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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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    Gareth’s World
  • Ede and the Public Records Act
    Jason Ede was required by the Gwyn Inquiry to produce emails from his private accounts that included official government information. He couldn't do that in the end because, gosh darn it, he had just destroyed and permanently deleted everything in...
    Polity
  • “Appalling”
    In 2011, John Key was Minister for the SIS. At that time, according to John Key: The SIS didn't understand the workings of the OIA. I mean that's appalling, and I accept all of that."1 Well, if that is the...
    Polity
  • Free your voices
    Last week Victoria University of Wellington lecturer’s Dr. Sandra Grey and Dr. Charles Sedgwick released some figures from the 2013/14 update of the 2008/9 survey of the community and voluntary sector. Their research question was: ‘How is democracy – as...
    frogblog
  • Symposium on the way forward, 4: making our own revolutionary kaupapa and f...
    On Monday, November 24, The Freedom Shop, an anarchist centre in Wellington, held a meeting about the way forward for the activist left.  A number of speakers were invited to give ten-minute presentations; below is the presentation given by Don...
    Redline
  • Symposium on the way forward, 4: making our own revolutionary kaupapa and f...
    On Tuesday, November 25, The Freedom Shop, an anarchist centre in Wellington, held a meeting about the way forward for the activist left.  A number of speakers were invited to give ten-minute presentations; below is the presentation given by Don...
    Redline
  • When will the PM take responsibility?
    It often bemuses me as to why people would vote for a dishonest political party that has spent the last two terms in government undermining our once great democracy. Why on earth would voters support a scoundrel like John Key,...
    The Jackal
  • Gordon Campbell on the inquiry into one case of dirty politics
    Suddenly, we’re awash in inquiries and reviews. (It feels almost as if the Greens won the last election.) Caught out by the damning inquiry by SIS Inspector-General Cheryl Gwyn, the government’s response yesterday was utterly in character – it released...
    Gordon Campbell
  • John Key: The buck doesn’t stop with me
    President Harry Truman famously had a piece of walnut wood on his desk in the oval office that read, "The buck stops here", and when the president referred to it in speeches it was to say that he had to...
    Pundit
  • Speaker: Market failure in the research world
    The “serials crisis” has been a feature of research life for over 20 years. According to figures from the US Association of Research Libraries, during 1986-2007 academic journal subscription charges increased by 340%, four times the rate of inflation.Publishers contribute...
    Public Address
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    Frankly Speaking
  • Terrorism bill fraught with risk for academics
    Academics studying terrorism, or other topics that the SIS considers not to be in the national interest, could be among those who lose civil rights if an ‘anti-terrorism’ bill becomes law. TEU, the union representing tertiary education staff, says the...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Being mindful of mental illness
    There’s a lot of mental illness stigma in New Zealand. From the friend or family member who tells you just to ‘get over it’, to the many little ways that living with a mental illness in an unsupportive environment slowly...
    On the Left
  • Auckland Transport November Board Meeting
    Every month I comb through the reports to the AT board looking at what the organisation is up to (that they’ll say in public). I’ve already covered the separate reports on additional bus priority and the New Network for the...
    Transport Blog
  • Henryk Grossman on the struggle for Marxism, 1883-1932
    Henryk Grossman, Fifty Years of Struggle over Marxism 1883-1932, translated by Rick Kuhn and Einde O’Callagan, with an introduction by Rick Kuhn; Ebook AU$6.34 from http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OE6KF7O and paperback AU$10 from redflag.subs@gmail.com reviewed by Tom O’Lincoln There is a story about Marx’s legacy that...
    Redline
  • Henryk Grossman on the struggle for Marxism, 1883-1932
    Henryk Grossman, Fifty Years of Struggle over Marxism 1883-1932, translated by Rick Kuhn and Einde O’Callagan, with an introduction by Rick Kuhn; Ebook AU$6.34 from http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OE6KF7O and paperback AU$10 from redflag.subs@gmail.com reviewed by Tom O’Lincoln There is a story about Marx’s legacy that...
    Redline
  • Financial assistance for tertiary students
    I’ve gotten my final assignment back for the 300-level Policy Research & Evaluation paper I did last semester, and earned another A+ and another teacher telling me to do post-grad if I can afford it without starving. The only way...
    The little pakeha
  • A brief commentary from John Key, Prime Minister
    Hello. I’m not going to apologise. There’s nothing to apologise for. I have done nothing wrong. Yes I suppose a few people in my office may have possibly been in contact with people in Camoron Slater’s office, but I had...
    My Thinks
  • A surveillance power-grab
    Section 7 of the government's spy bill introduces a new power for police and SIS to access information held by Customs. Its not mentioned in the press release, and the bill's explanatory note is extremely vague. So what's it about?...
    No Right Turn
  • Another shoddy analysis
    What's the case for the government's Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill? I've been reading the bills Regulatory Impact Statement, and the short version is that there isn't one. A RIS is a vital part of the quality control process for...
    No Right Turn
  • “We should be a working on the railroads…”
    Yesterday Peter asked if the Auckland’s motorway network built on “strategic misrepresentations”?. In it he briefly mentioned engineer Joseph Wright who questioned how much the motorways would cost. In response I put this image in the comments however it probably justifies it’s...
    Transport Blog
  • The facts of power price rises
    Everyone knows power prices are increasing and it feels like it is eating more and more of their weekly pay check. This morning I released census data showing this common feeling is in fact borne in the data. The data...
    frogblog
  • Slavery was cheap too…Pay equity fight back to court
    Today the NZ Aged Care Association announced they will appeal the decisions of the Employment Court and Court of Appeal in favour of Kristine Bartlett, to the Supreme Court. They say they have no choice but to appeal because many...
    frogblog
  • Why Pakeha are so offended by John Key’s idea of a peaceful settlement
    The statements by the Prime Minister on the Waitangi Tribunal ruling that Maori never ceded sovereignty in 1840 are enough to make any student of history choke. First was the denial that the ruling means anything significant. And then there...
    frogblog
  • Counterproductive
    Since June, the US has been bombing Iraq. Since September, they've been bombing Syria. In both cases, the aim is ostensibly to stop ISIS. So how's it working out?About as badly as you'd expect:US air strikes in Syria are encouraging...
    No Right Turn
  • No justice in America
    On August 9, police officer Darren Wilson shot and murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.. The shooting of unarmed black men by American police is so routine that they don't even bother to keep statistics on it. And of course,...
    No Right Turn
  • The Andrew Little experiment has failed
    It’s time to admit that the Andrew Little leadership experiment has been a failure. A terrible failure....
    Imperator Fish
  • Abuse of power: The OIA / public records dimension
    One of the things to emerge from the "dirty politics" report is that the SIS pissed all over the OIA:The NZSIS also made a significant error in considering information requests by the news media. Such requests were, from 25 July...
    No Right Turn
  • Restoration of the Christchurch Arts Centre well underway
    It was inspiring to be shown some of the major restoration and rebuilding work underway at the Christchurch Arts Centre recently. With 22 of 23 Arts Centre buildings damaged by the earthquakes, this is one of the largest heritage restoration...
    frogblog
  • A further thought on the Gwyn report
    The report itself is here. The main issues have been well covered by the media. Here’s what struck me. One of Key’s big achievements as Prime Minister has been the expansion of the size and powers of the state security...
    DimPost
  • A further thought on the Gwyn report
    The report itself is here. The main issues have been well covered by the media. Here’s what struck me. One of Key’s big achievements as Prime Minister has been the expansion of the size and powers of the state security...
    DimPost
  • Thin Ice edit for US TV funded in full
    The Thin Ice Kickstarter campaign was resounding success, with the total pledged reaching NZ$34,448 from 228 backers. The extra funds are likely to be used in a PR effort to get the newly-edited film shown on as many TV stations...
    Hot Topic
  • The City Unbound
    The current Metro Magazine has has an article by me on Auckland, its new urban nature, and surprise!: Why we need a change in transport infrastructure investment to unlock its true value. Most here won’t be unfamiliar with the arguments but the...
    Transport Blog
  • The City Unbound
    The current Metro Magazine has has an article by me on Auckland, its new urban nature, and surprise!: Why we need a change in transport infrastructure investment to unlock its true value. Most here won’t be unfamiliar with the arguments but the...
    Transport Blog
  • Cover up in the PM’s office
    Here's an extract from a very good post by Russell Brown this morning: But there’s more. The inspector, Cheryl Gwyn, has this to say: Witnesses appearing before this inquiry also produced documents. Documents were provided voluntarily by Mr Hager and...
    Polity
  • Fourth housing report confirms failure
    The Fourth Auckland Housing Accord monitoring report shows the Accord has failed to make a dent in the city's housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. "The report says consents for only 354 dwellings were approved in the special...
    Labour
  • Ministers all over the place on Smith passport
     Ministers responsible for the Phillip Smith debacle are at  odds over the passport he used to escape, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “It  beggars belief that Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne says the passport issued to Smith, under his...
    Labour
  • Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman’s speech – Rod Donald Memorial Lect...
    It's been nine years since Rod's tragic death. I'd like to start out by talking about what Rod achieved. Then I want to talk about the things that I think he might want us to achieve in his absence. We...
    Greens
  • Hard road ahead for thousands more Kiwi kids
    News that there will be 8000 more students in low decile schools next year reinforces the absolute failure of the National Government’s economic approach, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The gap between the haves and the have-nots is increasing....
    Labour
  • Free your voices
    Last week Victoria University of Wellington lecturer’s Dr. Sandra Grey and Dr. Charles Sedgwick released some figures from the 2013/14 update of the 2008/9 survey of the community and voluntary sector. Their research question was: ‘How is democracy – as...
    Greens
  • The facts of power price rises
    Everyone knows power prices are increasing and it feels like it is eating more and more of their weekly pay check. This morning I released census data showing this common feeling is in fact borne in the data. The data...
    Greens
  • Slavery was cheap too…Pay equity fight back to court
    Today the NZ Aged Care Association announced they will appeal the decisions of the Employment Court and Court of Appeal in favour of Kristine Bartlett, to the Supreme Court. They say they have no choice but to appeal because many...
    Greens
  • Why Pakeha are so offended by John Key’s idea of a peaceful settlement
    The statements by the Prime Minister on the Waitangi Tribunal ruling that Maori never ceded sovereignty in 1840 are enough to make any student of history choke. First was the denial that the ruling means anything significant. And then there...
    Greens
  • Restoration of the Christchurch Arts Centre well underway
    It was inspiring to be shown some of the major restoration and rebuilding work underway at the Christchurch Arts Centre recently. With 22 of 23 Arts Centre buildings damaged by the earthquakes, this is one of the largest heritage restoration...
    Greens
  • Key’s vile smear machine questions left unanswered
    The report into Judith Collins’ involvement in undermining the former Serious Fraud Office boss leaves major questions unanswered about the smear machine run out of John Key’s office, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “This report has deliberately narrow terms of...
    Labour
  • Govt must make up lost time on sexual violence law reform
    The Government must prioritise any recommendations from the Law Commission to improve criminal process for sexual violence cases after it stalled reform work for two years, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Labour is pleased Justice Minister Amy Adams has...
    Labour
  • White Ribbon day should last all year
    White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for all men to stand up and affirm to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women, says Labour’s Associate Justice Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “Violence towards women is rampant across all sectors...
    Labour
  • Report confirms John Key abused power of PM’s Office
    Today's Inspector General of Intelligence and Security's (IGIS) report confirms that the Prime Minister's office engaged in a serious abuse of power, says the Green Party.The IGIS report looked at the release of an Official Information Act request to disgraced...
    Greens
  • IGIS report a damning indictment on former spy boss
    The report by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the release of classified documents is a sad and damning indictment on former spy boss Warren Tucker, Labour’s MP for Mount Roskill and former leader Phil Goff says.  “This report upholds...
    Labour
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    Greens
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up
    Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience....
    Labour
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour
  • Hold on – did NZ just have a coup?
    Ummmmm. Wait a minute here. Just so that we all understand what’s been revealed. The Prime Minister’s Office used the Secret Intelligence Service to falsify classified information to smear the Leader of the Opposition via a far right hate blogger...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter referring to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    ...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased are the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased are the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2009. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2009. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog
  • Fish & Game wants more than lip service from agriculture
    Fish & Game wants to know how the government will ensure the agriculture sector protects the environment after the Primary Industries Minister warned primary sector leaders that environmental sustainability is no longer a “nice to have.”...
    Scoop politics
  • Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    Public submissions are being invited on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Thursday, 27 November 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Ngā Aho Whakaari Questions TMP Handling of TVNZ Contract
    Television New Zealand (TVNZ) recently announced that internal production of its iconic Māori programmes ‘Waka Huia’ and ‘Marae Investigates’ would cease and that it would outsource the production of these programmes for the duration of...
    Scoop politics
  • Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence And Security
    Statements from the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (x2) 1. In response to questions about particular contents of the report: Ms Gwyn said that - as she had said yesterday when releasing the report - the report, including the factual...
    Scoop politics
  • Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    Public submissions are being invited on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 13 February 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • SIS Scandal Leaves Key Unscathed
    Prime Minister John Key has been almost entirely unscathed by the SIS scandal, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. The probability Mr Key will remain leader of the National Party...
    Scoop politics
  • Lawyer jailed for fraud against loyal clients
    John David Milne (79) has been sentenced to eight years and one month of imprisonment today in the Christchurch District Court following a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution....
    Scoop politics
  • MFaT CEO To Announce Resignation
    NZ's leading Political publication Trans Tasman can reveal Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade chief executive John Allen will announce his resignation on Monday. Allen, who was controversially recruited to head up the Ministry in 2009 after a stellar...
    Scoop politics
  • Rotorua White Ribbon Ride urges stand against violence
    Dave Donaldson will never forget the story of a woman who escaped her violent partner by going to jail. Some years ago while the Rotorua deputy mayor was still a police officer, he escorted a woman to Auckland to serve...
    Scoop politics
  • Air Line Pilots’ Association on proposed rules for Drones
    The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association is welcoming calls by the Civil Aviation Authority to have industry and the public have their say on proposed rules for unmanned aircraft operations....
    Scoop politics
  • Family Violence Report on Gender Bias Welcomed
    Family First NZ is welcoming a report which says that blaming men for domestic violence is ‘gender bias’....
    Scoop politics
  • Terrorism bill fraught with risk for academics
    Academics studying terrorism, or other topics that the SIS considers not to be in the national interest, could be among those who lose civil rights if an ‘anti-terrorism’ bill becomes law....
    Scoop politics
  • Iwi score badly on Māori language report card
    Māori language group Umere has given 'iwi corporates' a "Not achieved" for not standing up for te reo....
    Scoop politics
  • Men need to play leadership role
    White Ribbon Day is the international day for the elimination of violence against women and occurs each year on 25 November....
    Scoop politics
  • NZ-HK Customs heads meet to strengthen ties
    A meeting between New Zealand Customs and Hong Kong Customs officials in Auckland today has strengthened the close partnership between the two agencies that continue to work together, especially to combat drug smuggling and organised crime....
    Scoop politics
  • Liam Butler interviews Hon Richard Prebble CBE,
    Out of the Red $29.95 The untold story of NZ's biggest business turn around....
    Scoop politics
  • Submissions called for two herbicide applications
    The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on the reassessment of the herbicide Firebird and an application for release of the herbicide Sakura....
    Scoop politics
  • Collins Inquiry – Statement from Mr Adam Feeley
    "I am pleased that the inquiry was undertaken and with the outcome announced today, especially given the unprecedented level of speculation, criticism and comment around investigations into the collapse of finance companies - much of which bore little...
    Scoop politics
  • #GivingTuesday focuses on charitable giving in Xmas lead-up
    More than 100 New Zealand charities are taking part in the inaugural #GivingTuesday being held on Tuesday 2 December....
    Scoop politics
  • Carrick Graham: Inquiry Shows New Media PR Here to Stay
    Facilitate Communications welcomes the Prime Minister’s release of the Inquiry report into allegations regarding the Honourable Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley....
    Scoop politics
  • Carrick Graham: Inquiry Shows New Media PR Here to Stay
    Facilitate Communications welcomes the Prime Minister’s release of the Inquiry report into allegations regarding the Honourable Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley....
    Scoop politics
  • Importance of employer support of victims of family violence
    The Public Service Association (PSA) has welcomed a new report, Intimate partner violence and the workplace, published today by the NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse at the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Importance of employer support of victims of family violence
    The Public Service Association (PSA) has welcomed a new report, Intimate partner violence and the workplace, published today by the NZ Family Violence Clearinghouse at the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Activists celebrate success in ‘Roast Busters’ campaign
    Activist community ActionStation is today celebrating the success of their campaign to force a review into the lack of charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ case, after the Minister of Justice announced the re-opening of work to improve the justice system...
    Scoop politics
  • Activists celebrate success in ‘Roast Busters’ campaign
    Activist community ActionStation is today celebrating the success of their campaign to force a review into the lack of charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ case, after the Minister of Justice announced the re-opening of work to improve the justice system...
    Scoop politics
  • White Ribbon Day: A lot of work to do
    White Ribbon Day is a timely reminder to all New Zealanders that when it comes to sexual violence there is a lot of work to do says Human Rights Commissioner Jackie Blue. “Many victims of sexual violence are failed by...
    Scoop politics
  • White Ribbon Day: A lot of work to do
    White Ribbon Day is a timely reminder to all New Zealanders that when it comes to sexual violence there is a lot of work to do says Human Rights Commissioner Jackie Blue. “Many victims of sexual violence are failed by...
    Scoop politics
  • MBIE acts against Queenstown breaches of employment laws
    Enforcement action has been taken against 15 employers in the hospitality, retail and service industries following an operation in August by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)....
    Scoop politics
  • MBIE acts against Queenstown breaches of employment laws
    Enforcement action has been taken against 15 employers in the hospitality, retail and service industries following an operation in August by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)....
    Scoop politics
  • E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call
    E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call for Māori Tikanga to Battle Domestic Violence...
    Scoop politics
  • E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call
    E Tu Whānau Supports Glenn Report’s call for Māori Tikanga to Battle Domestic Violence...
    Scoop politics
  • Link between inequality and teen births studied
    A University of Canterbury economics and finance postgraduate student’s research project has been unable to find a strong link between teen birth rates and socio-economic inequality....
    Scoop politics
  • Link between inequality and teen births studied
    A University of Canterbury economics and finance postgraduate student’s research project has been unable to find a strong link between teen birth rates and socio-economic inequality....
    Scoop politics
  • On White Ribbon Day, and every day, Plunket is here to help
    On White Ribbon Day, Plunket says the impact family violence has on children is not OK, but it is OK to ask for help, and is encouraging parents in violent or abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and their...
    Scoop politics
  • On White Ribbon Day, and every day, Plunket is here to help
    On White Ribbon Day, Plunket says the impact family violence has on children is not OK, but it is OK to ask for help, and is encouraging parents in violent or abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and their...
    Scoop politics
  • Dr Warren Tucker accepts findings of IGIS report
    I accept the findings of the Inspector-General's thorough and careful report and take full responsibility not only for my decisions but for the systemic errors made by NZSIS at the time....
    Scoop politics
  • Dr Warren Tucker accepts findings of IGIS report
    I accept the findings of the Inspector-General's thorough and careful report and take full responsibility not only for my decisions but for the systemic errors made by NZSIS at the time....
    Scoop politics
  • NZSIS accepts Inspector-General’s recommendations
    The Director of Security, Rebecca Kitteridge says she accepts all of the recommendations from an inquiry into the release of NZSIS information in July and August 2011. “We are implementing all of the recommendations as soon as possible,” Ms Kitteridge...
    Scoop politics
  • NZSIS accepts Inspector-General’s recommendations
    The Director of Security, Rebecca Kitteridge says she accepts all of the recommendations from an inquiry into the release of NZSIS information in July and August 2011. “We are implementing all of the recommendations as soon as possible,” Ms Kitteridge...
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwis Embrace the Spirit of Giving This Christmas
    Auckland, New Zealand – November 25, 2014 – Kiwis are embracing the spirit of giving this Christmas, with new figures revealing that a majority of us will be looking to purchase gifts for six or more people this festive season....
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwis Embrace the Spirit of Giving This Christmas
    Auckland, New Zealand – November 25, 2014 – Kiwis are embracing the spirit of giving this Christmas, with new figures revealing that a majority of us will be looking to purchase gifts for six or more people this festive season....
    Scoop politics
  • The writing’s on the wall in aged care
    The writing’s on the wall in aged care, so let’s get on with it....
    Scoop politics
  • The writing’s on the wall in aged care
    The writing’s on the wall in aged care, so let’s get on with it....
    Scoop politics
  • Report on release of NZSIS information to Cameron Slater
    The inquiry found the NZSIS released incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office....
    Scoop politics
  • Report on release of NZSIS information to Cameron Slater
    The inquiry found the NZSIS released incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information in response to Mr Slater’s request, and provided some of the same incorrect information to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office....
    Scoop politics
  • New Zealand a world leader in animal welfare
    The Animal Protection Index , which ranks 50countries across the world on their animal welfare standards, places New Zealand (along with the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland)in first place....
    Scoop politics
  • New Zealand a world leader in animal welfare
    The Animal Protection Index , which ranks 50countries across the world on their animal welfare standards, places New Zealand (along with the United Kingdom, Austria and Switzerland)in first place....
    Scoop politics
  • Corrections Review of Phillip Smith’s Illegal Departure
    Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith has made public a summary of the findings of the review into the illegal departure from New Zealand of prisoner Phillip Smith during a temporary release....
    Scoop politics
  • Corrections Review of Phillip Smith’s Illegal Departure
    Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith has made public a summary of the findings of the review into the illegal departure from New Zealand of prisoner Phillip Smith during a temporary release....
    Scoop politics
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics
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