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Privatisation: The facts

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, May 27th, 2010 - 88 comments
Categories: assets, privatisation - Tags:

Bunji’s post yesterday on the pro-privatisation myths was great. I thought I would follow up with some facts on privatisation.

Fact 1) We – the ‘mums and dads’, the brothers and sisters, even the aunts and uncles – already own Kiwibank and other public assets. We directly benefit from them from their dividends. The SOEs will pay $3.3 billion in dividends into the Crown’s accounts over the next five years. That money pays for things we all enjoy – schools, nurses, roads, Working for Families and Bill English’s mortgage. If these assets are privatised (even partially), every dollar of dividend that goes to a private owner would be one that isn’t going to pay for public services.

Fact 2) ‘Mums and dads’ don’t end up owning privatised assets. Companies provide a break down of their shareholders by number of shares owned. In every case, privatised former public assets are mostly owned by large, nearly always foreign, companies. Here’s the portion of shareholders with 0-10,000 shares in former public assets:

Auckland Airport: 9.95% Forestry Cutting Rights: 0%
Vector: 6.55% New Zealand Rail: 0%
Telecom: 4.51% NZ Timberlands: 0%
BNZ: 0.6% State Insurance: 0%
Synfuels stocks and current assets: 0% Post Bank: 0%
Export Guarantee Office: 0% New Zealand Steel: 0%
Government Supply Brokerage Corp: 0% Petrocorp: 0%
Housing Corporation Mortgages: 0% DFC: 0%
Taranaki Petroleum Mining Licences: 0% Shipping Corp: 0%
Wrightsons Rights: 0% Rural Bank: 0%
Government Printing Office: 0% GCS Limited: 0%
Wellington international Airport Limited: 0% Communicate NZ: 0%
Forestry Corporation of New Zealand Ltd: 0% Tourist Hotel Corp: 0%
NZ Liquid Fuel Investment: 0% VTNZ: 0%
Capital Properties New Zealand Limited: 0% Maui Gas: 0%
Works and Development Services Corporation (NZ) Limited: 0%
Fletcher Challenge Limited Ordinary Division and Forest Division Shares: 0%

Uh, huh. So, not a lot of ‘mum and dad’ ownership, huh? Not even among the ones for which there were public offerings.

Fact 3) Privatisation harms markets. Look at the awful mess that the electricity sector has got in since partial privatisation and corporatisation. Look at rail, telecommunications, the banks after BNZ was privatised and before Kiwibank.

A publicly-owned player can reignite competition by taking on an oligarchy, as with banking. Kiwibank’s influence has brought down fees and it leads the market on interest rates. As Bright Red noted yesterday:

Kiwibank operates a low fees, low rates, low profit model to keep the others honest. What’s the first thing that a private investor would want out of an investment in Kiwibank? Higher profits. Same with a lot of other SOEs. Do you think that money would come out of thin air? No. It would come out of your pocket as a customer.

Fact 4) Privatisation leads to asset-stripping. Private buyers, especially those that buy pieces of national infrastructure (airports, ports, Telecom, power companies), know that the government can’t afford to let the infrastructure fail because of the wider economic benefits that would be lost. What’s the logical, profit-maximising thing to do in that situation? Asset-strip – up prices, take dividends as big as possible, let the infrastructure detiroate and wait for the government to step in to save the infrastructure either with a buy back or some kind of bail out (like the government’s broadband plan).

Fact 5) We also get a bad deal on SOE sales. Almost invariably, the buyers have made massive profits (the asset-stripping helps). We would be better off keeping the profit stream rather than getting too little cash from selling out. If people are so keen to buy, why the hell would we be so keen to sell? We’re not up to our eyeballs in debt, and that would be the only time to sell assets that are contributing so much value to the government and the wider economy.

Fact 6) Kiwibank doesn’t need to be partially sold to get money for expansion. The cheapest source of capital is the government. For a tenth of what it is borrowing to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Kiwis, it can borrow the capital at sovereign rates (or Kiwibank can retain its profits and not pay out a dividend, which amount to the same thing).

There is no economic logic to selling SOEs. This ‘mum and dad’ stuff is just feel-good fluff to disguise the real agenda – taking quality companies that have been built up by taxpayers over the generations and selling them off cheap to the capitalist class so they can make a quick buck

88 comments on “Privatisation: The facts”

  1. Clarke 1

    Just to make the point, here’s a list of the top 10 shareholding mums and dads in Telecom, according to the Companies Office:

    Total Number of shares 1,916,860,491

    Number of Shares 299,853,426
    Shareholder(s) ANZ Nominees Limited Po Box 1492, Wellington

    Number of Shares 246,850,902
    Shareholder(s) 402062 – NATIONAL NOMINEES LIMITED 125 QUEEN STREET, LEVEL 2, BNZ TOWER, AUCKLAND, NZ

    Number of Shares 188,027,402
    Shareholder(s) 303826 – HSBC NOMINEES (NEW ZEALAND) LIMITED Level 9, One Queen Street, Auckland 1

    Number of Shares 166,273,016
    Shareholder(s) National Nominees Limited (Australia) Po Box 1406m, Melbourne 3001, Australia

    Number of Shares 159,700,393
    Shareholder(s) HSBC CUSTODY NOMINEES (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED Hsbc Centre, Level 16, 580 George Street, Sydney, Australia

    Number of Shares 141,901,728
    Shareholder(s) JP Morgan Nominees Australia Limited Locked Bag 7, Royal Exchange, Nsw, Australia

    Number of Shares 61,146,471
    Shareholder(s) 303826 – HSBC NOMINEES (NEW ZEALAND) LIMITED Level 9, One Queen Street, Auckland 1

    Number of Shares 44,383,915
    Shareholder(s) ANZ NOMINEES LIMITED Level 25 530 Collins Street, Melbourne Vic, Australia

    Number of Shares 43,227,291
    Shareholder(s) 256875 – CITIBANK NOMINEES (NEW ZEALAND) LIMITED 11TH FLOOR, CITIBANK CENTRE, 23 CUSTOMS STREET EAST, AUCKLAND

    Number of Shares 41,957,746
    Shareholder(s) ACCIDENT COMPENSATION CORPORATION Bnz Tower, 125 Queens Street, Auckland

  2. insider 2

    Your list above ignores thtat many mums and dads have their savings in pension funds whihc invest on their behalf.

    I’d say the awful mess in the electricity sector is as much down to the meddling of politicians – remember the govt and community trusts owns by far the majority of the industry.

    Do we really get a bad deal on privatisations? Can we blame others for our govt’s ignorance. It’s not as if they don’t get sophisticated advice. Maybe it’s more that govt doesn’t run things well so the price reflects that historic performance and private operators can get more out of the businesses. Nothing sinister or unfair, just the dynamics of it.

    “Kiwibank’s influence has brought down fees and it leads the market on interest rates”

    First evidence of that? Headline rates can be misleading and there has been an awful lot of other things going on in the market apart from KB. It may be true or it may not…

    Second KB was talking only about floating rates. Most people have had fixed rate mortgages and KB’s story is not quite so rosey there

    “For a tenth of what it is borrowing to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Kiwis, it can borrow the capital at sovereign rates (or Kiwibank can retain its profits and not pay out a dividend, which amount to the same thing).”

    So the state is subsidising competition. How is that good? How will that affect institutions like PSIS, TSB, SBS, Credit Unions? Seems a bit unfair to me.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Maybe it’s more that govt doesn’t run things well so the price reflects that historic performance and private operators can get more out of the businesses.

      AirNZ, privatised, ran at a massive loss, asset stripped etc, government bails it out, takes ownership and AirNZ is now making a profit.

      Reality disagrees with you.

      How is that good?

      It’s decreasing the deadweight loss of profit.

      • insider 2.1.1

        Like most airlines Air NZ has ups and downs. It definitely had bad results under govt ownership in the 70s/80 and made hundreds of millions in the 90s when private. So reality seems in dischord with you too. Wasnpt it’s failure from being the victim of a monumentally bad investment aided by Australian two facedness?

        And yes it may be making a profit now but could that be because it doesn’t carry the burden of the government’s $750m bail out debt. How much of that debt has been repaid? I’m sure lots of businesses would do well with free money.

        And asset stripped seems to be the “slur du jour”, what assets did it strip? Ansett? It’s expansions into Asia or the US? Or do you mean the more recent asset stripping of engineering jobs to China? Or the 5% staff cuts last year that helped it achieve a profit?

    • Clarke 2.2

      Your list above ignores thtat many mums and dads have their savings in pension funds whihc invest on their behalf.

      What an utterly specious argument. As Marty pointed out in the post, all those mums and dads already own Kiwibank via the government, so selling it to the same sorts of people who are the majority owners of Telecom will simply take the wealth that belongs to all New Zealanders at the moment and concentrate it in the hands of the 2% of the population who can afford a private pension plan with JP Morgan Australia.

      “Kiwibank’s influence has brought down fees and it leads the market on interest rates’

      First evidence of that? Headline rates can be misleading and there has been an awful lot of other things going on in the market apart from KB. It may be true or it may not

      I presume Econ101 was a fail for you, then. Basic neo-liberal economic theory – which you Righties are meant to subscribe to – says that adding more participants to a market will result in greater competition which will bring prices down. When you and your mates glibly use phrases like “the disciplines of the market”, this is what you’re actually talking about. Or are the benefits of competition not part of the right-wing ideology any more?

      So the state is subsidising competition. How is that good? How will that affect institutions like PSIS, TSB, SBS, Credit Unions? Seems a bit unfair to me.

      The National Party is already heavily distorting markets by using taxpayer funds to insulate businesses from the effects of their emissions through the ETS – Rio Tinto will be on the receiving end of more than $14 million in subsidies. The whole purpose of a National government is to funnel public largesse to a small number of private sector donors companies.

      So I guess we should assume that some subsidies are bad (Kiwibak, Kiwirail) while others are good (Rio Tinto, every dairy farmer in the country who dumps cowshit in our rivers) ….

      • insider 2.2.1

        “so selling it to the same sorts of people who are the majority owners of Telecom will simply take the wealth that belongs to all New Zealanders at the moment and concentrate it in the hands of the 2% of the population who can afford a private pension plan with JP Morgan Australia.”

        You’ve never heard of Kiwisaver or company pension plans? Point was his review of current shareholdings ignored the potential beneficiaries of funds managers.

        “I presume Econ101 was a fail for you, then. Basic neo-liberal economic theory which you Righties are meant to subscribe to says that adding more participants to a market will result in greater competition which will bring prices down”

        In which case you will be able to quickly and clearly demonstrate the KB effect then.

        You can assume all you want. You seem quite creative in developing imaginary scenarios and atrtibuting imaginary positions and arguments that you can rebut. So continue on, it should be fun to watch you chasing your tail.

        • Clarke 2.2.1.1

          You’ve never heard of Kiwisaver or company pension plans?

          The difference between you and me is that I fact-chcek. If you’d bothered doing the same, you’d never have made the assertions about Kiwisaver, at it would be apparent from the most cursory checkof the IRD list that HSBC, JP Morgan and Chase are not Kiwisaver providers. The only way that any New Zealander will have any beneficial interest in Telecom via the nominee companies listed is if they happen to be part of a Kiwisaver fund that just happens to use one of the nominee companies for its “international funds” portfolio … and is then violating its own usage guidelines by investing back in NZ companies. I posit that this is a vanishingly small number of people, which for all practical purposes approaches zero.

          In which case you will be able to quickly and clearly demonstrate the KB effect then.

          Sure – how about looking at Porter’s five forces analysis as it applies to the banking sector, which seems immediately relevant to Kiwibank in the theoretical sense. In the more practical sense, David Tripe from Massey University conducted a review of competition and contestability in the NZ banking sector which seems immediately relevant.

          Of course, you could have found this or a whole bunch of other equally relevant studies through some judicious Googling, but I guess that would be asking a bit much. Fundamentally, it’s not the fact that you’re putting up half-baked ideas and outdated right-wing ideology that’s irritating me … it’s that you’re lazy.

          • clandestino 2.2.1.1.1

            Nice clarke, you just comprehensively exposed most righties for what they are: ignorant and living in a dreamland where the only rule is effort=reward. The actual workings of the market elude most of them completely. For example in this bank oligopoly where “if there was a market for a new bank then it would attract investment”…um no, the barriers to entry are far too high, the government is the only actor capable of the required investment. Same with rail, air, most public transport, energy. Look at the US and it’s failing infrastructure for examples of how private corporations really asset strip utilities.

            • insider 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Yay! High Five guys! YOu must have missed htat he referred to papers that either didn’t look at KB or were just theoritcal. Where is the evidence of the KB effect?

              “For example in this bank oligopoly where “if there was a market for a new bank then it would attract investment’ um no, the barriers to entry are far too high, ”

              utter tripe (no pun). Do you know how many providers of financial services there are in NZ?

              • Clarke

                Do you know how many providers of financial services there are in NZ?

                See, that’s what I’m talking about. It’s an idiotic question from someone too lazy to do the basic research necessary to support their argument … although I’m stretching the definition of “argument” here, given that your unsubstantiated outbursts clearly lack the intellectual rigor to qualify.

                If you’ve got an actual point to make – although it isn’t evident so far – I suggest you take the effort to do the research, find some substantiation, and post the links. After all, we have a specific word that describes your particular brand of content-free counter-factual mouth-breathing opinion – it’s called trolling.

          • insider 2.2.1.1.2

            We were discussing the list of privatisations in the post and the number of mum and dad investors in general. Suddenly you are just interested in Telecom alone. Sorry if I didn’t follow your twists and turns.

            The point still stands that the many ways mum and dads can have an interest in a company have been ignored in the original post. You’ve focussed on Telecom not me.

            And I may well be lazy but at least I had the energy to read beyond the titles in your link and notice the smith tripe paper covers a period from 1996 to 1999 and was written in 2001. Tell me when did KB come into existence again and how is the paper ‘immediately relevant’?

            I qutie understand the theory but even the NZRB said that since KB came into existence the market has performed differently from theory would predict. http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/research/bulletin/2002_2006/2003jun66_2rodgers.pdf

            So maybe you need to get more exercise

            • Clarke 2.2.1.1.2.1

              We were discussing the list of privatisations in the post and the number of mum and dad investors in general. Suddenly you are just interested in Telecom alone. Sorry if I didn’t follow your twists and turns.

              My mistake – I’ll use simpler words and less logic next time if you promise to make the effort to keep up with the big kids.

              And I may well be lazy

              My point exactly …. although based on the evidence in this thread, I wouldn’t have used the qualifiers “may well be”.

              I qutie understand the theory …

              Actually I don’t think you do in the slightest. Remember, you were the one who said that you doubted the effect Kiwibank was having on competition in the interest rate market (albeit you didn’t use the big words), yet you’ve not provided a single piece of independent substantiation for your view. What we know is that mainstream economic theory predicts that a new entrant into a market will increase competition and that prices will fall as a result. I’ve provided links to the mechanisms that underly the theory, and an example of how these mechanisms are evidenced in the NZ banking market.

              In response, the best you can come up with is a 2002 RBNZ discussion paper that primarily addresses the stability and health of the NZ banking system, with only an oblique reference to Kiwibank.

              If you can provide a cogent explanation of why competition works to drive down prices in other free markets around the world – including in the banking sector – yet for some magical reason it doesn’t work in the NZ market, then I’m all ears. However actual facts and independent substantiation will be required.

  3. randal 3

    the Labour party must keep asking the gnats why they are selling kiwibank in parliament and and any and all other forums.
    The questioning must be persistent and not allowed to fall away as some other illusory topic surfaces.
    Just one question will do for them if it is asked often enough.

  4. deemac 4

    in the UK the sell-off of utilities has led to Eau de France (EDF) owning many British utilities. They use the UK profits to subsidise much cheaper power etc bills in France! There may be some alternate reality where this makes sense, but not here.

    • insider 4.1

      Electricite de France I think you mean. AFAIK power prices have long been subsidised in France.

  5. BLiP 5

    Privatisation has failed. There can be no doubt that any promised savings in either cash or efficiency or equity were chimeras put up by the overseas big business beneficiaries of the programs (of which Labour is as much to blame as National Ltd). Most of the cats are out of the bag now but lets look at an alternative for the banking industry – lets give the foreign-owned banks five years to close shop and fuck off.

    • just saying 5.1

      Now that’s a policy I’d march in the streets for.

      If New Zealand is suffering because New Zealanders mostly spend their savings (should they be lucky enough to have any), on real estate, how much are these bank taking out of our economy? Someone was saying that about 70 percent of an average mortgage is interest. Seventy percent of most NZanders’ investment capital staying in NZ would make a huge difference to the economy.

  6. Tigger 6

    If I was National I would ‘let slip’ I was thinking about selling off Kiwibank. I’d concentrate all the public’s ire on that. I’d allow them to expend copious amounts of energy in stopping the sale. Then I wouldn’t sell it. But I would sell off a load of other assets which weren’t as passionately defended and which I had been working on selling off while everyone was worrying about Kiwibank.

    These posts on privatisation are great.

  7. Nick C 7

    Who said this in 2006:

    “Something that we could do and something that I’m quite keen on is that as the SOEs develop the new businesses, especially those that are done in partnership with people in the private sector, we could well have floats of the subsidiaries so that they could be listed on the Stock Exchange, that could help give a bit of depth to our capital markets and get some transparency around those companies, and I think that would help.”

    • Clarke 7.1

      It’s a Trevor Mallard quote. You’ll note that he’s in opposition now – a fate likely to befall any other politician with a similarly stupid agenda.

      • Nick C 7.1.1

        I dont think there is much correlation between that stance and Labours defeat in 2008.

        What it does say is that any reasonable person should support this move. Labour are only opposing it in opposition for populist reasons (which is also the only reason National didnt run it as policy in 2008)

        • felix 7.1.1.1

          When you say “for populist reasons” do you mean “most people don’t want them to do it”?

          If so, who is “any reasonable person”?

          • Nick C 7.1.1.1.1

            Its true that the New Zealand public generally has an aversion to anything which can be labeled ‘privitisation’ (which is why authors on this site use the label so much). That doesnt mean its a bad thing. I’d say that relativly centrist politicians constitute reasonable people. In this case Mallard supported partial floating of assets when he was a minister and had actual responsibilities. But now hes in opposition he will say whatever the polls respond to.

            I think its fair to say that just because the majority of the public oppose something doesnt mean it cant be a good idea in some cases. I.e. Id say if you did a poll the majority of the public would still support legal smacking. I bet you wouldnt like that.

            I think the problem is that there has never been a substantial debate on privitisation. The forth labour government did it without consulting the electorate which has had ongoing affects. Hopefully the 2011 election campaign will be an oppourtunity for that debate.

            • BLiP 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I think the my problem is that there has never been a substantial the right have never won a single debate on privitisation.

              FIFY

              • Anita

                Are you sure? It seems to me that the right has, in fact, won the debate on almost every past privatisation in NZ. Looking at the list in the original post, I would argue they have totally won the debate on the Tourist Hotel Corp, NZ Steel, State Insurance, and Government Computing Services to name only a few.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Looking at the list in the original post, I would argue they have totally won the debate on the Tourist Hotel Corp, NZ Steel, State Insurance, and Government Computing Services to name only a few.

                Not really. All that those prove is that those SOEs did need to be restructured but it doesn’t prove that selling them off was. Keeping them in public ownership with the profits going directly back to the public would have been better for the country as a whole rather than having that capital going overseas and benefiting a few people.

                • Anita

                  Hm… we might be talking past each other.

                  I think they won the debate because if I asked a good cross section of NZ “Should the government own State Insurance?” or “… a bunch of hotels for tourists” or “… a big computer services company?” I reckon I’d get a huge majority of people saying “No, what on earth would we want them to do that for?!”

                  I’m not saying what I think was the best outcome, I’m saying I think the pro-privatisation lobby won the debate.

                  • BLiP

                    I’m not saying what I think was the best outcome, I’m saying I think the pro-privatisation lobby won the debate election.

                    Buy, yeah, you’re right in the literal sense. What we need is a proper debate with evidence, history and everything.

                    EDIT: Ooops – as the ubiquitous Dr Felix points out below.

            • felix 7.1.1.1.1.2

              Nick I agree, a proper open public debate on these issues is required.

              In contrast to the time of the 4th Labour govt we now have 20 years of solid evidence on which to base arguments one way or the other so there can be no hiding behind religious belief on the matter.

              Out of curiosity, what do you mean “anything that can be labelled as privatisation”?

              Do you mean “privatisation”?

              • Nick C

                @Felix: I mean things like opening up the workers account of ACC to competition. That in no way involves selling any state owned assets or even giving up government control of anything. It simply changes the law to allow a new form of contract to occur between a firm who require insurance and an insurance company.

                I think overwellmingly the evidence shows that the situation works the best when share floats in SOEs occur. Most people agree that Air NZ has been a success story in that regard.

                Compare that to when these organisations were government departments and half the country was employed to sit on their hands all day, supposedly ‘working’ for them.

                • lprent

                  Most people agree that Air NZ has been a success story in that regard.

                  It doesn’t have a natural monopoly.

                  • insider

                    Tell that to the people on regional air links. They are regulalrly complaining about fare levels.

                    • lprent

                      I’ll rephrase that..

                      It doesn’t have a natural monopoly on most routes. But where it does, it does what every monopoly does – it charges like a wounded bull and engages in anti-competitive practices to discourage competition.

                • Bright Red

                  Air NZ had to be bailed out after an unsuccessful privatisation. The govt owns most of it now, but not because it was a partial float but because we bought it back.

                  As for the myth that public assets were full of people not doing any work, you’ve just got to look at what happened to GDP and wages after the neoliberal revolution. It was a disaster.

                • RedLogix

                  The classic question arising from this debate, posed as I recall by Arnold Nordmeyer to some students was…”should the State own corner dairies?” In other words, how should we determine whether an enterprise should be public or private. I’ve long proposed that the answer is clear if you ask the right questions.

                  The first and biggest one is, “What happens if it fails?”. (Failure could either be operational or commercial.) If the answer is…the taxpayer/public have to bail it out…then it should be owned by the public.

                  If it sort of passes that question, the next one is, “Does this business make money at the expense of other people’s misery?”. If so then you have to be very cautious about a profit motive that creates incentives to increase this misery in one way or another. This tends to capture prisons and the likes of health insurance.

                  And finally you might ask, “Does this enterprise speak to something important to people in a way that really cannot and should not be measured in terms of profit or loss?”. This captures things like biodiversity conservation, or cultural expressions such as the arts, theatre or orchestras.

                  • Quoth the Raven

                    The first and biggest one is, “What happens if it fails?’. (Failure could either be operational or commercial.) If the answer is the taxpayer/public have to bail it out then it should be owned by the public.

                    The state should let them fail. There ought to be no bail outs. Just because some corporatist state has decided to bail out a business doesn’t mean that it ought to have been done.

                    If it sort of passes that question, the next one is, “Does this business make money at the expense of other people’s misery?’. If so then you have to be very cautious about a profit motive that creates incentives to increase this misery in one way or another. This tends to capture prisons and the likes of health insurance.

                    Here you are conflating private with for profit. There is nothing about private ownership that entails it is for profit. In the case of private prisons you need look no further than the state. Harsher sentences and new laws are enacted by the state not by some nominally private enterprise acting for the state (in fact Labour and National have been doing quite well on that front without private prisons). If you are arguing that state is open to the kind of perverse lobbying that has operated in the US than what you are saying is the state is open to the same kind of incentives that private entities are. Which is absolutely true. That’s applying public choice theory to the state and I would encourage you to dig down that rabbit hole.

                    And finally you might ask, “Does this enterprise speak to something important to people in a way that really cannot and should not be measured in terms of profit or loss?’. This captures things like biodiversity conservation, or cultural expressions such as the arts, theatre or orchestras.

                    The state doesn’t own the arts it funds them nor does the state own biodiveristy. The work of people like nobel prize winner Elinor Ostrom has shown that common ownership of natural resources can be well managed and that government regulation or ownership is not needed to manage the commons. Here’s another example Commons forests outperforming state-controlled forests:

                    In the first study of its kind, Chhatre and Arun Agrawal of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor compared forest ownership with data on carbon sequestration, which is estimated from the size and number of trees in a forest. Hectare-for-hectare, they found that tropical forest under local management stored more carbon than government-owned forests. There are exceptions, says Chhatre, “but our findings show that we can increase carbon sequestration simply by transferring ownership of forests from governments to communities”.

                    One reason may be that locals protect forests best if they own them, because they have a long-term interest in ensuring the forests’ survival. While governments, whatever their intentions, usually license destructive logging, or preside over a free-for-all in which everyone grabs what they can because nobody believes the forest will last.

                    The authors suggest that locals would also make a better job of managing common pastures, coastal fisheries and water supplies. They argue that their findings contradict a long-standing environmental idea, called the “tragedy of the commons”, which says that natural resources left to communal control get trashed. In fact, says Agrawal, “communities are perfectly capable of managing their resources sustainably”.

                    I’ve long proposed that the answer is clear if you ask the right questions.

                    See I don’t believe the answer is clear. Things are never as simple as statists may want us to believe.

                    • RedLogix

                      See I don’t believe the answer is clear.

                      Of course you don’t. I would expect for one instant that you would find anything clear because you are living in a paradigm bearing little relationship to the one the rest of us occupy. It’s rather like a Western trained homeopath trying to discuss health with a Chinese health practioner whose thinking is rooted in the 5 Element model of medicine.

                      Only with a lot of patience and goodwill are they likely to make sense of what each other is saying.

                      The state should let them fail. There ought to be no bail outs.

                      So if your local water supplier goes bankrupt, it should be shut down? What you think “ought to be” and political reality is likely quite different. Everyone is bitter about how the big banks were bailed out last year, but the actual consequences of not doing so were unsupportable.

                      Here you are conflating private with for profit. There is nothing about private ownership that entails it is for profit.

                      The problem with private monopolies is not that they are monopolies, but that they lack public accountability. As much as the trend towards harsher penalities is deplorable and counterproductive, it was the voters who have put their hands up for it.

                      Try, as an individual, holding a private corporation, answerable only in law to it’s shareholders…to account for it’s ethical standards. Only the state has the power to do that.

                      by transferring ownership of forests from governments to communities’.

                      That’s merely an argument for localisation, not privatisation for corporate profit.

                    • Quoth the Raven

                      The problem here is much like your medicine example. You wish to look at the current state-corporate system that we have and from it denounce private enterprise and the operations of the market.

                      So if your local water supplier goes bankrupt, it should be shut down? What you think “ought to be’ and political reality is likely quite different. Everyone is bitter about how the big banks were bailed out last year, but the actual consequences of not doing so were unsupportable.

                      I don’t have a local water supplier I have a well. However let’s run with your example, if a private business did happen to supply water to a community and it went bankrupt does this mean the water supply shuts down as you assert? No. It’s as Nick C said the business goes into receivership and someone else takes over. My personal preference would be for the community to run their own water supply, but that’s just me.

                      That’s merely an argument for localisation, not privatisation for corporate profit.

                      Here you are with your conflations. If public property is returned to the commons that is precisely privatization. Privatization can take any number of forms your insistence on just one is only to stultify the discussion on privatization. Privatisation could mean a return to commons, worker ownership or a consumer cooperative.

                      The problem with private monopolies is not that they are monopolies, but that they lack public accountability. As much as the trend towards harsher penalities is deplorable and counterproductive, it was the voters who have put their hands up for it.

                      Try, as an individual, holding a private corporation, answerable only in law to it’s shareholders to account for it’s ethical standards. Only the state has the power to do that.

                      People can hold private organisations to ethical standards Any cursory glance at history would show this. What about holding the state to ethical standards? How about non-aggression for starters.

                    • Puddleglum

                      Hi QTR,

                      You seem to have a different understanding of the notion of ‘private’ from me. Yours may well be the textbook version (I don’t know), but I don’t see it that way. For me, ‘private’ is not a synonym for ‘non-state owned/controlled’ as it seems to be for you. I use the social science definition of ‘privatisation’ (e.g., of religion) which concerns the reduction and devolving of social phenomena and processes to the individual (e.g., the reformation ‘privatised’ religion because each individual was said to have a personal relationship with God which, ultimately, only they could judge the value of).

                      For me, privatised ownership is to be contrasted with communal ownership. Here’s an example: Companies have shares. Whichever individual ‘owns’ the shares can trade them (usually). They can sell them, buy them, etc. and whatever they have is their own ‘private (i.e., individual) property’ – no matter how many individuals own shares. And, each individual can sell shares and reap their benefit at any time without consulting anyone else.

                      By contrast, communal or collective ownership is just that: The collective ‘owns’ the enterprise. If an individual leaves the collective they cannot sell their ‘share’ in it – they simply forgo their ability to be supported by the collectively owned assets. (In much the same way, an individual could leave a hunter-gatherer community but would not take with them some notional ‘share’ of the community’s assets.)

                      Here’s another example: Modern ‘vote-based’ democracies (i.e., one person, one vote within the nation state or some other, usually geographic-based, institution for ensuring some individuals will dominate others) are ‘privatised’ versions of collective decision making. Like Thatcher, they assume that a collective decision is nothing but the sum total of individual decisions. By contrast, thoroughly collective decision making tends to involve extensive and protracted discussion and, eventually, some resolving onto one particular course of action for the group. It is the norm in ‘traditional’, ‘indigenous’, ‘tribal’ or ‘hunter-gatherer’ societies.

                      Our privatised approach to decision making (what we call modern, liberal, representative democracies) leads to the kind of competitive and rather aggressive atmosphere so typical of the ‘political’ sphere. In effect, modern democracies have embraced Classical Liberal individualism and have, therefore, eliminated even the possibility, for most people, of understanding what actual collective decision making involves (decisions by the collective, for the collective, of the collective).

                      Some people even assume – laughably – that if the notion of the sovereign individual were to disappear somehow it could only be replaced by tyrrany of the collective. Tyrannies and dictatorships are products of individualism, not collectivism (e.g., Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, most US Presidents, the Ancient Greek city states – that gave us the term ‘tyrant’, – etc.).

                      That assumption demonstrates a lack of both imagination and knowledge of how most communal societies (i.e., most human societies) have operated through evolutionary history.

                  • Nick C

                    Thank you for a relativly considered contribution redlogix. By the way most of the left wing authors and commentators write on this blog you would think they do support the government owning corner dairies.

                    Electricity companies dont seem to fit either of those three

                    Do you support the privitisation of electricity companies currently owned by the state?

                    • Clarke

                      Electricity companies dont seem to fit either of those three

                      That’s arguing to the point of perversity. The question of what happens when a major electricity company fails is obvious – the power goes off. And more Folole Muliaga’s die. And then the government steps in to get the lights back on because having its citizens die and the economy grind to a halt due to mismanagement in the private sector is simply unacceptable.

        • Clarke 7.1.1.2

          What it does say is that any reasonable person should support this move.

          What, a couple of politicians say similar (but not identical) things a few years apart, and suddenly “any reasonable person” should support this nonsense? Is that the best you’ve got?

          If you’re not going to use actual rational argument, perhaps laced with some actual facts, then you might as well appeal to the Invisible Sky Fairy for support – “What it does say is that any reasonable person should support this move because that’s what the voices in my head told me.”

          Try harder.

          • BLiP 7.1.1.2.1

            What it does say is that any reasonable person should support this move.

            Them damned true Scotsmen at it again.

          • Nick C 7.1.1.2.2

            Simply not true. If an electricity company fails financially it would never mean that power is suddenly cut. The company would go into recievership. There would be no dire consequences

            As for it failing in terms of providing power, surely you know that the company which cut her power, mercury energy, was an SOE! Furthermore there are plenty of companies where, if they suddenly decided no longer to provide services people would suffer. I think fontera is one, as if fontera suddenly shut down we wouldnt have milk or dairy products for a while. Nationalise fontera?

            • RedLogix 7.1.1.2.2.1

              surely you know that the company which cut her power, mercury energy, was an SOE!

              And it got a public roasting for it. Ultimately as an SOE it was compelled to alter it’s policies and procedures to ensure such that kind of tragedy was much less likely to occur.

              You asked if I thought electricity companies should be public or private. My answer comes in two parts.

              As an technical type of person I perceive the electricity system as a single engineering entity. There are many more opportunities to optimise the efficiency of the system if it is operated as a single entity than split up into pointlessly competing segments as it is now.

              And secondly, the technical argument that a competive market yields a large total welfare than a monopoly provider breaks down for industries such as this one where there are very high fixed costs and relatively low marginal ones. A detailed paper is here.

    • felix 7.2

      Mallard.

      In this article Gordon Campbell references the quote and also the follow up from Espiner 2 years later, along with exploring many of the issues surrounding privatisation.

      If you’re interested.

    • Bright Red 7.3

      Well, I guess if Mallard said something 4 years ago about subsidaries of SOEs then we may as well sell the lot of them and anyone who opposes is a hypocrite.

      dork.

      • lprent 7.3.1

        …Mallard said something 4 years ago…

        Precisely. Trevor doesn’t speak for me in the same way that I don’t speak for him.

        The problem is that every privatisation that has gone through in NZ has essentially done it by stealth. It wasn’t fore-shadowed by specifics in an election campaign. The pros and cons were never debated. It was done using the closed door, no consultation with the wider community techniques pioneered by Rodger Douglas and continued now by Act (look at the super-shitty for an example of the technique), and National (look at the ACC in the late 90’s).

        Labour damn-well learnt their lesson. National seems to be getting the point slowly. Act are just idiot conservatives who will keep repeating the same old mistakes.

        Parliament isn’t fully pre-eminent – the political reaction can turf as well as support. Before you privatise, there has to be a widespread acceptance not only amongst your own supporters but also amongst those opposing you – otherwise you will be voted out and tossed in the wilderness for a decade.

        The problem is that there have been quite a few workable privatisations where the operators weren’t natural monopolies (Government Print for instance). However in every case where there has been a natural monopoly, the consumers (and voters) have been royally fleeced for decades. That is the reason why those organisations were created as state enterprises in the first place.

  8. Andrew 8

    That list is very misleading Marty. Hand picking figures to make sensationalist headlines once again.

    Most ‘mum and dad’ investors don’t invest in the share market on their own, they lack the understanding and the confidence to do so. Rather, most invest through managed/pension funds that are managed on their behalf by companies and banks such as the many nominee accounts that Clark so helpfully produced above. If you could provide figures on what percentage of the share ownership of said companies was in nominee accounts and then those accounts broken down into packets of shares under 10k, then i think you would get your answer of how much of these shares are owned by ‘mum and dad’ investors.

    would be a crap load more than what you claim I’d be guessing.

    • Bright Red 8.1

      So, your argument is some ‘mums and dads’ might own parts of some of these privatised SOEs via managed funds. Whereas all Kiwis own the remaining SOEs via the goverment.

      Your way is better, how?

      • Andrew 8.1.1

        That wasn’t my argument at all. My argument, once again, is about Marty’s use of misleading figures. He is stating that hardly any mum and dad investors own shares in our companies, and i’m saying that i would be willing to bet that there is a vastly higher amount of small kiwi investors that own shares in those companies.

        But to address your comment, i don’t think it’s a bad thing at all if majority ownership is held by the government with legislation enforced so that majority ownership must be kept by the crown. We have a savings and investment problem in this country that favours housing over everything else. We need to make the share market more attractive for NZ’ers to invest in. Solid returns in other investments would make housing less attractive and maybe make it more affordable for the average kiwi to own a house.

        unfortunately tho, i think the horse has well and truly bolted on that one.

        • lprent 8.1.1.1

          …i think the horse has well and truly bolted on that one.

          I’d tend to agree. The local stock market is far too incestuous, the available advice seems to be driven more by broker commissions than realism, and it is generally perceived to be a pretty unreliable place to invest money. It is slowly getting better, but the reputation acquired in the 80’s will take a generation or two to get rid of.

          It isn’t that we need more stocks to invest in – that isn’t the root of the problem. The local stock market still has a horrendously bad reputation especially amongst the older groups of investors. Many older people with money to invest will just about look at any other alternative first – which of course is why so many got burned in the finance firms.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2

          But having the ability for people to invest in what they already own won’t actually increase the rate of investment in non-productive assets. In fact, I’d say it would decrease it.

          What would happen is that the government would decrease the peoples investment by X which shortfall would then have to be made up from the sale of shares. As the business is government backed it would be seen as “safe” resulting in a shift of investment from the private, but risky, investments. With limited shares and lots of people willing to buy share price would go up so the amount of capital shifted in that direction would be greater than amount reduced by the government. Now, this appears to be good but the value of the shares hasn’t actually changed – they’re still only worth X. All we’ve seen is speculation and the price of those shares must fall again and will likely drop to less than initial offering value.

          So, we have flight of capital from some of the market into speculative bidding in “safe” government backed stocks followed by the normal crash which may actually result in the collapse of the SOE which will, of course, result in another government bailout. You want solid returns in other investments then you need to find a way to make those other investments solid rather than putting even more of the taxpayers wealth on the line.

    • Anita 8.2

      Andrew,

      Can you please explain to me what you mean by “mum and dad investors”, I don’t think it literally means investors who are parents, and I suspect there is a whole bunch of implicit judgments bundled into the concept

      • ianmac 8.2.1

        Too right Anita. The term Mum and Dads suggests sitting around the kitchen table and figuring out if they have enough change left after buying fish and chips to buy a few shares.
        It would more likely be those discussing shares as they drive their BMW down to the docks where their 12 metre yacht has been rolled out and provisioned for another 4 day weekend supping champagne.

        • Andrew 8.2.1.1

          hey, i didnt make the term up … look at how many mum and dad’s as you speak of lost money when the finance companies collapsed. most of those were the kitchen table sitting types and not the BMW types that you refer to. These are the types of people i am referring to, those that are trying to invest for their retirement.

      • Andrew 8.2.2

        Hi Anita, i’m using the term ‘mum and dad’ investors because that has been the term batted about in reference to people that may have a chance to invest in KiwiBank.

        The term is rather loose as it could literally mean anybody. But to me, I take it to mean any small time investor that is investing in the share market or part thereof as a savings scheme. What it doesn’t mean is large institutional investors or professional hedge fund traders. Although a lot of these ‘evil types’ are actually investing on behalf of other people who i just mentioned earlier.

        It definitely does not mean the evil US based mega-corp that is buying up all the competition :)

        • Pascal's bookie 8.2.2.1

          Surely unit trusts and the like count as ‘large institutional investors’?

          When xyz fund management co. grabs a big old chunk of abc.corp, it’s the large institution xyz that votes at the agm, or does xyz get in touch with all the investors in it’s funds and find out how to cast the votes?

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 8.3

      Funny, Bill never mentioned that when promoting selling off parts of Kiwibank. So we let Pension Funds, Hedge Funds and Managed funds buy into Kiwibank and set their directors up as Kiwibank directors? That might be good since it will help the mums and dads (whoever they are).

      • Andrew 8.3.1

        I don’t think nominee accounts of managed funds have voting rights and hence would not be able to set their directors up as Kiwibank directors. I would like to be corrected if i am wrong tho.

    • Clarke 8.4

      I guess the names of the nominee companies – a whole bunch of which include the word “Australia” in them, and which are directed to Australian addresses – didn’t trigger the thought that even if they were pension funds, they weren’t funds that benefited New Zealanders?

      • Andrew 8.4.1

        True, but lots of kiwis live and work in Aussie. There are also likely to be people that invest in a managed fund that is managed by an Australian entity.

        Anyway it’s a bit of a red herring as it’s demand and performance that drives the shares value, if we have money coming to the country from Aussie to buy shares then so what? Eventually they will be sold and some one else can buy them.

        You can’t shut off investment to the rest of the world just because they are not based in NZ. We are way to small to have an effective investment market if only kiwi’s were allowed buy shares in kiwi companies.

        • felix 8.4.1.1

          “True, but lots of kiwis live and work in Aussie. “

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

          Brilliant, Andrew. We don’t have to worry whether a policy benefits Kiwis in NZ cos there’s plenty of Kiwis all over the world!

          Any policy detrimental to NZ can be characterised as advantageous to overseas Kiwis!!

          That’s just so teh awesome. I want to marry you.

          • Andrew 8.4.1.1.1

            your such a cock felix

            i was using that as an alternative as to why there were Australian nominee accounts in the list as one of the possible reasons. Yes there are loads of kiwis in aussie, the same as there are loads of kiwis in england and all over the world. and actually a shit load of aussies move here every year as well. doesnt mean they have to stop investing in the sharemarket. argue my points rather than pick one line out of 50 that provides you with some comic relief you pedantic prick.

            • felix 8.4.1.1.1.1

              You’re too kind.

              p.s say something worth arguing and I’ll see if I can stop laughing at you for long enough to reply.

              • Andrew

                ditto

                • felix

                  Except that you’re not laughing and I am.

                  I’m just going to paste Clarke’s question here so you can remember where you were before you got all angry:

                  I guess the names of the nominee companies a whole bunch of which include the word “Australia’ in them, and which are directed to Australian addresses didn’t trigger the thought that even if they were pension funds, they weren’t funds that benefited New Zealanders?

                  There you go, now try again.

                  Be serious this time.

                  • Andrew

                    Every time i see you comment with some quick witted reply thinking your all that i laugh my ass off at how someone can take themselves so seriously. & I’m not angry, but your still a prick.

                    There is no issue about Australian nominee accounts owning shares in NZ companies, and there is nothing to say that some of which are not benefiting New Zealanders. NZ’ers can invest in Australian managed funds if they like. Australians can invest in NZ managed funds if they like. I’m not saying that that’s what happens as a general rule, but they can.

                    Still way off my original topic that was having a go at Marty’s statement:

                    “Uh, huh. So, not a lot of ‘mum and dad’ ownership, huh? Not even among the ones for which there were public offerings.”

                    I was saying that it was impossible to tell as most investors don’t hold the share certificate, they are bought through a managed fund so wont fall into the 1 – 10k shares figure Marty was using.

        • Clarke 8.4.1.2

          True, but lots of kiwis live and work in Aussie.

          That’s such a monumentally stupid comment that I won’t even bother with a reply. Only, what Felix said.

          If we have money coming to the country from Aussie to buy shares then so what?

          It never fails to amaze me how little you people seem to know about how the economy actually works. For the record, the issue is that while money for shares will flow into New Zealand, the money paid in dividends will flow out of New Zealand, which becomes a deadweight drag on other economic activity. And just as an added benefit, the influx of cash required for the share purchases will cause Australians to buy NZ dollars, which will drive the currency higher, which will put pressure on the export sector. But I guess you’d already thought of that, right?

          • Andrew 8.4.1.2.1

            sorry, i’m not an economist so couldn’t even begin to argue. Though i’m sure currency fluctuations are a little more complicated than share market trades.

  9. Irascible 9

    “Mum & Dad investors” are a mythical class of people who existed only in the journalists’ minds to describe those who were hurt through failed businesses during the depression… it is short hand for those whose funds were invested for them by those who ultimately leapt from tall buildings when the US stock market collapsed.
    It was Mum & Dad who ended up on the dole queues being blamed for that state of the economy because they weren’t working by those hold still held the cheque books with money held outside of the wreckage created by the speculator class.

  10. SPC 10

    They can improve the financial lot of the SOE’s by allowing them to issue new capital this applies in the case of KiwIbank in particular. That might increase the value of the government held original share but there would have to be cost-benefit on a case by case basis to see whether the return to government in terms of regular income or asset value would actually increase. And the comparison would be to increasing sovereign debt to do the same at a better return to government.

    They can gurantee the local ownership of any issued shares by making them shares only Kiwis can own and requiring a fixed period (like PIE) before they can be sold to other Kiwis.

    We are capital starved now in terms of funding our economy foreign loans for our mortgages, lack of access to finance for business (limiting funding business to the level of home values keeps our companies small), inadequate base R and D and lack of an efficient R and D tax credit system, lack of venture capital etc so its mistaken to sell public assets in this context.

    It’s also unwise to reduce the value of your assets while increasing borrowing it only adds to the cost of debt and makes further borrowing more difficult placing the government in on-going budget finance difficulties whenever there was an economic downturn.

    So all in all, the best option is to assess the relative merit of further sovereign debt vs issuing shares – but to restrain the extent of the later while local savings are low. Compulsory KiwiSaver at the 2% level would help.

  11. Roger 11

    Whether “mum & dad” investors are given exclusive access and can hold shares newly offered by SOE’s is not entirely relevant. The shares offered have to provide a real possibility that the shares can appreciate in value and offer dividends that exceed the returns of just putting the money into a savings account or other safer investment than shares.
    Even “mum & dad” investors therefore represent a stakeholder in private business that challenges the ability of a public entity to promote optimal social outcomes. “Mum & dad” investors will still prevent Kiwibank from continuing to effectively keep the Australian banks honest. With infrastructure services the outcomes can be considerably more damaging.

    • SPC 11.1

      Generally shares appreciate in value – do more than provide security against inflation, this as part of economic growth. As interest returns are taxed – despite some of the taxable income being only inflation proofing of the saving, shares will out-perform savings over the long term.

      So if the SOE is able to continue to be profitable it will out-perform savings deposits.

      But yes, shareholders have an interest to declare and it won’t be keeping the Oz banks honest or encouraging energy efficiency with incentives to insulate the home or use more efficient heating (they will ask for goivernment subsidy instead as Toll did).

  12. Lazy Susan 12

    The Big 5 banks loathe Kiwibank. Does anyone remember all the bluster prior to it’s establishment: “It would be a drain on the government coffers”, “Too risky for the government to be involved in banking” etc. etc. With all the fear that was spun it was sure to be a succes and has been.

    Now Kiwibank apparently needs a tiny amount of capital. Immediateley a partial float is suggested. What a dumb arse proposition – as Marty G has suggested the cheapest way of getting this capital is through the government, at sovereign rates. That way Kiwi gets cheap capital without relinquishing any control.

    Please do not swallow this crap about “Mum & Dad” investors. I believe the long game here is for NActs buddies in the Aussie banks to get control and remove this troublesome little competitor. This is not about expanding the bank it’s about removing it.

    By the way does anyone know how National voted when bills were passed to set-up of Kiwibank.? Would be interested to know

    • Lew 12.1

      Don’t forget “nationalistic jingoistic xenophobic propaganda advertising campaign”.

      L

  13. For actual facts about privatisation look here.

    • BLiP 13.1

      . . . or here – “failed monetarist economic theory 101″

      • Paul Walker 13.1.1

        Actually monetarism has nothing to do with privatisation. For a start it is about macroeconomcs not micro.

        • BLiP 13.1.1.1

          Its the cauldron in which the monetarist economists mix their potions imbibed full moon nights when they feverishly chant praise to the mighty Market Mammon. A practise first begun at the Chicago School Of Witchcraft and faithfully carried out today by their bewildered minions.

          • Paul Walker 13.1.1.1.1

            Like I said: Actually monetarism has nothing to do with privatisation. Also there are few true monetarists around today.

  14. James 14

    When people bag the market they are actually just bagging people,including themselves, choosing values with coercion absent…..sadly something we currently DON”T have.

    When they bag privitisation they are really bagging the return of something to the people.The private sector is us, the people,including all the leftys.The public sector is not the people…its the state.

    • Carol 14.1

      Huh? James, that pivate sector only includes the ‘us’ who have enough disposable income to have a pretty free choice of how they spend it, and to be part of an interest group that has the wealth to make an impact on the stats for spending choices. The less well off have the “coercive” effect on their choices of not enough money. And issues that fall outside the realm of economic activity will be pushed into the background. In contrast a state run on egalitarian, social justice principles will aim to enable the WHOLE population to be able to participate in the society, to have their voices heard, and needs taken into consideration.

      eg, if the schools and public libraries, health system etc are privatised, many people will have little access to a good education, knowledge, computers, socil and economic participation via the internet, and good health care etc etc. Their choice of jobs will continue to dwindle, leaving an increasingly elite bunch of consumers able to “vote” with their dollars for consmer goods and services, and the rest left to fend for themselves, their voices going unheard – except maybe in the crime, homelessness and health statistcs.

      Meanwhile some social issues of importance will take a back seat because they are not part of the consumer market place. And minorities will being increasingly marginalised (the disabled, anyone outside the heteroromative sex-gender system) because they don’t have a critical mass to make an impact on consumer choices…. oh, and yes, as women on average have less money than men, any issues of specific importance to women (abortion, rape, sexual consent-issues, child custody etc etc) will be trumped by the male-owned dollar.

      anti-spam word – hes

  15. Of course one privatisation option is to give the shares to all citizens (all ages, so children get them too), yet many on the left oppose that too. It means genuine public ownership, but I suspect the concern is that the vast majority of the public would rather sell such shares and use the proceeds to pay down mortgage, buy a new car, go on holiday or make their own investments, rather than hang onto the “assets” the left would prefer politicians are entrusted with using the proceeds from.

    The real truth is that privatisation can done well or done badly, depending on your values. State ownership similarly so. State ownership of NZ Post hasn’t seriously harmed its performance, largely because it has been hands off – although NZ Post easily has lacked capital to expand. State ownership of NZ Railways was long a disaster, as it was regularly bailed out by taxpayers and at variously times either grossly overinvested in some assets and neglected others (classic example is track was overmaintained for years to its original standard, but not enough was done to increase axle loadings on major routes, or lower tunnels, or increase speeds to compete with road transport because it had a monopoly till 1983. Similarly, the ferries became a cash cow that milked users of it like any private sector monopoly and cross subsidised many other operations). Privatised Workscorp has never looked back, and is now operating as Opus in multiple markets in the Asia/Pacific, privatised Air NZ lost out because the Australian government reneged on its word to allow it to enter the Aussie domestic market on its terms, so it took the only option offered – buy Ansett. It desperately needed new capital, the last Labour government denied the board’s proposal for Singapore Airlines to buy 49% of the airline because it wanted it to consider Qantas’s offer (deliberately put forward because Qantas knew Air NZ/Ansett was desperate and Qantas was terrified of the competition from a Singapore Airlines backed Air NZ/Ansett). Renationalised Air NZ has done well, although it is a shadow of its former self having barely the shell of a long haul network, and even then almost entirely on routes it monopolises or dominates (Auckland-London being the exception, and the most volatile route of them all).

    So there are examples all over the place. DFC was sold in the nick of time, since it went bankrupt shortly afterwards, meaning the government did better than had it held onto it. Contact probably went a little cheap because it was assumed the other electricity SOEs would have been sold shortly thereafter.

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    John Kerry’s rhetoric on Isis insults our intelligence and conceals the reality of the situation in Syria...
    No Right Turn | 22-09
  • MMP, electorates, and misaligned incentives
    Amongst the post-election entrail reading, I've seen a couple of people suggest that one of the reasons labour lost was due to a lack of tactical voting by Greens. If only Green supporters had held their nose and voted tactically...
    No Right Turn | 22-09
  • On a wave of mutilation : where to now for Labour?
    2014 was a disaster. Unfortunately for Labour, the disaster has now been surpassed. The party will be beginning (another) process of determining what went wrong, and what can be done to fix things. I hope they don’t throw all of...
    Occasionally erudite | 22-09
  • O’Connell St officially opened, time to close it again?
    On Friday evening the new O’Connell St shared space was officially opened. The street is by far the best shared space created in Auckland to date thanks in large part to the historic buildings in the area which feel like they’ve been...
    Transport Blog | 22-09
  • The issues that matter
    I'm not bitter and twisted. No, really, I'm not. Much....
    Imperator Fish | 22-09
  • Upcoming MOOC makes sense of climate science denial
    In collaboration with The University of Queensland, Skeptical Science is developing a MOOC, or Massive Online Open Course, that makes sense of climate science denial. The Denial101x MOOC will launch in March 2015 on the EdX platform. Registration has just opened...
    Skeptical Science | 21-09
  • Where to from here for National?
    If John Key wants to have a stab at a fourth term as Prime Minister, there’ll be no one in the party to stop him. He’s weathered the Dirty Politics and Moment of Truth storms, and come out the other...
    Occasionally erudite | 21-09
  • Things you can do about global warming now we have a new do-nothing governm...
    Australia’s brilliant First Dog On The Moon on climate action (courtesy of The Tree), deemed by me to be relevant in the aftermath of an election that has delivered New Zealand another three years of National-led government, and therefore little...
    Hot Topic | 21-09
  • Semi-diamonds in the very rough
    In the midst of the Labour soul-searching (which may be ongoing for some time) I want to give some praise for three especially good Labour performers in the election: The first is Stuart Nash. Stuart has worked his butt off...
    Polity | 21-09
  • A failure to properly report on Climate Change
    I'm not sure if you've noticed the mainstream media, after a grueling 2014 general election, are too engrossed with their continued promotion of brand Key to bother properly reporting on matters of more importance like Climate Change events.While the international...
    The Jackal | 21-09
  • The deconstruction – what went down
    So, in the end it wasn’t even close. Unless the special votes are dramatically out of kilter with the votes counted on election night, National has the numbers to govern alone. The worse-case scenario now for National is that they...
    Occasionally erudite | 21-09
  • Reality-adjacent
    John Key and David Cunliffe both spent much of the election campaign talking about the dreaded “things that New Zealanders really care about”. But Key, under direct attack, was much more disciplined about sticking to those things. The metacampaign, Dirty...
    Kiwipolitico | 21-09
  • The lurch to the right begins
    John Key is busily constructing the smokescreen for his third term, and the key phrase is going to be “centre ground“. “Obviously there are some things we want to do; RMA (Resource Management Act) reform, employment law reform, but they’d...
    Boots Theory | 21-09
  • Who’s to blame for National
    After the huge number of advance votes placed in the lead-up to election day, the overall turnout was shockingly low. It’s easy to imagine that this would follow pre-existing trends in favouring the right. National actually got fewer votes than...
    The little pakeha | 21-09
  • This is not an election advertisement
    The laws we have around Election Day are just a bit silly. Yesterday everyone’s Twitter feeds were a bit like this: um…er…ahh….ummm….dum de do………ahem…….18 hours 53 minutes to go………nice weather we've been having?……….um……. — Election Satire (@2014satire) September 19, 2014...
    Boots Theory | 21-09
  • She saw John Key on TV and decided to vote!
    . . NZ, Wellington, 15 September – ‘Tina’* is 50, a close friend,  and one of the “Missing Million” from the last election. In fact, ‘Tina’ has never voted in her life.  Not once. In ‘Tina’s’ own words, politics has...
    Frankly Speaking | 21-09
  • She saw John Key on TV and decided to vote!
    . . NZ, Wellington, 15 September – ‘Tina’* is 50, a close friend,  and one of the “Missing Million” from the last election. In fact, ‘Tina’ has never voted in her life.  Not once. In ‘Tina’s’ own words, politics has...
    Frankly Speaking | 21-09
  • The best result John Key could have got
    John Key got his best result: a majority on his own or with young David Seymour if National’s vote drops on the special votes as much as the half per cent it dropped in 2011. He didn’t need the Conservatives...
    Colin James | 21-09
  • Economics and the Puhoi Warkworth Board of Inquiry
    The final decision from the Board of Inquiry confirming the Puhoi to Warkworth toll road was published on 12th September but, what with one thing and another, I’m only now getting round to writing about it. The final report is largely unchanged from the...
    Transport Blog | 21-09
  • Bugger!
    This election campaign was a roller-coaster of unexpected revelations and controversy. For the Greens this meant our strategy of running a clean campaign, sticking to a clear plan and releasing properly costed, practical policies never made the impression it should...
    Local Bodies | 21-09
  • Fair Play
    Article – Alexander Lowe The Australian Football League (AFL) has cancelled a sponsorship deal between its affiliated league in Europe and Royal Brunei Airlines. AFL had earlier this year pledged to combat eliminate homophobia in sports so discovery of sponsorship...
    Its our future | 21-09
  • Gordon Campbell on Labour’s very bad year
    While Labour leader David Cunliffe still appears to be in denial about the extent of Saturday night’s debacle, there was hardly a single redeeming feature about the election results for the centre-left. Even the victory by Labour’s Stuart Nash in...
    Gordon Campbell | 21-09
  • Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose
    I see suggestions that the National Party somehow manipulated results to gain their unprecedented win as an extension of “dirty politics”. I have no doubt that there has been a vindictive streak in ministers’ ranks for some time as this...
    Closing the Gap | 21-09
  • 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #38
    "Today, we march... In Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Oslo, Rome, Stockholm, Paris, Madrid, Porto, Geneva, Ljubliana, Budapest and so many other places." - 350.0rg SkS Highlights As to be expected, Dana's The 97% v the 3% – just how much global warming are...
    Skeptical Science | 21-09
  • Hard News: Five further thoughts
    1. Christ, what a shellacking. Click around Harkanwal Singh's Herald interactive. In electorate after electorate, polling place after polling place, National won at least a plurality of the votes. Even where voters collectively chose to return their Labour MPs to...
    Public Address | 21-09
  • The law of unintended consequences. Data security edition.
    This report from Flashpoint: ‘Measuring the Impact of the Snowden Leaks on the Use of Encryption by Online Jihadists’ (available here as web page or PDF) concludes (SPOILER:) Meh, not so much. The Flashpoint report recounts how the use of...
    The Paepae | 21-09
  • A healthy dose of humble pie
    I got one thing right about this election. I managed not to do anything as misguided as publicly state a prediction that National would get anything like as low a vote total as 44% ... as for instance, did Bryce Edwards. Yep,...
    Pundit | 21-09
  • Alas no mystery – it’s voter apathy
      There once was a PM named Key Re-elected with a majority The left fell flat What happened Matt? Alas  it’s voter apathy...
    Politically Corrected | 21-09
  • Labour must change
     Labour's problems can't just be fixed by a switch at the top. Change requires more than that. It must challenge the intellectual, organisational and cultural fundamentals of what it means to be Labour....
    Pundit | 21-09
  • Looking Ahead
    Win or lose, there are never any final battles in politics. A defeat simply means the firing of the starting gun for the next round in a never-ending struggle. And, especially for the left, it is the struggle that matters....
    Bryan Gould | 21-09
  • Left in tatters.
    A while back I wrote a post arguing that the NZ Left was in serious disarray. Various Left pontificators fulminated from the depths of their revolutionary armchairs against my views, denouncing me for being defeatist. I responded as politely as...
    Kiwipolitico | 21-09
  • Psephology-o-rama: Hangover nerdery edition
    I was really privileged to be able to work with the TV3 election night team last night, providing some quantitative analysis on the results as they came in. One of the things we put together was a tool that could...
    Polity | 21-09
  • The Key to a 4th term
    The coming days will see a welter of words on the reasons for the spectacular success of National and the failure of the broad left. As a 'pundit', I might as well add my views....
    Pundit | 20-09
  • Democracy 101
    Earlier this week Scottish voters participated in their independence referendum. There are many, many points to be made about this. Most notably, however, is the fact that the percentage of people turning out to vote in this democratic process was around...
    My Thinks | 20-09
  • Gutted
    OK, so 24.7% is a disaster. Three years ago we were saying 27.5% was a disaster, and this is substantially worse again. It is true that the government had some economy-based tail winds this time round. But the government also...
    Polity | 20-09
  • What it all means for the Labour Party
    An analysis of what went wrong and why, and what it means....
    Imperator Fish | 20-09
  • Hold fast to your Mana – Harawira
    Hone Harawira today called on the voters of Tai Tokerau to hold fast to their mana, and not be dictated to by those party leaders who have ganged together to tell them how to vote. “I call on our people...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Media Advisory – Interview availability
    This is to advise all media that Hone Harawira will be available in Auckland tomorrow, Friday the 19th of September from 7am to 4pm for interviews relating to his recent press releases. If you are interested in interviewing Mr Harawira on...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Labour stands on proud record on Suffrage Day
    Women have come a long way in the 121 years since New Zealand became the first country to give them the vote on September 19 1893, but there is still more to do, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont says....
    Labour | 18-09
  • Polling Booths asked to treat Maori voters with respect
    “Polling booths without Maori roll voting papers, Maori people not being offered assistance to vote, people getting sent from Whangarei to Wellsford to vote, Maori people getting turned away from voting because they didn’t have their ‘easy vote’ card, Maori...
    Mana | 17-09
  • Aussie Liberals embroiled in Key campaign
    John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says....
    Labour | 17-09
  • The MANA Plan for Beneficiaries and Income in Waiariki
    Median Personal Income for Waiariki is $21,700. Over 13,000 Maori who live in Waiariki rely upon a form of government benefit including the Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit and the Invalids Benefit. “If you’re lucky enough to have...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Māori development crucial to New Zealand’s future
    Labour recognises the concern of Māori about child poverty and the rising costs of living, and in Government will make a real difference to the wellbeing of whānau and iwi, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “As our Māori...
    Labour | 16-09
  • MAORI PARTY – DON’T COMPLAIN … WALK
    “If the Maori Party are serious about stopping government spying on NZ citizens then they should tell the Prime Minister to either stop doing it or they will walk away” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, on...
    Mana | 16-09
  • JOHN KEY SUPPORTING LABOUR
    “There is something really sick about a National Party Prime Minister coming out in support of a Labour candidate” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira, after hearing that John Key is urging voters to back Labour in...
    Mana | 16-09
  • SHUT DOWN THIS GOVT NOT KAITI WINZ – Nikora
    “I’m going to make it as hard for you to get help as I can” is Paula Bennett’s message to the people of Kaiti  said MANA candidate Te Hāmua Nikora today in response to the news that National will close...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Winegums make for better polling – Harawira
    I wanted to laugh when I saw the Native Affairs poll the other night (Hone Harawira 38%, Kelvin Davis 37%) because it was almost the same as the one they did back in 2011”, said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 16-09
  • The Leadership of MTS Lied – Harawira
    “Normally I’m happy to tell people that I was right but when I received the news about the staff cuts at Maori Television, I had nothing but sympathy for the three Maori media leaders who are going to be made...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Privileges Complaint Laid against Prime Minister – Harawira
    MANA Movement Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has today lodged a Privileges Complaint with the Speaker regarding the Prime Ministers denials in parliament that he knew anything about Kim Dotcom before 2012. “Information made public today appears...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Sharples’ new appointments are out of order
    The new appointments to the Waitangi Tribunal announced by Dr Pita Sharples this morning are completely out of order given the election is just five days away, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “This Government continues to show disdain...
    Labour | 15-09
  • MANA Movement Housing Policy
    “When families are living in cars, garages, cockroach-infested caravans and three families to a house then we have a housing crisis”, said MANA leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira. “When you have a housing crisis for low-income...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Bigger than the Foreshore and Seabed – Sykes
    “Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end to both...
    Mana | 14-09
  • MANA wants Te Reo Māori petition fulfilled
    Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Te Hāmua Nikora, MANA candidate for Ikaroa Rāwhiti  “More than four decades have passed and the petition calling for Te Reo Māori in schools...
    Mana | 14-09
  • Primary focus on the critical issues
    A Labour Government will prioritise New Zealand’s agricultural sectors by recreating a Rural Affairs Minister and appointing a Primary Industry Council and a Chief Agricultural Adviser. Releasing Labour’s Primary Sector and Rural Affairs policies today, spokesperson Damien O’Connor says the...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Maori Television fears confirmed – Harawira
    ...
    Mana | 12-09
  • More ghost houses from National
    The Government’s desperate pre-election announcement of more ghost houses won’t fool Aucklanders wanting action on the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “These are ghost houses, to go with National’s ghost tax cut. Families cannot live in ghost...
    Labour | 12-09
  • National bows to union pressure over travel time
    National has reluctantly bowed to pressure from unions and adopted Labour’s fair and sensible policy to pay home support workers for the time they spend traveling between clients, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “This decision is long overdue...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Predators on Poverty – Harawira
    “As poverty has ballooned out of control, the Predators on Poverty have emerged to suck the lifeblood from whole families and communities” said MANA Movement leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “They are deliberately targeting low-income areas, particularly those...
    Mana | 11-09
  • MANA Movement Policy Launch
    Predators on Poverty (pokie machines, alcohol outlets and loan sharks) 1pm, Thursday 11th September Corner Great South Road and Criterion Street Otahuhu Shopping Centre...
    Mana | 10-09
  • Eliminating Poverty – Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, Otara | Internet MAN...
    A campaign to Eliminate Poverty, Feed the Kids, build more houses, and create thousands of new jobs, was outlined by Internet MANA at a public meeting in Otara this evening. When MANA and the Internet Party first sat down to...
    Mana | 09-09
  • Housing in Waiariki – Sykes
    Fact:  Under this National-Maori Party-ACT-United Future Government 61% of Maori in Waiariki do not own their own home and nearly 70% of Maori rentals in Waiariki pay $200 or more per week. “Maori in Waiariki have low rates of home ownership...
    Mana | 09-09
  • Charter school crisis shows time to axe costly experiment
    Dysfunction from day one at a Northland charter school shows it is time to dump this costly and failed experiment by the National-ACT Government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru received $27,000 in government funding...
    Labour | 08-09
  • Labour will crack down on loan sharks
    A Labour Government will crack down on predatory loan sharks by making it illegal both to charge exorbitant interest rates and to exploit uninformed borrowers, Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson Carol Beaumont says. Labour today released its Consumer Affairs policy which...
    Labour | 08-09
  • Let’s do the FEED before the weed
    “Last week I put out a very strongly worded email to my colleagues about an online promotion about cannabis law reform” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira “and I stand by that criticism today.” My concern was...
    Mana | 08-09
  • TE KAEA and NATIVE AFFAIRS live to fight another day
    “I understand that both the chair of the Board of Maori Television, Georgina Te Heuheu, and new CEO, Paora Maxwell, are now saying that my comments this morning about their plans to cut Te Kaea and Native Affairs, were wrong, and that...
    Mana | 08-09
  • How come the PM only pays 2.8% of his income in tax – Harawira
    “Before John Key talks about the piddling tax cuts he plans for low and middle income families today he needs to explain why he only pays 2.8% of his income on tax while a minimum wage worker pays 28% tax,”...
    Mana | 07-09
  • THE DEATH OF INDEPENDENCE FOR MAORI TV
    “If what I’m hearing is true, tomorrow Maori Television Service (MTS) will dump its news programme, Te Kaea, and staff will lose their jobs” said MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira “and the Minister of Maori...
    Mana | 07-09
  • Labour recommits to Pike River families
    An incoming Labour-led government will do everything possible to recover the bodies of the Pike River Miners and return them to their families, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “This tragedy and its aftermath has left the families of the 29...
    Labour | 06-09
  • Voting has started and still no tax plan or fiscal budget for voters to see
    "Even though voting for the election has already begun, National still refuses to provide any details of its proposed tax cuts. And Bill English admitted this morning that he won’t provide any specifics until after the election", Labour’s Finance spokesperson...
    Labour | 06-09
  • National’s partners’ tax plans cost at least $42 billion
    If National forms the next government its partners’ tax plans will cost the country at least $42 billion, and maybe as much as $50 billion, wreaking havoc with the books, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National claims to be...
    Labour | 05-09
  • Labour: Providing more opportunities for young Kiwis
    A Labour Government will ensure every young Kiwi under the age of 20 is given the opportunity to be in work, education or training, and plans to develop a conservation apprenticeship scheme to help do that, Labour’s Youth Affairs spokesperson...
    Labour | 04-09
  • Candles out on teachers’ slice of birthday cake
    Today may be Novopay’s second birthday, but there’s little to celebrate, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Novopay has cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars already, and the cost is still climbing....
    Labour | 04-09
  • National’s blatant broadband pork barrelling misses the mark by a country...
    National’s blatant pork-barrelling ICT announcement today should reinforce a growing sceptical electorate’s view that they are all about the gift wrap and not the present, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Instead of addressing the real issues - the woeful...
    Labour | 04-09
  • More evidence of the need to clean up the system
    The latest release of emails and messages between disgraced Minister Judith Collins and blogger Cameron Slater are more evidence of the urgent need to clean up politics, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. "This new evidence confirms a near constant flow...
    Labour | 04-09
  • Labour commits to stable funding for voluntary sector
    A Labour Government will establish long-term funding and streamline contract accountability for community and voluntary groups, says Labour’s spokesperson for the sector Louisa Wall. Announcing Labour’s policy for the community and voluntary sector, she said this would give much greater...
    Labour | 04-09
  • Better trained and skilled workforce under Labour
    Labour is committed to a skilled workforce that benefits businesses as well as their workers, and will increase workplace training to improve productivity and drive innovation, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Labour believes the Government should support New Zealanders into...
    Labour | 03-09
  • Labour will make renting a better option
    Labour will provide greater security of tenure for renters, and build more state and social housing, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Labour believes every kid deserves a decent start in life. That means a warm, dry and secure home....
    Labour | 03-09
  • At least 15 new taxes under National
    John Key is the last person to talk about creating taxes, presiding over a Government that has imposed at least 15 new taxes, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “John Key tried a novel line in the debate last night claiming...
    Labour | 03-09
  • Labour will strengthen New Zealand’s democracy
    A Labour Government will act quickly to protect and enhance New Zealand’s reputation as one of the most open and least corrupt countries in the world, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “The health of any democracy is improved by greater...
    Labour | 02-09
  • MANA Movement says tax cut on GST must be first priority – Minto
    “If Prime Minister John Key has money available for tax cuts then cutting GST must be the first priority”,  said MANA Movement Economic Justice Spokesperson John Minto. GST is a nasty tax on low-income families”, said Minto. “People in the...
    Mana | 02-09
  • The Maori Party’s Mana-Enhancing Relationship with National – Minto
    “First we had Cameron Slater and David Farrar backing Labour’s Kelvin Davis bid to unseat MANA Movement Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira.  Now we have Slater writing a pro-Te Ururoa Flavell article on his website, Whale...
    Mana | 02-09
  • The success of right-wing counter messaging in the election
    One of the reasons National won the election was due to its success in counter messaging – and the way so many media commentators ran with th the right-wing spin. Here are some examples. Dirty Politics The original message was...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • New Flag competition
    New Flag competition...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • No time for self-pity
    After 23 meetings across the largest non-Maori electorate in the country – almost all of which went fantastically, approx 4,500km on the odometer, positive MSM and social media coverage, and polling well, I admit my team and I headed to...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • The 30 second speech that could have saved the Moment of Truth
    As the dust settles and we struggle to understand what the bloody hell happened on Saturday, many point to Kim’s failure at the Moment of Truth to present his evidence. I think that Kim was poorly advised and that politics requires a...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • Internet MANA and the 2014 election
    It was always going to be a hard task for Hone Harawira to hold onto his Te Tai Tokerau seat when the political establishment united in a coalition to defeat him and the chance for Internet MANA to bring more...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Unity in Action
    Yes the Left have taken a drubbing, but never mind, time to pick ourselves up off the floor, patch up our wound pride, dust ourselves off, cast around for our friends and allies, and re-enter the fray. Lots of work...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • A Fiji democratic mandate for the coup leader – what now for the media?
    Attorney-General Sayad-Khaiyum and Rear-Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama’s Fiji First party is poised to lead the country in the next four years. Photo: Mads Anneberg, an AUT Pacific Media Centre student on internship in Suva with Repúblika Magazine and Pacific Scoop...
    The Daily Blog | 21-09
  • Why I voted Labour and why 2017 will be different
    As a 3nd and 5th generation Kiwi-Indian (depending on which side of the family we have to go with), my relationship with New Zealand is a special one. Like other New Zealanders who are not of the Caucasian variety, the...
    The Daily Blog | 20-09
  • Humble Pie
    Oh. My. God. This was a heartbreaking nightmare. I was wrong, horribly, horribly, horribly wrong. I honestly believed that the resources, the media attention, the vile toxic politics exposed by Dirty Politics and the mass surveillance lies would have seen...
    The Daily Blog | 20-09
  • Election 2014; A Post-mortem; a Wake; and one helluva hang-over
    .   . It would be fair to say that the results for Election 2014 did not go as anticipated. The Left has had a drubbing – and some of it was of our own making. In other aspects, there...
    The Daily Blog | 20-09
  • Voting turnout affected by bad weather?
    . . NZ, Upper Hutt, 20 September –  Cold, wet weather in the Hutt Valley, north of Wellington may be impacting on voter turn-out. A head-count of people visiting the Trentham School Voting Station in Moonshine Rd, Upper Hutt, indicated...
    The Daily Blog | 20-09
  • Final total of advance voting
    And the final total for the advance voting was a staggering 717,579 advance votes against 334,558 in 2011       Tonight, I’ll be watching the TV3 election coverage because I could bare Paul Henry’s smugness one inch more than Mike Hosking’s...
    The Daily Blog | 20-09
  • Vice article on NZ election
    Here is my Vice article on the NZ election....
    The Daily Blog | 19-09
  • The attempt to kill off Internet MANA
    It’s the last day of campaigning today and the long list of those attacking Internet MANA got longer yesterday with Winston Peters backing Labour candidate Kelvin Davis against the MANA Movement’s Hone Harawira. Davis is now supported by Labour, National,...
    The Daily Blog | 19-09
  • A final word on the election – it’s now all up to you
    Brothers & Sisters, the fate of Aotearoa is now all in your hands. We here at the Daily Blog have thrown everything we can at this bloody Government and have spent every waking hour of this campaign trying to highlight...
    The Daily Blog | 19-09
  • I can’t tell what is National Party advert and what is the NZ Herald – ...
    I can’t tell what is National Party advert and what is the NZ Herald – but then again, I never could...
    The Daily Blog | 19-09
  • TVNZ election coverage – white people telling other white people why Nati...
    TVNZ election coverage – white people telling other white people why National Party is great...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • REVIEW: Royals of Kihikihi
    What an absolutely stunning show.  I had to ask twice to check I’d heard right that this is the first staged production for Samuel Christopher, who also played a raw, real, but vulnerable, Wolf Royal, home from London for his...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • 800 Cops to detain 15 ‘terrorists’ – why Australia’s hysterical Isl...
    I’m sorry but I can’t take this current Australian terror threat seriously. 800 cops to detain 15 people and arrest one of them? A week after Abbot decides to send in Australian forces to the cluster fuck of Iraq, suddenly...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • Unbelievable corruption inside Government to attack Kim Dotcom
    The corruption inside this Government just more and more filthy – we now have an ex-Customs Lawyer quitting  after being told to bury information that could embarrass the Government, specifically to do with Kim Dotcom… Curtis Gregorash said he was told...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • Coalition for Better Broadcasting – Everyone Loves A Win-Win That Keeps G...
      Permit me to quote some figures at you… -68% of New Zealanders think political news on television focuses too much on politicians’ personalities and not enough on real issues. This is the key result of a recent UMR survey commissioned by...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, another week of ...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, another week of being the most in demand broadcaster in the country...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • EXCLUSIVE: Te Tai Tokerau independent poll (44% Hone-27% Kelvin) vs Maori T...
    The Te Tai Tokerau Maori TV poll on Monday this week painted a bleak picture for Internet MANA supporters, and it’s results have been seized upon by Labour, NZ First and even the Maori Party (who seem set once again...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • The time for TPPA weasel words is over
    Almost every day of the election campaign there has been a policy announcement that would potentially run foul of what I understand is currently in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA):  more constraints on foreign investment or investors … regulation of...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • MELTDOWN – Maori Party turns on their own Te Tai Tokerau candidate – ag...
    The tensions are building in Te Tai Tokerau with the Maori Party on the verge of meltdown. Days out from the election, the Maori Party Executive has tried to heavy their own Te Tai Tokerau Electoral Committee and their own candidate, Te Hira Paenga,...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • We Can Change this Government
    We Can Change this Government – Mike Treen at the First Union stop work election meeting...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • Election 2014: For and Against
    With the general election tomorrow, we have had a very noisy campaign but little sign that the electorate wishes for a fundamental change of governmental direction. This reflects in part the fact that the economic cycle is close to its decadal...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • Eye To Eye Uploaded: Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury
    This interview was filmed a couple of weeks ago between Willie Jackson and myself, I was a tad off with my prediction of NZ First....
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • The Donghua Liu Affair – The Players Revealed
      . . – Special investigation by Frank Macskasy & ‘Hercules‘ Speculation that the Beehive office of Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, was behind the release of a letter linking Labour leader, David Cunliffe, with controversial Chinese businessman, Donghua Liu, is...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • As if you needed another reason to boycott Telecom/Spark – they sold NZ d...
    It should read ‘never stop spying’. As if you needed another reason to boycott Telecom/Spark – they sold us down the river to the US by allowing the Southern Cross cable to be tapped… The ability for US intelligence agencies...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • The NZ First-Labour Party attack strategy against Internet MANA better work
    The final days of the campaign are ticking down and Labour and NZ First are manoeuvring to kill off the Internet MANA Party by both backing Kelvin Davis for Te Tai Tokerau. It’s a risky gambit that they better pray to Christ...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • Bill English’s latest insult to beneficiaries – apparently they are lik...
    National’s hatred towards the poor continues unabated as National desperately try to throw raw meat to their reactionary voter base in the hope to inspire enough hate and loathing to win back their redneck voters from the Conservative Party and from...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • Eminem ain’t happy with John Key
    Eminem ain’t happy with John Key...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • Key claims he did not inhale
    Key claims he did not inhale...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • Final prediction on election result 2014
    What an election campaign. The character assassination of David Cunliffe kicked things off with the Herald on Sunday falsely claiming $100 00 bottles of wine, $15 000 books and $150 000 in donations  from a donor that turned out to be...
    The Daily Blog | 18-09
  • Live blog: Bainamarama takes commanding lead in Fiji elections
      Interview with Repúblika editor Ricardo Morris and Pacific Scoop’s Mads Anneberg. PACIFIC SCOOP TEAM By Ricardo Morris, Mads Anneberg, Alistar Kata and Biutoka Kacimaiwai in Suva WHILE the results are provisional at this stage, it is clear today that...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • 5AA Australia: NZ Elections Two Days To Go! + Edward Snowden + Julian Assan...
    Recorded live on 18/09/14 – Captured Live on Ustream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/multimedia-investments-ltd 5AA Australia’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning deliver their weekly bulletin: Across The Ditch. This week, they discuss the latest news as New Zealanders go to the polls on...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • What has Colin Craig done for his Press Secretary to quit 2 days before ele...
    This is VERY strange.  Colin Craig’s Press Secretary Rachel McGregor, has quit 2 days before the election, allegedly telling ZB that Colin Craig was a “very manipulative man”. I’ve met Rachel many times in the past as Colin’s Press Secretary, she is...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • “If you want steak, go to the supermarket and buy steak,” – A brief w...
    “If you want steak, go to the supermarket and buy steak,” said Key in the final leaders debate. Problem of course is that the 250 000 – 285 000 children living in poverty can not afford steak, milk, butter, eggs...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • National’s final bash of beneficiaries before the election
    On cue, whenever National feel threatened, they roll out a little bennie bash just to keep their redneck voter base happy. Nothing like a bit of raw meat policy to keep National voters focused on the evil threat solo parents...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • With All Of This In Mind, I Vote
    This is my last blog before the election and I really just want to speak from the heart. Right now in this country it seems to me that a lot of people consider the “essentials” in life to be simply...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • Left has to vote strategically this election
    The dedication, loyalty, and tribalism of party politics means that sometimes the left lets itself down by not voting strategically. We all want our favoured party to get maximum votes, naturally, but the winner-takes-all approach doesn’t always suit multi-party left...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • Dear NZ – as you enter the polling booth, stand up for your rights
    The last days before a NZ general election are a busy time as politicians make their pitch and party activists prepare to get out the vote. It is sort of weird watching from the distance of Europe the strangest election...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • What is Waihopai, John, if it isn’t a facility for “mass surveillance...
    John Key assured us on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme yesterday that “In terms of the Fives Eyes data bases… yes New Zealand will contribute some information but not mass wholesale surveillance.” How does this square with the operation of the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Mass Surveillance and the Banality of E...
    Renowned journalist and intellectual Hannah Arendt coined the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe the normalisation of genocide in Nazi Germany. I thought of her phrase when I was listening to Glenn Greenwald and other international whistle-blowers talking about...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • Election. Down. To. The. Wire
    Funny how last week it was John Key winning by 50%, now it’s neck and neck. I have always believed this election would be down to the wire and it is proving so. The flawed landline opinion polls the mainstream...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • 3rd Degree uses Whaleoil for story ideas as if Dirty Politics never happene...
    TV3s 3rd Degrees smear job on Kim Dotcom last night doesn’t bear much repeating. It was pretty pathetic journalism from a team who have brought us some great journalism in the past. It is sad to see 3rd Degree stooping...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • Live blog: Bainimarama takes early lead in Fiji’s election
    Pacific Scoop’s Alistar Kata reports from yesterday’s voting. By Alistar Kata of Pacific Scoop in Suva Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama took an early lead in provisional results in the Fiji general election last night. With provisional results from 170 out...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • Has The NSA Constructed The Perfect PPP?
    Former intelligence analyst and whistleblower, Edward Snowden – speaking live to those gathered at the Auckland Town Hall on Monday September 17, 2014. Investigation by Selwyn Manning. THE PRIME MINISTER JOHN KEY’s admission on Wednesday that whistleblower Edward Snowden “may...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • No way – Key admits Snowden is right
    After claiming there was no middle ground. After claiming there was no mass surveillance. After calling Glenn Greenwald a henchman and a loser. After all the mainstream media pundits screamed at Kim’s decision to take his evidence to Parliamentary Privileges...
    The Daily Blog | 17-09
  • LGNZ congratulates National
    LGNZ congratulates National Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) congratulates re-elected Prime Minister John Key and the National led government on winning their third consecutive term following Saturday’s general election. LGNZ President Lawrence Yule acknowledges...
    Scoop politics | 22-09
  • The Letter – 22 September 2014
    John Key’s win is historic. In the history of MMP elections – worldwide – ever – no government has won an absolute majority. MMP was imposed on Germany to make sure that country never had another Hitler. It is designed...
    Scoop politics | 22-09
  • Election Coverage – None Better Than Trans Tasman
    To get a steer on what was going to happen in the election - away from the histrionics of the mainstream coverage - the best place to go was The Main Report Group’s weekly political report Trans Tasman....
    Scoop politics | 22-09
  • Federated Farmers intemperate
    For the second time in a week Federated Farmers has made intemperate and provocative comments on environmental issues, says EDS....
    Scoop politics | 22-09
  • MP’s Stolen Items Recovered
    Following a complaint to Parliamentary Services today [ September 19 ], items which had been stolen from NZ First MP Andrew Williams’ Wellington parliamentary office have been recovered and returned....
    Scoop politics | 22-09
  • Election results bad news for those on benefits
    Beneficiary Advocate Kay Brereton says, “ The election result holds no good news for people on benefits, National campaigned successfully with their beneficiary bashing agenda, and will now believe their punitive treatment of beneficiaries has the support...
    Scoop politics | 22-09
  • Opportunity to progress water infrastructure
    “National’s re-election is an opportunity to develop the infrastructure New Zealand needs to provide surety of water for agriculture, town drinking water supply, waterways, recreational use and to future proof the country from climate change,” says Andrew...
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • Wellington City joins the global call for 100% clean
    At 1:00 pm, residents and visitors of Wellington gathered at the summit of Mt Victoria to join the millions strong call for a 100% clean future....
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • Hikoi with us from Cape Reinga to Auckland Oil Conference!
    Monday 22 September 2014: Maori from different tribal areas along the western length of Northland are organising a hikoi starting on Saturday to a Government oil conference in Auckland to make sure that Norwegian oil giant Statoil gets the message:...
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • Roy Morgan NZ Election Update With A Look At The Polls
    Roy Morgan NZ Election Update With A Look At The Polls National re-elected to third term with record high vote as Labour slumps to worst result in over 90 years...
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • National-led Government wins mandate for RMA reforms
    An unprecedented increase in support for the third-term National Party, the best electoral performance since 1899, has delivered a clear mandate for reform of the Resource Management Act says Federated Farmers. “Vital reforms to the RMA have...
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • New Zealand says no to Culture of Death
    Right to Life is pleased that the people of New Zealand have rejected a culture of death by refusing to elect a Labour/Green government that supported the decriminalisation of abortion....
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • Q + A – Steven Joyce
    CORIN Steven Joyce if we could start with how things are going to look now with your support partners. Can you just run us through, National can technically govern alone on what you’ve got at the moment, do you think...
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • Q + A – Kelvin Davis
    SUSAN Well earlier this morning, just before we came to air in fact, Corin spoke to Kelvin Davis, one of the big winners of the night, the new MP for Te Tai Tokerau....
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • Q + A – David Cunliffe
    CORIN Joining me now is Labour Leader, David Cunliffe. Good morning to you Mr Cunliffe. This is a tough result for Labour, how much personal responsibility do you take for this....
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • Grey Power congratulates Key
    Grey Power National President Terry King congratulated John Key for his party’s “resounding win “ in yesterday’s election and hoped that the new National Government would look hard at issues affecting the ever–growing number of older New Zealanders....
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • EMA congratulates PM John Key and National
    The Employers and Manufacturers Association extend hearty congratulations to the re-election of Prime Minister John Key and National....
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • Helen Clark Receives Inaugural Women’s Health Rights Award
    Helen Clark was honoured as the first recipient of the Women’s Health Rights Award at the 121st Woman’s Suffrage event held in Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 21-09
  • National deal with New Zealand First unlikely
    The National party is unlikely to offer a confidence and supply agreement to New Zealand First according to Dr Ryan Malone, Director Training and Research at Civicsquare....
    Scoop politics | 20-09
  • Daily Election Update #12: NZ First to hold balance of power
    Winston Peters’ NZ First Party will hold the balance of power after tomorrow’s election, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. Mr Peters is then expected to back a National-led...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Election Day is Time to Refocus on Policies
    Over the course of this election campaign there has been a lot of focus on dirty politics and spying, and not a lot on policy. With election day looming, Gareth Morgan is calling for people to refocus on the issues....
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • The Kiwi FM Alternative Election Commentary
    Saturday 20 September from 7pm on 102.2 Auckland, 102.1 Wellington, 102.5 Canterbury, or KiwiFM.co.nz...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Beneficiary Bashing unacceptable
    Kay Brereton of the Beneficiary Advocacy Federation of New Zealand says “ the comment made by Bill English yesterday comparing beneficiaries to crack addicts is shocking and incredibly poorly timed.”...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • UN Experience Beneficial
    Acclaim Otago representatives have just completed their participation at the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability examination of the New Zealand government in Geneva, Switzerland. "It was an interesting two days which we believe has...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Changing face of NZ should be reflected in newsrooms
    With Fairfax Media’s Journalism Intern search closing on Sunday, Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is urging aspiring journalists from Maori, Pacific and ethnic communities to apply. The deadline was recently extended to 10pm, Sunday...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • SPCA expresses concern over toxin in waterways
    Ric Odom CEO of Royal NZ SPCA has expressed concern over the toxic poison 1080 entering waterways, but DoC, Council’s and Ministry of Health have colluded to make it legal....
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • NZ 2014 Election Index – 13-18 September
    Below is iSentia’s final weekly Election Index, covering the period 13-18 September and showing the relative amount of coverage of nine Party Leaders in the lead up to the National Election across news media and social media. The methodology used...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Epsom Candidate (Adam Holland) More Liberal Than ACT
    For the past four years I, like 500,000 other New Zealanders, have been illegally smoking cannabis for medicinal purposes and/or even just for the occasional laugh with friends on the weekend. We don't hurt anybody, we don't cause nuisance, we...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Left Coalition Will Save Dolphins
    A left coalition would safeguard both Māui and Hector’s dolphins, as well as revive our inshore ecosystems. Labour, Internet Mana and the Green Party all have strong policies in place for dolphin protection. The Maori Party, and to a certain...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Waihoroi Shortland: Ngāti Hine is not standing alone
    The Chairman of Te Rūnanga a Iwi o Ngāpuhi, Sonny Tau is blowing smoke worthy of a Dotcom rally with claims that Ngati Hine is standing alone in its opposition to Tūhoronuku says the Chairman of Te Rūnanga o Ngati...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Oceania voices on environment loud and strong
    While money and energy continues to be spent on global talks about climate change, Pacific islanders are scrambling to build sea walls out of sticks, stones, shells and coral, to protect their lands and homes from erosion and rising sea...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Prime Time with Sean Plunket – Tonight
    No MPs tonight --- the campaign will be over at 9 30. Instead we will look back --- and possibly forward on what we have learned and what might happen. Listener Political Columnist Jane Clifton Editor in Chief, NZ Herald,...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Election fails to address youth financial wellbeing
    Young people don’t feel included in New Zealand’s financial success and believe inequality is a problem, according to a new survey conducted by Westpac’s Fin-Ed Centre at Massey University....
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Winston’s Waffle doesn’t hide the facts
    The Conservative Party is celebrating the ASA's finding announced today that rejected all but one of the complaints raised against its controversial “Conservatives or Peters” pamphlet. “Despite pages of complaints from Peters legal team the only...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • NZ Independent Coalition looking forward to tomorrow
    “Our team is looking forward to tomorrow. It is a real opportunity to reclaim politics for the people,” said NZ Independent Coalition leader Brendan Horan....
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Insights Issue 35/2014 – 19 September 2014
    Insights Issue 35/2014 - 19 September 2014 In This Issue • RMA reform the golden unicorn of policy | Jenesa Jeram...
    Scoop politics | 19-09
  • Special voting arrangements made for NIWA crew
    One of the most unusual polling stations for this year’s general election is in the middle of the ocean miles from land. NIWA’s flagship research vessel Tangaroa, has been doubling as a polling booth for crew and scientists at sea....
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • Tourism operators urged to vote strategically
    Tourism operators should make sure they know their local candidates’ view on tourism and use their vote to support the country’s second largest export industry, says Chris Roberts, Chief Executive, Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA)....
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • WGTN: March for free education
    We are students, university staff, and members of the community. Whichever parties form a government after September 20th, we are demanding an end to corporatisation of education....
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • Evidence of Corruption a National Scandal
    Internet Party leader Laila Harré will take evidence of corruption to international forums if there is not a full Royal Commission to investigate the growing evidence of the systematic use and abuse of democratic institutions and processes for political...
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • Govt continues to throw money at charter school experiment
    Official documents reveal the three primary sector charter schools approved last week will cost $2 million to set up as well as divert another $1.5 million of potential taxpayer investment from local state schools next year....
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • ACT Final Election Rally
    Elections campaigns are an opportunity for political parties to put candidates and policy to enable voters to choose what sort of New Zealand we want. In this campaign there have been three tests by which you can assess the electoral...
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • Taxpayers on Hook Again for Solid Energy
    Responding to the Fairfax article that taxpayers are extending another $103 million to keep Solid Energy afloat, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • Invermay Petition Tops 10,000 Signatures
    People across New Zealand continue to express their disgust at the downgrading of Invermay, says Dunedin North MP David Clark, as the Save Invermay petition he instigated earlier this year topped the 10,000 signature mark just days before the 2014...
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • McVicar vows to continue fight for police
    Garth McVicar stated at a public meeting last week that he would fight to retain a 24/7 Police Station in Napier and no reduction in the number of police staff for the Hawkes Bay region, some said he was simply...
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • Party Vote Our Weapon in Fight Against Government Corruption
    Internet MANA urges New Zealanders to use their party vote to confront corruption in any new government....
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • Election day is tomorrow – make sure you’re a part of it!
    Tomorrow, Saturday 20 September, is election day, and New Zealanders’ last chance to have a say on who leads the country for the next three years....
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • Is the Shape of our Government out of the hands of Voters?
    In the last stuff.co.nz / Ipsos Political Poll before Saturdays election, National is down 5.1% to 47.7% and Labour up 3.7% to 26.15%. These results are remarkably similar to the 2011 election where National received 47.3% of the vote and...
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • Spirit of Suffrage a Call to Action for All Kiwi Women
    Internet MANA is drawing on the courage and integrity of New Zealand women on Suffrage Day – Friday, September, 19 – to encourage them to pay tribute to the spirit of their foremothers who gained women the vote....
    Scoop politics | 18-09
  • Live Election Night Coverage on TV And Online
    Māori Television’s KOWHIRI 2014 – ELECTION SPECIAL kicks off at 7.00pm this Saturday with a five-hour broadcast focusing on the Māori electorates....
    Scoop politics | 18-09
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