then your country now has 15 power plants for the same money that you had before even though you are only getting the revenue from 10 the country is still better off because it needs power plants more than it needs the revenue that power plants generate.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  You daft bastard, the value to the country is diminished if you convert it into profits to shareholders. Dividends = higher power prices.

                  • Ricky Rogers

                    man, you really don’t get it aye.

                    Lets say all the power plants in the country were worth $15 billion and collectively they generate $1b a year in revenue for the government.

                    Now take them all away, yip thats right, NZ no longer has power.

                    How much are they worth now to the country.
                    Pretty much the entire gross domestic product of the country (hundreds of billions) because overnight we would be 3rd world.

                    Your golden goose, or tiny little bit of revenue they generate relative to their real value to the country is so absolutely irrelevant its hardly worth half a wank.

                    If prices go up, that makes it more attractive for companies to build power plants. When more companies build power plants, supply is increased and prices go down.

                    So your fine to take the dividends so long as the Govt gets them but its not ok if anyone private gets them.
                    Who really gives a flying fuck about the dividends.
                    Its the power plants themselves that we need, not the fricking dividends.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Since the dividends are immaterial according to you (hundreds of millions though they are), you won’t mind if Labour reacquires the assets at a low price?

                      Thanks in advance.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      Bingo!

                      Oh, just one question: will the private shareholders be happy when we run the companies so that they never return a dividend? Is that legal and everything?

                    • Naturesong

                      Exactly, and now we are unable to supply power to New Zealanders (who built and paid for them) at cost.

                      The real damage was done by Max Bradford, this just cements in the change.

                      They are public utilities and should not be a vehicle to generate profit.

                • Naturesong

                  Except the sale of critical infrastructure and utilities was never about the money.

                  It’s about removing the democratic governance of state owned monopolies. And now we have to spend more money to regulate them.

                  Executives are hired to maximize profits; that is their responsibility to their company’s shareholders. Even if executives wanted to forgo some profit to benefit society, they could expect to lose their jobs if they tried—and be replaced by managers who would restore profit as the top priority
                  Arneel Karnani – University of Michigan

                  And as they look to maximise profits, prices go up, increasing costs to every single user of power in New Zealand. From small and large businesses, to hospitals, schools, to people who are already struggling to pay for power, to you and me.

                • felix

                  Ricky, Ricky, Ricky.

                  “the value of a power plant is that it exists in the first place.”

                  Yes indeed. The only real value of owning a power plant is that you can use it to generate power. That’s why you build one. So you can generate power for yourself.

                  “It generates power that we need at a price the market is willing to pay.”

                  That’s where you go completely off the rails. It generates power fullstop. The market doesn’t come into it if you own the power plant and generate power for yourself.

                  We did own the ability to generate our own power. We now own about half of that ability. We now own less of the only real value of the power companies.

                  Your argument is a bit like saying it doesn’t matter whether you own the food in your garden or not as long as whoever owns it will sell your own food back to you.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  You can’t pick up a power plant and move it to another country, therefore who own’s it is rather irrelevant so long as it exists in the first place.

                  You truly are a fucken moron. Of course it fucken matters who owns the power generation because individuals owning it get to charge whatever they fucken like becoming parasites on the backs of the majority of people.

                  We can’t own everything and we are far better off owning a smaller portion of a lot of things than 100% of a small number of things.

                  Actually, the state can own everything.

                  If you have 10 power plants and you own 100% of them, then no private company will build a power plant because you have a government monopoly. You can’t get another power plant until you spend more money.

                  Wow, the absolute nonsense just keeps getting worse.

                  Even if all the generators were fully privatised and competing against each other it would still be us paying for them as well as any new plants built. I know this because, lo and behold, the private owners will get the money that they spent back plus a hell of a lot in profit.

                  However, if you sell a half share in your ten power plants and then use the money to build another 5 power plants,

                  And if we kept the full 100% of the power plants and paid to build 5 more we’d have 15 as well as still owning all of them.

                  Privatisation costs us more – a lot more – than state ownership. The reason why National and Act like private ownership is because a few psychopaths get to be parasites on the rest of us. Shareholders are the biggest bludgers in the world.

    • Tracey 18.2

      ah, like Muldoon…

      so now the supporters of national think we should borrow to fund anything and pay back the debt they ran up, in part, for a tax cut for a small number at the worst possible time.

      You forgot to say how prudent it was of Labour to set up the fund in the first place and the questionable management of anyone who has borrowed so heavily you think they should sell the golden goose.

      • Ricky Rogers 18.2.1

        I wouldn’t say it was prudent. Long term Labour would have been better to pay off debt than to set up the cullen fund.

        All the time we have any debt, we are better of paying it off than what we are creating investment funds.

        It would be very prudent if we have had have cleared all our debt.

        Debt is a buffer, the level of debt will go up and down over time. When you clear your debt you invest and save, if you haven’t cleared your debt you focus on clearing your debt until its gone.

        What on earth are you calling the golden goose?
        Power companies?
        Your joking right….

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.2.1.1

          Earth to fuckwit. What debt? Cullen paid it all off.

          • Ricky Rogers 18.2.1.1.1

            Fuckwit to Dickface..
            No he didn’t, we never ever had $0 national debt, not in the last 100 years anyway.
            I’m calling your bluff, prove it!

          • Colonial Viper 18.2.1.1.2

            Ricky Rogers would prefer to be paying off debt costing 4%, rather then making investment returns of over 20%.

            The financial stupidity of these RWNJs is underwhelming.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.2.1.1.2.1

              …and typical. Low intelligence is a gateway trait to right wing dogma.

            • Ricky Rogers 18.2.1.1.2.2

              If you can show me an investment fund that pays 20% consistently for 20 years in a row then I’ll change my mind. But it doesn’t exist anywhere on the planet.

              You can’t take result from a very small period of time and extrapolate that out to make long term investment decisions for a country unless you want to lose a lot of money.

              Yes it made 20% in one hit, but that isn’t a long term return. Long term it will be closer to the average for the associated level of risk which I can assure you is not 20%.
              Some years it might lose 20%.

              The only businesses that return 20% are cocaine shipping businesses and I can assure you that they are quite risky operations.

              I’m bloody glad you are not in charge of our purse strings Colonial Viper.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Speaking of long term investment decisions, the New Zealand Left makes better ones, as our history demonstrates.

              • Colonial Viper

                Ricky Rogers only ponzi schemes pay 20% consistently for 20 years.

                But of course, the Cullen fund doesn’t need to make a single cent more for the next 4 years and it will still beat your stupid idea to pay debt off first. Financial moron.

        • Tracey 18.2.1.2

          no the cullen fund. Nice way to avoid having to give any credit to labour for the fund. It kind of shines a light onto your perspective on things.

  19. tricledrown 19

    Sslands borrowing everyone else printed money printed money being given away at 1/2 % while borrowing bling english borrows at 5.5%.

  20. tricledrown 20

    Sslands get your economic comic knowledge from sarah palin.

  21. tricledrown 21

    So Michael Cullen has a Phd in economic history with honours.
    Tory toiletrolls have gossip magizine knowledge.
    The difference shows without the Cullen fund the ACC fund and Now Kiwisaver.
    Assets built by largly labour govts.
    You sick rwnj toiletrolls would be paying heaps more tax.

  22. tricledrown 22

    Rick Rogers .
    Because of lost income from asset sales you will be paying more tax to make up shotfall.
    Because of private ownership prices of electricity will Go up.
    Cartels will form and they will collude to force up prices by lowering the amount of electricity generated,no brainer.
    Cartels virtually are gouging this country .

  23. Rich 23

    The assets sales could never have *earnt* anything and have in fact lost NZ money by reducing the value of the assets (both the parts that were sold and the remainder that were in public hands).

    Even without that, selling an asset doesn’t make you money – it just turns it into cash. Accountancy 101.

  24. tricledrown 24

    Ratfest.
    Infrasructure.have roads made any profit no
    1 lane of motorway from the harbour bridge to Auckland Airport would cost more than $750 million the economic benefits would be a fraction of what the railnetwork would return.
    Natwest learn some economics before you put up you feeble theorries.

  25. tricledrown 25

    Ratfest.
    Infrasructure.have roads made any profit no
    1 lane of motorway from the harbour bridge to Auckland Airport would cost more than $750 million the economic benefits would be a fraction of what the railnetwork would return.
    Natwest learn some economics before you put up you feeble theories.

  26. newsense 26

    And live from the bear-pit that is parliament and raging Bill English is Paddy Gower’s pugilistic politician of the year ‘cos it don’t matter about the money, it’s how you look a man in the eye and talk complete shit. Honestly Patrick. Have you seen the numbers on asset sales or do you just make shit up?

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Opinion-Politician-of-the-Year—Bill-English/tabid/1382/articleID/325632/Default.aspx

    Honestly dude are you a political journalist or more in the Don King mold?

    Cos if you wanna call white black and night day that’s the profession. Cullen Fund that the finance minister stopped contributions to makes more than the flagship asset sales policy, and much less than was forecast etc etc In any other job that’d make you anything but employee of the month. But you’re the political journo, we just have to live here.

  27. tricledrown 27

    Gower golumb grinch

  28. Stephen 28

    “the fastest way to get rich is to make someone else poor” National has always appealed to the upper middle class, or higher. Exactly the kind of people who want the government to sell those sorts of assets, they cant buy them if they’re not for sale.

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