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Emerson on privatisation

Written By: - Date published: 7:27 am, January 11th, 2012 - 24 comments
Categories: newspapers, privatisation - Tags: , , ,

Emerson from The Herald on privatisation:

24 comments on “Emerson on privatisation”

  1. prism 1

    I’m glad to see some great cartoons with little barbs making very apposite comments are still around. We had a great cartoonist in Nelson who replaced Garrick Tremain and brought a sharper style but equal ability compared to this older cartoonist who has been doing good work for many years. Unfortunately Nelson is a place liking soft cushions when viewing reality, and this other guy I think was Mike Moreu and got the push.

  2. Irascible 2

    Brilliant cartoon.
    We still have to clean up the mess created by Bradford’s restructuring privatisation of the electricity reticulation industry. No promised reduction in power bills and a rapidly removal of funds to overseas conglomerates.

  3. hobbit 3

    Shame this cartoon ignores the list of company’s that have been turned around, from old, slow, bureaucratic, non-customer driven SOE’s – to modern businesses that now deliver results for their customers and their shareholders, without being a burden on the public purse.

    “No promised reduction in power bills”

    Ironically we only have one private power provider, with the rest being state controlled monopolies.

    If you want the break the monopoly and get a bit more competition in the electricity market, then I’ll guess you’d support selling 50% of each company?

    Nah, you’ll support total state controlled monopolies, then wonder why you pay so much for power.

    • Ari 3.1

      Which companies are you talking about? In my view the only companies that have actually improved after privatisation are the ones we’ve started to buy back.

      • hobbit 3.1.1

        “Were they racking up debts and posting losses”

        Yes, New Zealand Rail:

        “The government wrote off NZ$1.3 billion in debt acquired by the company from the Railways Corporation, and injected a further $300 million in capital. Despite this capital injection the company remained only marginally profitable, reporting after-tax profits of $36.2 million in 1992 and $18 million in 1993.”

        Tranz Rail actually improved once it was privatized, until the end of the 90’s when new management took over. Sadly with TR, the majority forget this and think rail privatization was a complete failure, when it was only the latter years that failed.

        Something for the lefties, who actually believe what their masters tell them, to foam over: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=229488

        • Draco T Bastard

          Tranz Rail actually improved once it was privatized, until the end of the 90′s when new management took over.

          You, of course, mean the period when it showed a profit due to asset stripping which could not then be maintained by the new owners which resulted in the government having to buy back an essential infrastructural asset.

          Yep, a perfect example of privatisation rewarding thieves at everyone else’s expense.

          And, no, I’m not going to take the word of the person in charge of the asset stripping. What I will do is take note of the result which was run down infrastructure and capital.

          • hobbit

            “You, of course, mean the period when it showed a profit due to asset stripping”

            Nah, the period where one of the good guys who was in charge massively increased the amount of freight being carried.

            “And, no, I’m not going to take the word of the person in charge of the asset stripping. What I will do is take note of the result which was run down infrastructure and capital.”

            Your clearly confused, that was in the latter years. If you did a bit of research about the 93 – 97 years you’ll actually see that it was genuinely profitable.

            IIRC capital expenditure only started dropping in 99 or so. Until then capital expenditure had been higher than it was during state ownership.

            • RedLogix

              If you did a bit of research about the 93 – 97 years you’ll actually see that it was genuinely profitable.

              In other words, before they had stripped all the asset out and generally ran the business down to the point where it was no longer profitable.

              Until then capital expenditure had been higher than it was during state ownership.

              But when the state brought it back it was so run down it now needs billions to bring it back to a safe and efficient standard.

              • hobbit

                “In other words, before they had stripped all the asset out and generally run the business down to the point where it was no longer profitable.”

                Sure, that happened later on. My point is that before that it was profitable before that due to reasons other than asset stripping.

                “But when the state brought it back it was so run down it now needs billions to bring it back to a safe and efficient standard.”

                Agreed. But, as a report into the railway agreed, the operation is safe. Things have only got better since then, too.

    • tc 3.2

      care to name these burdensome companies.

      Results for shareholders = profits that would be going into gov’t coffers, year in year out and any profit is a profit so how were they burdening the public purse ? Were they racking up debts and posting losses.

      Power is a natural monopoly so they may as well benefit the public not some foreign owner like the single privatised one you allude to.

    • KJT 3.3

      State monopolies that are run as pretend private companies, with all the inefficiencies, unnecessary duplication, costs of private finance, cutting salaries for skilled staff and excessive salaries at the top, that destroy our private businesses.

    • Jum 3.4


      ‘now deliver results for their customers and their shareholders’

      as usual nothing about the workers who produce the results and also deserve a fair wage.

      • hobbit 3.4.1

        If their workers don’t think they are being paid enough, then by all means they should offer their services elsewhere or try to negotiate a new rate of pay with the employer.

        Kinda goes without saying, I would have thought.

        I’m actually in favor of workers joining a union rather than not. As long as its not forced ie a return to the 70’s. But I don’t like reading about a union official using bad language in the media, or seeing a union official on the news using a disgusting tone of voice over a loud speaker, like some kind of protestor. POT management didn’t resort to that, and neither should the union guy.

        • McFlock

          Oh, okay – the peasants can organise, but only as long as they’re clean and polite.

        • Frank Macskasy

          “But I don’t like reading about a union official using bad language in the media, or seeing a union official on the news using a disgusting tone of voice over a loud speaker, like some kind of protestor. POT management didn’t resort to that, and neither should the union guy.”

          Sorry, guv’. *tugs forelock*

    • “Ironically we only have one private power provider, with the rest being state controlled monopolies.
      If you want the break the monopoly and get a bit more competition in the electricity market, then I’ll guess you’d support selling 50% of each company?”

      So how come the private company (Contact) doesn’t undercut the three state power companies, “Hobbit”?

      After all, if private enterprise is more efficient, then ipso facto, they should be passingf on their efficiency gains to customers through cheaper power rates.


      • hobbit 3.5.1

        “So how come the private company (Contact) doesn’t undercut the three state power companies, “Hobbit”?”

        No incentive to, at the moment, when the rest of the electricity market is state controlled.

  4. RedLogix 4

    It’s the inherent nature of capitalism; cost one way, profits the other.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Costs to workers, the community and the environment; profits to owners, shareholders and their lieutenants.

  5. Jum 5

    Too bloody late the cartoonist sees what was obvious to anyone with two braincells 3 and a half years ago; Key is leaving New Zealanders with all the bills to pay and none of the dividends.

  6. Jum 6

    It’s becoming obvious that workers don’t really exist – we live in a country of consumers and shareholders – it seems really strange to me that none of those consumers or even those richer shareholders have ever considered the fact that workers deserve a proper wage and job security. Aren’t they children, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts of those consumers?

    With the shareholders I have more of a problem imagining they actually give a damn.

    Any new shareholders that have scraped together money to buy a few of SOE assets they already own will be happy to stab their children, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts in the back to get a bigger dividend.

    I know it seems strange but aren’t those people the same? They’re actually dismantling their own future – very strange.

  7. My partner tells me of a visit she had today, at her workplace, from one of their regular clients. “Mark”* is a self-employed person, and like many in his position, is not someone to vote for Labour, Greens, or any other centre-left Party.

    He visits every so often and they natter about various things happening in New Zealand – especially the way the country is going.

    We strongly suspect he voted National, last November, despite not liking some of their policies.

    Anyway, “Mark” comes in and starts to discuss what National is getting up to. He complains bitterly, that with the part-privatisation of the power companies, he is expecting his electricity bill to skyrocket.

    My partner simply looks at him and asks,

    “Who did you vote for Mark”? I wouldn’t complain if I were you. You got what you voted for.”

    His only reply is a surly, “Don’t you start!”

    At least she didn’t say to him, “I told you so!!!” (But I would’ve.)

    It seems that the first chicken has come home to roost for those who voted National…

    (True story. Damn, it made my day!!!)

    * Not his real name

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