web analytics
The Standard

Shearer signed up for sale

Written By: - Date published: 3:18 pm, March 12th, 2013 - 64 comments
Categories: david shearer, john key, Privatisation - Tags:

On Morning Report this morning there was a clip of John Key (in Brazil) saying that David Shearer had signed up to buy shares in Mighty River Power – and he was welcome at the front of the queue like all New Zealanders.

Shortly after there was a rushed response from a Labour spokesperson to say that no Labour MPs, including David Shearer will be buying shares from National’s asset sales.

But it’s turned out that, yes indeed, someone has signed up David Shearer to the sales process.

This raises a number of issues.

As the government is crowing (and getting more free Herald advertising) about a record 290,000 people having signed up, how many of them are real?

Bill English won’t stop going on about the referendum signing up children (did this really happen? Every collector knows those signatures aren’t worth anything), but how many children are among those 290,000?  Presumably that’s okay.  But how many pets (like Queensland Rail)?  How many multiple sign-ups as people try to game more shares with added bonuses?  How many Mickey Mouses?

It’s very easy to sign up – all you need is a name and an email address and to state an NZ town where you live.  You can even do it without an email address if you phone (but then you’ll presumably need a real address).  After you fill out the short form, it asks if you’d like to sign anyone else up.

This is no rigorous exercise (not like manually collecting signatures of correctly enrolled voters with their correctly enrolled address).

What must be rigorous though is John Key’s data collection – how did they know that David Shearer had signed up?  What privacy do people get when they pre-register?  Is this yet another National privacy breach?

64 comments on “Shearer signed up for sale”

  1. Lightly 1

    I’ve signed just so I can get the docs to read. I’m not buying shares.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      But you don’t have to sign up to get the docs. They’re going to be available anyway.

      • Bunji 1.1.1

        But if you just put your email address in, they send you the docs without you having to look for them – easy, eh?

        • Lanthanide

          Going out of your way to do something now, vs going out of your way to do something later.

          It’s not like these things are going to be really hard to find later, either. I’m sure they’ll be up on the same site that you go to now to pre-register your interest.

        • Malcolm

          They also put your details in to a nice database they can sell on to the v1agr4 sellers.

  2. ad 2

    And now to the moral quandary we’re all about to ask:

    Can one both be against asset sales, and also ask for shares in those same assets?

    • tc 2.1

      Yes, be pragmatic and stop them going offshore but be prepared to give them up if we ever get a gov’t with enough bolllocks to buy them back.

    • Why 2.2

      Of course we can, I am.
      If you want the ownership to stay in NZ and the government won’t listen, is there another way?

      • While in general I’d agree, part of the argument for the sale is predicated on kiwi interest in shares. You’d have to make a decision as to whether you want to possibly help the sale to keep a little bit more assets in our hands. (Not that we risk making this policy TOO popular, but it will help the media spin if there’s a lot of demand from local investors, especially small-scale ones)

        • Ed

          That nice Mr Key has told us that a large number of pre-registration interest will indicate stronger interest in the shares, which will in turn influence the price that is likely to be able to be obtained. Clearly that price has to be set before people are asked to commit to an application. So it could be said to be our responsibility to all pre-register – if the assets are sold, let them at least be at the highest price possible.

          The other viewpoint of applying for shares and purchasing in order to ensure that more shares stay in New Zealand is also technically valid but also potentially misleading. Relatively few will have the money to do that anyway, and I suspect there will be a temptation to sell out for a good offer from an overseas investor wanting a higher stake . . ..

          So there is no cost and no risk in pre-registration – and it may even mean that you get sent information by email rather than having to download from a website. I don’t go as far as advocating you sign up all in your address book – I assume whoever signed up Shearer is no friend of Labour (does National have friends with the expertise to have done that?), but perhaps we should be encouraging as many as possible to pre-register.

          I look forward to seeing whether risks that have been identified are all covered in the prospectus – perhaps there would be room for a class action against the now deep pocket Directors if they are found to have missed something out . . .

          Personally I believe the risks outweigh the potential benefits, so I will not be buying any shares. Do others think it a good idea to pick up on Key’s hint that we should ramp the market up to skim a little more from investors? I gather that is the way the world of merchant banking (and National politics? )works.

          I have not yet pre-registered – I can’t make up my mind whether I am prepared to be as dishonest as John Key . . .

    • Enough is Enough 2.3

      I think if you can, you should invest to save dividends being paid to Chinese corporates.

      I would rather invest 10k somewhere else but I will spend it on these shares to defeat Natioanal’s agenda of selling our assets to foreigners.

    • LynWiper 2.4

      Moral quandary indeed. After much thought, I don’t believe so ad, although the argument to buy to keep in NZrs hands is compelling.

      Suppose they held an asset sale and nobody pre-registered to buy them. What clearer message could be sent? The greediest who did would be shamed and outed and of insufficient numbers to allow the sale to proceed. That would indeed be power to the people. Unfortunately greed and the fear of missing out will always prevail.

      • ad 2.4.1

        The “empty register” idea means that China and Canada Pension win, or indeed Blackstone, and the shares go out of the country.

        So should NZSuper not buy them?
        Or ACC?
        Or EQC?
        Or Parliamentary Super?
        That’s at the public New Zealand-owned end.

        Or PSA Super?
        That’s local.

        What about Tower and Fisher, or Infratil not buying them?
        They are locally owned companies.

        Why not me?
        Am I not patriotic?

        Should no one here help, or are they indeed to be thrown to the wolves of the world?

        • State-owned investors should definitely go for it, it will help the argument for buyback/nationalisation if some shares can just be recouped by rebalancing the government’s books.

    • fatty 2.5

      no…when buying shares you are justifying the sale and encouraging more sales of other assets.

    • Pete 2.6

      If people want to get into investing in the share market, I wouldn’t recommend putting all their eggs into the one basket of a power company or even several power companies. A unit trust, with all the diversity that brings would be much wiser. There are loads of banks that offer them for an initial investment of $1000, or $20 in the special case of Bonus Bonds (although the dividend payout lottery is a little unconventional).

      The Reserve Bank offers some really good advice for novice investors here (PDF).

  3. ianmac 3

    ” –how did they know that David Shearer had signed up?”
    A good question. Did he get to read it? Perhaps one of Mr Key’s stooges signed it. Of course anyone can download the forms and could fill in any old names to discredit the cause. Goes with the territory I suppose.

    • Whats the betting that Crosby Tex tor are behind this fraudulent Shearer signing. This should be treated serious and exposed. It shows to what extent Tories will go to keep in power.

      • indiana 3.1.1

        I think you dropped your tin foil hat…

        • Te Reo Putake

          Jeez, Indiana, do keep up. Postie is, as usual, on the money. This is the kind of thing that C/T get paid to do. OK, its at the lower end of the scale, but bear in mind that Key knew Shearer had been signed up before it became public knowledge. Assuming he didn’t do it himself, somebody did do it and somebody told Key it had been done; why wouldn’t it be his dirty tricks advisors in both cases?

    • Murray Olsen 3.2

      My guess would be that someone like WhaleSpew had signed up as Shearer and then made sure to tell his masters about it. Otherwise, if someone inside the process is paying enough attention to pick out individual names and pass them on to the Prumsta, there is something really sinister happening.

    • Mike 3.3

      I believe Key knew because the person who signed Shearer up used Key’s parliamentary email address.

      • prism 3.3.1

        How interesting. How strong is your belief Mike?

        • alwyn

          He can believe it as much as he likes Prism.
          You don’t pre-register by sending an e-mail.
          You do it by going to a web-site that includes a place to do the activity. You can pre-register even if you don’t have an e-mail address.
          The only e-mail address anyone used was David shearer’s one at Parliament.

    • Shaz 3.4

      Yep – once you have added your name it says – “register someone else” – an almost open invitation to game the system or register someone who does not want to register- no need to provide any ID or anything.

      I’m also very suspicious of the supposed valuation exercise for the shares. It would pre-suppose that there is no communication between the firms involved in the share pricing exercise. They have to price low a) for their own benefit and b) so as not to embarrass the government by a failure to sell sufficient shares to individuals .

      Also the PM “cannot say” what will happen if the requisite no of share are not bid for because it would”contravene the securities commission legislation”. The usual situation if a share issue does not meet the investment level required is either the float fails or someone very rich acts as a cornerstone shareholder. As it would be very embarrassing for the float to fail we can assume that the government would either reopen the NZ super fund very quickly to buy the balance or they would be sold overseas. These are further reasons why the people in the pricing exercise can only recommend a fire sale price.

      The so called market disciplines are already in place on what we own in common,.

      Maybe I’m missing something but can anyone explain how this exercise has any legitimacy whatever (even if you discount the wealth transfer from us all to the already rich).

      • alwyn 3.4.1

        You are wrong about the “usual situation if the share level does not meet … ”
        The usual situation is that there is an underwriter who guarantees to take the shares and then gets rid of them later.
        In this case of course the Government could simply hold onto the shares and sell them later on-market.

  4. bad12 4

    From what i have read all the KiwiSaver providers can sign up all their clients so long as those clients fit the Governments criteria for pre-registration in the Mighty River Power share issue, IRD number, NZ residency etc etc etc,

    Companies might also be able sign up to pre-register so long as the majority of their shareholders also fit the Government criteria along with trusts,

    IF what i have read so far is correct then the KiwiSaver accounts will all sign up their individual members thus accounting for the 290,000+ that have said to have already registered an interest,

    Once the shares are sold and the KiwiSaver providers have control of them on behalf of the individual account holders i would expect that the shares will be held until such time as a bonus for having held these shares for X amount of years is paid out by the Government and after this the international banking cartels will gain possession of Mighty River through offering KiwiSaver Providers share swaps in some other over-inflated asset holding entity reliant upon the derivatives market as it’s asset base…

    • Lanthanide 4.1


      Pre-registration has nothing to do with actually buying the shares.

      To buy the shares as a retail investor, you need your IRD number. If kiwisaver providers are buying shares, they will be doing it as institutional investors and will therefore not get the long-term holding bonus (whatever it ends up being), as that is only open to retail investors.

      If kiwisaver funds were signing their members up for pre-registration, I am very sure that would be a privacy breach.

    • Enough is Enough 4.2

      From what you have read where?

      I think whatever you have read is wrong…

    • Ed 4.3

      My understanding is that Kiwisaver Funds are pooled investments – the shares would be purchased in the name of the fund; once purchased they are owned proportionately (on something ner to a daily basis) by all Ki9wisaver members investing in that fund.

      I don’t know whether Kiwisaver Funds get an allocation based on number of members – I suspect not – they may have to purchase after the float if they want larger number than the fund is allocated as a single investor.

      • Colonial Viper 4.3.1

        There will be specific allocations for large institutions which are handled separately under different rules to the small retail ‘ma and pa’ clients.

        Remember in this game, institutional buyers looking to pick up tens (or hundreds) of millions of dollars worth of shares get a different priority to those looking to pick up $5000 worth.

  5. Blue 5

    Sounds as if it’s as easy to ‘pre-register’ for these shares as it is to comment on a blog. You could sign the entire Labour caucus up if you were of such a mind to do so.

    Given the total lack of any security/control over this process, I won’t be giving any credence to whatever puffed up numbers John Key spouts.

  6. AsleepWhileWalking 6

    Good on David for doing his bit for keeping it in the country AND trying to stop this ridiculous situation from manifesting in the first place. At least he is adaptable.

  7. gobsmacked 7

    Key to Staffer: “You know what to do. Just don’t tell me.”

    Staffer to Sewer: “Dirty Tricks … we got the Green Light.”

    Sewer goes ahead, pre-registers in names of Shearer, Turei, Norman, etc.

    Key in South America: “Look who’s pre-registered! Ha ha!”

    (is anyone surprised? as if this kind of thing never happened before … )

    • stever 7.1

      And now English is saying is was likely the parties themselves that signed their leaders up as some sort of stunt???? And that it was done in jest??


    • Anne 7.2

      You’re on to it for sure gobsmacked.

      Now lets wait for the MSM to go dig up the details so that everybody can see what a pack of liars and cheats Key et al really are…?

      Nah… John Key will deny it all, and the MSM will say It’s alright it was just coincidence. The prime minister has said so…

      • Anne 7.2.1

        Just seen stever’s link.

        So all the opposition parties got together and collectively decided to sign up their leaders in jest. The sad part is the MSM will probably give it credibility…

        • SpaceMonkey

          OIC… the opposition parties signed themselves up so they could create a faux-outrage induced media storm in a desperate attempt for media coverage…

    • Lanthanide 7.3

      Time for someone from Labour to say:
      “Just this morning I pre-registered Daffy Duck and Micky Mouse. National likes to tout their massive number of pre-registrations, but for all we know they’re fictional characters”.

    • Don't worry be happy 7.4

      “Has this kind of dirty trick ever happened before”…let’s start a list shall we?

      National MP John Carter phoning John Banks, now ACT MP then National Party Cabinet Minister’s talk back show.

      John Carter pretended to be a Maori dole bludger called Hone and concocted a whole story along the lines of work dodging dole bludger living in luxury on a benefit with John Banks expressing faux horror.

      In most democracies that would have been the end of that lying little sneak’s political career and Banks as well if it was proven that he was in on the smear.

      Not exactly the same I know but more like than different!

  8. Jamea Thrace 8

    Shearer admitted he had received emails to his parliamentary address. No privacy breach, just mumblefuck making a moletain out of a mounhill.

    • Bunji 8.1

      But Key was clipped yesterday referring to it, and David Shearer admitted it today – maybe Shearer phoned up JK in Brazil to tip him off before he went to the media, but it seems odd…

      • Enough is Enough 8.1.1

        Or Key (or more particularly his office) was the one who signed up Mumblefuck to embarass him.

        We are talking about the compulsive lying and corrupt John Key. He is as dodgy as hell and knows exactly how this happened

    • Anne 8.2

      a moletain out of a mounhill

      Now that’s original.

  9. quartz 9

    I wonder if John Key or any of his MPs have signed up.

  10. rod 10

    Hasn’t John got a blind trust to do it all for him?

  11. ianmac 11

    David Shearer received an email confirming his sign up. Therefore someone had access to his computer?

    • emergency mike 11.1

      No. It shows that someone had access to his email address. Which is openly shown on the Labour website.

      “It’s very easy to sign up – all you need is a name and an email address and to state an NZ town where you live.”

      Some people here are speculating that National done it, and Blinglish is saying that it could be an opposition stunt. The truth is that any drunk munter who thought it was a laugh could have ‘signed up’ Shearer & co.

      Which makes a mockery of NAct’s numbers that they are claiming. And if Key is claiming that Shearer has registered that just shows what a dick he is.

  12. BLiP 12

    So, if I sign up, my name can be used by politicians for publicity / mockery purposes? How very National Ltd™ to make such use of otherwise private information.

  13. jaymam 13

    I have heard that there is an organised campaign for people to sign up for huge amounts of shares they they never intend buying. I imagine that the eventual price will be much lower than what the “experts” are predicting.

    • alwyn 13.1

      This would be a unique case if they did allow you to sign up to buy shares that you are not then going to purchase.
      The normal approach for an IPO requires you to nominate the shares you wish to buy AND forward a cheque for that number of shares, which is then banked. If you are not allocated that number of shares in the IPO the excess money is refunded. If you are allocated the full quantity you have nominated you will have paid for them.
      I don’t know how they are going to work this one but I would assume, in the absence of any specific information that will be like any other IPO.
      Does anyone have any real knowledge of what will happen in detail?

  14. A further question is that Key must have known that this was a spoof entry yet he was willing to basically say an untruth while having a pretty good idea that it was not true. There is a word for that isn’t there?

  15. just saying 15

    It would have been the perfect moment for Shearer to announce opposition plans to renationalise at cost, or at the very least, a strict pricing regimen with penalties for overpricing beyond the public interest.

    But no, for that sort of smart, powerful, principled, and effective politicking you’d need a smart, principled, powerful, and effective politician.

    I think like a lot of people, when I heard the headline, I wasn’t even surprised, and only saw it as a scam when the Green MPs were mentioned.

  16. tracey 17

    Alwyn, check out the quensland float and what happened there.

    • alwyn 17.1

      Tracey – I’ve just noticed this comment.
      I am not sure if I am looking in the right place but I am assuming that you are referring to the Queensland rail float. If not I am not surprised that I am not sure what you are referring to. I didn’t follow this at the time, as I don’t really invest in such areas, but I tried googling it and I don’t see anything special about it. After a year it would appear to have been very good for those who bought the shares as they appear to have gone up from $2.45 to about $3.85 in that time.
      If you have a reference to what went on with it I would be interested.
      If it wasn’t Queensland Rail what was it?

  17. Jackal 18


    Bill English won’t stop going on about the referendum signing up children (did this really happen? Every collector knows those signatures aren’t worth anything), but how many children are among those 290,000? Presumably that’s okay.

    There’s no age limit to signing a petition (PDF), however there’s meant to an age limit for registering an interest in the Mighty River Power share offer.

    I believe a referendum is only open to eligible voters who unlike Nationals registration process are usually people who’ve been properly vetted.

    I’ve seen many politicians incorrectly claim that the signatures of young people on petitions don’t count, but it’s young people who’ll be most adversely affected by the sale of our power companies… National is currently attempting to sell their brighter future.

    • alwyn 18.1

      You are confusing the requirements to sign a petition with those calling for a citizen’s initiated referenda.
      The referenda call, which the asset sale exercise requires that there be the signatures (and addresses etc) of ten percent of the electoral register. There is an implied minimum age of 18 of course but children signing it wouldn’t count. If there are enough valid signatures the referenda must be held.
      A petition to parliament, which you linked to, is a different thing and doesn’t require parliament to do anything at all with it. It would only require a single person to sign it.
      The MRP interest pre-registration, and buying the shares at a later date, has no age limit. Indeed the MRP web-site explains the requirements if you wish to register your children or grand-children.
      The requirement to buy the shares is that you have a NZ address, are in New Zealand and have your own IRD number and NZ bank account. If an individual you have to be a citizen or a permanent resident. There is no minimum age however.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere