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The cost of asset sales

Written By: - Date published: 5:29 pm, July 24th, 2012 - 25 comments
Categories: bill english, john key, Privatisation - Tags:

So far…

Looter’s Bonus Loyalty Scheme

$250,000,000-$500,000,000: Treasury
Best guess: $360,000,000: Finance and Expenditure Select Committee
Could be: up to $1,000,000,000
No idea: John Key

Brokerage fees

$90,000,000: $7 million this year, $66 million next, $17 million in 2014
$1,100,000: spent so far
Won’t say: Bill English

Iwi settlements over water rights

(not ownership, because no-one owns water. As ImperatorFish says: “It would be like claiming ownership of a cloud or the air we breathe, or the soil beneath our feet. Who ever heard of such a thing?”)
No idea: any of us, least of all John Key

Advertising / PR

$30,000,000 ($120 million direct costs, minus brokerage fees)
Won’t say: John Key or Bill English

Total: $370,000,000 – $?,???,???,??? – a fair chunk of the $6 billion the government hopes for, even before you add on:

Lost Revenue

$100,000,000 per year: government books worse off according to Treasury

25 comments on “The cost of asset sales”

  1. Ad 1

    Cost to taxpayer of consultancy fees prior to IPO $

    Cost to each citizen of losing 49% of the Mighty River Asset $

    Cost to each citizen of subsidizing all of the costs of the sale $

    Cumulative cost to customers and to New Zealand of probable power increases $

    Opportunity cost to citizens of purchase price (since they already own it) $

  2. tc 2

    Key and cohorts haven’t disappointed me with the ever changing rubbery figures and outright lies but the media need to have a good hard look at themselves as the only ones in a position to show this sham for what it is……rewarding your backers with juicy gold plated investments that belong to every kiwi while playing the value down so your rich mates can pay even less and getting the taxpayer to pick up all the costs.

  3. Carol 3

    And Key had the gall to snearingly criticise Labour and the Greens for pulling numbers out of their a*se with respect to the asset shares bonus scheme:

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QOA/8/7/3/50HansQ_20120724_00000002-2-State-owned-Assets-Sales-Loyalty-Bonus.htm

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: —possible, depending on how it was calculated and by whom. Frankly, what we are seeing in this debate is that Labour and the Greens just make up all sorts of numbers.

    It’s time more Kiwis (including tame journos) woke up to what a cynically nasty piece of work our PM is.

  4. SukieDamson 4

    … the normal economics of maximising economic value is replaced by the topsy-turvy economics of maximising current extractable value which tends to drive the firms economic net worth deeply negative…

    The moral hazard of looting

  5. maffoo 5

    cost of the asset sales

    20000 more kids with cold-related respitory diseases
    20000 more elderly people ending up in hospital because they cant afford to heat & eat on the same day

    the human cost is the real cost…. the poor, sick, & old will die in some caes
    & think, if power costs more, imagine how much more it will costs to run hospitals, schools, police stations, central & local govt buildings, street lighting, traffic signals, security lighting on boatramps, wharfs, and parks…..

  6. Tom Gould 6

    According to Tory lapdog John Hartevelt “Labour’s assault misfired at its first shot, touting a ludicrously inflated and totally unrealistic cost.” Pity the gallery lacks a single brain cell these days, having fallen for the old Key trick of ‘no numbers’ then slamming any other number, even from Treasury, as wrong. And lazy, indolent chooks like Hartevelt fall for it every time.

  7. Tracey 7

    for $350m over the next 3 years we could increase paid parental leave and give more kids a greater start in life, but it’s better that money goes to brokers…

    I have a 70 year old retiree living with me at the moent. He’s in Auckland for ten days doing some work, because his pension isn’t enough. He has bad hips and has had since I have known him (back in 2001 we met). They have got steadily worse. Yesterday he forgot to take his pain medication (that’s right, he can’t get on the waiting list until the pain medication no longer works – that from his specialist and GP). So he walked to the bus stop then did a day’s work, and walked home from the busstop. He could barely walk last night. Getting up out of a seat was extremely painful. So he remembered to take his medication today/ last night, and limped out the door this morning, not in much pain but clearly suffering. He has a beautiful rose garden which he can no longer tend and is largely cooped up inside because getting in and out of his car is painful. He has paid, and still pays tax for over 50 years (starting working in taxed jobs at 15). He’s done his share and can’t afford to buy the shares either.

    But I think a loyalty bonus, PR and brokerage fees is better spent than on more hip replacements or other operations.

  8. Tracey 8

    90m in brokerage fees =

    60,000 laptops in schools @ $1500 ea
    2250 hip replacements @ $40,000 ea
    8 years of paid parental leave
    238 years of self defence for high school girls (“The Girls’ Self Defence Project, which has been running in schools across New Zealand for 15 years, has had a positive impact on the lives of more than 77,000 Kiwi girls,” Jacinda Ardern said.

    “The project has consistently delivered positive results, with over 90% of girls participating saying that they felt stronger, more confident, and more educated in techniques to deal with unsafe situations.)

    and so on…

  9. prism 9

    We’ve talked about price rises for electricity as a result of private enterprise and the expected and demanded profit for supplying this vital necessity. Competition between companies too will have tremendous costs while they compete for brand name recognition and customer numbers.

    On Trademe there is an example of the sort of outrageous advertising to sell us what we are already aware that we need and already buying, from Powerco I think. A reclining devil or vampire has a tube feeding blood into his arm – his fingers flex each time there is a transfusion. This advertising, its design and the cost of placement, is just another of the expenses and flim flam we will get from competing power companies which we will pay for.

    As well there will be big fat payouts to the top people for just continuing supply of what we would have bought anyway. When their daughters marry there will be a big fat wedding paid for out of our pockets, and big fat holidays, and big fat desks and fine furnishings, or austere to show how serious they are, but with furnishings imported from Italy etc. (Italian office furniture was imported by some of the chosen after we restructured government, so that’s not just something from my fertile mind.)

    It’s interesting how mothers and fathers who provide the children that we need to maintain ourselves in all ways, get so little monetary or other recognition and expenses, yet electricity company managers will be gold-plated, when it’s a technical job in the main which should be done by someone with that expertise plus an accountant and small office staff.

  10. Jackal 10

    National devalueing our assets

    John Key is showing his financial illiteracy again, being that a bonus shares scheme would cost between $250 to $500 million according to Treasury, and perhaps even exceed $1 billion. What information Key is basing his assertion on that free shares could be an economic gain for the government has not been made public, probably because it doesn’t exist.

  11. Observer AKL 11

    New Zealanders own these assets. They are about to be taken off the common man and put into the ownership of relatively few wealthy people here and in foreign countries.

    The assets provide power which is a vital basic necessity to every New Zealander. To keep control over costs, and to avoid paying unneeded private shareholders, the common man must retain these vital assets or get them back from the rich.

    It is for this reason the political parties declaring an interest in the common man, must vow to retain the Assets or get them back from the wealthy.

    The day Labour and the Greens make that vow is the day New Zealanders will know that common sense has returned to our Parliament. At the moment, Labour and Greens appear harmless and convictionless. Shams really. They are firmly in the camp of the few wealthy.

    The smaller parties – New Zealand First and Mana – are the only ones taking the vast majority of Kiwis seriously.

    • jack 11.1

      And Winston will do it. That’s why I voted for him in 2011 and why I will vote for him in 2014. I read an article about Key in the Listener… pure puffery.. sounded like a fairy tail compared to what Key is really doing. Shame, the public believe this bullshit.

      • xtasy 11.1.1

        Problem is: Winston is not Owen Glen, who he fell out with, and he certainly has not got that guy’s money, or other money, which would be needed for buying back the assets.

        Labour is totally dodgy on this one too, but at least saying they will not commit to buying shares back, as it may be impossible (due to budgetary restraints).

        The main problem is: English has already SPENT the money that is yet to be earned from the asset sales, so he and Key and the gang already put NZ further into debt, and at the same time want to sell something that is not even “cleared” yet due to legal challenges, due to market risks about the returns to be expected, and due to the costs of seeing all this through now, which vary between a few million and mega millions.

        Has there ever been a more irresponsible, inexpert, dumb and incompetent government in NZ over the last two decades, who announces big plans and sales, but who has not even analysed, planned and accounted for what the process will involve and cost. Is this not idiocy pure? But too many Kiwis sit and watch dumb commercialised TV, surf on the web and “chat” on Facebook, Twit Turf and whatever, rather than THINK and ACT.

        Has all tha education been for nothing, or has education dropped so far, that it has lost all meaning?

        Well, if the ones that should stand up are “overwhelmed”, it seems, they rather pack their bags and move to Aus, same as some young neighbours of mine are doing right now.

    • OneTrack 11.2

      But neither Labour or the Greens are making that commitment. Maybe they have decided that they want the existing capital assets transformed into cash in the hand assets, that they can spend on what they want.

  12. xtasy 12

    John Key and his ministers more or less go by this line:

    Well, this may be somewhere in the range of bla, bla, bla, well that is not sure, but it maybe less, or more, or it may be totally off that figure, I presume, given the opposition always give us wrong figures, while we are trying to work out the real figures, which could be somewhere there, here or anywhere, really, who knows, we will find out in the end some time sooner or later?!

    Any other questions?

    If that does not work:

    Well that is purely an “OPERATIONAL matter”, which is not within my direct ministerial responsibility.

    Remember:

    In NAZI Germany, all were just doing and fulfilling “their duties”, they were not responsible, knew nothing much of anything, and they were all innocent after all. It may have also fallen into the category of “operational matters”, I presume.

    Accountability of a Key led government, sort of, I presume. But who is now really “responsible” and in charge, and above all “accountable” and “knows” what will happen in detail?

  13. Observer AKL 13

    Hi Xstasy

    I take your points …. and the already SPENT … money

    But if Labour and Greens were to take a principled vow to return the shares to the New Zealand public, would it be a turning point in NZ politics?

    The 70% of kiwis who do not want the assets to slip into the clutching hands of the wealthy and overseas owners – would be heartened. I think.

    Additionally, the purchasers of Key’s shares, would be advised that the they will not get back the cost of their purchase – in view of the huge expense of mounting the float – and in view of the anxiety they caused powerless people.

    They would get back only what the nation could reasonably afford. Then only, over a period of time so as not to stress the economy.

    • xtasy 13.1

      Thanks, I get your point and guarded agreement.

      The problem for NZ and NZers is: Previous governments have signed up for abiding by WTO and other agreements, whether these are FTAs or whatever, so entering into commercial agreements or contracts, which naturally the planned sale of up to 49 per cent of shares in the formerly state owned assets will also mean, that will “bind” NZ and NZers legally.

      It should never go ahead, it must be stopped right from the outset, and since the law on mixed ownership has sadly passed, all that can and must be done now is, to on one hand go ahead with the petition for a referendum, but also to take all kinds of actions to make it impossible for the deals to go ahead.

      It is simply economic nonsense, as even leading economists will vow (Gareth Morgan was cautiously critical, the guy from Berle or so was also, same as others), to sell strategic assets in this way.

      Even where asset sales of this type happened, Norway has kept about two thirds of Statoil (the state dominated and owned energy company there), same as Tamasek from Singapore has much more than 51 per cent shareholding in the strategic assets held with energy generation and trade.

      51 per cent is a silly “majority” and will expose the government to undue pressures from private shareholders, to simply get the maximum returns in dividends, rather than invest in the assets and new assets to expand business. Look at the bus companies and even water companies in NZ that have been privatised, there has been little investment in infrastructure and improvements, rather a “milking” of the revenues!

      So maybe do all to sabotage this idiot plan!?

  14. Observer AKL 14

    Thanks Xtasy

    Overseas investors may well look for ways of sheltering under their sovereign Trade Agreements. We would expect America to be aggressive in pursuit of their “rights” to screw the less well off. Their FTAs are designed very carefully to fatten the US of A.

    The local “Mummy and Daddy investors” may find that Parliament really has the ultimate power to give and the power to take away. Ask Mr. key.

    You are right though, every effort should be made to stop the stupidity before it gets any further.

    I have a hunch that many nations would be pleased to see little New Zealand do the right thing by its common man. There is a hellish huge stench hovering over money (and the people who have excess of it) around the world. A sick in the guts feeling.

    Business, as distinct from the trading investment racket, knows that the bulk of a nation needs spending power if it is to thrive. The success of Business is absolutely tied to the wallets of the ordinary people. No wonder serious Economists do not support imposition of higher costs on the basic necessities of life.

    Around the world, it is time to shift a little of the vast wealth of those who have into the hands of the common man.

    Our current Parliament had the opportunity to do that. But the aristocratic Maori Members in league with John Key have done the exact opposite. Proving themselves to be the true enemies of Business and the market place; and of the Common Man.

  15. If asset sales are such a good idea, why doesn’t John Key sell 49% of his house to me and I’ll rent that 49% back to him at whatever I decide is a reasonable rate of return. Plus, if I still own 49% of his house in a few years time, he can pay me a further bonus for holding on to it for him. We don’t need to worry about exact dollar figures now, John. You can trust me to charge “market rates” and not abuse my monopoly position, but of course I won’t sign anything that would bind me to that promise. Oh yeah, and don’t expect me to invest in maintainence. I’ll just wait until the house is on the verge of collapse and then come back to you cap in hand, stating that the house is too big to be allowed to fail, and that you need to pay for the repairs I avoided.

    What’s that John? It’s a stupid idea?

    Why, yes it is John. Yes it is.

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