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Kiwis at the front of the queue?

Written By: - Date published: 10:42 am, March 4th, 2013 - 140 comments
Categories: capitalism, national, Privatisation - Tags: , ,

One of the promises that Key made about asset sales was that Kiwis would be “at the front of the queue”. For the past several days, however, there has been speculation that Mighty River Power shares would be listed in Australia:

Mighty River shares to be sold in Australia – reports

Shares in Mighty River Power will be available to investors on the Australian stock exchange, according to reports from across the Tasman.

A leading Australian business newspaper is reporting that shares in the state-owned enterprise will be “dual-listed” in both countries.

The revelation has prompted Labour to hit out at the Government, accusing it of breaking its promise to New Zealanders that they would be the first in line to buy shares.

See also The Herald’s coverage. Apparently an official announcement is due today, but it’s not likely that these media reports are wrong, as pretty much confirmed by Key on RNZ this morning:

The Labour Party says listing the shares on the Australian stock exchange contradicts the promise to prioritise New Zealand investors.

But Mr Key says where the shares are listed is irrelevant as the Government will determine the make-up of the ownership once it has gauged the level of interest from potential investors.

That “make-up of ownership” has previously been described as:

…between 85 per cent and 90 per cent will be held by New Zealanders, including its own 51 per cent stake.

Note that last important caveat. So, up to 30% of the current share offering can be sold off-shore (half the shares are on sale, 30% of that gives us 15% of the total assuming Key goes with 85% “held by New Zealanders”).

According to the overwhelming majority of public opinion, and simple common sense, these assets should not be sold. But if they are, and the demand is there, why not 100% Kiwi owned? Why will up to 30% of the current offering be flogged off overseas? (Note also, of course, that as soon as the shares are sold, there is nothing to stop Kiwis flicking them off to overseas buyers, and the percentage of Kiwi ownership will quickly plummet). So much for Kiwis at the front of the queue indeed.

140 comments on “Kiwis at the front of the queue?”

  1. infused 1

    There is an article I read somewhere in the weeknd that says the Aussie shares would be after NZers bought shares.

    • Tom Gould 1.1

      Key just can’t help himself lying, can he? Now he’s spending a million bucks on a party political broadcast, to cover up. Banana republic, anyone?

    • infused 2.1

      How is that sneaky?

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      The National Party leadership appear at odds tonight over the future sale of Kiwibank.
      English appears to favour a future sale but today party leader John Keysaid a sale was unlikely.
      At a social event as part of the National Party Conferenceon Friday night, deputy leader Bill English was secretly taped talking to two delegates about the possibility of selling the government-owned Kiwibank.

      Kiwibank has always been in Nationals list of assets to be sold but they won’t touch it just yet as it has massive support in the community.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        Oops, stuffed up the link 😳

        English and Key at odds over future sale of Kiwibank

        • alwyn 2.2.1.1

          So, after reading your link I discover that just over four and a half years ago John Key wasn’t going to sell Kiwibank and Bill English was talking about the subject.
          Four and a half years after that surreptitious recording John Key is still not interested in selling it and English hasn’t said anything further.
          Somehow you turn it into “Kiwibank was always on National’s list etc”.
          As for the Government getting some expert opinion on the Kiwibank plans that seems to me to be an excellent idea. I only wish they had done it with Solid Energy.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1.1

            And considering that JK lies him saying something different to BE doesn’t fill me with confidence.

          • felixviper 2.2.1.1.2

            It was always on the list, Bill English said so and as you correctly point out he has never reversed that position.

            It doesn’t matter what John Key says, he breaks promises like Gerry breaks wind: Openly and with no concern for those affected.

  2. vto 3

    It will be another one of John Key’s lies.

  3. freedom 4

    What is with the bonus share promises that may or may not be promises or bonuses or even shares? Doesn’t keeping a section of stock aside to service the promise, only cut into the promised return that promises to deliver such promise as we have only dreamed of. I mean it is incredible what a quickly diminishing promised return is going to achieve. At last count 5 billion dollars is going to balance the budget, build not only hospitals but schools too, save CHCH and give every Mum & Dad in NZ a live of prosperity and wonder, hey Key promised !

    as an aside- at work on the weekend ( work which is about to be taken away by a new bean counter of a boss) we had a few Aussie Exchange folk in, and boy oh boy did their mood change when i casually asked if they had any hints about how to go about listing NZ Energy companies on the Ozzie market. must have hit a nerve i reckon. :)

  4. Dv 5

    Contact energy has returned about 5% pa over the 12? years since listing.

  5. emergency mike 6

    “the Government will determine the make-up of the ownership once it has gauged the level of interest from potential investors”

    Gee, I hope all the mums and dads turn out to be as interested as John Key has been saying they are. But I guess things could get dynamic.

  6. Pascal's bookie 7

    Kiwis will be at the front of the queue, it’s just that the bouncer is gonna be all “Sorry, shoes.” and “Not tonight mate, not your sort of thing” and “Private function tonight”.

    • freedom 7.1

      chortles and smirks all day off that one PB ++good

    • tc 7.2

      +1 and once they’re gone that’s it folks.

      Deals done I reckon, Oz and beyond have already been lined up for them.

      • freedom 7.2.1

        gotta wonder what the final holdings of a certain mining magnate will be, why else would she give up so much of Fearfacts if not to be promised something altogether more critical ?

      • SpaceMonkey 7.2.2

        Look for the usual suspects… the likes of National Nominees (NAB), JP Morgan, HSBC, Dexia, Citicorp, Goldman Sachs, etc.

    • Rogue Trooper 7.3

      m-i-c-k-e-y m-o-u-s-e (a deeba deeba, that’s all folks)

    • Tim 7.4

      … yep! and the bouncer will prob be the one that deals ‘P’ on the side to make ends meet.

  7. Lanthanide 8

    Very interesting poll on stuff, with the current results at the time of writing:

    Would the Government’s partial asset sales push cause you to change your vote?

    Yes – I’d now vote for a party opposing asset sales
    285 votes, 36.4%

    Yes – I’d now vote for National
    68 votes, 8.7%

    No
    211 votes, 27.0%

    No – I voted for another party in the election
    218 votes, 27.9%

    Bit of an refutation about the so-called “mandate” they have to sell assets.

  8. Mary 9

    If Shearer is ever going to make a positive impact then asset sales is the issue he needs to take a stand on. He needs to say Labour will buy back what ever Nact sells (and then but them back, of course). The support’s there, especially if Kiwibank’s on the block, even if Kiwibank’s only being being touted now so it can be pulled back on to make the current sales more palatable. All Shearer needs to do is make the move and show he and Labour are in control of the discussion. All he’s doing now is just reacting which just makes him look like an idiot. Why can’t he do that? 70% of people are behind him! It should be easy.

    Answer is that at worst Labour are quite happy for the sales to go ahead, especially Shearer. At best they don’t really care. A man who would privatise the military would surely see no problems getting rid of a bank and a few power companies. That’s what happens when you have a right-wing government and a right-wing opposition.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      He needs to say Labour will buy back what ever Nact sells…

      No, he needs to get together with every other party that opposes these sales and say that they will be renationalised without compensation and then do it the day that they’re in power.

      • felixviper 9.1.1

        +1

      • Mary 9.1.2

        You’re right. I need to learn to be more forceful.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.2.1

          Well, there are more subtle alternatives than Day 1 re-nationalisation without compensation.

          Firstly, you compulsarily acquire 1/2 the Board of Directors seats. Which is the government’s right as a 49% shareholder.

          Secondly, you make it a mandatory requirement that an additional Board seat or two is filled by representatives from the Workers Committee of each power company.

          Thirdly, you apply a super-profits tax on on the earnings of those companies.

          Fourthly, you wait until the private sector owners beg you to take the company fully off their hands so that they can move on with their capital.

      • Tim 9.1.3

        Absolutely! Even if he comes out with some woosey statement such as “…there is no guarantee that [assets on the sale agenda] will remain with 49% private participation as opposed to being PUBLICLY owned.
        That actually might cause me to reconsider the firm decision I’ve made (after a lifteime of voting Labour), to party-vote anything BUT Labour, Nat/Act/Dunne/Conservative.
        They’d have to also make it abundantly clear that neo-liberal policy has clearly failed (the World!); that they will try and progress some sort of constitution that elevates the status of Te T o W, BORA, other legislation such as OIA; AND that whilst we have LIZ, the Guv is REQUIRED to refuse the Royal ascent to piss-poor legislation that breaches those Acts/Constitution. When eventually a republic, a President would effectively impeach himself if he/she legitimised anything that breached those acts/constitution.

        I notice Frank McS has recently written something on the need to entrench various things and provides ideas on the mechanisms available to achieve same. Funnily enough, I’ve asked the Green Party to comment on where they stand and how they would handle the issue. (No reply – After 2 weeks).
        Will it be Green, or will it be Mana I ask myself!

    • SpaceMonkey 9.2

      Why can’t he do that…? Probably because his constiuents don’t want him too.

      • felixviper 9.2.1

        You mean the people of Mt Albert?

      • Tiresias 9.2.2

        He can’t do that – or rather he could but won’t – because fortunately he’s brighter than you lot.

        Read the ‘Sequester USA” thread below. The US political system has become totally disfunctional and the country practically ungovernable because the Republicans – and the Democrats, come to that – are demanding all and giving nothing. Italy is ungovernable at the moment because Beppe Grillo’ M5S ‘party’ are refusing to work with anyone. Greece is in a perilously similar situation. It is axiomatic that in any PR system which doesn’t give one party an unopposable majority there is an opportunity for a minority to dig its heels in and bring government to a standstill.

        There are occasions when that might be justified – when perhaps the majority is seeking to abuse its powers by doing things unannounced and without any mandate much as the fourth Labour Government did under Lange, except that the FPP system then gave them the power – but under the conventions of the Westminster Parliamentary system which make it, and democracy, workable particularly under PR an elected Government has the right to do what it said it would do before it was elected however much you, and Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, might not like it. If Shearer now started making announcements as herein suggested he probably would kill the asset sales programme dead – but if Labour won the next election by anything other than an outright majority he could very easily find himself blocked from doing many of the things he campaigned on and which you’d want him to do because of such blackmailing and undercutting threats by the other side or sides.

        Democracy is a fragile thing – just ask the Greeks, and the Germans of the 1930s come to that – and think before you start a race to the bottom.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.2.2.1

          He can’t do that – or rather he could but won’t – because fortunately he’s brighter than you lot.

          Ah, yes, the traditional not undoing the actions of a previous government to maintain stability despite the fact that the populace wants them to and didn’t want the previous government to do it in the first place.

          That’s not more intelligent, just more sticking to what the rich want.

          • Tiresias 9.2.2.1.1

            No, I was merely responding to your suggestion that the power companies be re-nationalised without compensation.

            You are quite correct to believe such a suggestion from Labour would stop asset sales in their tracks. It would also trigger a capital flight from New Zealand that would make Greece, Iceland and ireland’s recent experiences look like minor financial hiccups. What do you imagine the New Zealand dollar would be worth if the Government started taking what it wanted without compensation? How much oil, how many pharmaceuticals, would we be able to buy if we had to pay cash for it in US$ at 10/c to the NZ$?

            Shearer/Labour would in my view be quite entitled to announce that in Government they would take back ownership of the power companies from private investors at a fair price, and such an announcement would undoubtably depress the sale – perhaps to the point of sinking it. Because they haven’t done so I agree with Mary above – I don’t believe the current Labour leadership is whole-hearted about its objections to the sale process and is quite happy to let National put some black ink on the Govt’s Books while avoiding the approbrium.

            Buying the power companies back would, however, be an expensive exercise and Shearer’s view might be that taxpayer’s money would be better spent on other things. As I haven’t heard anything from him on the point I’ve no idea where he actually stands.

            • Colonial Viper 9.2.2.1.1.1

              Capital flight/capital strike by the wealthiest corporations and individuals remains the single gravest threat to NZ sovereignty.

              Buying the power companies back would, however, be an expensive exercise and Shearer’s view might be that taxpayer’s money would be better spent on other things.

              As you say who on Earth would know what Shearer’s actual views on this are.

              ps it’d be relatively cheap to buy the power companies back; they’ll pay for themselves within 9 or 10 years.

              A great investment for NZ.

            • Draco T Bastard 9.2.2.1.1.2

              It would also trigger a capital flight from New Zealand that would make Greece, Iceland and ireland’s recent experiences look like minor financial hiccups.

              And would allow us to bring our economy back into line just like Iceland did.

              How much oil, how many pharmaceuticals, would we be able to buy if we had to pay cash for it in US$ at 10/c to the NZ$?

              Who cares as all that really means is that we would have to fall back upon our own resources which are quite enough to sustain us.

              Shearer/Labour would in my view be quite entitled to announce that in Government they would take back ownership of the power companies from private investors at a fair price, and such an announcement would undoubtably depress the sale – perhaps to the point of sinking it.

              Actually, it would be likely to push the price up due to the government guaranteed returns that Shearer would be promising.

              Buying the power companies back would, however, be an expensive exercise and Shearer’s view might be that taxpayer’s money would be better spent on other things.

              That’s why the government should also be taking back the power of printing money from the private banks.

              You, like most economists, have NFI WTF the economy is or what it’s for.

              • Colonial Viper

                Who cares as all that really means is that we would have to fall back upon our own resources which are quite enough to sustain us.

                Actually, in addition to the benefits of an import substitution programme, India and China will supply us with all the advanced manufactured products we need in direct exchange for: food and energy.

                Pretty good eh.

        • KJT 9.2.2.2

          You think we have Democracy? What a joke.

          At best we have a three yearly rotating dictatorship. Where the most you can do if you don’t like one lots policies, is to vote back the lot you didn’t like last time.

          Where idiots like Key, Douglas and the ABC’s and total mental vacancies like Parata, Brownlee, Banks, Hipkins can tell us all what to do.

          Where the opposition is , if being generous, out to lunch, if not you could say they are also conniving in the daylight robbery.

          The minimum requirement for democracy is binding referenda, with an achievable minimum trigger petition, like the Swiss.

          • Tiresias 9.2.2.2.1

            And why do we have “idiots like Key, Douglas and the ABC’s and total mental vacancies like Parata, Brownlee, Banks, Hipkins”? I suggest that we have the democracy we deserve, and for as long as 85% of the electorate (at least) regards democracy as a tri-annual tick in a box according to their view of the best act of the ones they were shown, we’ll get what you describe.

            You can vote for whoever you want, so in what way is it the fault of democracy there’s no-one in Parliament representing your views?

            Yes, I broadly agree with the concept of binding referenda. Let’s float one calling for the abolition of taxation and free Rolls-Royces all round.

            • KJT 9.2.2.2.1.1

              Hey.

              All we get is a tri-annual tick in the box, not democracy.

              As for referenda. I am damn sure we would not all vote to reduce taxes on the rich to the extent the country cannot function, sell of income earning assets and give tax payer dollars to crooks.

              • Colonial Viper

                Exactly. Tiresias thinks that putting paper into a ballot box = democracy, when in fact, voting is nothing more than a mechanical process used by democracies.

                • Tiresias

                  No, I’m suggesting we have the democracy we deserve because most of the voting population doesn’t engage any further than ticking the box at tri-anual elections. I do my best by actively supporting the party I think most closely represents my personal political views and doing what I can to get it to represent them even more closely – which is why I gave up on Labour some while back. Flogging dead horses eventually gets wearying.

                  And as for binding referenda I note that in 2009 the Swiss , by a majority of 57.5%, voted in favour of banning the construction of minarets in Switzerland, and by a majority of 68% against a ban on the export of arms and war supplies.

                  When a whole country does a Prosser it’s hard to argue he’s just a dim and lonely redneck.

                  • Tiresias

                    Oh, and the Swiss have just voted by 68 percent to back plans for shareholders to veto executive pay and for a ban on big rewards for new and departing managers.

                    So what do we have?

                    Swiss vote to curb bonuses and obscene executive pay – what a great nation.

                    Swiss vote to ban the building of mosques – what a backward, intolerant nation.

            • Rogue Trooper 9.2.2.2.1.2

              Yep.Merlins please

          • TheContrarian 9.2.2.2.2

            “The minimum requirement for democracy is binding referenda”

            Th minimum requirement for democracy is universal suffrage.

            • Tim 9.2.2.2.2.1

              ….. AND!!!! any ruling government is only as good as its opposition – something Joe Everidge (distant cousin to Edna) can’t seem to grasp when there’s no Public Sphere, no 4th Estate, and an up and coming (ONE Newzzzzzz) cabal of wannabe gliterrati reporters and journalists that can’t even handle the difference between ‘brought’ and ‘bought’ – which most of them – if they had time to sit down and think about it – actually are.
              Bring and Buy
              Brought and Bought

              Aye (Layzy!) you gorgeous creature!

          • TheContrarian 9.2.2.2.3

            No good having binding referenda if only men can vote on it for example

            • KJT 9.2.2.2.3.1

              All the indications are that we would have had universal suffrage a lot sooner in NZ with Swiss style Government.

              It was our parliament that blocked it!

              Their decisions reflect their society.

              Referenda in NZ, would reflect our society.

              • TheContrarian

                “All the indications are that we would have had universal suffrage a lot sooner in NZ with Swiss style Government. ”

                So what you are saying is that if NZ had a Swiss style of government before universal suffrage we would have had universal suffrage earlier?

                Considering NZ gave woman the vote before any other nation, and before the advent of ‘Swiss style of government’ was even a thing, your comment actually doesn’t make any sense.

              • Arfamo

                Everybody seems to like the idea of government by referenda but I doubt any government of New Zealand could make it work effectively. You still get left with many of the day to day business decisions and management of the budget having to be made by an elected govt and implemented or regulated by government departments and institutions. A pity we no longer have such an apolitical public service. I can remember a time when Ministers really were quite often talked out of bad ideas by senior departmental heads who really did think their role was to be apolitical servants of the public. But that’s 30 years ago.

                • TheContrarian

                  “Everybody seems to like the idea of government by referenda”

                  In the last year alone ~250 bills were presented and passed. The idea we could have referenda on all them is absurd. Even you said, lie Draco is want to say, we only have referenda on the ones that matter to the nation or herald major change then who decides which ones go to referenda? All bills effect everyone in some sense. Govt. by referenda isn’t really that feasible.

                  • Arfamo

                    I agree. Imagine how much time would be wasted just on trying to sort out an agreed wording for each item for referendum. I guess if someone wanted to waste the time on it they could try and come up with a really short, shortlist of key matters which ought to be subject to referenda, but those areas tend to reveal themselves when members of the public do CIRs anyway. Leaving us with the problem that governments aren’t bound by them and seem to enjoy thumbing their noses at them anyway. Wonder if the constitutional review will look at that.

                  • felixviper

                    That’s a fair enough point if you’re limiting the discussion to simply governing by referendum but not changing anything else in the system.

                    Which is a bit like saying “Cars can’t possibly run on electricity – they don’t have plugs!”

                    Perhaps another way to look at this is to ask why there are so many bills…

                    • Arfamo

                      Is that a particularly noteworthy number of bills? I dunno I’ve not kept track of how many bills have passed over the years. Maybe more bills now than in the past because of the need to continually fix up poorly considered, rushed legislation, but not sure that’s the case without seeing some numbers over the years.

                    • TheContrarian

                      “Perhaps another way to look at this is to ask why there are so many bills…”

                      Look at how fast the world changes around us.

                    • felixviper

                      And look at how slowly the system reacts.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Is that a particularly noteworthy number of bills?

                      One of the criticisms leveled against NZ parliament is that it’s the fastest lawmakers in the west or words to that effect. The simple fact is that we actually pass laws far too fast.

                    • Arfamo

                      Lol. This debate is becoming more obscure with each new post.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    In the last year alone ~250 bills were presented and passed.

                    Where’s the Natural Law that says that 250 bills have to be passed every year?

                    And, as I’ve also said, we can have the living standard we have today on 10 hours work each week leaving plenty of time for people to engage with government on those major policy decisions where it’s needed.

                    • Arfamo

                      Reducing work hours but not pay and spreading the work to give more jobs to people I’m sure is possible: it’s what futurists were optimistically predicting at the dawn of the computer revolution. But the world headed in the opposite direction, using computers to replace jobs and increase the hours worked by those who still have jobs. We are a very very long way from achieving the futurists’ vision.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      We are a very very long way from achieving the futurists’ vision.

                      And it went that way because of the profit driven free-market. A system that is presently using up resources at a rate that is unsustainable and putting us on course for the first, and possibly the last, Anthropogenic Extinction Level Event.

                      We could do it but some people don’t want us to.

                    • TheContrarian

                      “Where’s the Natural Law that says that 250 bills have to be passed every year?”

                      There is no natural law but the fact is this is how many bills are being passed.

                      “We can have the living standard we have today on 10 hours work each week leaving plenty of time for people to engage with government on those major policy decisions where it’s needed.”

                      I think you’ll probably find the vast majority of people don’t want to spend their free time reading government bills. Even if we lower the amount of bills being passed to 100 per annum that is still a hell of a lot of time taken if every one is going to vote on them. Essentially one every 3 days. Government by referenda is simply far to time consuming and complicated.

                      “We can have the living standard we have today on 10 hours work each week”

                      I put it to you that that’s bullshit. Care to quantify it?

                    • felixviper

                      TC, you’re still wedded to the idea that so many bills are necessary and that they have to be necessarily difficult to understand.

                      You haven’t really demonstrated this though, unless your argument is that the status quo is the best we can ever do.

                    • TheContrarian

                      I am not wedded to any particular idea. The simple fact is there are this many bills. I am open to any idea to reduce the number.

                      How many do you think there should be?

                    • felixviper

                      It’s irrelevant how many I think there should be.

                      If you’re not wedded to the idea that lots of complicated bills need passing then good, let’s move on.

                      Now that we’ve dealt with that, what’s your next objection to referendum?

                    • TheContrarian

                      No I am not wedded to the idea but the current reality is that there are over 200 bills being passed every year so you need to deal with that first because having referenda on all of them is not possible.

                      If there are only 10 bills a year then there is no issue in referenda on them but that is just plucking a number out of the air.

                    • felixviper

                      FFS you’re being dense this morning.

                      If you think ten is a good number then let’s use that for now. Ten bills a year.

                      Happy?

                    • TheContrarian

                      I have no problem with referenda at all if we are only voting an a few bills a year because we’ll have the time to investigate them before being voted on

                      So now, lets look at the problem of how many bills we have. You can’t just wave your hand and say “we’ll just have less” because you need to determine which ones we are going to have and which ones we don’t need.
                      How do we do this? Any ideas?

                    • felixviper

                      Actually we can, we just pass a law that says “no more than ten bills per year”.

                      Or “no more than 2 at a time”.

                      Or “only on tuesdays”.

                      Or whatever.

                      You’re treating the amount of bills like it’s a natural phenomenon when it’s simply a product of the existing rules and systems.

                    • TheContrarian

                      No I am not treating it as a natural phenomena – I am treating as the actual reality we currently have.

                      Of course we can pass those laws – so how do you determine which ones we’ll be voting on?

                    • felixviper

                      How do you think which bills go through the house are determined now?

                    • felixviper

                      ps do you really not understand that the “current reality” or whatever you’re calling it is determined by rules we made up?

                    • TheContrarian

                      OK then we follow the same method as we have now but limit it to ten per annum.

                      So we pass only 10 of these:
                      http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Legislation/Bills/Default.htm

                      Which would mean the last year of parliamentary business would take 23 years.

                    • TheContrarian

                      “do you really not understand that the “current reality” or whatever you’re calling it is determined by rules we made up?”

                      Of course.

                    • felixviper

                      Who says any of last year’s parliamentary business would’ve happened at all?

                      See?

                      You’re totally stuck on the idea that the outcome must not change. This is why you get called conservative btw.

                    • TheContrarian

                      I don’t think things shouldn’t change at all. I like change however I don’t just hand wave and say ‘things should be like this’.

                      It’s all well and good to say we could change the rules and say ‘we only need ten bills a year’ but you need to recognise the effect it would have and that, ironically, would mean things would change very little

                    • TheContrarian

                      We can take this up later though if you’d like – I have meeting to get to.

                      Enjoy your day.

                    • felixviper

                      Now you’re trying to make this about change for change sake. Please.

                      The question was really about why things are necessarily done a certain way and not another. As far as I can read you’re defending the status quo on no grounds at all other than that it happens to be the way things are done currently.

                      You say “I don’t just hand wave and say ‘things should be like this’.

                      I suppose I think that’s exactly what you’re doing.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I think you’ll probably find the vast majority of people don’t want to spend their free time reading government bills.

                      That happens to be the price of freedom.

                      If you do not engage in governing yourself then you will be governed and all the freedom that your ancestors have fought for will be lost.

                      So now, lets look at the problem of how many bills we have. You can’t just wave your hand and say “we’ll just have less” because you need to determine which ones we are going to have and which ones we don’t need.

                      You continually ask the wrong question. It shouldn’t be about how many bills are passed but how many are basic housekeeping and how many are policy. I could be wrong but I think you’ll find that the majority of those 200+ bills fit the former with only a minority in the latter. Referendum only need to apply to the latter with elected representatives and the ministries doing the former as their normal jobs.

                    • TheContrarian

                      See now that’s a bit smarter. Voting on flagship policy but not the tinkering and/or housekeeping.

                      So referendum on policy like asset sales or WFF but not on smaller, housekeeping tasks, like a bill on improving the reporting of food handling by resturanteurs for example.

        • Colonial Viper 9.2.2.3

          Democracy is a fragile thing – just ask the Greeks, and the Germans of the 1930s come to that – and think before you start a race to the bottom.

          What the fuck do either of those situations have in common with NZ today?

          The Greeks: got indebted to bankers within the financialised Eurozone system which destroyed their country, and then had a bunch of pro-capitalist pro banking political leaders screw their country over and over again.

          And you wonder why the Greek populace is restive.

          The Germans of the 1930’s built Germany into a massive industrial and technological power by ignoring conventional economic thinking and investing in nation building infrastructure, so much so that the Germans literally took on the Imperial superpowers of the day.

          You really don’t know shit Tiresas.

          • Tiresias 9.2.2.3.1

            “What the fuck do either of those situations have in common with NZ today?”

            The Greeks, just like the Italians last year and the Germans in the 1930’s are getting anti-democratic governments as a response to financial crises – either foisted on them by their creditors as a price for not having the plug pulled completely or by popular demand. If you don’t think that could happen here you’re wearing rose-tinted specs.

            I certainly hope you’re not suggesting New Zealand the methods the Nazis used to achieve their ‘success’. However it is worth point out that part of Germany’s ignoring of conventional economic thinking was a massive re-armaments programme which benefits who, exactly? Oh, and when the war started in 1939 Germany’s national debt stood at 39 billion marks, and it’s been argued by those who do know their shit that one of the reason’s Hitler kicked-off WW2 was to avoid the economic collapse Germany faced.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Mason#The_.22Flight_into_war.22_theory

            • Rogue Trooper 9.2.2.3.1.1

              just like to say, i know a wee bit about TROTTR

            • Pascal's bookie 9.2.2.3.1.2

              Lol. All sorts of things have ‘been argued’, but that theory isn’t very compelling at all.

            • Colonial Viper 9.2.2.3.1.3

              So the common theme between modern day Greece and pre WWII Germany is the importance of avoiding the dangers of the international banking system and debt based monetary system.

              Nothing you’ve advised helps NZ do that.

              So what the fuck are you on about?

              I certainly hope you’re not suggesting New Zealand the methods the Nazis used to achieve their ‘success’

              Well, lets be much more specific shall we?

              German industrial and engineering technology leapt ahead, as did publicly owned infrastructure designed to boost economic activity and provide a common good to all (ahem, most) citizens.

              After the war Germany kept many of those lessons, becoming a unionised engineering and export powerhouse.

              So why not learn the things we can eh?

            • Arfamo 9.2.2.3.1.4

              Yeah, and it’s not like we have the option of autarky to get started, then taking the resources and lives of a whole heap of their citizens, and then subsequently conquering territories and grabbing their resources to try and balance the books. That economic approach probably looked good on paper, but it didn’t actually work out well as even a short term strategy for Hitler and Speer did it? :)

              • KJT

                Worked fine for Rome, The UK and the USA though.

                • Arfamo

                  The Vandals sorted Rome out. Didn’t do Mussolini a lot of good. The UK doesn’t look quite so great these days, and the US looks likely to take everyone down with it if it falls over.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    And the problem with all of them is that the rulers got too big for their boots and kept demanding more. The economy was fine before the great demands of the few.

                    • Arfamo

                      The rulers always get too big for their boots and demand more. It’s only the rulers who change. Big business owners and financiers are the rulers these days. But they rule by proxy through the democratic governments they control. If we, the voters, let them.

          • QoT 9.2.2.3.2

            In terms of Tiresas’ original comment – “democracy is a fragile thing” – I’m simply dying to know what similarities there are between the political situations of 1930s Germany and 2010s New Zealand. Because I know I personally long for the proud days of the Kaiser and am filled with fervent nationalism due to propagandist spinning of our recent epic military defeat and extortionist reparation agreements to Australia.

        • bad12 9.2.2.4

          Ah too late, the race to the bottom began in 1985…

    • muzza 9.3

      Mary, you’re onto it – Although its really the owners/controllers of the political parties/system, who are directing the theatre.

      The mouth piece politicans, paraded as *our* democractic choices every three years, exist to action the instructions!

  9. Tiresias 10

    I also understand Key was talking about a ‘loyalty bonus’ of extra shares going to Kiwis who hold their shares ‘long-term’ -which to him is apparently three years. I’m still holding the Contact shares I bought in 1999.

    However if this is part of the planning it means that Labour, if by some miracle it wins the next election with Shearer et al, will be bound to issue those loyalty shares to Key and his mates.

    Priceless.

  10. freedom 11

    The announcement on Asset Sales is clear as mud but three things leap into mind
    1: “Kiwis would have to invest at least $1000. They would be guaranteed at least up to $2000 worth of shares. ” of course there was no mention of how that will be fairly apportioned (see #3 )
    2: “Mighty River Power’s 800 New Zealand based employees would be guaranteed up to $5000 worth of shares” what does “nz based” really mean , why should people who simply work for the company get 2.5 X the shares of ordinary people, sure sounds like the governement’s mates getting 2.5 X the option available to you and your mates.
    3: “Ryall declined to say how much of the 49 per cent which had been put up for sale would go to retail investors. ” so basically we all know as much as we did yesterday.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10869016

    notice the immediate discrepancy in the two stories? according to the herald, Mighty river staff get offered 5000 shares not just $5000 dollars of shares. So confusion and diversionary tactics at the outset. This is straight out of the Scam the People playbook.

    • Lanthanide 11.1

      “So confusion and diversionary tactics at the outset. ”
      Don’t ascribe to malice that which can be easily ascribed to incompetence.

    • freedom 11.2

      note: the herald have since edited the story to “$5000”
      (and as expected without a hint of a retraction. It is a small detail but don’t details still matter? )

    • Dv 11.3

      AND they are going to allow up to 40 % of the float to go overseas.

  11. gobsmacked 12

    Shearer to be interviewed on this now (Radio Live, after news).

    • gobsmacked 12.1

      The interview (may be online later) was pretty typical Shearer … the first 2-3 minutes was fine, very clear with his prepared lines. Then Garner pushed further, with 3 predictable questions:

      Will you buy shares? – No.

      Then:
      Will your KiwiSaver provider buy shares?
      Will any of your MPs buy shares?

      Shearer sounded as though he hadn’t expected the questions. Why not?

      The i-view wasn’t a disaster, but it showed (as usual) his inability to cope with anything from left field.

      • QoT 12.1.1

        his inability to cope with anything from left field

        *rimshot*

      • Arfamo 12.1.2

        If this interview is online later – can somebody post a link?

      • infused 12.1.3

        He was on talkback as well, and fumbled when asked “Would Labour buy them back” Dodging the question twice.

        • Arfamo 12.1.3.1

          For chrissake!! How long have they freakin had to by now have worked up a freakin position on this?

  12. No point in pointing out the obvious, I suppose, but we lost this battle, good hiding style.

    No matter how many signatures have been collected, no matter how all single issue polls support keeping our assets, Goff fucked it in ’11 and really, from then on in, it’s been all over, Rover.

    Labour’s failure to oppose has allowed this to happen.
    Already looks like history repeating in ’14.

  13. Arfamo 14

    They’re talking about selling 3 more aren’t they? If they get four power companies flogged off before the next election, we’re stuffed. I can’t see any way a new government can nationalise them all without drying up overseas investment. I’m quite interested in the suggestion someone made earlier though that a new government with a 51% shareholding could maybe effectively take over the board and finesse them back into public ownership over time.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      I can’t see any way a new government can nationalise them all without drying up overseas investment.

      We don’t need overseas investment and never have done. Why would we need foreign money to use resources we already own?

  14. Arfamo 15

    I’m no economist Draco and I wish we could be completely self-reliant, but I imagine if all foreign investment in NZ suddenly dried up we’d be in crisis. I don’t think the NZ-owned capital market is big enough to fund the entire economy, and our government couldn’t do it on taxes alone. But if you’ve got a link to anything produced by anyone showing how we could run a completely internally funded self-sufficient economy I’d love to read them.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      I don’t think the NZ-owned capital market is big enough to fund the entire economy, and our government couldn’t do it on taxes alone.

      The government could do it. It’s the power of being a sovereign nation capable of printing the states money so as to utilise the states assets and resources effectively. The assets and resources that we already own – the infrastructure of a developed nation, the skills of our people and the resources within the borders.

      And I didn’t say anything about trade or self-sufficiency.

      • Arfamo 15.1.1

        Apologies. I must have misinterpreted what you were saying. But I’m quite lost now if you’re saying the government could fund the entire economy. I see no good reason for the Nats to partially privatise the power companies except the obvious one to drag in money to try and plug the hole left by the unaffordable tax cuts and their current borrowing. Just reversing the tax cuts would probably fix the hole faster. But they’ll never do that. So Shearer should say he will. But he won’t. He doesn’t know what he’ll do. Labour’s rooted with him in the front passenger seat pretending to be the driver.

        • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1.1

          But I’m quite lost now if you’re saying the government could fund the entire economy.

          Our entire economy is founded upon the resources we have here in NZ. As we already own these resources it’s just a question of using them. Money is a tool to do that but importing money doesn’t bring about any more ability to use those resources than what we already have. As this is true the only thing the government would need to do to bring about the use of those resources is to print the money and spend it into the economy. In this case taxes become a tool to prevent excess inflation, as well as payment for services rendered, by keeping the total money supply balanced.

          • Arfamo 15.1.1.1.1

            Whoops sorry – posted this in wrong place. Sounds great. What country is using this system? I’ll check them out.

            • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1.1.1

              The entire global economy is filled by sovereigns trapped by this 400 year old banker run debt-based money system.

            • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1.1.1.2

              We did. Worked to but the banks and other capitalists don’t like it as it removes the country’s dependency from them and thus the power they have.

            • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1.1.1.3

              The thing that you don’t seem to comprehend is that money has to come from somewhere. There’s a few options but the one we use is the one where the private banks print money into the economy and charge interest on it. This is a system that, quite simply, doesn’t work as the interest is on top of the principal loaned and thus the only way it can be paid back is if another loan is created which also bears interest.

              This results in an inevitable credit crises when the debt is so high that it can’t be paid back – just like we just saw with the GFC. In fact, paying back the loans will actually cause the economy to collapse as it will remove money from circulation. The only reason why the economy hasn’t collapsed so far is because of a number of nations printing money hand over fist but it’s not bring the world out of recession because it’s all going to the private banks.

              The system I’m describing is one where the nation state prints the money, with no interest, and spends it directly into the economy. It would be spent on necessary services such as electricity, telecommunications and other ubiquitous needs. Generally speaking, the stuff that the society can’t do without.

              Money from that spending would be spent into the private sector which would be small and when it falls over, which it does frequently, it won’t hurt the people or even the economy.

  15. Arfamo 16

    Sounds great. What country is using this system? I’ll check them out.

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