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Farrar joins call for SOE reform

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, December 24th, 2010 - 93 comments
Categories: assets, business, dpf - Tags: , ,

Say you run a large company. Say the manager of a division in your company chose do a deal that improves the division’s own profitability instead of one that would have made the division less profitable but the company as a whole more profitable. You would be angry. So why are the people who run our SOEs required to act like that?

It doesn’t make sense for parts of the government called SOEs to act as if they are independent entities and ignore the impacts of their decisions on the the rest of the government. Twice this year, Kiwirail has made the choice to save small amounts of money by buying rolling-stock overseas when it could have bought them from its own workshop creating hundreds of jobs and big tax flows to its owner, the government, which would have meant more services or lower debt for less tax you for and me.

We’ve been hitting this topic for a while on The Standard and even David Farrar now sees this is madness. He re-posted a long post about it yesterday and I’m going to do it again here.

This isn’t about protectionism. This isn’t about trade barriers. This is just the government acting sensibly to get the most bang for its buck for us, its owners:

I have always found it remarkably easy not to get all het’ up about other people’s problems. However, over the past couple of years I have been doing a lot of thinking about ‘the economy’ and I have slowly come to realise that individual and group woes have a tendency to compound over time into big globs of ‘economic ugly’ that inevitably effect almost all of us working class shlubs, particularly in a country as small as NZ.

KiwiRail’s recently announced decision to outsource the purchase of 300 container wagons to Chinese manufacturing concern CNR has not just het’ me up – it’s got me positively incendiary.

This decision is bollocks – there is no other way to put it. Actually there are several better ways to put it – but hey, this is a family friendly blog…..

The Southland Daily Times reports KiwiRail’s CEO, Jim Quinn, as saying that this decision does not imperil jobs at it’s own Hillside and Hutt Valley workshops. He proceeds to reinforce this carved-in-wet-sand assurance by further stating that he cannot guarantee that there will always be enough work for them…..[unless, of course, he did something like, lets see...award them Kiwi-Rail's own contracts].

I have had personal dealings with Hillside. Back in 2005/06 Sarah & I photographed the ‘Men & Women of Hillside’ for the Toll NZ calendar – that’s where the photo comes from. I gained a great deal of respect for the operation – and it’s workers during these photo shoots.

Hillside is not inhabited by a bunch of over-entitled, Teamster style union shirkers tossing handfuls of bolts in the general direction of a locomotive. The carpark is not chocka with $60,000 SUVs and I never spotted a lunch room filled with workers taking 2 hour seniority breaks.

They are a highly skilled, workforce building remarkable products on a scale that I have not seen previously in NZ. Quite simply, they are bloody good at building big heavy stuff and they do it all – from foundry to paint shop to high tech electrical controls – in about the most Dickensian agglomeration of buildings still standing in the Southern Hemisphere.

The bottom line is this – Hillside Engineering is about as competive and lean as a manufacturer can be in New Zealand. In 10 years time when China is no longer cheap we will need these skills again in NZ, so we had better not lose them in the interim.

The reason for Hillside’s failed bid on this project was surprise, surprise – cost. To my knowledge, CNR have not promised to deliver a 40% lighter, self-loading, web-savvy super-wagon that comes complete with it’s own facebook and twitter accounts. Nope, CNR are 25% cheaper than Hillside on this $29 million contract and that’s it. By my calculations that equates to about $7.25 million – so for expediency I’ll call it an even $7M between friends which, admittedly, seems like a lot of money – but is it in the scheme of things?

Now, I don’t fully understand the operating rationale behind SOE’s – I would naively assume that it would be to utilise and safeguard state owned assets for the betterment of the broader New Zealand economy. What I do understand is that the previous Labour Government stumped up at least $665 million to purchase what is quite possibly the least successful monopoly in commercial history. If we had three privately owned railroad competitors in NZ, I could understand that the imperative to cut costs would exist – but we don’t** and we as the taxpayer are stuck with Kiwi-Rail (at least until after the next election) whether we like it or not – I for one do like it.

So if we own a monopoly why don’t we just do what all good monopolies do best – pass the extra costs on to the end user in order to deliver a more holistic package of benefits to the NZ economy?

If we are already at least $665 million plus in the hole, what the hell is another $7m to keep New Zealanders working at a time like this? Bernard Hickey summed it up beautifully when he said that we need to be much more nationalistic about these issues – damned right we do.

Like most of the developed world, manufacturing is more expensive here because we live in a country where we expect a living wage, social safety nets and a safe working environment. Inevitably we operate under A LOT of Government penned legislation that safeguards these expectations and adds A LOT of costs in the process. If an SOE cannot afford to pay the true cost of manufacturing in NZ using it’s own workers, who else can? We might as well just shut up shop tomorrow.

Let’s face it. Hillside will never be able to beat the Chinese on price. Everything is cheaper in China – in fact Kiwi Rail might like to consider outsourcing it’s CEO role to China, I am sure they could easily exceed a 25% saving on that.

So the question has to be what do we stand to lose from this deal? Are we really saving $7 million?

I would argue that from the get-go the New Zealand loses at least 12 million dollars by sending this deal to China. (apples for apples – The Hillside deal has a $7 million ‘buy NZ’ premium and I am assuming $10m imported materials which is a capital outflow from NZ – meaning an additional $12 million leaves NZ under the CNR deal). I am a macro-economics gumby*, but as far as I can see, The CNR deal ensures that this additional $12m is off to China, and unless someone in the CNR Mansion*** is in the market for a few thousand tonne of kiwifruit or a nice package deal holiday to NZ it ain’t coming back except as part of Bill English’s weekly $300 million loan package.

Which segues rather neatly to my next point – let’s look at that $7 million in context – as we have previously established $7 million is a shed load of money to most of us (though up until last week $7 million was probably Mark Hotchin’s monthly living costs). But $7 million is a mere 2.3% of the aforementioned weekly rogering that we are already taking as a country – I can’t be bothered looking it up, but I suspect that $7 million pays for about 6 hours of dole and DPB payments at present.

Continuation of this accounting-centric purchasing at Kiwi Rail could well ensure that the dole, DPB, or worse, Australia, is where a large portion the 180 skilled workers of Hillside could soon be headed. What is the downstream cost of that? Is it worth the risk for a measly $7 million? I for one don’t think so and I would be happy to foot my portion of that bill as a taxpayer.

But do we really have to foot the bill?

I always like to chunk business problems down to the smallest denominator – it brings perspective and big problems often look a lot more resolvable.

Firstly, lets spread the $7m extra cost over the 300 carriages. That’s about $23,000 extra per carriage – significant yes, but wagons don’t curl up and die after a year – though it is entirely possible that they could be tagged to death in South Auckland within their first week of service.

I am no train spotter, but looking at Kiwi Rail’s current rolling stock it would appear that a wagon can ride the rails for at least 97 years and survive two world wars – but I’ll adopt a more economically palatable 10 year timeframe. That’s a paltry $2,300 per annum across their life span – we’ll apply some snazzy time value of money guess-timation and make that $2500 per annum to give the bean-counters a return on investment. That’s less than $7 a day – or the equivalent of a Big Mac combo a day we have to recover to keep 180 Kiwis in work.

I have no idea how rail container freight is charged out (volume, time, or weight) but trucking 2.5 cubic metres from Alexandra to Auckland return cost us $750 return last month so I am guessing a container would cost thousands for the same trip. Will Fonterra**** really balk at the equivalent of $7 or even $25 dollars a day in charges? I doubt it.

So what to do? It’s simple really – CANCEL THE CONTRACT maybe pay some penalties to keep the diplomatic corp from squirming at embassy dinners and bring the jobs home. We all know that the Chinese Government would have few qualms reciprocating if their manufacturing sector looked like ours.

Do the right thing, CANCEL THE CONTRACT.

93 comments on “Farrar joins call for SOE reform”

  1. jbanks 1

    “even David Farrar now sees this is madness.”

    Wow David Farrar! Impressive benchmark. That guy tells it how it is. Hope to hear more from this ‘David Farrar’ guy.

    • Mr Magoo 1.1

      He tells it how you think it is.

      A not so subtle difference. But at least we can find common ground.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    http://www.berl.co.nz/1166a1.page

    The Berl Report on the making of trains in NZ compared with anywhere else estimated that, once the wider economic benefits were taken into account, the foreign built trains would have to have a 66% discount on the NZ$ price. 25% cheaper doesn’t cut it.

    NACT: Being real bloody stupid with our economy and, by extension, our society.

    (Copied my comment from last nights OpenMike across)

    • Swampy 2.1

      Dont think much of the lobbysits have a clue, this guy is talking rubbish suggesting Kiwirail is a monoply. They compete against road transport which has all thecards in its favour so saying they can jhust load the extra costs onto their freight charges is bulldust.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        Tell you what, we’ll just put all the costs that truckers cause to the roads on to RUCs and things should be about right. In fact, I think you’ll find that there won’t be that much competition from the truckies after that.

        • Swampy 2.1.1.1

          Sure then there won’t be any economy left how does the stuff get from the Manufacturers plant to the ship or train or wharever LOL

          • Armchair Critic 2.1.1.1.1

            That’s a bit simplistic, swampy.
            The way the RUC and petrol tax is operated at present results in a subsidy from smaller vehicle operators (cars, motorbikes and very light trucks – under 4.5t) to heavy vehicle operators (vehicles that require a class 2, 3, 4 or 5 licence to drive). Rail and sea modes don’t receive this subsidy.
            From what I recall of previous comments, Draco is merely suggesting trucking companies pay their fair share, and forego the subsidy. You might call it competing on a level playing field.
            So it’s not a call for a large increase in costs, just a call for the costs to be redistributed and paid by the people that actually incur them. Sound fair to you?

            • Swampy 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Sorry you have it the wrong way around
              The MOTs latest RUC study concluded most cathegories of truck are overcharged RUC’s except the 5 tonners.
              http://www.transport.govt.nz/news/newsevents/Documents/RUC-Final-Report.pdf

              in other words
              light trucks get subsidised by heavy trucks RUCS
              what you claim is the opposite & not supported by the facts

              • Colonial Viper

                WHERE in the report does it say that, thanks.

                Just so we don’t have to wade through all 135 pages worth to find the passage you are referring to.

                Furthermore, the CAM (Cost Allocation Model) does not seek to recognise the group of costs which are customarily referred to as externalities. These would typically include costs associated with such matters as road related accidents and adverse environmental impacts. The ultimate and ideal cost recovery mechanism would be that which recoups from all road users the long run marginal social cost of maintaining the network.

                And after having said that they recommend this:

                That the Government investigates alternative funding for non-road related costs in light of our conclusion that costs recovered through the road user charging system should, in general, be confined to the costs associated with road use only.

              • Armchair Critic

                what you claim is the opposite & not supported by the facts
                What a load of crap you write.
                The report you use to support your claims is flawed.
                1. The title states that the report is an “independent review”. Yet:
                None of the authors is a roading or rail engineer, thus none of the authors has significant practical experience in the engineering of roads or railways.
                One of the authors is a shareholder in and director of a company with a significant interest in the RUC system, and has a vested interested in increasing the use of that system. This is best achieved by getting more trucks on the road.
                Appendix 4 of the report is an advertisement for this company.
                2. The report refers repeatedly to a Cost Allocation Model (CAM). The CAM is not appended to the report and is not available through http://www.transport.govt.nz so it can not be reviewed.
                However, the report identifies that the fourth power relationship and weight distribution assumptions should continue to be used, for now. It recommends two openly pro-truck actions. A review of the power factor, to reduce the proportion of the wear that can be assigned to heavy vehicles, and a review of the average loading factor from 55% to 45%.
                Most critically, it does not mention anything about the design standard requirements that are imposed by heavy vehicles. To accomodate heavy vehicles, roads not only need to built with thicker pavements and more complex seals, but they also must be built wider (more materials) and flatter (more earthworks). It goes without saying that bigger, thicker pavements and more complex seals have higher maintenance costs. IMO all the costs imposed by heavy vehicles should be borne by their operators. I want to know whether this was considered and, assuming it was, why it is not discussed.
                The MOTs latest RUC study concluded most cathegories of truck are overcharged RUC’s except the 5 tonner
                No, it doesn’t. It concludes that “Option A” in the study would result in a reduction in RUCs for everything except 5t trucks. Coincidentally Option A also requires the technological solution offer by the aforementioned company with which one of the report’s author’s has an interest. And none of the other Options require it. Even more coincidentally, Option A is the recommended option. Who would have guessed??
                The basis of comparison is unfair too. While it looks at all types of vehicle, it assumes they all average 15,000km per year. This is reasonable for privately-owned cars, but most heavy vehicles do many times this distance. I’m surprised no one picked this up during the pre-release review.

                On a kind of related subject, I’m still extremely angry that National retrospectively confiscated my RUCs, forced me to buy new ones at a higher cost and charged me extra GST on them. Bunch of fucking thieves.

        • Swampy 2.1.1.2

          Already the case so nothing new there, no change.

  3. LynW 3

    Great article! CANCEL THE CONTRACT! Support New Zealand and New Zealanders! It’s as simple as that!

    • Eddie 3.1

      and so sensible. you know – not tariffs or artificial things like that just ‘if you’re part of the government, consider the impacts of your actions on the whole government’

      • jcuknz 3.1.1

        I’ve been saying that for years, long before we had SOE and the like. But people live in their little boxes of thought and either are incapable or don’t see the need to take a holistic approach to what they do. It happens under both left and right wing governments … it is the closed box mentality … all so sad.
        Great first para Eddie .. sums it up well.

    • Swampy 3.2

      No its not that simple.

      The locomotive contract would have been 70% dearer and starting from scratch a massive disadvanagte against existing factories already in operation.
      Now these argumenets are not neew. they were being had decades back even the 1970s when there were much more rail workshops than are now. yet all the major locmotives now running were built over seas.

  4. RedLogix 4

    I keep getting a whiff from these CNR contracts. They make no economic sense and everyone involved knows this.

    So why are they happening?

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Follow the money is usually good advice when something is happening that really shouldn’t be. In cases like this it’ll be “hidden” money – the information that we’re prevented from seeing due to commercial sensitivity and the information that we actually need to know. It is, after all, our money and our society that National and the Kiwirail CEO are selling out.

      • Swampy 4.1.1

        Oh so youre implying some sort of kickback or hidden political comeback for the Nats

        But if the boot is on the other foot Labours key affiliate union adding to their millons of assets with more union fees from increased membership etc

        Its quite wrong to be advocating Kiwirail should get some favours from the goverment as owner when it competes in the market place against road transport operators which are privately owned

    • Bright Red 4.2

      Sammy Wong was over there apparently, making these deals for Kiwirail…

    • felix 4.3

      I agree RedLogix, something is wong here. Very, very wong.

  5. RedLogix 5

    Actually if you include the ‘total lifecycle costs’ these ‘cheap’ wagons and DL locos from CNR will turn out to be very expensive indeed.

    A friend of mine is a very experienced engineer at Woburn; listening to him give all the exact technical reasons why these Chinese imports are a bad idea makes my ears bleed. The initial purchase price is only a small fraction of the costs involved… the real price is maintenance and repairs. Building them here in the first place achieves three main things:

    1. It creates the skilled work-force, who know the equipment intimately …because they built it.

    2. It ensures that you get the right design, with all the components specified exactly as you want.

    3. It engages the wider commercial community as suppliers and sub-contractors… and energises the manufacturing customer base who will respond to seeing new efficient, kiwi-made rolling stock.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Yep, the wider economic benefits far outweighed the small savings achieved from importing.

    • Swampy 5.2

      The fact is they will be maintained in NZ so workshops will be in work for years to come
      There is no sane reason why they would be better if they have been put together here out of the components made in China.

      when you talk about 1 2 3 there is no gurantee any of these things and there is no existing locomotive manufacturing industry in NZ so Kiwirail would also be paying the costs of building this industry up from scratch then it woild be winding down again at the end of the contracts so all the skilled people would have to leave again because Theres no way any other business would be found

      And saying that NZ has never found a reason to have such industry before Not even in the glory dayes of the NZR Railways Dept has anyone ever seriously got any credenace given to making main line locos in NZ only shunting engines

      • RedLogix 5.2.1

        Building diesel locos is more of an assembly process than making it all from scratch. The engines, the alternators, traction motors, the control systems and electrics are all sourced from various global suppliers. This is true regardless of whether they are made by CNR or Hillside.

        The frame, bogies and most of the rest (excluding the actual wheel castings which come from Aussie) could be readily made here in NZ by the existing skilled workforce. Building them in a short time-frame would put some pressure on them, but nothing that could not be resolved by bringing in some short-term sub-contractors to deal with specific tasks. There are plenty of kiwi engineering firms out there gagging for such work right now.

        This is not idle speculation, it is informed comment direct from one of Kiwirail’s own production managers.

        • Swampy 5.2.1.1

          May be so but its much more expensive as Kiwirail points out, they have not got cash to spare, wagon buildings on a different level .

  6. ak 6

    Good God. First Hickey, now Farrar inching their way towards sanity. Take some credit all you Standardistas, for your sound and dogged reasoning over the last 3 years, and keep it up you good things.

  7. Ed 7

    It won’t happen – John Key is ambitious for……? John Key? …. Hawaii? …. China?

  8. Brett 8

    Wouldn’t the free trade deal with China be the main reason behind the CNR contracts?
    We buy their trains, they buy our dairy products?

    • Bright Red 8.1

      um… no.

      as we didn’t have any tariffs on trains before, the FTA changes nothing.

      And an FTA doesn’t compell us to buy trains, or anything else, from them

  9. felix 9

    Farrar is such a fucking troll he even trolls his own forum. As usual he appends it with a nudge & a wink, this time about the evils of trade “barriers” and as usual all the commenters take the bait and pretend that the post was about banning SOEs from dealing with overseas companies.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Yeah, saw that but the post itself was a good one. It wasn’t actually written by DPF but some relation.

      • jcuknz 9.1.1

        His sister-in-law’s brother-in-law :-) and I thought some of my explanations were involved :-)

        Yes the liwiblog thread comments do really miss the point but what can you expect from RWNJs

  10. deWithiel 10

    It would appear that KiwiRail under its new NACT appointed board have been doing a number of slightly whiffy things with CNR. Aside from this particular tender, CNR was recently added to an existing short list for the $500million contract for the new Auckland EMUs, causing the withdrawal of the original 4 shortlisted companies and yet another ministerially-caused delay to the introduction of electric trains to Auckland. Then there are all sort of unexplained bits to this jigsaw puzzle, such as the activities of Pacific Power Development (NZ) Ltd who apparently acted on behalf of CNR on the container wagon contract; they have a partial English language website and a contact address via a Pakuranga post office box but no listed personnel. And then there are the recent revelations concerning the ubiquitous Sammy Wong who was involved with Toll some years back and, more recently, made an as yet unexplained trip to Dalian (where CNR have a major subsidiary) on the taxpayer dollar.

  11. Nick C 11

    Here’s what you have missed: There are two ways we can make trains. We can manafacture them in Dunedin, or we can farm them on the Cantabury plains ;)

    Sounds crazy? It’s not. Read this:

    http://faculty.tamu-commerce.edu/dfunderburk/428/readings/The%20Iowa%20Car%20Crop.htm

    • RedLogix 11.1

      The obvious dumbass fallacy of the ‘Iowa Car Crop’ is this…. the only people who could afford to buy them would be Iowa farmers. In this simplistic model everyone else would be under or unemployed… and so therefore cannot afford to buy them..

      Even Henry Ford knew that the he could only be successful if his workers could afford to buy his products.

      • Nick C 11.1.1

        “In this simplistic model everyone else would be under or unemployed… and so therefore cannot afford to buy them..”

        And yet in the real world people who do not manafacture cars can afford imported cars, this is just a model with only 2 goods to show the logic of trade.

        Surely then if the Iowa car crop model is flawed on the grounds that only the corn farmers can afford cars, then your model is flawed on then grounds that only the people who manafacture the trains can afford to ride them? Either way that is a fallacy that you are arguing.

        The Iowa car crop simply shows that we dont lose domestic jobs by importing a good. It shows that in reality kiwirail isnt competing with chinese train factories, it’s actually competing with cantabury farms.

        • RedLogix 11.1.1.1

          The quaint little story you link describes what is called a ‘toy economy’. In other words it hugely simplifies the real economy down to a very simple model that is easy to talk about….and then uses that tale to draw conclusions that it then claims would be valid if projected onto the real economy.

          In this toy economy there is only ONE class of people in the USA making an income… the farmers. No mention of how anyone else could possibly afford to buy a car. Therefore it fails on it own logic.

          Toy economies are a useful teaching tool, but are not a substitute for real world analysis.

          • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1.1

            I don’t think that they’re a useful teaching tool either as idiots take them as being real.

        • jcuknz 11.1.1.2

          But they are buying the cars with borrowed money at the rate of $350 million a week. What suckers we all are and have been for decades … ever since Britain closed off our exports way back when? when? and we had to stop living in a fools paradise… but we didn’t…

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      More free-market bollocks. How so?

      Because we also mine and produce the steel here so exporting food to re-import the exported steel is inefficient and massively ramps up real (physical) costs.

      • Nick C 11.2.1

        Surely the price system is the best way to determine who can keep real costs down the most? And the Chinese had the lowest bid, so they would probably be able to complete the project with the lowest cost, no?

        • Draco T Bastard 11.2.1.1

          …so they would probably be able to complete the project with the lowest cost, no?

          Nope. Making them in China actually increases real costs. More fuel used (transport and coal fired power stations), more people used pushing costs (food, houses, transport etc) there up as well and the fact that they’re likely to be importing the steel from us anyway. It would, in real physical terms, be cheaper to make them here. The only way it could look cheaper is because the price system is corrupted through things like exchange rate manipulation and high interest rates. And even if the price system wasn’t corrupted, which it is, the lowest bid wasn’t the best bid as the wider economic benefits of making them here vastly outweighed the savings achieved by importing them.

          • Nick C 11.2.1.1.1

            I dont think you read the link I posted. The question isnt ‘is it cheaper to make the trains here or in China’, the question is ‘is it cheaper to make trains here, or to grow cows here and send them off to China in exchange for trains’. Even if New Zealand does have an absolute advantage in the production of trains (which is essentially what you are arguing), we do not have a comparitive advantage in the production of them.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.2.1.1.1.1

              In a highly mechanised industry comparative advantage is meaningless as it’s something that any society can do. All it needs to do is train the people to have the skills (done) and build the factory (also done). Also, it’s not proven that we have such an advantage – the pollution in our rivers from farming would indicate that we don’t (the price of food is far lower than the price of trains so we have to grow far more food to pay for the trains meaning more pollution which we then have to pay to clean up).

              So, we’re left with absolute advantage and what’s best for our society as a whole. The absolute advantage is that it’s cheaper to make them ourselves and it’s better for our society if we do so as well because it pushes the bounds of our knowledge and skills which pushes our culture to develop.

              And, no, I didn’t read more than the first two lines of the article. I’ve studied economics for the better part of ten years now so that was more than enough to understand the simplified (for RWNJs) version of BS that it was selling.

              • jcuknz

                Trouble with you guys is you have no thought for the poor chinese workers who will be out of work and starving … no UB in China I suspect … if we don’t buy Chinese.
                Sorry moderators … that’s trollish … but its Christmas and I am a little drunk :-)

          • Swampy 11.2.1.1.2

            NZ bought locomotves from many countries like Britain UK and Us in past
            Never worried about any economic benefits lost to NZ because the benefits of having them put together by experienced firms that make them all the time is superior.

            • jcuknz 11.2.1.1.2.1

              Yes they did Swampy but think of the industrial base we could have built in addition to our agricultural base if we had built those locos in New Zealand. But of course the British industrial power ruled the world then with the States tagging along … but quite quickly of course we DID build our own locos … so somebody had brains back in those days and Hillside, Addington and the other workshops came into being.. Yes in this field we did have an industrial base which has been let run down by foolish limited thinking economics rather than proper holistic assessments.
              So often in so many different fields …. it makes me cry.

              • Swampy

                That was to buld steam locos much less technology involved. When the end of steam came in NZ so to did come the end of locomotive building except very simple ones.
                The clear benefits were seen then of buying from experienced builders because of leap intechnology needed. and being geared up to make them meant they could be made a lot quiicker (sound familiar>)

                Look at the poms experience. a lot of locos having very short lives because the builders didnot have a clue.

                There are a few private builders established in Aust if there was an advantage to building in NZ they would have come over by now.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.2.1.1.2.2

              Yep, we did – until we started making them ourselves.

              A Colonial Viewpoint

              As with many of the 1980s projects, the early approach to the railways had been essentially a colonial one, with total imports of the technology, but the paucity of overseas exchange resulting from Vogel’s Public Works programme led to the decision to build locomotives locally. The expertise built up in the workshops, which had been established to carry out maintenance, provided the base for this move. Large numbers of workers, including many craftsmen, were employed in these workshops, which were the largest workshops of any industry in the colony.

              It seems that they did, as a matter of fact, take into account wider economic benefits. They didn’t call them that but they did take them into account.

          • Swampy 11.2.1.1.3

            Kiwi rail has the benefits from spending the money that was saved on these locos – wagons on something else
            Still has economic benefit.

    • Bright Red 11.3

      of, Nick C, we can just make sure government subsidiaries consider the impacts of their decisions on the whole government.

      It’s not revolutionary, it’s not anti-trade. You wouldn’t expect a division of Microsoft to ignore impacts on the whole company when making its decisions, why should the government be different?

      the fact that you’re resorting to anti-trade misdirection suggests you don’t have an answer.

      • Nick C 11.3.1

        No, kiwirail should act in the interests of the country, which is exactly what it is doing here by taking the cheapest contract

        As I said, there are two ways we can make trains: We can build them in Dunedin or grow them in Cantabury (that is to say, export something and get trains as an import in return). If we build trains in Dunedin then the Cantabury farmer goes out of business. If we grow the trains in Cantabury then the Dunedin factory goes out of business.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.3.1.1

          And no matter how many times you repeat it it still isn’t true. The wider economic benefits of making the trains here far outweighed importing them. Go read the Berl report.

          • Nick C 11.3.1.1.1

            Of course it’s true. What do you think the chinese want in return for building these trains for us? Green pieces of paper with pictures of the Queen on them?

            No, they want dairy products, and various other things that New Zealand can export. So when we buy goods from China we give them the NZ$ to buy goods from here, thus helping our export industries. If the chinese never got the $NZ they would never buy the NZ milk and therefore the export would never happen.

            Point me to where in the Berl report that is taken into account. If its not, then it isnt worth the paper it is written on.

            • SPC 11.3.1.1.1.1

              If your argument was true – the Chinese had a trade surplus with New Zealand before this deal.

              Otherwise

              1. Nations don’t barter.

              2. They have the foreign currency reserves (trade surpluses with many other nations) to buy New Zealand, not just our dairy products.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.3.1.1.1.2

              Typical RWNJ – just doesn’t fucking listen.

              The cost/benefit analysis, taking into account the wider economic benefits of making the trains here, show that it’s better for NZ to make the trains here rather than exporting dead cows and importing trains.

              Get it?

            • Colonial Viper 11.3.1.1.1.3

              If the chinese never got the $NZ they would never buy the NZ milk and therefore the export would never happen.

              This is so fraking stupid your RWNJ certificate is hereby revoked.

              (PS as long as Fonterra accepts USD, which the Chinese happen to be sitting on hundreds of billions of, our dairy trade will be just fine. You’re hereby also downgraded to Financial n00b.)

          • Swampy 11.3.1.1.2

            The Berl case assumes a gravy train approach
            Its 1970s Muldoon in power The railways get told to mop up unemployment by making work for peop,e on the dole queue etx
            Railways show a huge loss in the govermment accounts at the end of the year

            That used to happen but does not any more. We live in the real world now. N one in their right mind is going to suggerst we start a locomotive building industry from scratch by throwing pots of money into the railway workshops that will be lost on the costs of setting up from scratch.

            • jcuknz 11.3.1.1.2.1

              But we already have the nucleous of a railway building industrry and we had one until the RWNJs sold it out from our control. You guys just don’t know your history. The stupidity of the RWNJs is un believable. Such limited thinking and concept of reality which should be obvious to them as it is to me with my limited brain power.
              I’m drunk remember and going for another …..

              • Swampy

                NO we did not the rail workshops are about the capacity they were late 80s well before Privatisation was guessed at
                A tiny number of very simple locos put together one at a time or assembled from kit sets made overseas in the last 40 years. not a locomotive building indstry.

                The shops do have the capacity to overhaul & have been doing so many years but its all spread out so they are working continuoulsy. gearing up extra capacity for short period of contract then laying pple off at the end is wasteful.

                • Colonial Viper

                  gearing up extra capacity for short period of contract then laying pple off at the end is wasteful.

                  yeah, according to National giving talented NZ’ers work for a year or two is wasteful, as is building up our industrial capacity to be able to bid on more work overseas.

                  I think National needs to start wearing an L on its forehead.

                  A tiny number of very simple locos put together one at a time or assembled from kit sets made overseas in the last 40 years. not a locomotive building indstry.

                  Yeah but we could obtain that capacity. And we are proficient at building modern rail cars.

                  • Swampy

                    No. We are proficient at refurbihsing carriages and units. There is a difference in designing them fromm scratch and rebuilding existing ones which is what the work shops have been doing for years. using some one else’s design and reparing the carriage or wagons according to the manufactureres spec is quite different to starting from scratch.

                    The notion the unions put out that the shops could compete with other manufactureres overseas is quite ridiculous especially with Asian manufactureres. most larger countries have their own railway builders already established without the dis advantgae of the large distance we are by sea from any export martket.

  12. B 12

    Refresh my memory. Who was the NZ sales agent for this deal? How much was the commission?

    • Bright Red 12.1

      Sammy Wong was working for Kiwirail … http://pansyfacts.co.nz/category/questions-arising/

      • deWithiel 12.1.1

        According to KiwiRail he was working for PPD (NZ) Ltd. See: http://www.blueskynz.net/index.php?styleid=2). The website states that PPD ‘serves as a duly authorized representative and an amiable ambassador for major leading enterprises of China’s railway industry.’ Pansy has contradicted the KiwiRail statement. PPD were the agents, again the website states, in Mandarin (Google translation, sorry) that: ‘ PPD team success with the New Zealand design, manufacture and supply of the 100 container trucks, the vehicle is currently in New Zealand railway line has been fully operational. The container truck designed to fit the meter gauge railway line in New Zealand transport and design, is the first time New Zealand rail vehicles vehicle market, but also received the New Zealand Government Railways assets, for the first time all the vehicles in overseas orders.’

  13. B 13

    Which means he wasn’t working for Kiwirail, but for an ‘authorized representative and an amiable ambassador for major leading enterprises of China’s railway industry’. So how much was PPD’s commission and who are their shareholders?

  14. randal 14

    it might be madness but in the long run all foreign currency has to be paid for and usually in trinagular offsets.
    kiwi rolling stock is only a goer if we can export surplus production.
    that is the nub and not just the short term effects here.
    the government knows it cant engineer that sort of capacity without treading on significant toes overseas and making the situation worse.

    • Swampy 14.1

      Sure. kiwirail compete against establihed builders with track record like all the AUssie ones to say the least. never happen

  15. Adrian 15

    Why did Key need to be kept appraised of Wongs interests in the hovercraft company? Why was Wong with Key on several ? business trips to China ? Did Key know about Wong being an agent for CNR interests ? Does the Key/ Wong connection go a lot deeper than we know about? Can you really believe that Key is not still trading/dealing ( WTF does he do all the time in Hawaii considering that he has a beach house here in NZ ?) Is it a good cover for who knows what ?. And finally if you think all of the above is unlikely, ask yourself , “Do I really trust him?”

    • marsman 15.1

      Of course Key is still trading. Before he was trading NZ currency. Now the whole of NZ is his trade currency.

  16. Deadly_NZ 16

    Yeah follow the money trail…

    From Sammy Wong to Pansy Wong to John Key to Bill English Hmmm 7 million saved split 4 ways not a bad bit of wedge for them just for ripping off the NZ workers and tax Payers..

    Let em come after me with a law suit (I got no money it’s all been stolen by the NATS) So I’ll say it again They are ALL CORRUPT!

  17. Swampy 17

    The amount of time that left wing blogs have spent attacking Kiwirail over its tendering decisions is grossly disproportionate. It is really just the advance wave of next years election campaign being fought by Laour and one of its key afialiate unions.

    There’s not going to be any return to the day of massive government subsidies to the rail network so get used to it

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Apparently stripping capability enhancement and product development opportunities from NZ industry (not even mentioning putting jobs at risk), while giving those same opportunities to foreigners, is not worth too much of a second thought to you.

      Well it is to Labour, and you will hear about it day after day next year.

      There’s not going to be any return to the day of massive government subsidies to the rail network so get used to it

      Just massive National Government subsidies for failed investors and highways to no where?

      Yeah your crew are clueless, planless, and a team full of missed opportunities.

      Roll on 2011, can’t wait.

      • Swampy 17.1.1

        Labour Government spent $660 million of OUR money buying rail workers votes last election and still lost. Eat that.

      • Swampy 17.1.2

        And that would be because the Labour Party stands to benefit financialy wouldn’t it

        Just like antoher example $1000 bonus to union memmbers in certain State sector awards, effectively free union membership paid by the taxpayer.

  18. Swampy 18

    If the othe decision was the building of locomotives it is very wrong to say its about small amount of money

    70% more expensive to build the locos in NZ = substantial amount.

    Its also quite wrong to say Farrar issupporting this cause, he has not expressed anything that suggests that he just let his mate post on his blog.

    Now what is being asked? government subsidies to kiwirail so that it must buy in NZ well this is really old hat and it should not amount to the goverment giving money to its own company to be favoured over competitoors in the marketplace

    Its not surprising to me to see this sort of political lobbying that Kiwirail (whose employees just happen to make up the membership of one of the Labour partys key union affialites) should be granted aprivileged status over and above just because its goverment owned and the fact this sort of lobbying is going on is a good reason why the goverment should not own a rail operator or any business that competes against the private sector as rail actually does.

    • jcuknz 18.1

      He didn’t let his mate post on his blog as he has done in the past year with several contributors but he copied and pasted this personal blog onto his own blog. And I thought the lefties were the conspiracy maniacs but you are just as bad..
      I’m off to bed now … you can guess why :-)

    • Draco T Bastard 18.2

      Nope, CNR are 25% cheaper than Hillside…

      Seems to be a bit less than the 70% that you’re saying.

  19. ak 20

    From deWith’s link:

    “Therefore, the New Zealand specifies that before the imported locomotive contract is placed the Trade Unions shall take charge of the last procedure to decide whether it is signed after its investigation. On February 9th, 2009, the New Zealand Trade Unions made an on-the-spot investigation to Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co, Ltd and took a ride on HXD3 electric locomotive, during which time they were highly satisfied by what they had reviewed”

    Velly intelering…….anyone know who exactly was in this “New Zealand Trade Unions” delegation?

  20. Colonial Viper 21

    CNR China takes and uses German Train Tech (then throws the Germans out)

    China knows how to do it, this National Government does not.

    Read and weep RWNJ’s: active govt procurement is crucial in the development of an advanced, high value industrial economy.

    The NATs just bumble along with their anti real economy agenda.

  21. Swampy 22

    “It doesn’t make sense for parts of the government called SOEs to act as if they are independent entities and ignore the impacts of their decisions on the the rest of the government. ”

    Actually, it does. SOEs are set up to be at arms’ length from the goverment. The reason why this is important is SOEs are engaged in commercial activties which often compete with private sector companies. Therefore their operation has to be totally transpoarent and free of political interferece.

    What doesnt make sense is for a government to direct an SOE to make a poliitcal decision which is what you are advocating. Savings made from these contracts will go into some other part of Kiwirails operation rather than buying political favours.

    • lprent 22.1

      Agree and disagree. We retain ownership of SOE’s for strategic reasons and the hands off approach is to allow for transparency on strategic investments rather than the hidden social subsidies common in the Muldoon era.

      The imperatives of a fully private enterprise are always towards short term profit. The state retains ownership stakes to ensure that longer term ‘infrastructure’ decisions with longer paybacks can be made. It means that if the state wants to make them then it needs to pay for them.

      In this case, the question about being able to maintain our ability to maintain our ability to repair and build our on rolling stock over the long term is a political decision not a short term commercial one. It is the same type of decision as bailing out air nz to maintain a air freight link for nz required by our exporters.

      In my view we need to be able to build and maintain our rolling stock over the longer term. The government should invest in making sure that happens.

  22. Frank Macskasy 23

    “Is it worth the risk for a measly $7 million? I for one don’t think so and I would be happy to foot my portion of that bill as a taxpayer.”

    Which comes to just under $2 per every person in New Zealand.

    $2.

    You can buy about 15 minutes carparking in downtown Wellington for that price.

    Or a newspaper.

    Or a packet of chewing gum.

    But not much else. Yet, for just under $2, we could have provided New Zealanders with jobs. I’m with David Farrar on this; the decision by Kiwirail flies in the face of common sense.

    Cancel the contract. And while we’re on cancelling contracts – let’s look at Jim Quinn’s.

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  • Privileges Complaint Laid against Prime Minister – Harawira
    MANA Movement Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has today lodged a Privileges Complaint with the Speaker regarding the Prime Ministers denials in parliament that he knew anything about Kim Dotcom before 2012. “Information made public today appears...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Sharples’ new appointments are out of order
    The new appointments to the Waitangi Tribunal announced by Dr Pita Sharples this morning are completely out of order given the election is just five days away, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “This Government continues to show disdain...
    Labour | 15-09
  • MANA Movement Housing Policy
    “When families are living in cars, garages, cockroach-infested caravans and three families to a house then we have a housing crisis”, said MANA leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira. “When you have a housing crisis for low-income...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Bigger than the Foreshore and Seabed – Sykes
    “Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end to both...
    Mana | 14-09
  • MANA wants Te Reo Māori petition fulfilled
    Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Te Hāmua Nikora, MANA candidate for Ikaroa Rāwhiti  “More than four decades have passed and the petition calling for Te Reo Māori in schools...
    Mana | 14-09
  • Primary focus on the critical issues
    A Labour Government will prioritise New Zealand’s agricultural sectors by recreating a Rural Affairs Minister and appointing a Primary Industry Council and a Chief Agricultural Adviser. Releasing Labour’s Primary Sector and Rural Affairs policies today, spokesperson Damien O’Connor says the...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Maori Television fears confirmed – Harawira
    ...
    Mana | 12-09
  • More ghost houses from National
    The Government’s desperate pre-election announcement of more ghost houses won’t fool Aucklanders wanting action on the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “These are ghost houses, to go with National’s ghost tax cut. Families cannot live in ghost...
    Labour | 12-09
  • National bows to union pressure over travel time
    National has reluctantly bowed to pressure from unions and adopted Labour’s fair and sensible policy to pay home support workers for the time they spend traveling between clients, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “This decision is long overdue...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Predators on Poverty – Harawira
    “As poverty has ballooned out of control, the Predators on Poverty have emerged to suck the lifeblood from whole families and communities” said MANA Movement leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “They are deliberately targeting low-income areas, particularly those...
    Mana | 11-09
  • MANA Movement Policy Launch
    Predators on Poverty (pokie machines, alcohol outlets and loan sharks) 1pm, Thursday 11th September Corner Great South Road and Criterion Street Otahuhu Shopping Centre...
    Mana | 10-09
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election res...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election result...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • The rich get richer
    Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman highlights the growing inequality in this article in the New York Times. The left wing slogan that the “the rich get richer” is a fact of almost perverse power. The most recent period of expansion in the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • A brief word on reinvading Iraq
    So after telling the country before the election that NZ would not send forces to Iraq, lo and behold now he’s won the election with a full spectrum dominance political majority, Key is suddenly now looking to join the re-invasion of...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • A brief word on the importance of ACT, Maori Party and United Future to Nat...
    I’m a far right wing clown who attacks tax money going on anything collective, gimmie some cash and privilege.  One of the great successes of National has been to implement hard right policy but have it sold as moderate. For some NZers,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Labour’s Angst
    Was Labour’s predictably low vote David Cunliffe’s fault? Was it policy? Was it something else that has aroused perceptions of electoral carnage? My analysis of the numbers suggests that, as uncertain voters made up their minds, there was a late...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Information wars: Gaza as “the last taboo”, the threat of mass surveill...
    “When the truth is replaced with silence” wrote the soviet dissident Yevgeni Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.” There has been a silence these past months full of noise, static and sound bites of those in power justifying their violence,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • When the media say they covered Dirty Politics – did they?
    I was watching The Nation in the weekend, and watched the defenders of NZ media up against Minto telling him he was wrong in his claims of media bias and that the media covered Dirty Politics. I laughed. When the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG – P Campbell – To the Left with love
    A week after the general election results I feel wrung out emotionally, having been through the disappointment, depression and anger of seeing  another right wing government elected overwhelmingly by winning support from the parts of NZ that will never benefit...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – I will be the new Labour Leader!
    One week after the election, while I was still waiting to be consulted about contributing to the review on what went wrong, what do you know? There is a leadership challenge. So instead of opting for a united, thoughtful and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – A Prescient Post
    A very prescient pre-election post by Martyn Bradbury tells us why the Labour Party are at war now. “The NZ First-Labour Party attack strategy against Internet MANA better work” Despite Martyn Bradbury warning them this Right Wing strategy “Better Work”...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – W(h)ither Labour (!/?)
    There’s an old saying that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Not so in the Labour Party, wherein soul-crushing defeat on a scale unseen since 1925 definitely has many fathers (and more than a few mothers and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • At the end of the day…
    At the end of the day…...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty
    Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Internet MANA the election and the media
    I’ve been very critical of media reporting of Internet MANA during the election campaign and not surprised at the predictable response from representatives of the corporate media establishment. I wasn’t going to carry this further but was asked at the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Rachel Jones – A superficial discourse analysis of a superfic...
    On Sunday there was a story about Paddy Gower and his detached retina in the Herald on Sunday. Really? I hear you ask. Really? Yes, really. Pam Corkery will have sprayed toast crumbs over her dressing gown. The reporter has become...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Terrorising Australia’s Muslim population
    We should be suspicious when 800 police conduct “terror” raids across Australia, but only one person is charged with a relevant terrorism offence (of which we know few details). We should be suspicious of the lurid tales of terrorists planning...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its min...
    Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its mind. I know the Labour party has its problems and I’m not even going to try to prescribe what should be done about it. But what I...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Loyalty, Leadership and the Labour Party
    My first after the election and I can only say I’m feeling pretty sad.  It was a terrible result, and feels even more so knowing the number of volunteers hours, hard work & sacrifice made by so many people who...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • A Study in Party Stability
    . In terms of long-term stability, one party above stands above all others, with the exception of personality-driven groups such as NZ First and United Future. That party is the Greens. If the Labour Party wants to look elsewhere for...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Cunliffe vs Robertson – Round 2
    Much to the disappointment of the NZ Herald and other right wing pundits who have decided they would like to appoint the next Labour leader, Cunliffe has surprised by deciding to damn the Caucus and appeal directly to the members...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The tasks before the left and labour movement
    Anyone on the left would have been disappointed at the result of the election. There was an opportunity to win, but that got lost through a combination of factors. There were tactical decisions made by Labour, the Greens and Internet-Mana...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • From Fiji’s dictatorship to ‘democracy’ – the AUT student team on t...
    Mads Anneberg’s profile on Ricardo Morris and Repúblika. David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. THREE STUDENTS from AUT University covered Fiji’s historic “from dictatorship to democracy” general election this month. While the election arguably legitimised Voreqe Bainimarama’s so-called 2006...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • David Cunliffe Resigns As Labour Leader – Forces Robertson Out of the Bel...
    David Cunliffe has made a smart move, resigning as the leader of the Labour Party so as to force a leadership primary campaign. The move draws rival Grant Robertson out of the beltway to parts of the country where he...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Deep thought vs Deep prejudice
    . . This letter to the editor appeared in The Listener, on 27 September, and caught my attention; . . Mr Dawson wrote in response to one of those typically unthinking comments which  condemned the poor for their “unbridled, reckless...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The NZ National voters elected
    The NZ National voters elected...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The post election postmortem is giving me post p...
    I feel the need to contribute to the discourse. This is a new experience for me. Not having an opinion, but expressing it on a popular forum in a public sphere. That’s why I have waited till now and put...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A dictionary of education terms and definitions, brought to you by the let...
    Free to all TDB readers, please enjoy your very own cut-out-and-keep handy primer of terms that I predict you will need to know over the next three years… Achievement Gap (noun) Synonym for wealth gap. ACT (abstract noun) Intangible. Reported to exist in...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A Mines Rescue brigadesman’s perspective on the Pike River Mine
    My husband and I lived in Greymouth in 2010, we were a coal mining family.  The day Pike River Mine blew up and the days following changed us profoundly, as it did for so many.  This is a Mines Rescue...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • The Left Triumphant! A Counterfactual History of the Last Twelve Months.
    DID IT REALLY HAVE TO END LIKE THIS? Reading through the commentary threads of the left-wing blogs it is impossible to not feel the anger; the sense of betrayal; the impression of having had something vital ripped from their grasp;...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Myles Thomas: The media won it!
    Make no mistake, John Key is a clever communicator – reasonable, authoritative and relaxed – but without the media he wouldn’t be PM. Depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand’s news media are either a bunch of Grey Lynn lefties or...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Not Learning Lessons Past: the West’s Response to IS
    In an earlier posting Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, I noted that the first lesson of conflict learned by Robert McNamara was “understand your adversary”. If we have honourable objectives, our first and most important weapon is empathy. In the Vietnam War,...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Dr Jarrod Gilbert – Proof of David Farrar’s deception: my ...
    In the lead up to the election the Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley launched a gang policy. In order to justify the government’s approach she used gang figures that overstated the gang problem. Not by a little bit, but a...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Stuart Nash – Red To The Rescue?
    SPECIAL FEATURE by Selwyn Manning. IF THE ELECTION RESULT which was dished out to Labour was not enough to incite an immediate leadership primary, then the caucus’ refusal to recognise David Cunliffe as the leader should cement it. Now is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Has the one party state crackdown begun already? Left wing NZ activist grou...
    Well known left wing activist social media group, ‘John Key Has Left Down NZ’ has been shut down on Facebook. At 11.40pm last night, Facebook, without any warning shut the group down siting a breach of terms of service as...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Why Cunliffe should probably just let Nash & Robertson win
    We have to face some very unpalatable home truths. If you are a left wing political person, best you put your vote now to the Green Party, although you’ll have to do that all the while the Greens frantically tell you...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • The graceless win of Kelvin Davis
    The graceless win of Cameron Slater’s mate in the North, Kelvin Davis is difficult to swallow. Here Cameron Slater’s mate in the North is shitting on Hone Harawira by calling Hone all steam, no hangi as Kelvin rubs his ganged up win into...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So Labour shifted too far to the left?
    So Labour shifted too far to the left?   Here’s the ill-judged view of Josie Pagani in the Pundit “Labour must change”: “At the last election I made myself a heretic when I wrote a column mentioning how unpopular the...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Uncomplicated Loyalties: Why Cunliffe and the Labour Left Cannot Win
    THE STORY of David Cunliffe’s leadership of the Labour Party has been one of missed opportunities and unforced errors. That he was the only choice available to those who wanted to rid the Labour Party of its neoliberal cuckoos is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So we can expect this now?
    So we can expect this now?...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new ...
    As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
    “If the future is not green, there is no future. If the future is not you, there is no future”. Emma Thompson’s stirring words to the climate marchers in London last Sunday are worth considering in the aftermath of the...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • One Party State
    In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • No More. The Left Falls.
    . We cannot be beaten down Because we are down already. We can only rise up and if you should beat us down, We will rise again. And again. And again… And when you tire of beating us down, We...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Hang tight everyone – Marama Davidson campaign reflection
    To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA
    New flag for NZ once Key signs TPPA...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • Reflecting on Elections Past
    There are a number of past elections that can give the left in New Zealand guidance and hope. Two major points though. Major parties require leaders who can bridge the political divide through strength of personality, vision of what it...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – The Reptile Room
    I stress, at the outset, that I’ve got nothing against reptiles. Some of my best friends are reptiles. Some say I am one, but I’m not really. I just emulate that ability to sit, stationary for hours in court, eyes...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • The success of right-wing counter messaging in the election
    One of the reasons National won the election was due to its success in counter messaging – and the way so many media commentators ran with th the right-wing spin. Here are some examples. Dirty Politics The original message was...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New Flag competition
    New Flag competition...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • No time for self-pity
    After 23 meetings across the largest non-Maori electorate in the country – almost all of which went fantastically, approx 4,500km on the odometer, positive MSM and social media coverage, and polling well, I admit my team and I headed to...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • New Zealand Red Cross Responds to Drought in Tonga
    New Zealand Red Cross has sent an aid worker and two desalination units, to turn seawater into safe drinking water in the drought-hit Ha’apai islands of Tonga....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Can you ever tell if an email is real or forged?
    Computer industry veteran Brian Eardley-Wilmot warns that we should never take claims about stolen emails at face value....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • NZ MPs to attend the ASPG Annual Conference in Sydney
    New Zealand MPs to attend the Australasian Study of Parliament Group Annual Conference in Sydney...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Independent Maori seats still needed in Parliament
    “He’s got to be joking!” is the reaction of the president of the Maori Party, Rangimarie Naida Glavish to a call by a former Labour Minister of Maori Affairs, Dover Samuels, for debate by Maori on whether the Maori electorates...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    Rallies supporting the rights for universal suffrage will take place all over New Zealand today and tomorrow...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand
    Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand The Graf Boys New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world! Every year thousands of international visitors wade pristine rivers in search of the freshwater game fish....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New Zealand’s 2014 Hottest Vegetarians Crowned
    With winter gone things are heating up, and things just got even hotter with the crowning of New Zealand’s hottest vegetarians, says animal advocacy group SAFE. Marking World Vegetarian Day, 1st October, director James Napier Robertson and actor...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A day to remember our duty to look after our senior citizens
    Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says International Day of the Older Person (1 October) is a United Nations day to celebrate our senior citizens, but also acknowledge the need to protect our kaumatua, or older people from abuse and...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Clear data needed on impact of benefit sanctions on children
    A lack of data on benefit sanctions means there is no way of knowing whether welfare reform is helping or harming children, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The socialist alternative to austerity and war
    Public meeting: After the New Zealand election—the socialist alternative to austerity and war By Tom Peters 29 September 2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New recruits to boost border protection
    Twenty six new recruits began an intensive nine-week training course in Auckland today that will see them graduate as Customs officers in time for the busy summer season....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth
    The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    New Zealanders in Auckland will gather on Wednesday to support the rights for universal suffrage in Hong Kong....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Campbell Live Exclusive Interview with David Cunliffe
    David Cunliffe resigned as leader of the Labour party on Saturday; but he still wants the top job....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Action needed on cycling safety
    “Clearly we aren't doing enough to protect the 1.5 million New Zealanders who ride bikes,” said Mr Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • World Rivers Day Passes Without A Whimper
    Sunday 28 September was World Rivers Day to celebrate clean, flowing rivers and caring about them. But a recreation-conservation advocacy the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) says the day seems to have slipped by without...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The Kiwifruit Claim: Q&A
    1. Who is running The Kiwifruit Claim? The Kiwifruit Claim was founded by kiwifruit growers representing well in excess of 10% of the industry. 2. Why are you running this claim? The introduction of Psa into New Zealand had devastating...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Fed Farmers Need to Be Weaned
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Federated Farmers to make a firm commitment to reject any future Government funding, after it was revealed that the lobby group had received over $200,000 of payments in recent years....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Children paying the price for charter school stitch up
    New Zealand children will be paying a high price for a one-seat deal between ACT and National, with an expansion of the beleaguered charter school system says education union NZEI Te Riu Roa....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Hikoi From North Reaches Oil Conference Tomorrow
    Today: The Hikoi opposing Statoil plans for seismic testing and deep sea oil drilling has marched through Dargaville and later be welcomed to Piringatahi Marae, West Harbour,Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Communities Still Count
    The efforts of many organisations to influence the electorate and the political parties they voted for in the lead up to the 2014 Election is over. The voting public has spoken and provided a strong endorsement to the centre-right National...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Eleven social enterprises get ready to take off
    Eleven teams from across the country will take part in the Launchpad, Ākina’s programme to get social enterprise ideas off the ground....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • An open letter to the Prime Minister
    in which Transparency International New Zealand asks the Prime Minister to ensure integrity underpins all work he leads "in the best interests of all New Zealanders"...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Paula Bennett ‘great work’ acknowledged – McVicar
    “Paula Bennett, as Minister of Social Development, has contributed significantly in lowering our crime rate and preventing further victims.” - McVicar...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Key’s Restraint in Propping up ACT Welcomed
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming the announcement that ACT MP David Seymour will not be appointed as a Minister....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Only Concession is from the Taxpayer
    Responding to the confidence and supply agreement reached between John Key and Peter Dunne’s United Future Party, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A Tent for Any Tenant
    AUT students and Salvation Army Manukau Community Ministries team up to raise awareness, as South Auckland’s housing situation moves from crisis to collapse...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report Seeks Comments
    The Cycle Safety Panel Draft Report and Recommendations was published on 25th September 2014 and the panel are inviting comments. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds, the organisation campaigning for consistent speed limits outside schools, is encouraged...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour’s Review – Terms of Reference Agreed
    Labour's Review - Terms of Reference Agreed Following a meeting of its ruling New Zealand Council yesterday, Labour has released the terms of reference for the comprehensive review initiated following its 2014 election result. The review will comprise three...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • The final countdown for Kiwi smokers
    There are just two days left until many smokers stubb out their cigarettes for the last time and embark on Stoptober – New Zealand’s first national quit-smoking month....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose”
    “In A Democracy People Win And People Lose” – Chris Hipkins Labour Senior Whip I would say to all of the caucus and all of the members let's actually hear the arguments from the people who want to be leader,...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Campaign to make Murder of Unborn ”Safe and Legal”
    The IPPF have launched an international campaign through its 161 affiliates including the New Zealand Family Planning Association [NZFPA] to make the murder of the unborn safe and legal and accepted as a human right. This is an acceleration of...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Grant Robertson Labour leader hopeful on TVNZ Q+A
    “Look I think what we need to be is relevant, clear and consistent with New Zealanders about the Labour Party's values,” said Labour leader hopeful Grant Robertson on TVNZ’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Labour Needs to Get House in Order Before Deciding Leader
    Ex Labour party leader and possible repeat contender David Shearer says the Labour Party is going about the post-election period in the wrong way....
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Hate merchants at it again with smear tactics
    “It’s disappointing to see the hate merchants at it again with yet another attempt to smear and silence a health professional who’s doing research they disagree with,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists...
    Scoop politics | 28-09
  • Women’s group heartened by response to promo girls
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand is heartened by the strong response to the inappropriate use of bikini-clad girls at a technology expo....
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Owen interviews Jim Anderton, Helen Kelly and Selwyn Pellet
    Lisa Owen interviews Jim Anderton, Helen Kelly and Selwyn Pellet ___________________________________________ The Nation on TV3, 9.30am Saturdays and 10am Sundays. Check us out online , on Facebook or on Twitter . Tell us what you think at thenation@mediaworks.co.nz or text...
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Owen interviews Mark Boyd, Jonathan Milne and John Minto
    Lisa Owen interviews Mark Boyd, Jonathan Milne and John Minto ___________________________________________ The Nation on TV3, 9.30am Saturdays and 10am Sundays. Check us out online , on Facebook or on Twitter . Tell us what you think at thenation@mediaworks.co.nz or text...
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Prime Time on Labour
    Mike Smith - former General Secretary of the NZ Labour Party Jim McAloon, Assoc Prof, Victoria University of Wellington History Department (currently writing official history of the Labour Party) Rob Salmond, consultant to Labour Leader's office and...
    Scoop politics | 27-09
  • Korero Mai Ki Ahau – Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 September 2014
    Saturday 27 September 2014 | One million people voted for National in last week’s election. Another million didn’t vote at all. In Kia Korero Mai this week, Eru Morgan talks to political commentator Henare Kingi about the figures and what...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • On The Nation this weekend: Labour, National, The Media
    This weekend on The Nation… Labour’s had its worst election result in 92 years, so what happens next? We’ll talk to former Labour president Jim Anderton, CTU president Helen Kelly, and tech entrepreneur and past donor Selwyn Pellett about the...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Red Cross, Pacific leaders prepare for cyclone season
    The New Zealand Red Cross Pacific Advisory Group, met for the first time this week, to develop a disaster response plan for the upcoming Pacific cyclone season, which is forecast to be severe....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Teachers support PM’s call for solutions to child poverty
    NZEI Te Riu Roa is pleased to hear that the Prime Minister is calling for new ideas to address child poverty....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • First batch of household protection kits arrives in Liberia
    Kits containing protective gear will equip a network of community-based Ebola care centres nationwide...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Dr Paul Hutchison praised for work to reduce child poverty
    The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) has thanked retiring National MP Dr Paul Hutchison for his work to reduce child poverty....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Bag snatch hero deserves a medal – McVicar
    The Justice Spokesman for the Conservative Party, Garth McVicar, is calling for the woman known as the bag-snatch hero to be awarded a medal for bravery....
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Police Remembrance Day
    This week, Police staff and others have been wearing the distinctive huia feather-shaped Police Remembrance Pin as they reflect on those who have lost their lives in service to the society they swore to protect. Police Remembrance Day falls on...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Affordable Auckland Attacks Creeping Apartheid
    Affordable Auckland Leader Stephen Berry is disturbed by developments increasing the number of local body regions choosing racially based representation. The Waikato and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils already have Maori wards, while New Plymouth...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Dairy Strategy Proving to be a Disaster
    The intensification of the dairy industry is proving to be a disaster, says SAFE. This comes after the forecast 2015 milk price payout was cut 12% by Fonterra this week. “Last year, the government effectively gave the green light for...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
  • Where Next for the Left?
    26 September 2014 A discussion of the post-election prospects for radicals, facilitated by Fightback. 6pm | Monday 28th September | 19 Tory St [ Facebook event ]...
    Scoop politics | 26-09
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