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It’s all in the “game”

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, May 4th, 2013 - 192 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, assets, class war, cost of living, democracy under attack, Ethics, greens, labour, poverty, Privatisation, spin, unemployment - Tags: ,

Politicians, journalists and other commentators who support the sale of the powercos, continue to portray the Labour-Green NZ Power policy in terms of political strategy and game-play.  In doing this, they avoid having to deal with the guts of the issue: the fact that the commercialised model of power supply, intensified by the privatisation agenda of our current government, enables some people to get more money, by damaging the lives of many already struggling Kiwis.

This slick avoidance of the crux of the matter, can be seen in Fran O’Sullivan’s op ed piece in this morning’s New Zealand Herald.  her argument is centred around how the market will react, and whether the Labour-Green policy will damage profits. So, instead of focusing on legitimate reasons for wanting to ease the pressure on the budgets of low income households, O’Sullivan demonises the policy as being part of cynical strategy, pandering to an apparently irrational “hatred” of “fat cats”:

This tactic works well for Labour and the Greens with their own political power base. Their supporters hate fat cats. Demonising the power company bosses could rile them enough to ensure more of Labour’s and the Greens’ voting base actually turn up to cast a vote in 2014. Or so the hope goes.

She omits to mention anything about the underlying issues: the increases in wealth and income inequalities, and in fuel poverty since the 1980s neoliberal intensification of privatisation of the commons.

The left needs to call such arguments, and expose their shonkey reasoning: their willful avoidance of facing the unfair and unjust privatisation agenda, that favours the better off at the expense of those on low incomes.

The left needs to say loudly, again and again: privatisation damages lives, as shown by Anthony Robins Poverty Watch series of posts.  Particularly, his special post on fuel poverty includes significant information, like this:

It is a disgrace that fuel poverty is a serious problem in NZ – see The Listener’s “Fuel poverty in the land of plenty” (paywalled, but quoted here):

He quoted a long piece from this link, of which this is part:

Fuel poverty in the land of plenty

Soaring electricity prices are causing more New Zealanders to struggle to heat cold, damp, unhealthy houses.

In July 2010, five-and-a-half-month-old Roretana Holland was found dead in the bed he was sharing with his four-year-old sister, at his parents’ home in Warspite Ave, Porirua. The coroner for the case, Ian Smith, warned once more about the dangers of cot death when sleeping arrangements are shared. Social deprivation, smoking in the household and excessive alcohol consumption were all there. But one part of the deprivation picture the coroner didn’t mention was why the children were sleeping together in the first place.

The four children shared a bedroom because the family had only a single oil heater to keep warm. The Holland household was one of the estimated 400,000 in New Zealand whose members are living in fuel poverty, where heating the home to a comfortable temperature eats up more than 10% of income. Pressure mounts to either skimp on heating or miss out on other essentials, instead.  …

“Sadly, those on the lowest incomes pay the greatest proportion of their income – almost 13% – on household energy, yet we know that houses in New Zealand are still cold and damp with all the problems that ensue from that.”

It’s worth re-reading Anthony’s post, then tell it to the likes of Fran O’Sullivan, who can’t see beyond profits, markets and calculated financial and political risks, while hiding behind false notions of “the politics of envy” – a mask for their own politics of greed, and their moral void.

 

 

 

 

192 comments on “It’s all in the “game””

  1. Sosoo 1

    This is all very well, but it’s not worth a great deal unless the left makes the case for intervention in terms of economic effciency (yes, there is such a case). In the absence of that, the left has to rely on moral arguments, which are seen by the public as “soft”.

    “The left needs to call such arguments, and expose their shonkey reasoning.”

    Go on then. I’ve yet to see a single such argument here, and I’m a left winger.

    • Ad 1.1

      Look I don’t have to agree with the execution of the policy, but Karol is right. And what she points to is not a dearth of facts. It’s won or lost by not having enough highly emotive stories about poverty. Neither Labour, nor the Green, nor the media, are going into the purpose of the proposed reforms, which is a (small) move against poverty in New Zealand. Stories like Karol provides are the stark illustrations that are needed between the “fat cats” from Fran O’Sullivan and the way so many New Zealanders live. This thing won’t be won by argument so much any more, as by competing media space. That is the place the Opposition need to be in right now.

      • Sosoo 1.1.1

        That’s proven a losing strategy so far. How much more poverty do we have to endure before dumping it?

  2. Shaz 2

    Karol – you are a star. If we want the kind of policies advocated by Labour and the Greens leaving those parties to it won’t suffice in the face of an onslaught from media, government, financiers, bankers and other vested interests. We need your kind of lucid explanations prominent in the Media. What about getting a progressive organisations open letter to counter the business one as a start? Happy to help a little. Others too? Tell us how.

    Its not only about poverty issues though important though they are. Two other issues are:

    The loss of public control won’t enable NZ to build the kind of energy network that can de-carbonise the wider economy.

    The privatisations will invest billions into the non-tradable economy making them artificially profitable and soaking up lots of investment capacity that should be being invested into tradables – the potentially exportable goods and services.

  3. Paul 3

    That’s now 3 articles by Fran O’Sullivan intended to demonise the new energy policy.
    She surely does not believe what she writes. How could she omit detail about inequality and energy poverty unless she deliberately does so?
    With reference to Eddie’s excellent series of reports on ‘why ……….wants you to keep paying too much for power”, how does she benefit individually from the sale of assets?
    Is it because she writes what she is told by big business?
    Or does she welcome an unequal NZ because she is on the right side of the gated community?
    Or she such a true believer in Ayn Rand she just does not care about the losers in a selfish me world?
    This is a genuine question. I am intrigued how people such as O’Sullivan take the side of the 1%.
    I’m actually even more puzzled why folk such as rueboil etc takes the side of massive international corporations over people.

    • Saarbo 3.1

      Yes agree 100% Paul.

      Fran must realise that the loss in value in the pending energy company share floats is a reaction to the decrease in energy costs! Energy costs that are causing huge pain to our poor and vulnerable. Clearly it shows that business people have huge confidence that the Greens/Labour policy will be an effective policy, which is a good thing….expect lower energy costs when it is introduced.

      Any business person worth their salt isnt going to be scared away from NZ’s capital markets by this policy, they can see through all of the bullshit from the right leaning MSM.

      Fran is a dinosaur, she has been proud of herself since 1984, thinking she is one of the “modern ones” in supporting the introduction of free market policies, at the time NZ gaining huge praise from the likes of The Economist Magazine etc, and we can argue on this site for years whether that was the wrong or right thing to do but times have changed. It hasn’t launched NZ into the economic powerhouse that all of its supporters suggested, and then of course 2008 happened. Now you look at the people supporting pure free market economics Fran O Sullivan, Catherine Issacs, Michelle Boag, Roger Douglas…dinosaurs, the lot of them. They cant change, stuck in a time warp.

      Pure free market policies create huge inequality, clearly Fran doesnt mind this but many voters do. Not only voters who are affected negatively by these policies but also fair minded kiwi’s who want to live in a more fair and equal society. .

  4. BM 4

    This NZ power is a pile of horse shit.
    Everyone knows labour is all about taxes, they’ll give with one hand and take with the other so nothing changes.
    The greens are anti cheap power, cheap power = growth, which equals consumption , which equals pollution, you can’t trust a word they say, they’d promise unicorns for everyone if it got them into power, dangerous religious zealots
    They’ll push for some power consumption tax which will cause power costs to at least double.

    The only result I see if NZ power is money fleeing the country, a collapsing dollar and sky rocketing costs.
    It will be a complete fuck up.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.1

      Well I think you’re wrong, BM. I think it’s about child mortality. Your assertions are nonsense of course, as BERL (and South Korea, California et al) show, but here’s the thing, see: there’s more to life than money.

      Hasn’t anyone ever told you that?

      • BM 4.1.1

        Most of south Korea power is produced by nuclear and thermal, they also run a mixed ownership model.
        Surprised the greens are pushing that sort of model.

        Also that kid died because the parent/parents were utterly useless.
        Trying to pin that on power costs is nonsense

        • Paul 4.1.1.1

          Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.1.1.2

          The source of the generation is immaterial. I’m not sure you’d recognise the Greens actual policies if they fell on you.

          Perhaps the parents were useless. So that’s ok, because the Convention on the Rights of the Child says quite clearly in article 1: this document shall not apply to children with useless parents, so as to provide excuses for greedy amoral wingnuts.

          It’s right there in article 1, isn’t it?

    • Poission 4.2

      BM says” The only result I see if NZ power is money fleeing the country”

      As is the case for selling the energy companies.The underlying problem is that NZ is exporting too many dollars offshore already,and the ideological cancerous policy of the incumbents want too increase it .

  5. One Anonymous Knucklehead 5

    Good on you for calling out the false framing, Karol. The Right are lying about the economic impact, as a cursory glance at California or South Korea shows, but addressing their rhetoric ignores the elephant in the room.

    Watch them now claim that anyone living in fuel poverty is the architect of their own misfortune.

    • Paul 5.1

      I think they believe that when they’re living on the pig’s back.
      I wonder what do they think when unforeseen misfortune hits them and they land on the other side of the street?
      Do they blame themselves then?

  6. vto 6

    What do all the wankers that have been spouting on about the need for excessive profits have to say about this young child dying?

    Phil O’Reilly?

    Brian Gaynor?

    Fran O’Sullivan?

    A 5 month old toddler dies. The family spends 10% of its income on power.

    10% of its income on power.

    How much of your income do you spend on power Fran O’Sullivan?

    God these people make me sick. They highlight the unhealth of our society. They are disgusting, with their concern for corporate profit at the expense of 5 month old children dying.

    Fran O’Sullivan and her ilk should fuck off and live elsewhere – they are unwelcome in our world. Unwelcome. Just like Aaron Gilmore and the rest of the arseholes.

    • Paul 6.1

      Det. Lester Freamon from the Wire’s quote is apposite here.
      “You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money, and you don’t know where the f*** it’s gonna take you.”
      I’d say the same with corporate journalism. O’Sullivan and her ilk pimp for big business. I wonder how much she gets paid for her articles?

    • infused 6.2

      so where does 90% of the money go?

    • To be quite honest vto I just cannot understand who believes O’Sullivan’s far Right ramblings.However you can be sure rank Tories love her and her ignorant hatred off working people and the unfortunates among us . I like a few others am sick and tired of her biased vitriolic ramblings. Stop buying the Herald until,she is gone..

    • Well reading number of stories criticizing the Labour /Green policy statements from mainly rich greedy investors and employers who do not pay a living wage I would;d say Labour /Greens have the N

  7. Matthew Hooton 7

    The Labour/Green policy will save, it is claimed, an average of $6 a week per household. Because wealthier people have bigger houses and don’t need to ration so much, they spend more on power, so it can be assumed that a wealthy household will get, say, $8 a week and a poor one $4, but let’s just assume for the sake of argument it really would be $6 across the board.

    The suggestion this would have saved the life of Roretana Holland – even assuming electricity prices were the main cause – is ridiculous, especially seeing the coroner didn’t mention this issue but did mention other factors – smoking in the household and excessive alcohol consumption – which cost much more than $6 a week.

    It should also be noted that Labour/Green support policies – a tougher ETS for example – that would increase the price of electricity by much more than $6 a week, so – even if accepting that NZ Power would reduce prices by the amount Labour/Green claim – the actual price to consumers would actually increase under the wider range of Labour/green policies.

    If anyone genuinely believes that an average of $6 a week is the difference between life and death, then they would support the immediate implementation of a $6/week/household tax cut by cutting the lowest level of taxes, including on benefits, and/or introducing a new tax-free or negative-tax zone on the first few thousand dollars of annual income (including from benefits). That would be far quicker and direct way of getting $6/week into each household than making policy changes to the electricity market and hoping, even on good evidence, that this will eventually deliver $6/week to families such as the Holland family.

    You talk about “spin”, but the suggestion a $6/week price cut some years in the future, counterbalanced by other measures like the ETS, would save lives is one of the most cynical examples of spin I’ve ever heard of, and that is saying something.

    • Poission 7.1

      The issue is what government would introduce a consumption tax with tradeoffs to tax decreases during a global recession ie a positive feedback idiots

      • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1

        Probably one that thought that would encourage investment and therefore growth and jobs, which could be why NZ had the fourth-fastest growing economy in Q4 2012 among OECD-monitored countries, at 1.5% for the quarter behind only China, Russia and Luxembourgh and a fall in unemployment to 6.9%, low by world standards and well below the average.

        • Rogue Trooper 7.1.1.1

          Joyce- “yes it is jobless growth” (from The Nation).

          • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.1.1

            I’m not accountable for why Mr Joyce is not aware of the latest OECD comparative statistics. For his benefit and yours, they can all be found at http://stats.oecd.org/

            • Rogue Trooper 7.1.1.1.1.1

              for your benefit, and Jennys, and anyone up-in-arms over the Greens approach to energy consumption;
              Dr Richard Pitts, Leader of Plasma-Wall Interactions Section in Plasma Operations Directorate at ITER; “development of viable fusion production likely to take a couple of decades, which we may not have.”

              RNZ transcripts

              and furthermore from Saturday Morning; Dr Joe Kalt, Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard; “self-determination, sovereignty and local self-government are the only policies that have ever worked to facilitate American Indian economic success (no, it’s not just casinos.)

              anyway, back to the “fix-it” fool;

              re Joyce in fossil fuel extractions; concluding from the Regional Economic Activity Report
              -”regional growth, a 5-10 year plan” (just wait, you’ll see all those benefits)
              -and the “bridge between education and employment for young maori up North? the RONS
              (oh, and UFB).

              according to Wayne Brown, your “stats” are imprecise, and “iwi settlements” are paramount.

              Annette Main; “sufficient government investment in training for young people” is required.

              Peter Conway (CTU Sec) “the government needs to do a lot more for job growth in the regions”, for example local participation in government procurement.
              (Tourism is a comparatively low-wage industry).

              and do you know what is hidden in the “detail” of the RWSS proposal?
              -almost 40% of increased economic activity arising will be dairy, the Balance, farm intensification.
              -groundwater nitrogen levels will increase.

              But, you carry on “commentating” Matthew; knock us all out with your foresight saga.

            • IrishBill 7.1.1.1.1.2

              I’m calling bullshit on the ETS claims. Right now the official carbon price (electricity allocation factor) on electricity is 0.5 credits per megawatt. That’s about 75c per 1000KW – roughly three months worth of power for a low income household. With the two for one subsidy that’s down to 75c per six months (large users get their electricity carbon cost further subsided by the government).

              If the price found its way back up to the optimal $22 per credit required to reduce emissions to 1990 levels and the two for one subsidy was removed (which is about as tough an ETS as the green analysis requires) then increase in the carbon cost of electricity would be about $7 a month for the average low-income household.

              And that assumes the carbon cost would stay where it is. What would happen is more wind would come on line and less fossil generation would be used. In fact if the low-carbon hydro electricity that tiwai sucks up came online then the carbon coast of electricity would likely drop to less than 0.1 credits per megawatt as fossil generation fell away.

              Either way low users would gain from NZ Power whether the ETS was beefed up or not.

              I’d also note that all of this doesn’t even account for the progressive pricing that the Greens want with NZ Power – a system that would see greater gains for low users and maintain a market signal that encouraged demand-side reduction.

              Like so many of your claims, Matthew, your ETS hysteria doesn’t actually reflect reality. But given you’re more interested in finding a way to wedge one Green policy against another, I don’t think you’ll change your line regardless of the facts.

            • Pete 7.1.1.1.1.3

              Yes, it’s a pity that all the other countries in the OECD haven’t suffered major natural disasters in their second largest cities and subsequently enjoyed stimulus from rebuilds coming on stream (OK, Japan had a major disaster, but the proportion of damage to its economy was much less than our own and they’ve been in a deep hole since the 90s).

              My point is NZ’s growth cannot be attributed to National’s stewardship, particularly when unemployment has doubled during their tenure.

              • Populuxe1

                What a load of crap – almost every OECD country has, in the las few years, suffered massive and more enduring disasters that have impacted them severely and have far more severe climates than we have.

                • Pete

                  It’s not crap. The Reseve Bank estimated the rebuild cost is 10% of GDP, but unlike, say, Chile which had rebuild costs of 20% GDP, our insured losses ($30 billion) exceeded the rebuild cost ($20 billion), likewise with Japan, which had over all loses of US$200 billion, but only insured losses of $35-40 billion.

                  So you have money sloshing around, providing Keynesian style stimulus and having a much bigger impact here due to the relatively small size of our economy

                  http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/research/bulletin/2012_2016/2012sep75_3parkersteenkamp.pdf

                  • Populuxe1

                    I was refering to your assertion that the rest of the OECD was somehow magically immune to natural disasters. And the drive behind the high levels of personal insurance in New Zealand began long before the current National government.

              • BLiP

                Yes, it’s a pity that all the other countries in the OECD haven’t suffered major natural disasters in their second largest cities and subsequently enjoyed stimulus from rebuilds coming on stream (OK, Japan had a major disaster, but the proportion of damage to its economy was much less than our own and they’ve been in a deep hole since the 90s).

                Huh? I really cannot see the logic of how the Christchurch rebuild can be termed a positive thing for the economy. Can someone explain it to me as per UE-accredited (just) Economics. Small words.

                Even if the insurance companies had actually kept their word and a flood of cash had poured in from off-shore to fund the rebuild then, yeah, sorta kinda, I get it, but its still, as far as I can see, a cost to the economy. How is it different, say, from when I backed the car through the side of the garage? The insurance company – lying bastards as they all are – paid up for some of the cost, and it all got sorted out in the end, but it still cost me money, time, and – most importantly – the use of those resources for creating new value. If that’s a valid ananlogy, then there is something fucked-up about the way Aotearoa measures the value of economic activity. IMNSHO.

        • Poission 7.1.1.2

          MH SAYS

          ‘Probably one that thought that would encourage investment and therefore growth and jobs, which could be why NZ had the fourth-fastest growing economy in Q4 2012 among OECD-monitored countries, at 1.5% for the quarter behind only China, Russia and Luxembourg”

          Chinese statistics are as reliable as a treasury forecast.Russia gdp increase and improvement has been due to renationalisation of strategic energy assets.Which is why it has the least debt of any G8 country ie it does not export dollar too the privateeers.and has learn’ t the lessons of privatization ie the Russian Financial crisis.Luxemburg is a tax haven and centre of money laundering.

          GDP is a poor metric at best and is only indicative of a snapshot slice,it is subject to revision as recently and the slope of the improvement is only a result of the hidden cash inflows from reinsurance ( the RBNZ excluded the transfers as singularities so the flow does not appear on the books) and the previous revised recessional adjustment.

          • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.2.1

            If you are saying the China, Russia and Luxembourg data may be exaggerated, then that would make us the fastest growing economy among those monitored by the OECD. Was that the point you were making?

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.2.1.1

              Absolutely. It’s why the banksters want to acquire all our assets for fuck all and why Key wants to sell out to them

            • Poission 7.1.1.2.1.2

              Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.2.1
              4 May 2013 at 3:34 pm

              Chinese statistics have a known history with miscreant information,such as CO2 emissions coal for example.The export data growth ,which shows as negative in the recipient countries tell us that some one is telling us porkies.

              http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-08/china-export-data-skepticism-deepens-from-goldman-to-nomura.html

              Russia has de shackled from the energy privateers, and has this week identified CIA involvement with the “advisors” to the privatization schemes following the breakup of the FSU.Since the Russian financial crisis,the CIS has learned that strategic assets should be owned and managed internally hence its financial strength (albeit with unresolved legacies)
              The growth is on a falling population base.

              Luxembourg is the EU’S largest tax haven (a euphemism for money laundry and fraud) a remarkable example you invoked .

              NZ GDP was revised hence the underlying slope changes ,there are suspicions also that recent data will also be revised down( to capture the increased monetary flows from reinsurance)

          • Mike S 7.1.1.2.2

            Yep, GDP is a terrible indicator in that higher GDP is always seen as a good thing because it implies economic growth.

            But more people in jail = higher GDP. A good thing? Probably not. More sick and dying people = higher GDP and so on. Economic growth isn’t necessarily positive and certainly doesn’t mean positive growth or evolution as a society and country.

        • Saarbo 7.1.1.3

          Come on Matthew, you know that Q4 2012 growth was on the back of record dairy production (capitalised inventories (much wasn’t even sold, it was sitting in warehouses)), primary sector growth and Christchurch rebuild. National policies had nothing to do with this growth, in fact you could argue their contractionary policies in government spending actually stunted the growth. “Yours is one of the most cynical examples of spin I’ve ever heard of”

          • Green machine UpandComer 7.1.1.3.1

            Right, and which party is it that supports Dairy farmers and primary production? Which party is it that wants to kill all the cows and ramp down primary production as much as it can, and impose as many new regulations and expenses on farmers and primary production as it can get away with?

            http://nzinitiative.org.nz/site/nzinitiative/files/Opinion%20and%20commentary/24-04-2013%20NewZealand%20shows%20Swan%20how%20to.pdf

            The Aussies understand that surpluses and debt reduction don’t just happen even by magic, even with some good external conditions – face it, this govt has done a superlative job managing the economy and tidying up the absolute mess it was left, and the greens are quite capable of ruining all that good hard politically painful work just like they did in Australia with their nonsense.

            • Saarbo 7.1.1.3.1.1

              Well GM, you tell me how NZ deals with nitrogen leaching into the waterways? This will have to be dealt with sooner of later…if its not we will be a country with the worlds most polluted rivers and steams. Fonterra relies on our clean green image.

              And regarding National doing a superlative job managing the economy back to surplus. The NZ economy was always going to come back into balance once the GFC and Canterbury earthquake washed out. In fact if less money was spent on roads and more social spending i.e food in schools, paid parental leave for 6 months etc, we may well have come into balance more quickly.

              Labour left the finances in such good order that structurally NZ was always going to come back in balance 2014 – 2016.

              • Rogue Trooper

                in the pursuit of dairy-based profits NAct (and possibly other political parties we won’t mention) are, and are, just letting these nitrate levels grow and grow (the disclaimer being, “we’ll focus on the phosphorus” or some other sh*t by-product).

        • Mike S 7.1.1.4

          Ah, statistics.

          How about inequality is growing faster in NZ than in any other OECD country, or poverty in NZ is now well above the OECD average and rising fast, or NZ’s female youth suicide rate being the highest in the OECD and so on and so on…

    • Rogue Trooper 7.2

      ahhh, the Matthew Hooten, “political commentator” extraordinaire :-D

      -(Aaron Gilmore) “is unpopular in the party, unpopular in Christchurch, unpopular in the country and going nowhere fast.” (OK, a little editorial license) yet your opinion /s were on my mind as I opened up The Standard.

    • vto 7.3

      So how does 10% of income going on power fit into your little discourse there?

      And if in your opinion $6 per week is below a life/death threshold then at what levels i that threshold met? $8, $10, $20? Or is it a spectrum where $6 does in fact mean that everybody, in some households, has to sleep in one warm room in the house? Which raises the risk of SIDS of course.

      Your evaluation is shallow.

      • Herodotus 7.3.1

        So what happens when a carbon trading scheme is introduced will these ” savings” be clawed back by the govt?
        what about govt assistance since Ruth’s budget in the 90′s and contuined with clark and keys govts that have been insufficient. This does crap all about real assistance to needy families, it is just a game for parties performing to make a govt. just like the gst off fruit & vege.
        Better for the govt instead of controlling the price of power generation to making good long term decisions on what forms and where new generation is to be established.

    • vto 7.4

      One more thing Hooton, you do realise of course that alcohol consumption is greater in rich households than poor. And drugs. Witness any Chch private school – sheesh, full of wasters with trust funds. And lots of aaron gilmores.

      • Matthew Hooton 7.4.1

        Consumption of everything is greater in rich households than poor, including alcohol. Which is why reducing prices of certain things is not the best way to help the poor (because the rich get a greater benefit). An example was taking GST of fresh fruit and vegetables which would have benefited consumers of imported snow peas but not consumers of Wattie’s frozen peas. If you want to deliver $6 to each household, manipulating the electricity market is not the best way to do it.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.4.1.1

          Thanks for the policy advice Matthew. I’m sure someone will make a note. Oh. this just in, it turns out people think you’re a Tory shill who’ll say anything for money, which renders your opinion utterly worthless. Sorry.

          • Paul 7.4.1.1.1

            With reference to Eddie’s excellent series of reports on ‘why ……….wants you to keep paying too much for power”, how does Matthew Hooton benefit individually from the sale of assets?

        • Arfamo 7.4.1.2

          …reducing prices of certain things is not the best way to help the poor (because the rich get a greater benefit).

          Lol. That is daft logic.

        • vto 7.4.1.3

          But everything is a “manipulation” isn’t it. The constructs around the existing electricity sector are anything but natural. They are a total manipulation. As are wage rates, youth rates, tax rates, the entire system is a manipulation.

          As such, further manipulation is of course the natural way.

          NZ Power is also an exercise in free market forces. Every organisation in NZ is entitled to act to the extent of its abilities and to the limits of its legal constraints. This is what business does. This is what government does. This is what opposition parties do.

          In conclusion then, manipulation is the natural way and government is free to act in the free market exactly as it wishes. Just like business. Suck it up.

        • Lanthanide 7.4.1.4

          “An example was taking GST of fresh fruit and vegetables which would have benefited consumers of imported snow peas but not consumers of Wattie’s frozen peas.”

          Thereby allowing people without as much money to purchase a better quality of food than they otherwise might. Don’t see the problem there.

        • freedom 7.4.1.5

          I do not have a great problem with the rich being able to buy more than enough of everything
          really

          but it would be nice if the poor could afford to buy enough, of anything

        • Colonial Viper 7.4.1.6

          Richer households put the majority of their money into financial assets, they don’t spend it into the economy.

          Which is why their investment advisors are so pissed off about NZ Power reducing the yield from these investment assets.

          And what they do spend into the economy, tends to be tilted towards expensive imported items – worsening our balance of payments situation. Cars, boats, and other toys.

        • Foreign Waka 7.4.1.7

          Reducing prices – and in NZ this would mean to cost and loss leaders for food in particular, would create deflationary pressures which is as bad if not worse the its cousin inflation. What really needs to happen is a wage index measure relative to prices and affordability. It should set the minimum and taxes applied in a social responsible and just way. So in other words, higher wages and progressive tax structure.
          Of cause this does not mean that no one is allowed to make a buck, be innovative, have a go etc. It just means that monopolies such as power companies and rort’s generally are dealt with differently. Naturally, this concept does not bode well with the laissez faire mentality of the few who think that their fellow men are there to be taken to the cleaners (literally as we see with the loan sharks and the unwillingness to deal with them). Everything in life needs balance, it is clear that NZ’s economy is patchy and has no balance at all. There are far too many people just getting by.

        • aj 7.4.1.8

          If the Labour/Greens are correct in that these changes will also create 5000 jobs then that will be a considerable number of people lifted from a benefit. And I would hope that many small business also see price reductions. There is more to it than ‘just $6 a week’ to the economy as a whole.

          • Grantoc 7.4.1.8.1

            The 5000 jobs claim is spurious. You need to consider these points

            1. When will they be created, if they are to be created? Probably not until after the policy is implemented, which is at least 4/5 years away? So, no immediate benefit, even if the L/G’s win the next election

            2. How will drip feeding the punters $6.00 a week create upwards of 5000 jobs? The proposition that because of this policy there’ll be more money floating around the economy, therefore creating jobs, is offset by the loss in shareholder wealth, meaning that an even greater amount of money will be taken out of the economy. Using the same labour/green logic on this one, then thousands of jobs will be lost, rather than created.

            3. The L/G lapdog economic consultancy, BERL, came up with this figure after doing some calculations on the back of an envelope. Have you seen any rigour about how and what jobs will be created? I haven’t. No one has, because its a claim thats been made up on the hoof.

            • BLiP 7.4.1.8.1.1

              I think the BERL analysis provides sound reasoning as to why NZ Power would provide sufficient economic benefit to sustain 5,000 new jobs. I mean, compare the BERL analysis with, say, the data provided by John Key to support his $50 million 1,500 km length-of-the-nation concrete cycle way creating 4,000 jobs. Its four years since that iniative was procalimed – how many jobs now?

            • Mike S 7.4.1.8.1.2

              Crap

              1. Thinking long term is a good thing.

              2. Shareholder wealth is not money floating around in the economy, it is money being used to make more money only for shareholders. It is not used in a productive way.

              3. More money in consumers pockets = more money in the real economy = job growth. Not difficult really. (5,000 would seem a bit more realistic than 170,000 wouldn’t it?)

              ps – I reckon you’d be amazed at some of the things which have had monumental effects on mankind which have been dreamed up on the back of a table napkin or envelope.

        • Herbert 7.4.1.9

          “An example was taking GST of fresh fruit and vegetables which would have benefited consumers of imported snow peas but not consumers of Wattie’s frozen peas.”

          Arrant bull shit! Those who have wealth already benefit from imported snow peas, with or without gst. I seriously doubt that the country will lose much from excessive consumption of gst free snow peas; and I doubt that snow pea eaters will even notice the supposed benefit.
          Wealthy households consume more because they have the excess to do so. Poor households consume to survive.
          The issue is not snow peas versus frozen peas but standing in solidarity with the weakest and most vulnerable in our community and doing our utmost to make their lives a little bit easier and more secure.
          I am quite happy for (and not the least bit envious of) eaters of imported snow peas and the benefits that they accrue from that particular dietary regime. Now that we are not fighting about snow peas can we start talking about how to make basic living affordable and secure for those who can’t even imagine buying imported snow peas and are worrying how they are going to feed, properly house, educate, adequately clothe and cover the medical costs of their kids. Let alone thinking about getting some much needed dental care for themselves…. Snow peas – my arse!

          As far as the electricity market goes: to state the obvious, its already manipulated!

          • Matthew Hooton 7.4.1.9.1

            The issue was that consumers of imported snow peas would have got the tax cut but consumers of frozen peas would not have.

            • McFlock 7.4.1.9.1.1

              But consumers of the lowly spud, carrot, celery, spinach and so on would also get the tax cut. And fresh peas, too.

              • Rogue Trooper

                reminds me of dinner I just cooked and 8; peas, hash browns and bangers.

              • felix

                No no no McFlock you just don’t get it.

                Spuds don’t count. Carrots don’t count. Leeks, pumpkins, lettuces, tomatoes and eggplants don’t count.

                Apples, bananas, peaches, plums, watermelons, oranges, pears, persimons, grapes, grapefruits and mandarins don’t count.

                Broccoli, cauliflower. and the pretend vegetable broccoflower don’t count.

                Onions turnips parsnips butternuts bean sprouts spinach beetroots celeriacs radishes celery swedes cucumbers, none of them count for anything.

                Only snow peas count. ONLY snow peas.

            • Rhinocrates 7.4.1.9.1.2

              Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, and Hoots’ is very, very small indeed.

              (Though his fees probably aren’t.)

              “The greatest crime is to do nothing because we can only do a little” – Voltaire

              The “issue” is not a very selective use of ideological consistency that just, ooh, quite by accident, happens to benefit Hoots’ rich clients. The real issue is whether the poor are better off overall with an imperfect system that actually helps or a “perfect” system that somehow makes their lives worse, but funnels cash into Hoots’ clients pockets and his own.

              Then real “issue” to Hoots is whether it makes Hoots richer. Whatever “logic” comes retrospectively to that conclusion must be right to him.

              I’m rather amused by the phenomenon of a lackey who thinks that because he is a lackey to lords, he is somehow getting some lordship rubbing off on him.

              Really, what a pathetically servile, insecure, self-deluding creature he is.

        • Mike S 7.4.1.10

          Mathew, you don’t understand why consumption taxes like GST are harder on those on low incomes.

          The rich don’t get a greater benefit from lowering GST. The less well off spend a much higher proportion of their total income on essentials with GST attached. Reducing GST, reduces the percentage of income taken by GST on the less well off by much more than those on higher incomes.

          Regardless nobody cares if the rich are benefited, all that matters is that the poor benefit. If everyone benefits at the same time then that’s great!

      • Populuxe1 7.4.2

        Obviously you have never spent much time in Christchurch’s private schools. Some of the most progressive, enthusiastic and creative people I know came out of them, the kids are engaged (admittedly in part because of the resources at their disposal), and by no means do most of them have trust funds.

        • Colonial Viper 7.4.2.1

          and how would you know whether or not one of those kids was listed as a beneficiary to a family trust?

          • Populuxe1 7.4.2.1.1

            If you want to play that game, there’s a lot of ordinary middle class who have family trusts too.

            • Colonial Viper 7.4.2.1.1.1

              ordinary middle class

              Sure, where “ordinary middle class” are households with incomes of over $120K

    • Eddie 7.5

      except that the Greens’ progressive pricing doesn’t work that way – it’s $300 a year for each household. You know that, Rodney Hide knew that when he wrote the piece in the NBR that you’re stealing ideas from.

      And NZ Power means the price increase from an ETS is restricted to thermal generators without creating a windfall gain for hydro generators.

    • lprent 7.6

      It should also be noted that Labour/Green support policies – a tougher ETS for example – that would increase the price of electricity by much more than $6 a week, so….

      That statement is complete and utter crap, wrong, and outright stupid. Even a moments thought and a look at how power is generated in NZ would have identified the fundamental flaw in your statement.

      There is only one large fossil fuel powered station in NZ – Huntly. It is a plant that is both nearing the end of it’s life, and which should only used for peak loading because it is so freaking expensive to run operationally compared to other power sources in NZ. It is unlikely to be replaced by another fossil fueled station because they also have very high running costs.

      But that damn plant currently gets run a lot of the time. Why? Not because of need. But because of the irrational way that the electricity “market” has been set up. The wholesale cost of power in the “market” is determined by the most expensive power source used in any given hour. Consequently Genesis and now Meridian turned on Huntly whenever possible. The same effect drives the excessive and vast capital values that were arbitarily placed on hydro assets…

      It is a travesty of a market that currently distorts everything towards excessive profits and bad mixes of power sources.

      However getting back to your original point. With only one large greenhouse gas producing power plant nearing the end of its life, that is unlikely to be replaced with an expensive coal powered plant, how do you get having an ETS of any form pushing up power prices?

      Do you think before you type? Or is this idiotic and ignorant dribbling your usual practise?

      • Paul 7.6.1

        He does it to entertain himself.

      • Herodotus 7.6.2

        It is not just the reduction in disposable incomes for power but also the flow on with petrol, cost of transport of goods etc.
        Better to work out what families need and to work out and implement a policy that addresses the real issues not ad hoc

      • Matthew Hooton 7.6.3

        Perhaps you are right that the ETS impact under the NZ Power model would be less than under the current model and therefore less than $6 but it would not be zero. Even if it was zero, and everything got the $6 some years after 2014, my overarching point still stands that it is pure spin to say this would save lives and a $6 tax cut or grant to each household would be a better means of distributing that benefit anyway.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.6.3.1

          Now you’re talking. Let’s do those as well. That’s $18 per week. I’m sure you can think of some other suggestions too.

          • Colonial Viper 7.6.3.1.1

            But to pay for this we’d have to raise taxes on the wealthy and on corporations, and stamp down on tax evasion by the rich.

            What government would have the nerve to do that? Electorally easier to just borrow more and more.

        • freedom 7.6.3.2

          MH, I doubt you could begin to comprehend what six dollars means to some people today

        • geoff 7.6.3.3

          What a stupid, spurious argument Matthew Hooton pushes. The example from Karol merely illustrate the statistics of the situation. Matthew sticks to his ‘$6 won’t save lives’ argument but of course it is completely possible that it could. The obvious truth is that, for those at the bottom of the heap, every little bit helps . Most people instinctively get this but right wing cretins, like Hooton, try to float obtuse arguments in an attempt to complicate a straight forward situation.
          Perhaps Matthew has never experienced poverty and cannot comprehend how even seemingly insignificant sums of money can make a difference.

          • Matthew Hooton 7.6.3.3.1

            So why not cut taxes by $6 a week per household or do a direct grant of that amount?

            • McFlock 7.6.3.3.1.1

              Because that would be swallowed by inflating power prices and chipped at by tory govts. A systemic change in how we deliver power to the poor and weak is needed.

              • Wayne

                Now McFlock your assertion really is nonsense. It is like saying that the Nats tax reduction package (excluding the increase of GST to 15%) directly increased inflation because traders put up prices because they knew people had more money. But of course that did not happen. Inflation is at historic lows.

                It is always simpler in policy terms if you want to provide an immediate increase in cash in peoples pockets to increase grants (benefits) or to have a tax reduction package. In both cases there are much lower transaction costs, and a guarantee that the increase in cash will actually occur.

                Trying to do it by an indirect means by manipulating markets may not succeed and in any event will have much higher transaction costs.

                Since the Labour /Green policy has to be able to guarantee enough money for the generators to be able to invest in new generation, and because they will have to allow some reasonable level of return on capital, power prices may not drop that much at all. For instance I could not imagine Labour having a return on capital that is less than a bank deposit.

                Contact and Trust tend to sit around 7 to 8% dividend yields, say about 3 to 4 % above bank rates, so lets imagine that the premium is reduced to 1 or 2% above bank rates, that will not translate to anything like $300 per year for a family unless the family spends about $5000 per year on power. More like a $100 or so.

                Is that enough for the market disruption, or was this really about a) showing Labour and the Greens can work together (a reasonable objective), or b) disrupting the float and causing a loss to all taxpayers (less reasonable).

                • McFlock

                  Power prices are inflating.
                  A constant $6 tax break to offset that is dumb.
                  The market needs to be restructured to address the inflation, so people can afford the power they need to keep their families warm and healthy.

            • geoff 7.6.3.3.1.2

              So you are unable to defend your assertion that $6/week couldn’t save lives?

              Re taxes/direct grants I agree roughly with McFlock’s response.

            • Colonial Viper 7.6.3.3.1.3

              So why not cut taxes by $6 a week per household or do a direct grant of that amount?

              That’s what the living wage and policies of full employment is for

        • McFlock 7.6.3.4

          Lol
          You done fucked up there. Your original point was that a particular child’s life would not have been saved. And you’re probably right (not to mention other interventions like wahakura being more appropriate and cheaper).
          Because making power more affordable is a population intervention, it affects the stats behind the population as a whole. So yeah, making power even slightly more affordable will, sooner or later, save lives.

          Good distraction attempt though. Your dark masters would be proud.

        • Mike S 7.6.3.5

          Does it matter that it might be $6??? Whether it be $6 or $60, surely any reduction in monthly outgoings for poor families is a good thing? Every little bit helps when you’re deciding which bill isn’t going to be paid each month.

      • infused 7.6.4

        You totally missed his point lprent.

      • Dave 7.6.5

        As well as Huntly there’s about 2GW of other thermal plant, some of which is almost new. Huntly still has 10 years design life remaining too. But I agree the ETS as it’s currently framed wouldn’t have much price impact.

        • lprent 7.6.5.1

          Most of the other thermal is either gas, cogeneration, or geothermal. None of which generate the kinds of greenhouse effects that would cause cost hikes. With the gas plants this is all power designed to be started up and run on short notice for peak demands.

          If hoots wanted to make that case, then he’d have more to work with if he looked at the concrete required for more dams. But when you are putting in dams designed for a century, then amortising those costs is also peanuts.

          • Dave 7.6.5.1.1

            “Thermal” means gas, coal, and diesel. A lot of gas is run more or less as baseload now, though some plants that aren’t specifically designed as peaker plants can still do load following to help match peaks (e.g. Taranaki CC 380MW, Otahuhu B 380MW, Huntly Unit 5 385MW).

    • Draco T Bastard 7.7

      If anyone genuinely believes that an average of $6 a week is the difference between life and death, then they would support the immediate implementation of a $6/week/household tax cut…

      Typical of the right – immediately blame the taxes that maintain society.

      • TheContrarian 7.7.1

        Do you read what you write?

        “immediately blame the taxes that maintain society.”

        How did you get that from what Hooten wrote?

        • Colonial Viper 7.7.1.1

          Hootens suggestion that tax cuts would be helpful

          $6 in tax cuts
          $6 less services provided
          or $6 more govt debt

          • TheContrarian 7.7.1.1.1

            No, he was suggesting that if $6 were a life and death matter the easiest way to insure against death wouldn’t be a complicated reshuffle of how power is supplied but a $6 tax cut which would deliver an immediate result.

            He wasn’t blaming taxes, advocating for lower taxes or anything else other than providing a hypothetical of the most efficient way of ensuring life over death if it were a matter of $6.

            Blaming taxes? How Draco got that I don’t know.

            • Mike S 7.7.1.1.1.1

              Anybody home in there?

              $6 a week tax cut across the board = Additional income for New Zealanders but less money spent on public services for New Zealanders

              $6 a week shaved off power generator superprofits = slightly less superprofits for power generators and additional income for New Zealanders to help pay the bills.

          • Matthew Hooton 7.7.1.1.2

            Under NZ Power the Crown would get zero dividends from the power SOEs so it would also miss out on revenue under that proposal and have to cut services or borrow more. At least a tax cut or grant of $6 to every household would definitely work.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.7.1.1.2.1

              …have to cut services or borrow more.

              Or raise taxes on the wealthiest citizens or introduce a financial transaction tax or a capital gains tax or go after tax evaders more aggressively (preferably all four). Or rely on the economic stimulus of keeping more cash onshore.

              They could save a considerable amount by ignoring shills, too.

              • Colonial Viper

                Funny how Hoots listed all the options except raising taxes. Must’ve been an accident.

                • Rhinocrates

                  Looks like the power companies are paying Hoots quite a bit these days. Probably more than $6.

                  Hmm, I wonder why he was so quiet about the death of Parekura Horomia? After all, he was one of those “stupid” “useless” maori MPs. I would have thought that he would have been delighted that there was one less, or has that dog whistle been put in the drawer for now?

                  Hey Hoots. do you want to hook up with Glenn Inwood? Perhaps the two of you can share a few beers, think of reasons to kill whales and kill people with cancer. I think perhaps that skid mark is just smart enough to know that he won’t be taken seriously, so he just goes through the motions and collects his fees. Why waste your effort? Just do the same – go through the motions, collect your money. Maybe you could learn a thing from him.

                  As Bronn said, “There’s no cure for being a cunt.” We all know that, we see it in you.

                  • QoT

                    Disclaimer: I am still not sure that this Twitter account is genuinely Matthew’s.

                    However, here’s what the Twitter account using his name and image had to say hours before Horomia died.

                    Here’s what it had to say afterward.

                    I sincerely hope it’s someone using Hooton’s name and image without his consent.

                    • Rhinocrates

                      Let’s not mince words. There’s racism in New Zealand, and there’s a slick, oblique racism that says race is just melanin of the sort that tolerates mallowpuffs because they only have a thin layer of chocolate over an interior made of colourless marshmallow.

                      People like Hooton and Hide claim they tolerate brown-skinned people as long as they are assured that they have no culture, no history, no whakapapa, because that’s “extremist”. And what that means, for all real intents and purposes is that Hide and Hooton are in fact racists – they just tell themselves that they aren’t because they don’t wear pillowcases and burn crosses, because they think that would be the only things that make one racist.

                      Well, they’re wrong, and they’re liars.

                      I sincerely hope

                      Don’t waste your time.

                    • McFlock

                      Wow
                      That’s pretty dickish, either way.
                      I kind of hope it’s some troool hijacking is name, rather than being genuine. A spin doctor can’t be that oblivious, surely.

                    • Rhinocrates

                      Don’t have any illusions about Hooton, McF.

                      A spin doctor can’t be that oblivious, surely.

                      For Cthulhu’s sake, he’s a spin doctor! That’s what he does!

                      Anyway, why assume that because someone has a job, they are competent?

                      Hooton is a slimeball, that’s all there is to it. All that smarm, all that grease, all that greyness only distracts from the fact that he happily dog whistles some very vile racist and sexist opinions and that he has some very nasty far right connections, and they deliver cash into his pockets.

                      Don’t be naive. To paraphrase Lord Vader, I find your faith disturbing.

                    • Rogue Trooper

                      cut from the same bespoke cloth as Gilmore it appears

                    • Rogue Trooper

                      maybe a “spin proctorligist” Flockie would be the indexed point

                    • Rhinocrates

                      I’ve often seen that – awful racism expressed by genteel people who drive Mercedes-Benzes. They think that their bigotry is reasonable because they buy the best brands and their business associates have swarthy skins, but exchange cash anyway.

                      The fact is, Hooton is racist, sexist, mercenary scum. He is completely devoid of any moral conscience. Anything he says is devoted entirely to promulgating the agenda of his clients who are exactly the same as him. Get past the grease, the oil, the phoniness. See the hollow man for what he is and see just how pathetic he is.

                      He’s not even a magnificent demon, he’s nothingness inflated by hot air.

                    • Rogue Trooper

                      he certainly seems to spark you up Rhino. anyway, must – , “Behind the Scenes at the Museum” awaits. see, even sometimes hermits value real artistic communion and todays feature article on Wikipedia is George Harrison…sigh, alls well that All Things Must Pass
                      night, from Dark Horse Records

                    • Rhinocrates

                      It worries me that as a society we are susceptible to this poison.

                      Yes, George Harrison. Thank you.

                    • McFlock

                      My point was not that he would not be all those things.
                      It was just that somebody charged with propaganda would have some idea about how their language looked to others.

                      Hoots didn’t used to be such a blatant dick, more gossie level 2 – deny, deflect, distract, and so on.

                      It reminds me of a ww2 Japanese soldier/diplomat talking about how their failure to adapt was called “victory disease”. Overconfidence led to contempt and carelessness. Which helped fuck them.

                    • felix

                      “It was just that somebody charged with propaganda would have some idea about how their language looked to others.”

                      He does. It’s deliberate and calculated. It just seems naive because you’re making assumptions about who the target audience is.

                    • McFlock

                      True, but then he’s just preaching to the converted while alienating everyone else. Which might slow the decline in support, but is a bit defensive and on the way to cultism.

                  • BLiP

                    . . . As Bronn said, “There’s no cure for being a cunt.” We all know that, we see it in you . . .

                    Not me. As far as I can see Mathew Hooton lacks both the warmth and the depth.

            • Mike S 7.7.1.1.2.2

              “Under NZ Power the Crown would get zero dividends from the power SOEs”

              Absolute crap. If that were the case then nobody would be buying shares in the power companies because they would be getting no dividends. Yes, the government (not the crown by the way) will get reduced dividends, but they will still get 51% of the dividends. The power companies will still be making a tidy profit, or is that just not enough for greedy investors??

              • Matthew Hooton

                Mike S, see http://www.labour.org.nz/news/labour-acts-to-bring-down-power-prices

                David Shearer says: “The Crown will forgo dividends and tax revenue from the power companies. We’ve taken a conservative view of the impact on the Government’s books, estimating it will be between $60 and $90 million a year.”

                So, for $6/week/household promised in the future, the Crown will lose what Labour claims is $60m-$90m a year, and would therefore have to borrow that much more, raise other taxes or cut services.

                This really is an inefficient way to deliver $6/week/household.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  Crikey! $60-90 million, why’s that’s two and half Hobbitses. The bastards!

                • Colonial Viper

                  This really is an inefficient way to deliver $6/week/household.

                  What are you talking about “inefficient”? This move will return $400M to households at a tiny cost to the crown of only $60M to $90M. That’s roughly a 6:1 rate of return. It’s brilliant.

                  • felix

                    Return money to households???!!

                    FFS man, why don’t you just throw it in the toilet and set it on fire???!!!!!

                • Mike S

                  What he means is they will forgo some dividends (due to less profits for power companies), not all dividends.

                  Otherwise, what would the government do with our 51% shareholding dividends, just give them away? The extra money in consumer’s pockets comes out of power company profits, which in turn means shareholders will get less dividends. But they will still get a dividend, else why the hell would you buy shares?

        • Populuxe1 7.7.1.2

          Really thick confirmation bias goggles.

    • Murray Olsen 7.8

      Keeping the generation companies in public ownership means that other options as to pricing will remain open. $6 pw is not carved in stone. Selling them means that more overpaid CEOs and stuffed shirt directors make all the decisions.

  8. errrrr….. so over 300,000 of the 440,000 who ‘registered an interest’ in Mighty River Power have now ‘seen the light’, and opted not to be ‘Dumb or Mad’ investors?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8628264/MRP-float-investors-will-top-100-000-banker

    Penny Bright

    A Spokesperson for the Switch Off Mercury Energy group

    PS: Seen this? Official complaints to the Financial Markets Authority (FMA)

    http://www.switchoffmercuryenergy.org/?cat=2

    • Paul 8.1

      “MRP float investors will top 100,000 – banker.”
      Well if you go to a banker, you’re going to get that story. Does not mean the corporate media just to repeat that story. They just regurgitate the spin. I think fewer and fewer people are believing the spin.
      Your angle, Penny, is a lot more newsworthy, given the recent news.
      Maybe a heading for today’s news could be.
      “Over 300,000 investors have switched off.”
      The government is going to be having kittens now.

  9. DH 9

    Of course it’s political game play Karol, what else would it be. Even if they did achieve a 10% cut in power prices, which is unlikely, what effect will that really have on unravelling the growing inequality in this country?

    $300 is less than $1 a day, equivalent to a 16-20 cents per hour wage rise or $5.80 week benefit increase. Sure it’s useful for power consumers but it’s hardly game-changing economic policy. The jobless, the homeless, the low income earners… need a hell of a lot more than that.

    NZ Power will also have a greater benefit to higher income earners who are more profligate with their power consumption than low income earners. Low power users spend more as a percentage on lines charges and those aren’t being cut.

    The potential economic impact of NZ Power is being vastly over-stated by both sides and that’s politics.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Well if the impact is minimal we can move on to the next discussion.

    • felix 9.2

      “$300 is less than $1 a day, equivalent to a 16-20 cents per hour wage rise or $5.80 week benefit increase. “

      And?

      If someone was proposing a $5,80 per week benefit rise would you say that was meaningless? Of course not. If you did it would only show that you’ve never had to survive on a benefit.

      Would you turn down a 20 cent per hour wage rise? Why? If you do a 40 hour week that’s about 400 bucks a year. I don’t know what 400 bucks means to you but I can think of quite a few ways to spend it.

      Same with this NZ Power thing. Hooton is spinning hard to keep the conversation focused on a $6 per week figure because it doesn’t sound like much to him, but I don’t pay my power bill weekly. Do you?

      $25 bucks off a power bill is real money to most of us. If you don’t know that you’re just showing how out of touch you are. (Hooton knows it of course, that’s why he sticks to the $6 a week line).

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        Someone working minimum wage 37.5 hours per week got a generous 25c/hr increase from the NATs. That’s a whole $9.38/wk gross. And after taxes more like $7/wk.

        • Alanz 9.2.1.1

          At the other end of the scale, it would be nice to hear a party campaign to cap, index or benchmark the remuneration packages of SOE board members, CEOs and senior managers to ensure low cost and financial efficiency in delivering public services.

  10. Seen this?

    A dissenting business view on the Greens/Labour NZ Power policy – by John Walley – chief executive of the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/scorn-or-debate-what-nz-power-might-mean-weekend-review-ng-139607

    Penny Bright

    A Spokesperson for the Switch Off Mercury Energy group

    http://www.switchoffmercuryenergy.org/?cat=2

    • veutoviper 10.1

      Thanks for that NBR link, Penny.

      It is well worth reading as Walley focuses purely on the crux of the present pricing problem in an understandable and dispassionate manner – and cuts through the crap and scaremongering.

  11. georgecom 11

    Some of the spluttering and screaming is borne out of self interest – those who currently have investment in energy and may see their stream of super profits curbed, those who hope to cash in on super profits and see their future revenue stream being curbed, and those who will clip the ticket in the sale and fear that their pile of cash earnt from the sale will be reduced.

    But there is also this I think,

    An international discourse of businesses confidence embeds the structures of market competition and drives nation states to compete amongst themselves for the attentions of global capital. This discourse becomes structurally paramount subordinating the state the will of the market. A closed cycle feedback loop is created which disciplines nation states to privilege the interest of global capital over domestic interests – a “structural subordination” to market confidence and the neo-liberal interpretation of competition (supporting anything which facilitates the creation of profit but opposing anything which threatens profit irrespective of whether it is in the national interest). The necessity to secure business confidence and attract capital investment requires submission to market forces. The necessity to maintain business confidence and retain capital investment requires ongoing subordination to market forces. Nation states become facilitators for international capital and the interests of global capital become the interests of nation state. Nation states are locked into this cycle and “bend or are bent toward the neo-liberal project”.

    So a degree of the spluttering and moaning reflects the Labour-Green policy as challenging this global discourse of market confidence and competition, and thereby free and unfettered creation of profit for global capital. It is not a total repudiation of the discourse as it still sits within a ‘competitive market’. But importantly, it damages the free and unfettered ability of capital to extract profit, it recognises other interests and competing priorities. That is not part of the narrative and that must be resisted. Fran O’Sullivan is leading the charge in this opposition.

    The squealing and whining is driven partially by direct self interest and the amount of money people will be able to shovel into their pockets, some is motivated by shoring up the neo-liberal discourse which is under increasing scrutiny since 2008.

    Winning the argument on the basis of a ‘neo-liberal/market discourse’ is difficult I think. This type of analysis draws from the radical left and will likely be too much for many kiwis, though I may be wrong. More simple arguments about the benefits of the few versus the benefits of the many – overseas ‘mum and dad’ corporate investors versus actual mum and dad power users etc have a nice clean definition, are easier to grasp and create a nice gap between those priveliging the interests of the corporates and those seeking to look after the many.

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    Opportunities for NZ lamb in China

    well, to replace the rat, fox and mink meat currently being passed off as lamb…

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-03/forget-horse-meat-or-fake-tuna-rat-meat-being-sold-lamb-china

  13. Binders full of viper- women 13

    While I disagree with NZpower & support MMO (partial asset sales) I feel that this issue is a debate worth having. My two cents worth is ..why do you have the need to tag this ‘class warfare’? and who’s gonna call the Greens on opposing the building of new power stations? Wouldn’t new stations ease price pressure?

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Wouldn’t new stations ease price pressure?

      under a simple demand/supply model, you would think so. Unfortunately, pricing of power has become completely disconnected from the actual costs of generation and supply, and turned into a model of “how much profit can we rip out of the economy”.

      The other thing, if the smelter closes, Manapouri’s massive generation is going to become available to the country.

      • Populuxe1 13.1.1

        Not really and certainly not beyond the lower South Island – basic physics and grid engineering.

        • Lanthanide 13.1.1.1

          Around the end of March when the smelter talk really heated up, there was someone from Transpower saying that the grid was pretty much ready to transport that electricity up to the North Island, and they’d have at least 2 years notice (contractual obligations) before it kicked in anyway, which was enough time to get all their ducks in a row.

        • Colonial Viper 13.1.1.2

          Not really and certainly not beyond the lower South Island – basic physics and grid engineering.

          Not so basic, I would think.

        • Murray Olsen 13.1.1.3

          In Brazil, power generated at Itaipu is transported at least 1500 km to some users, maybe more. The losses aren’t great. Basic physics disagrees with you.

          • Rogue Trooper 13.1.1.3.1

            not certain that physics is Pop’s strongest arrangement Murray

        • Dv 13.1.1.4

          Nope not according to the guy who runs Transpower
          Oops dis
          D it again
          Responded before i read all the comments!!!

    • karol 13.2

      Because class war is what it is. Just as many of the neoliberal privatisation promoters, don’t want to talk about poverty, they also don’t want to talk about the increasing inequalities since the “neoliberal” revolution in the 1980s. They hide behind the myths of “trickle down” and all boats rising on the same tide. They don’t wan’t to talk about how that “free market” revolution increased class differences, and shifted a lot of wealth from the poor to the 1%.

      The late 20th century commercialisation of the powercos as SOEs did nothing to bring down power prices, and this latest privatisation push will do nothing to reverse the rise in fuel poverty.

      But it’s good to see you are one of those who does think talking about fuel poverty is one that should be had.

      • Populuxe1 13.2.1

        Except that throwing around stock phrases like “fuel poverty” does little to address, and indeed destracts from the primary problem, which is New Zealand’s shitty housing stock, lack of insulation, no central heating, and no double glazing.

        • karol 13.2.1.1

          They are all part of the bigger problem. They are all important, and trying to demote fuel poverty within that complex, is a diversion.

          • Populuxe1 13.2.1.1.1

            Bullshit. They are significantly more important because they directly reduce electricity and fuel consumption, which also has environmental implications. The term “fuel poverty” is a nonsense in the NZ context as most heating is electric and most of our electricity is hydro generated – scarcity isn’t the issue, efficient and cost-effective provision is and thus the dynmaics are different to “fuel poverty” elsewhere in the OECD. And I’ll thank you not to accuse me of diversion simply because I don’t embrace your narrative wholesale.

            • karol 13.2.1.1.1.1

              “Fuel poverty” does not mean fuel scarcity. In my post, I linked to Anthony Robins’ post on fuel poverty, in which he quoted this definition:

              “Fuel poverty” has been defined as the condition when the cost of fuel to adequately heat the home to achieve a satisfactorily warm environment is more than ten percent of a household’s income.

              My point is that, while there are many angles to the issue of power distribution, too many righties want to talk about everything other than the direct impact on those struggling to pay their bills.

              Right wingers love to talk balancing the books, quoting stats, cost efficiencies, the physical details about power generation and distribution, insulation etc…. anything other than directly dealing with the impacts high fuel costs have on people’s lives.

              • Populuxe1

                How is wanting adequate housing stock for people “right wing”? The bills wouldn’t be so high in the first place, and the issue is healthy homes and families. The “fuel poverty” hobbyhorse doesn’t address the dampness and air quality issues which a holistic programme of housing improvements would achieve.
                And implying people are right wing simply because they disagree with you is a bit cheap.

                • karol

                  I agree that there needs to be improvements in housing. It’s not either/or, but both/and.

                  I have done other posts on affordable and safe/livable housing. Even when we reach a point when the housing stock is good and affordable, there will still be a need to distribute power to those houses. A privatised system will not ensure that fuel is affordable.

                  Meanwhile, people are struggling in fuel poverty NOW. The government needs to have the means to ensure power is affordable to all, now and in the future.

                • Foreign Waka

                  I do agree with the issue of the quality of housing but most people who need assistance are at the lower end of income working or not. Electricity becomes an essential need during winter months and it seems ironic that we actually subsidise the alu smelter to such extent that they pay pittance albeit using extraordinary amounts of power. Then there are the corporates who negotiate lower costs and that leaves the rest of the not so well off to “share” the burden of increased line charges and increased asset replacement costs. Obviously, the old adage that money is power does has its double meaning here.
                  People on lower incomes have no means to improve housing conditions as they are mostly renting. One could make the house owner responsible for inflicting injury by neglect but I doubt that anyone would have the guts to set a precedence.
                  In the end, it is the kids who are left with asthma, whooping cough and other related illnesses that can be prevented.

                  • Mike S

                    “it seems ironic that we actually subsidise the alu smelter to such extent that they pay pittance albeit using extraordinary amounts of power. Then there are the corporates who negotiate lower costs and that leaves the rest of the not so well off to “share” the burden of increased line charges and increased asset replacement costs”

                    I wouldn’t call it ironic. Just more examples of rent seeking that is endemic in our political and financial system.

                    People often forget the affect that the rent seekers have on prices, whether it is power or anything else.

  14. Tigger 14

    This power debate has brought out that pathological side in the right, the side that hates the left, despises the poor and is desperate to kill anything that might disrupt their pursuit of ‘wealth’.

    O’Sullivan’s pieces need to be analysed. They stink of coordination. Who in National did she chat to, what were the agreed lines? Yes, often the case with her but this really smells like PR.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      “Stink of co-ordination”

      Let’s be serious now. The Right are running a co-rdinated message calendar and Labour/Greens is going to be hit on a daily/bi-daily basis for the foreseeable future.

      Their strategy is to saturate media coverage and to weaken the resolve of Greens/Labour politicians backing NZ Power.

      • Matthew Hooton 14.1.1

        What is a “co-ordinated message calendar”?

        • Pete 14.1.1.1

          From Wikipedia:

          A talking point in debate or discourse is a succinct statement designed to support persuasively one side taken on an issue. Such statements can either be free standing or created as retorts to the opposition’s talking points and are frequently used in public relations, particularly in areas heavy in debate such as politics and marketing.

          A political think tank will strategize the most effective informational attack on a target topic and launch talking points from media personalities to saturate discourse in order to frame a debate in their favor, standardizing the responses of sympathizers to their unique cause.

          When used politically in this way, the typical purpose of a talking point is to propagandize, specifically using the technique of argumentum ad nauseam, i.e. continuous repetition within media outlets until accepted as fact.

          I assume CV is referring to the frequency the government and its political surrogates and fellow travellers attempt to define the discourse in this fashion.

        • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.2

          Mr Hooten, as you are the PR professional I shouldn’t have to explain the ABCs to you (heh)

          • Rhinocrates 14.1.1.2.1

            “Disingenuous” is his middle name. It’s also his first… and his surname… and his secret code name, and the name he gives to his dog, his goldfish and his pet rock. It’s also his brand. It would be watermarked on his soul if he had one.

            The question that really troubles me about Hoots is this:

            Who the Hell does he think he is fooling?

            The fact is, his company, Effluvium, is actually a scam. He tells his clients that he’s a “shaper of opinion” and so he blogs a bit and takes the cash.

          • QoT 14.1.1.2.2

            As he’s a speaker of the English language you shouldn’t have to explain “co-ordinated”, “message” or “calendar” either … and unless I’m missing something vital the combination of the three seems fairly obvious.

            • Rhinocrates 14.1.1.2.2.1

              No, Hoots is NOT a speaker of the English language. He is a deliberate – and mercenary – corrupter of it. That is why I hate him and his kind. They don’t try to foster communication, they try to pervert it, and they do it for personal profit.

              BTW, love your blog.

    • Mike S 14.2

      I sometimes think that O’Sullivan is actually good for the left. When she trips off into rant mode, I think that maybe her bitter words turn off a proportion of right leaning voters or undecideds.

  15. Plan B 16

    I get the feeling that modern political success can be measured in what you can get people to believe or at least ignore. So the arguments are no longer about the truth of anything or any demonstrable reality only what you can say and say again and again. The National Party today under JK are amazingly successful at saying things that bear no relation to any reasonable interpretation of reality. Maybe it has always been like this but with the internet we are more connected with other places and people so we can easily see that what the Nats and associated parties are saying about the so called electricity market are simply not a reasonable interpretation of the situation. So the puzzle for me is the actual delusions at play and the Nats ability to repeat these delusions as facts again and again.
    I read today that the current electricity market prices electricity as follows

    The elaborate market that established a price every 30 minutes at numerous different points on the grid might not be perfect – none are – but it is bound to be better at matching supply and demand than a panel of public servants in Wellington.

    It is stated as if this has anything to do with free markets and competition

    The Nats completely ignore the fact that Electricity due to current methods of generation and distribution have little to do with things like buying a coffee or getting a haircut in terms of markets and competition.

    I was reminded of When Vince Cable in the UK suggested a tax based on the value of property – a so called mansion tax. He was shot down in much the same way as Lablour Greens are being attacked. The right published wave upon wave of nonsense about how it was impossible to value all the properties in the UK and how such a tax was simply impossible to implement- Of course rates in NZ aare calculated in exactly the way he suggested and we think it is completely reasonable.

    • Shaz 16.1

      Yes, yes, yes! So true Plan B! We are living through “Someone Else’s country. The story of the new right revolution in NZ Round Two 2008 – 20?? The frightening sequel”. Neo-liberalism so normal now it requires no explanation, or comparison. The real success of the Key government is that (until NZPower) there appeared to be no alternative.

  16. Peter 17

    Did Fran O’Sullivan present any fact based arguements for her stance?

  17. TightyRighty 18

    The problem is that the left believe in wooly imaginary outcomes with no grounding in sound economic principle. Little wonder all the serious commentators know labour / green are playing games.

    Thanks for my cheaper MRP shares though. $5k buys more now than it used too. Interesting that the policy has driven down the price of speculation without having one single effect on electricity prices. It’s effectively given the wealthy a bonus.

    • infused 18.1

      Pretty much.

    • Colonial Viper 18.2

      The less grounding in economic principle, the more successful the project will be. Seriously. Anyone relying on economists forecasts might as well bin their enterprise now.

      • TightyRighty 18.2.1

        Completely misconstrued what I said. Having a grounding in sound economic theory is rather different from economists forecasts.

        • Clockie 18.2.1.1

          Do tell us which school of economic thought you would choose as a basis for promulgating these wonderful theories. I mean.. there are just so many and it gets so confusing..

        • Colonial Viper 18.2.1.2

          Yes because the highly incorrect predictions made by economic theory doesn’t cast the theory itself in a bad light at all.

          • Clockie 18.2.1.2.1

            No CV he said “sound economic theory”. As in, “by jove that chap over there is a sound ‘un, eh what! what?”

            This implies that only a particular economic theory is “sound” and I’m just dying to find out which one gets nominated.

            • BLiP 18.2.1.2.1.1

              Macro-economics what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, if you ask me.

              Hat Tip: Pieria

              • Colonial Viper

                Quite the contrary: macro-economics has become a weapon of mass financial and social destruction.

                • TightyRighty

                  So what is the labour / green NZ power policy but a macro economic theory? Monopsony has its grounding in micro economic theory. When its a government mandated option to control consumer and producer behaviour it’s a macro economic policy due to its effects on the wider economy. So financial and societal destruction should follow according to CV. Thanks again for the lower MRP prices. XO

                  • Clockie

                    So you can’t or won’t answer the question about which school of economic thought produces these “sound” theories you burble on about then?

        • Mike S 18.2.1.3

          “sound economic theory”

          :)

          Ahhh, my sides are hurting..

      • Mike S 18.2.2

        :) +1

  18. Jenny 19

    In using such rhetoric the right need to take care.

    The last two preceding National Party Prime Ministers before Key who both used much the same sort of rhetoric didn’t last much longer in their positions.

    In 1999 Ian Llewellyn speaking of both Jenny Shipley and her immediate predecessor Jim Bolger said this:

    The rhetoric is not low risk, New Zealanders are famous for the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome, setting her and her party as a winner allows room for a backlash. The former Prime Minister Jim Bolger’s, oft misquoted ‘Worship The Rich’ speech in the last election comes to mind.

    Ian LlewellynJuly 1999 http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL9907/S00035.htm

    Of course Jenny Shipley was more subtle than Jim Bolger and Fran O’Sullivan is more subtle again. But the message is the same; “The only ones who count, are the rich”

  19. Mike S 20

    I hate how O’Sullivan and John Roughan both harp on about how the NZ Power policy announcement has wiped however much value off the power companies and has robbed investors of their money, blah blah blah..

    Well if it’s about loss of value they want to talk about, then how come neither of them even stop to think about, let alone write about the fact that the majority of Kiwis, who can’t afford shares even if they wanted them, will see their power companies lose half of their value immediately upon the privatization and share sell off.

    Roughan states things like:

    “Brian Gaynor has estimated the likely cost to the public purse (due to NZ Power announcement) at $400 million”.

    No doubt over exaggerated but so what. a few hundred large is nothing compared to the amount lost to the public purse from future dividends. Don’t hear him mentioning that though.

    You have to laugh though at comments like this one:

    “The stock looked a good buy even before he talked the Labour Party into threatening price control on electricity. It looks an even better one now..”

    Well if that’s the case, why is he moaning and groaning on about NZ Power, he should be happy and thankful to Lab / Grns if he believes what he writes.

    Sorry if someone already posted something similar, haven’t yet read through all the comments.

  20. North 21

    The rooting-out of racist, classist, societal rape commonly demands a price.

    It’s a bloody good job when the price is demanded of the greedy and the rapacious !

    Paid mouths the likes of Hooton and O’Sullivan are doing exactly what they’re paid to do:

    (1) Skitter the cargo-cultist non-raped with projections of their impending rape by the
    “liberated” raped……..

    (2) Proffer neo-liberalism and Shonkey Python as the only rational response……..

    (3) Lecture the raped, with sneers, outrage, pompous mockery, whatever works variously,
    that seeing to the rape will simply make them more raped. “Don’t go there underclass !”

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