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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

    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

    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

          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

            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

              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

            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

              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

          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

            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

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


              • 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

              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

          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

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

            Them damned true Scotsmen at it again.

          • Nick C

            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

              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


      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.


      • 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

          …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

          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


      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

          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

          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

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


          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

            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

              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


                • 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

          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

            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”.


  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

          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

            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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    Pundit | 23-10
  • Beware the sucker ploy.
    A few years back I wrote about the strategic utility of terrorism. One thing I did not mention in that post was the use of a tried and true guerrilla tactic as part of the terrorist arsenal: the sucker ploy....
    Kiwipolitico | 23-10
  • Hard News: Friday Music: An accompanied korero
    I'm chairing the LATE at the Museum event next month, under the title The Age of Slacktivism. We've picked a strong lineup -- Nicky Hager, Matthew Hooton, Marianne Elliot, Laura O'Connell Rapira -- and it should be a rousing hour's...
    Public Address | 23-10
  • 6 amazing renewable energy projects that we love
    Here's a few renewable energy projects from around the world -- ones that we totally love.1. Germany has invested big in solar and wind. And in the first six months of 2012, the amount of electricity produced using renewables jumped from...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 23-10
  • China’s coal use actually falling now (for the first time this centur...
    Coal use in China is falling this year - according to official data reported in the Chinese press.It is the first time this century that China has seen year on year quarterly falls in coal use. The Chinese economy continues to grow...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 23-10
  • Can new roads pay for themselves?
    It’s common to hear people say that because roads are paid for by their users (fn 1), we should build more roads. After all, the new roads will fund themselves! At first glance, this seems convincing. But a closer look...
    Transport Blog | 23-10
  • As a nation drowned in the PM’s lies, sons & daughters were sent to d...
      As a nation drowned in the PM’s lies Sons & daughters were sent to die Meanwhile at home democracy cried But his government crowed Everything’s fine.   Other peoples’ children signed up for his war While at home in comfort...
    Politically Corrected | 23-10
  • Why I am on the left
    (For our opening week, we asked all our contributors to think about why they’re On The Left, and what the next three years holds for the left, the government, and New Zealand.) Post by Jem I am left first and...
    On the Left | 23-10
  • Minister to attend TPP Ministers’ Meeting
    Press Release – New Zealand Government Trade Minister Tim Groser will depart today for Sydney to join Ministers from countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for the next round of negotiations.Hon Tim Groser Minister of Trade 24 October 2014...
    Its our future | 23-10
  • On The Nation this weekend
    Press Release – The Nation This weekend on The Nation with dairy prices falling, China growing its agriculture sector, and the environmental costs piling up, we ask the Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings if New Zealand is too dependent on...
    Its our future | 23-10
  • Agri-Food Producers Call for Strong Outcomes through the TPP
    Press Release – Federated Farmers International Agricultural and Agri-Food Producers Call for Strong Outcomes through the TPP At the round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations taking place this week in Australia, agri-food producer and processor groups from Canada, Australia …International...
    Its our future | 23-10
  • Grant Robertson is not as much like Joseph Stalin as some would have you th...
    It’s not often you see a New Zealand political figure compared favourably to Stalin, but this is what Chris Trotter has done to that decidedly non-genocidal non-lunatic Grant Robertson.  ...
    Pundit | 23-10
  • Food, Fossil Fuels and Filthy Finance
    It is depressingly apparent that powerful forces in the global economy are set to carry on with the exploration for and use of fossil fuels ass a primary source of energy for decades to come. Oxfam has produced a report...
    Hot Topic | 23-10
  • 2014 Arctic sea ice extent – 6th lowest in millennia
    The National Snow and Ice Data Center has reported that this year we saw the 6th-lowest minimum Arctic sea ice extent on record. Research has shown that most of the long-term decline in sea ice, or the “death spiral” as...
    Skeptical Science | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    Today I made my oral submission to the Environmental Protection Authority on Chatham Rock Phosphate’s application to mine phosphate from the seabed approximately halfway between the mainland and the Chatham Island. In a nutshell this application is for the deepest...
    frogblog | 23-10
  • Surrounded sex offender still won’t come down from roof
    While they would still appreciate him coming down, police say they’re confident the man has “nowhere to hide.” After an agonising 54-year wait, it is beginning to appear as though a notorious sex offender dressed as Santa may not, in...
    The Civilian | 23-10
  • Stuart’s 100 #46 On the Way or Already There?
    46: On the Way or Already There? What if we dropped the pseudo-word “roading” from Auckland’s vernacular? Roads are on the way somewhere; streets are already somewhere. This simple difference in understanding and perspective between movement and place often results...
    Transport Blog | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    frogblog | 23-10
  • More police misconduct
    Another day, another IPCA report - this one into a police officer who unjustifiably set a police dog to savage a surrendering suspect:A police dog was set on a man who had his hands in the air in what is...
    No Right Turn | 23-10
  • Media Link: The revolution will not be televised.
    I had the opportunity to do a long interview with Olivier Jutel, host of the Dunedin Radio One show “The revolution will not be televised.” It is a rare occasion when one gets to converse at length about a variety...
    Kiwipolitico | 23-10
  • Key spoke to Cameron Slater ‘not as Prime Minister’, but as a sponge
    Cameron Slater (left), and John Key (right), presumably in his capacity as a kitchen sponge. Facing fresh criticism about the details of his relationship with Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Prime Minister John Key today claimed that, on the occasions...
    The Civilian | 23-10
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Musa Kart is a Turkish cartoonist. In February he published a cartoon criticising Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's cover-up of a corruption probe. Now, he's being prosecuted for it:Turkish prosecutors have filed an indictment against a famous cartoonist working for...
    No Right Turn | 23-10
  • Workers’ rights under attack
    Now that 51st Parliament has been officially opened and sworn in, the government’s first order of business is to ram through an amendment to the Employment Relations Act. These legislative changes represent a massive assault on the rights of everyday...
    On the Left | 23-10
  • Assaulted for protecting olive trees
    Villagers and activists were assaulted, handcuffed and hospitalized today while protecting olive trees at the site of a proposed coal plant in Turkey.The Kolin Group wants the olive trees cut down to make way for a new coal power plant....
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 23-10
  • Shell Oil Cowboys Caught Drilling Illegally in New Zealand
    “There be trouble in town sheriff, some cowboys is coming into town”. It could be a line from a grainy old western from our childhood (well, mine anyway) when the good, clean living people of a well to do town...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 23-10
  • Freedom of information: How it works in Norway
    While we're all wailing and gnashing our teeth about the corruption of our Official Information Act, the Open Government Partnership has a great piece on how Norway does it better. Key to their approach is proactive publication of the metadata...
    No Right Turn | 22-10
  • Low inflation – time for meaningful wage increases
    With inflation low, now is a good time for workers to negotiate for pay increases that outstrip price rises and deliver real increases in wages and salaries. “For too many people, real pay increases have been missing for several years...
    CTU | 22-10
  • There appears to be an off button
    John Key’s ability to turn his Prime Ministership on or off as he pleases raises a number of troubling issues for the general public....
    Imperator Fish | 22-10
  • The 500 hats of Bartholomew Cubbins – the John Key edition
    It’s standard practice for Ministers and Prime Ministers to wear different “hats” in the course of their work. Work done as a Minister can obviously be separate and distinct from an MP’s ordinary functions on behalf of the constituents in their electorates....
    Occasionally erudite | 22-10
  • The many hats of John Key
    On the Left | 22-10
  • Want lower rates? Cut back on urban sprawl
    Suburban sprawl is a radical, government-led re-engineering of society, one that artificially inverted millennia of accumulated wisdom and practice in building human habitats. Charles Marohn In the recent article The Conservative Case Against the Suburbs Charles Marohn (@StrongTowns) takes on the awkward relationship...
    Transport Blog | 22-10
  • National’s failed commodities export strategy exposed
    National's strategy to rely on commodities such as milk powder and logs has been exposed in the September trade figures released today, the Green Party said."National's strategy to hang all economic hope on exporting ever-increasing volumes of milk powder and...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Caution needed on calls to arm police
    There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status,...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Govt strains to get tea break law through
    The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“National desperately...
    Labour | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    The company says there will be economic benefits, which the EEZ Act says the EPA must consider, but even these benefits are in doubt. The royalties while not set will be tiny, the profits will flow offshore, and whatever phosphate...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Government loses the affordable housing race
    Nick Smith is dreaming if he thinks he can deliver affordable housing to Cantabrians on his current figures, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Minister’s announcement that the Government will build 237 new homes, most of which will...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Labour’s thoughts with Canadians
    Labour has offered its sympathies to the family and friends of the Canadian soldier who died in what appears to be a premeditated and unprovoked attack while standing at guard at the Ottawa National War Memorial. “Our thoughts are also...
    Labour | 23-10
  • What next for TVNZ? Outsourcing the news?
    Television New Zealand’s decision to outsource Māori and Pacific programming is a real blow to the notion that our state broadcaster is a public broadcaster, says Labour. “CEO Kevin Kenrick has said today that TVNZ has ‘a very long and...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Green Party expresses sympathy for Canadian shooting victims
    The Green Party expressed its solidarity with Canadians and the Canadian Parliament today, offering its sympathy for family and friends of the soldier killed in the attack. "Our thoughts are with all those caught up in the shooting in Canada...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Prime Minister must honour his promise
    It’s time for John Key to honour his promise to the Pike River families, says Labour MP Damien O’Connor.  “International mine experts have confirmed the view of WorkSafe New Zealand and many miners on the West Coast that it is...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health about Katherine Rich’s c...
    KEVIN HAGUE to the Minister of Health : Is he satisfied that there is no conflict of interest in the head of the Food and Grocery Council, Katherine Rich, being a board member of the Health Promotion Agency; if so,...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Kennedy Graham to the Prime Minister on the Deployment of New Zealand Speci...
    Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that the risks to New Zealand from any commitment of military assistance to counter Islamic State militants in Iraq would be "no greater than I think the...
    Greens | 22-10
  • EPA finds Shell Oil illegally drilled two wells
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded that Shell Todd Oil Services (STOS) broke the law by drilling two wells without a marine consent off the coast of Taranaki, the Green Party said today. The EPA conducted an inspection of...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Soaring rail use in Auckland shows need for rail link now
    News that Aucklanders overtook Wellingtonians as the biggest train users is further evidence the Government needs to start work on the Auckland City Rail Link now, the Green Party said today.Auckland Transport said today that in the year to September,...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Tea breaks gone by lunch time
    Labour is calling for an eleventh hour reprieve to employment law changes which could see thousands of Kiwi workers not covered by collective agreements lose their smoko breaks, its spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“How cynical that on the...
    Labour | 21-10
  • Metiria Turei to lead fight on feeding hungry children
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira.Mrs Turei, who leads the Green Party's work on child poverty, will pick up Mr...
    Greens | 21-10
  • Otago dairy farms fail basics
    I’m really privileged to take on the responsibility of the water portfolio. Eugenie Sage has done excellent work in this area in the last term of parliament and provided a great platform for further work. Last Parliament my bill to...
    Greens | 21-10
  • A mighty totara has fallen across the Tasman
    The New Zealand Labour Party expresses deep sadness at the death of former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, aged 98. “Today a great totara has fallen across the Tasman,” Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says....
    Labour | 21-10
  • Note to National: Must deliver on child poverty
    John Key and his Government will be held to its promise to make child poverty a priority, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “In its priority-setting speech today the Government stated child poverty would be a major focus for...
    Labour | 21-10
  • New Analysis show Government cut tertiary education funding
    New analysis done by the Green Party today shows the Government has made cuts to funding of tertiary education since 2008.Figures compiled by the Parliamentary Library show that between 2009 and 2015 Government funding to Tertiary Institutions dropped by 4...
    Greens | 21-10
  • Students doing it tough as fees rise again
    The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Steven Joyce is shutting a generation...
    Labour | 20-10
  • Key misled New Zealand on Iraq deployment
      John Key was misleading New Zealanders prior to the election when he ruled out New Zealand special forces being deployed to Iraq, says Labour Defence Spokesperson Phil Goff.  “Post-election he has cynically disregarded that by saying that deployment of...
    Labour | 20-10
  • Swearing about swearing the oath
    Yesterday, I was swearing. Swearing the Parliamentary oath, that is. But, under my breath, I was also quietly swearing about the archaic, colonial form of that oath and its inappropriateness for today’s Aotearoa New Zealand. To be permitted to speak...
    Greens | 20-10
  • Kevin Hague speaks in the 2014 Address and Reply debate
    Thank you very much, Mr Deputy Speaker, and, like others, can I begin my contribution by congratulating you and the others in the Speaker's team: the Rt Hon David Carter, Lindsay Tisch, and the Hon Trevor Mallard. I also want...
    Greens | 20-10
  • Damning report on Ruataniwha dam numbers
    When I presented my submission to the Board of Inquiry on the Tukituki Catchment Proposal I compared the proposed 83 metre high Ruataniwha dam with the Clyde Dam and noted the risk of cost blowouts in the construction process.  The...
    Greens | 20-10
  • Church congratulated on child poverty stand
    The efforts by the bishops of the Anglican Church to ensure that the issue of child poverty is not forgotten is a call to all New Zealanders to take action, says Labour’s Interfaith-Dialogue Spokesperson, Su’a William Sio.   “I think...
    Labour | 19-10
  • Labour names Review Team
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review.  He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban (see further biographical details here). The Review Team...
    Labour | 19-10
  • Labour backs urban development plans
    Auckland Council’s plan to set up an urban development agency is to be applauded and central government should get behind it to make it a success, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town has indicated plans...
    Labour | 18-10
  • New Zealand can be rightly proud of seat on Security Council
    Gaining a seat on the United Nation’s Security Council shows the sort of standing that New Zealand has in the world and the quality of the long campaign that we ran over nearly a decade, says Foreign Affairs spokesperson David...
    Labour | 16-10
  • NZ has opportunity on UN Security Council
    New Zealand has an opportunity to make a major contribution to the strengthening of international law and institutional capacity through its upcoming two-year tenure on the United Nations Security Council, Green Party spokesperson on global affairs, Dr Kennedy Graham said...
    Greens | 16-10
  • MPI still dragging the chain over causes of food bug
    The Ministry of Primary Industries’ release of Environmental Science and Research’s initial reports regarding the sources of a nasty stomach bug will be little comfort to the 127 people affected by it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “This...
    Labour | 16-10
  • Treasury officials should try working without food
    The Green Party is challenging Treasury officials to work for a week without eating properly, in light of their advice to Government that a food in schools programme is not needed."Treasury's advice was that providing food for children in schools...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Councils need to better protect our drinking water
    Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing several variations to its regional land and water plan that will allow for increased nutrient and other pollution from irrigation and intensive agriculture on the Canterbury Plains. Commissioners are hearing submissions on Variation 1 to...
    Greens | 15-10
  • National needs to commit to making NZ workers safe
    The National Government must do more to help make New Zealand workplaces a safer place to work in, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Data released by Statistics New Zealand today showed that workers in the fishing and...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Key commits to deployment before consultation or analysis
    John Key’s offer to consult Opposition parties on whether to deploy New Zealand forces against ISIS looks increasingly like a PR exercise only, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson, Phil Goff. “The presence of New Zealand’s Chief of Defence Force at a...
    Labour | 15-10
  • National must end ideological opposition to raising income
    If John Key is serious about tackling child poverty he must approach it with an open mind, and overcome his ideological block to raising incomes as a solution, the Green Party said today.Papers released to Radio New Zealand today show...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Pentagon links climate change and terrorism
    Yesterday the Pentagon launched a plan to deal with a threat that “poses immediate risks to national security”; one that “will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the nation”. It wasn’t referring to Ebola or ISIS. It was...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Four Nominees for Labour’s Leadership
    As at 5pm today four valid nominations had been received for the position of Labour Leader, as follows: Andrew Little(nominated by Poto Williams and Iain Lees-Galloway) Nanaia Mahuta(nominated by Louisa Wall and Su’a William Sio) David Parker(nominated by Damien O’Connor...
    Labour | 14-10
  • Green Party calls for consultation over terrorism law changes
    The Green Party has today written to the Prime Minister asking him to engage in wider consultation prior to changing any laws as a result of the recently announced terrorism law reviews, said the Green Party today. In a letter...
    Greens | 14-10
  • MPI must name product and supermarket chain
    The Ministry of Primary Industries must name the product responsible for severe gastroenteritis affecting people around the country, and the supermarket chain distributing it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The Ministry seems to be more concerned about protecting...
    Labour | 13-10
  • John Key dishonest about reasons for wanting to change terrorism law
    John Key is misleading the public to push through terrorism law changes under urgency, the Green Party said today. On Sunday, John Key stated that it is not illegal for someone to fight overseas for a terrorist group, such as...
    Greens | 12-10
  • Law changes shaping up to be worse than first thought
    The Prime Minister needs to be up front about exactly what changes he is planning to make to the Employment Relations  Amendment Bill, Labour's spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.Interviewed on Q&A yesterday John Key said he did not...
    Labour | 12-10
  • Rapists, not Tinder, the threat to women
    Blame for rape and sexual assault should only ever be laid at the door of the perpetrator, not dating services or the actions of women themselves, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “Tinder is not the problem and women...
    Labour | 09-10
  • Safer Journeys For People Who Cycle
    You have a rare opportunity to tell the people who are making the decisions on cycling how to make it better. The Cycling Safety Panel is seeking feedback on their draft recommendations for improving the safety of cycling in New...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Subsidising more pollution will undermine water clean-up plan at Te Waihora...
    In 2010, NIWA found Canterbury’s Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere had the worst nutrient status of 140 lakes around New Zealand that it measured. In 2011, the National Government committed to spending $15 million across the country through the Fresh Start for...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Adding value not herbicides
    The HT swedes, and other brassicas, might seem like a good idea to farmers struggling against weeds but like the GE road, is this the path we want our agriculture to be treading? The Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston...
    Greens | 07-10
  • ‘Blame the Planner’ bizarre approach to child poverty
    The National Government is stooping to a bizarre new low in blaming "planning processes" for poverty and inequality, after spending six years doing nothing about either the housing market or child poverty, the Green Party said today. Finance Minister Bill...
    Greens | 07-10
  • Media Advisory
    MANA Leader, Hone Harawira will not be available to speak with media today regarding his release “Recount Just One Step To restoring Credibility”. He is however available for media comment tomorrow, Tuesday the 8th of October, all media arrangements are...
    Mana | 07-10
    “I have applied for a judicial recount of the votes in the Tai Tokerau election because it is one step in trying to restore credibility to the electoral process in the north, and, I suspect, in all other Maori electorates...
    Mana | 07-10
    The MANA Movement is supporting Leader Hone Harawira’s application for a judicial re-count in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate for the 2014 general election. President Lisa McNab says there are a number of serious issues of concern regarding the ability...
    Mana | 07-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • More Latté Than Lager: Reflections on Grant Robertson’s Campaign Launch.
    BIKERS? SERIOUSLY! Had Grant Robertson’s campaign launch been organised by Phil Goff? Was this a pitch for the votes of what few Waitakere Men remain in the Labour Party? Was I even at the right place? Well, yes, I was....
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • About Curwen Ares Rolinson
    Curwen Ares Rolinson – Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kelly Ellis
    Kelly Ellis.Kelly Ellis – As a child, Kelly Ellis didn’t so much fall into the cracks, but willfully wriggled her way into them. Ejected from Onslow College – a big job in the 70s – Kelly worked in car factories,...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kate Davis
    Kate Davis.Kate Davis – Having completed her BA in English and Politics, Kate is now starting her MA. Kate works as a volunteer advocate at Auckland Action Against Poverty and previously worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Kate writes...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Parker does a Shearer – oh for a Labour Leader who can challenge msm fals...
    Sigh. It seems David Parker has done a Shearer… Like a cult and too red – Parker on LabourLabour leadership contender David Parker says Labour borders on feeling like “a cult” and must look at its branding – including its...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • A brief word on the hundreds of millions NZ is spending on the secret intel...
    The enormity of the mass surveillance state NZ Government’s have built carries a huge price tag… Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spyingThe $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Where. Is. Jason. Ede?
    Where. Is. Jason. Ede?...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Labour’s Din of Inequity
    Watching Labour’s leadership candidates on Q+A on Sunday, I noticed the ongoing use of terms like “opportunity” and “aspiration”, and “party of the workers”. What do these mean? We glean much from Labour, and from the media about Labour, but not...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • “Blue-Greenwash” fails the test when it comes to endangered dolphins
    National’s pre-election promises saw some wins for the environment – perhaps as the party sought to appease its “Blue-Green” voters and broaden its popular appeal. Some of the ecological gains were a long time in the making, overdue even– such...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Reasons not to be cheerful, Part #272b
    Why don’t you get back into bed? The next few years — the rest of this century — are not going to be pretty. There is an obvious disconnect between any remaining political ambition to fix climate change and the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • OIA protocols and official advice ignored to hide Child Poverty
    It might not seem so now, but child poverty was a major election issue. What a pity we did not have the full debate. In that debate it would have been very helpful to have seen the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 20-10
  • Previewing the 4 candidates for Leader of the Labour Party
    The extraordinary outbursts by Shearer last week highlights just how toxic that Caucus is. Shearer was on every major media platform as the ABC attack dog tearing into Cunliffe in the hope of diminishing Cunliffe’s support of Little by tearing...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – the sudden explosion of ‘left’ blogs
    Time to Teach or more people will suffer from P.A.I.D. Political And Intellectual Dysmorphia.I was on the Twitter and a guy followed me so of course I did the polite thing and followed him back. He wrote a blog so...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Ego vs Eco
    Ego vs Eco...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • We can’t let the Roastbuster case slip away
    Those of us (like me) left with hope that the police would aggressively follow through on the large amount of evidence on offer to them (let’s not forget they forgot they even had some at one point) in the Roastbusters...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Food, shelter and medicine instead of bombs and bullets
    The on-going conflict across the Middle East – due in large part to the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq – has created another humanitarian crisis of biblical proportion. The essentials of life are desperately needed in Iraq and Syria...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • The politics of electorate accommodations
    National’s electorate accommodations with ACT and United Future were a big factor in it winning re-election. Interestingly, there is another electorate accommodation scenario whereby the centre-left could have come out on top, even with the same distribution of party votes....
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Why you should join the TPPA Action on 8 November
    On 8 November 2014, thousands of Kiwis will take part in the International Day of Action to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The rally cry for us is TPPA – Corporate Trap, Kiwis Fight Back. Why should you join...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG – Patrick O’Dea: no new coal mines
    Green Party and Mana Party policy is “NO NEW COAL MINES!” Auckland Coal Action is trying to put this policy into action on the ground. ACA after a hard fought two year campaign waged alongside local residents and Iwi, in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Comparing Police action – Hager raid vs Roast Buster case
    This satire had the NZ Police contact TDB and threaten us with 6months in prison for using their logo.   The plight of Nicky Hager and the draconian Police actions against him has generated over  $53 000 in donations so...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Malala Yousafzai, White Saviour Complexes and Local Resistance
    Last week, Malala Yousafzai was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Since her exposure to the worldwide spotlight, her spirit, wisdom and strength have touched the hearts of people everywhere. However, there have been cynics who have argued that...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Jason Ede is back – but no media can interview him?
    Well, well, well. Jason Ede, the main figure connected to John Key’s office and the Dirty Politics black ops is back with a company with deep ties to the National Party. One thing you can say about the right –...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Leadership Transitions In Other Parties: A ...
    As cannot have escaped anyone’s attention by now, the country is presently in the grips of an election and campaign that will help determine the fate of the nation for years to come. It’s gripping stuff – with clear divides...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • SkyCity worker says she faces losing her house
    SkyCity worker Carolyn Alpine told the company annual shareholder’s meeting today that she faced the prospect of losing her house because the company had cut her shifts from two a week to one without consultation. The solo mother, has worked...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • Greg O’Connor’s latest push to arm cops & 5 reasons not to
    I was wondering at what point within a 3rd term of National that Police Cheerleader Greg O’Connor would start trying to demand cops be armed. O’Connor must have thought to himself, ‘if bloody Key can get us and the GCSB vast new...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • You can’t have crisis without ISIS
    So the new scary bogeyman ISIS might have chemical weapons that the US secretly found in Iraq, but America didn’t want to expose this find because the WMDs were actually built and made by the US and Europe, the two powers...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • NZ WINS UN SPIN THE BOTTLE! Privately sucking up to America for a decade me...
    Oh, we are loved! Little old NZ, the 53rd state of America after Israel and Australia, gets to sit at the adults table for the special dinner party that is the UN Security Council. How delightful, a decade of privately...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • MEDIA BLOG – Myles Thomas – A World Without Advertising
    Non-commercial broadcasting and media. It’s a solution for all manner of problems ailing our tender nation… voter engagement, unaccountable governance, apathy, stupefaction, public education, science in schools, arts appreciation, cultural cringe… But no-one could’ve guessed that non-commercial media might solve...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October
    March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • Whack a mole as US govt foreign policy
    Whack-A-Mole was a popular arcade game from my youth.  It consisted of a waist high cabinet with holes in the top. Plastic moles seemingly randomly pop out of these holes. The purpose of the game was to hit as many...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • In Paean of Debt
    This week is ‘Money Week’. It’s an opportunity to promote to the middle classes, and anyone else who will listen, the virtues of wise ‘investment’. The aims are to promote the mystical (and indeed mythical) virtues of saving for the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • The last 48 hours – Poverty denial, war denial and unapologetic abuse of ...
    The bewildering speed of events that simply end in Key shrugging and proclaiming he doesn’t really give a shit is coming think and fast as the Government suddenly appreciate the full spectrum dominance they now enjoy. Here is Radio NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Mana 2.0 Rebooted
    Internationally the news is that Evo Morales of Bolivia won big with Left Wing policies But what are the chances that the Left will make a resurgence in this country? As the internecine struggles between the Left and the Right...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Blomfield IPCA letter – Has Dirty Politics leaked into the NZ Police ...
    It’s difficult to know what to make of the IPCA letter to Matthew Blomfield over Slater’s continued insistence that the hard drive taken from Matthew wasn’t stolen.  Slater has selectively cherry picked the Police referring back to his claim that Blomfeild perjured...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • ​Media release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union – Auckland move for K...
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is questioning a KiwiRail proposal to progressively relocate its Zero Harm personnel from Wellington to Auckland. “The purpose of the Zero Harm team is to drive KiwiRail’s performance in health and safety.  Rail is a...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Amnesty International – Friend request from an IS militant
    There’s always that one person, that one Facebook friend, usually a musician or event promoter, who, when you so foolishly accept their friend request, will completely inundate your news feed with copious event invitations and promotions. The person who, despite...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • NZ should follow the UK and recognize the Palestinian state
    Over the past two weeks, the United Kingdom and Sweden have made headlines through their decisions to recognize the state of Palestine. They are hardly the first nations to do so. Indeed, 134 countries have, in various ways, given formal...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Discordant Chimes of Freedom: Why Labour has yet to be forgiven.
    WHY DOES THE ELECTORATE routinely punish Labour and the Greens for their alleged “political correctness” but not National? It just doesn’t seem fair. Consider, for example, the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 – the so-called “anti-smacking legislation” –...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Hosking or Henry – Which right wing crypto fascist clown do you want to w...
    So Mediaworks are finally going to make some actual money from their eye watering contract with Paul Henry by launching a new multi-platform Breakfast show over TV, Radio and internet. This is great news for Campbell Live who have dodged...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Families need more money to reduce child poverty
    Prime Minister John Key is mistaken to rule out extending the In Work Tax Credit to all poor children (The Nation 11th Oct) and Child Poverty Action Group challenges government advisors to come up with a more cost effective way...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – Don’t shit on my dream
    Once were dreamers. A large man, walks down the road and, even from 200 yards there’s light showing between his big arms and bigger body. It’s as if he’s put tennis balls under his arms. Two parking wardens walk out...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Pike River Families Group Press Release
    The Families can now but hope that Solid Energy will consider closely the response of the Families’ expert mining advisers, Bob Stevenson and Dave Creedy, and the independent legal advice by Hugh Rennie QC as to why re-entry to the...
    Scoop politics | 24-10
  • On The Nation this weekend
    This weekend on The Nation… with dairy prices falling, China growing its agriculture sector, and the environmental costs piling up, we ask the Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings if New Zealand is too dependent on milk powder and if we’ve...
    Scoop politics | 24-10
  • NZ Government Urged to Do More to Fight Ebola
    As Ebola continues to tear through West Africa, Save the Children NZ is urging the government to do more in the fight against the deadly virus....
    Scoop politics | 24-10
  • Korero Mai Ki Ahau – Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 October 2014
    Broadcast on Waatea 603AM Saturday 12.00 - 12.30pm Sunday 12.00 - 12.30pm Both shows repeated 5.00pm – 6.00pm On Sunday...
    Scoop politics | 24-10
  • Putting whānau foremost in Family Dispute Resolution
    Dispute resolution company, FairWay Resolution, has developed a uniquely New Zealand approach to family dispute resolution (FDR) that is underpinned by the cultural needs and values of the parties to a family dispute. In support of its role as a...
    Scoop politics | 24-10
  • Anglican Family Care staff to rally industrial action rises
    Public Service Association (PSA) members working at Anglican Family Care (AFC) in Dunedin will hold two rallies in Dunedin next week as they seek a fair pay offer, following a week of low-key industrial action....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Flying Visit for Adventuring Kiwi Socialpreneur
    12 Months on, this former Alexandra barista is changing lives in Buenos Aires Slums with free lunches, music, art, drama and toothbrushes...
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • March in Solidarity with Kurdistan Against ISIS Attacks
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan in light of the heinous genocidal attacks in Kobanê by ISIS. We will begin with silent demonstrations then commence marching. We will start from Britomart, Queen Street (outside Dick...
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • No Problem for Henare & Jones, But “No Way” for Harawira
    “Just before the election I broke the story about the gutting of Maori Television’s News and Current Affairs department by MTS’ new CEO Paora Maxwell. I pointed out that Carol Hirschfeld and Julian Wilcox, two of the country’s most experienced...
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Corruption: Positive developments for NZ but more to be done
    Global anti-corruption group Transparency International today released a report on OECD Anti-Bribery Convention enforcement and called for New Zealand to implement draft legislation to ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Government to Blame as Much as Council for Marryatt Payout
    The Taxpayers' Union is calling on the Government to fix the employment law regime that has forced Christchurch ratepayers to fork out $800,000 to former Council boss Tony Marryatt....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Unanimously Call for Commissioner to Arm Police Full Time
    In the wake of a series of recent armed offender incidents, delegates to the Police Association Annual Conference today called unanimously on the Commissioner to arm Police full time....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Bank gets behind NZ wildlife icon with sizable donation
    It will be easier than ever this summer for holiday-markers to dip into their pockets to support the yellow-eyed penguin....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • WorkSafe report raises concerns about asbestos
    The union representing construction workers in the Canterbury rebuild is surprised at WorkSafe’s conclusion that no action needs to be taken against EQC and Fletcher EQR over asbestos exposure in Canterbury homes. “This report was an opportunity...
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Union accuses SkyCity CEO of misleading public
    Unite Union has accused SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison of misleading the public over the cut in hours for a staff member who raised the issue at the company's AGM....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Last Hurrah on the Taxpayer
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that Hone Harawira spent up $54,000 on the taxpayer in his last three months as an MP, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “It is absolutely disgraceful that an MP managed to rack...
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Press statement in relation to search of Nicky Hager’s home
    On 2 October 2014, Nicky Hager's home in Wellington was searched by police. Mr Hager asserted that documents kept at his house were protected by privilege, including because they contained information that might identify confidential sources....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • The Sam Simon arrives into Auckland for new campaign
    This morning Sea Shepherd ship, the Sam Simon, arrived into Auckland harbour after its journey from Melbourne. The ship and its 25 crew from around the globe have come to New Zealand to source supplies and prepare for the upcoming...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Low inflation – time for meaningful wage increases
    With inflation low, now is a good time for workers to negotiate for pay increases that outstrip price rises and deliver real increases in wages and salaries. “For too many people, real pay increases have been missing for several years...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Auckland Rates Rises Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that Auckland ratepayers will face an average of a 29 percent rates increase, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “These rate rises show that Len Brown's spending is out of control.”...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Protest at New Plymouth Oil and Gas Expo
    About 30 protesters from Climate Justice Taranaki, Frack-free Kapiti, Te Uru Pounamu Action Group, Oil Free Wellington, Frack-free Manawatu and the east coast protested yesterday outside New Plymouth's biennial Oil and Gas Expo at the TSB Stadium....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • FMA warns consumers about cold-calling investment offers
    The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is warning New Zealand consumers and investors to be wary of cold-calls asking them to buy shares or put their money into offshore firms....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Comprehensive plan needed to end child poverty
    Child Poverty Action Group says it is vital the newly re-elected National government takes a planned and comprehensive approach to reducing child poverty in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Metiria Gets Feed the Kids
    Yesterday the Speaker of the House advised that he had accepted my request to transfer my Feed the Kids (Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment) Bill to Metiria Turei of the Green Party....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • DIA undercover investigation leads to jailing
    An undercover Internal Affairs investigation has led to a Hastings man being jailed for three and half years....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Call on Minister McCully to pursue the case of Balibo Five
    Media Information: Call on Minister McCully to pursue the case of journalist Gary Cunningham and the Balibo Five...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Australia and NZ actions on press freedoms alarming
    Global support for investigative journalism in Australia and New Zealand is a welcome response to law changes and a police raid, says the Pacific Freedom Forum...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Call for release of French journalists in West Papua
    West Papua Action Auckland, the EPMU Print and Media Council and the NZ Media Freedom Network call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to speak out in support of the two French TV journalists whose trial has just begun in...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Court of Appeal: Dotcom v 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
    A The appeal is dismissed. B The 20 August 2014 order of the High Court dealing with confidentiality and the 29 August 2014 order of this Court dealing with confidentiality are set aside. C The confidentiality orders set out in...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Glassons Blasted For Glamourising Animal Cruelty
    Clothing brand Glassons have found themselves embroiled in another controversy after launching a new advert featuring a girl riding a bull. Animal advocacy organisation SAFE have asked them to remove the ad immediately as it glamourises animal cruelty....
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Smuggling honey into New Zealand isn’t sweet
    Smuggling honey into New Zealand isn’t sweet Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group applauds the tough line taken by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Border Staff at Auckland Airport. In deporting the couple found trying to smuggle bee products...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Responds to Joyce on Corporate Welfare
    Responding to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce’s defence of corporate welfare , Jim Rose, the author of Monopoly Money , a Taxpayers Union report on corporate welfare since 2008, says:...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Speech from the Throne brings welcome focus on children
    Today’s speech from the Throne confirms the Government’s focus on children, youth and their families in the areas of health, education, youth employment, poverty alleviation and Whānau Ora; now the challenge is to ensure every child in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • John’s Job Fairs no fix for unemployment and poverty
    “John Key has clearly been looking to the US for his latest bright idea on dealing with employment issues,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Sue Bradford. “Job fairs where the desperately unemployed queue in their corporate best to compete...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Speech From the Throne Foreshadows More Corporate Welfare
    Responding to the Governor General’s Speech from the Throne, which outlined that the Government’s intentions for the next Parliamentary term would include further Business Growth Agenda initiatives, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Green MP to speak at panel on Rainbow Mental Health
    Hamilton, New Zealand: Recently re-elected Green Party MP Jan Logie will be a guest speaker at a panel on the mental health of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trangender, Takataapui and Intersex people taking place on November 1st as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Evidence Supports GE Moratorium
    Federated Farmers spokesman Graham Smith's call for a 'rethink' on release of GeneticallyEngineered organisms is misguided, and instead it is time for a formal moratorium on GMOs in the environment.(1)...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Chatham Rise mining could have impact on whales and dolphins
    Wellington, 21 October 2014--Mining phosphate on the Chatham Rise, off the east coast of New Zealand’s south island, could potentially have many impacts on marine mammals like whales and dolphins, the Environmental Protection Agency was told today....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Council endorses Nanaia Mahuta as the next Labour leader
    Te Kaunihera Māori, the Māori Council of the New Zealand Labour Party, have passed a resolution to endorse the Hon Nanaia Mahuta as the next leader of the Labour Party...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Kaumatua to organise petition to end Maori seats
    Ngapuhi kaumatua David Rankin has announced that he will be organising a nationwide petition to seek support from Maori voters to end the Maori seats. “These seats are patronising”, he says. “They imply we need a special status, and that...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Announcing a New Voice for The Left
    Josh Forman is pleased to announce the creation of a new force on the Left of politics in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Public services held back by poor workplace culture
    A new report by Victoria University’s Centre for Labour, Employment and Work shows that public servants are working significant unpaid overtime to ensure the public services New Zealanders value are able to continue....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • iPredict New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update
    Andrew Little’s probability of being the next leader of the Labour Party has reached 70% and Jacinda Ardern is favourite to become his deputy, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Prison Drug Treatment Unit marks a milestone
    Christchurch Men’s Prison’s Drug Treatment Unit (DTU) celebrated the completion of its 50th six month Drug and Alcohol Programme today, with the graduation of a further twelve offenders....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Security Council seat a chance for NZ to empower women
    The UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand (UN Women NCANZ) welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the United Nations Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use its position to proactively promote effective implementation of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Waipareira and ACC sign Partnership
    Waipareira and The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Whanau Centre, Henderson – marking a special day for the West Auckland Urban Maori organisation....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Humanitarian aid desperately needed in Iraq and Syria
    Global Peace and Justice Auckland is calling on the government to provide humanitarian funding for non-aligned NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in the Middle East rather than give any support whatever for the US-led military campaign in the area....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Court Judicial Decision: Dotcom v The USA: 17 October 2014
    The United States of America is seeking the extradition of Messrs Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and Van Der Kolk. The matter has been before the Courts on numerous occasions, and no further recitation of the facts is needed....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Marshall Island poet speaks at UN climate summit
    “The fossil fuel industry is the biggest threat to our very existence as Pacific Islanders. We stand to lose our homes, our communities and our culture. But we are fighting back. This coming Friday thirty Pacific Climate Warriors, joined by...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Many tourist car accidents preventable
    Simple steps could dramatically reduce the number of accidents involving tourists, says the car review website dogandlemon.com ....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
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