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The “socialist” vs capitalist PR war: NZ Power

Written By: - Date published: 8:19 am, April 21st, 2013 - 123 comments
Categories: assets, capitalism, david parker, energy, greens, infrastructure, labour, mana-party, news, privatisation, russel norman, same old national, socialism, spin - Tags: ,

The Key government and those who support the privatisation of the power companies have pulled their response from the Reds-under-the-beds play book, as seen in James Henderson’s Standard post.   However, a similar policy has worked successfully in capitalist California.  And similar principles are the bases of Pharmac and Fronterra.  For the right, their socialist scaremongering aims to mask the fact that the current arrangements deliver exorbitant profits to the power companies and their directors.  In order for the profiteers to feed their greed, middle NZ and small businesses need to tighten their belts.  At the same time those suffering from fuel poverty have to choose whether to pay for healthy food and a safe environment for them and their children, or to pay for more power (as well evidenced in Anthony Robin’s post on fuel poverty).

And in contrast to the NAct PR demonisation of NZ Power, the Labour (and possibly Green) architects of the policy, draw on third way discourse in an attempt to defuse the right wing scaremongering.

The response to Russel Norman’s OIA request shows just how much the power bosses are profiteering from the current arrangements.

Figures released to the Sunday Star-Times confirm that the bosses of four of our five power providers – Contact, Mighty River Power, Genesis and Transpower – are paid more than $1 million a year.

Figures for Meridian Energy were not available but, as early as the 2008-09 financial year, the company was paying its CEO a $1.03m salary.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman released the figures on Friday, just 24 hours after revealing a joint Green-Labour proposal to pull the plug on ever-rising power bills.

Russel points out the obvious, we are paying higher power bills to enable the powercos’ to make big profits, and the power bosses to get big salaries:

Norman was also alarmed at soaring payments for board members. The biggest increase over a three-year period was at Contact, which paid out a total $1.14m in the 2011-12 financial year, as opposed to $852,651 in the 2008-09 financial year.

The figures revealed are:

Contact Energy CEO Pay: $1,303,250. Total board payments: $1,141,00. Staff on $100,000-plus salaries: 395.

Mighty River Power CEO Pay: $1,492,601. Total board payments: $657,066. Staff on $100,000-plus salaries: 262.

Genesis CEO Pay: $1,200,000-$1,210,000. Total board payments: $534,242. Staff on $100,000-plus salaries: 233.

Transpower CEO Pay: $1,050,000-$1,059,000. Total board payments: $1,026,000. Staff on $100,000-plus salaries: 42.4

Meridian Energy CEO Pay: Info not available. Total board payments: $436,916. Staff on $100,000-plus salaries: n/a.

Also today, Bernard Hickey explains how this profiteering power bosses have breached the “licence to operate”: a vague notion referring to the way corporates will push their profit-taking as far as they can without losing the goodwill of the public.  Basically, Hickey argues that the power bosses have pushed the profiteering beyond the level that the public will accept.

Hickey concludes that the SOE sales breached the “license to operate”, by arranging for “super profits” to go to the “richest new Zealanders”.  Hickey’s article ends:

What was the industry thinking? That their customers and voters would not notice? The shock of investors realising they had crossed the line and would pay the price was evident in a 12 per cent fall in Contact’s share price and a 7 per cent fall in Trustpower’s share price. No doubt, the likely price of Mighty River Power shares also took a tumble in the minds of potential investors.

As Labour and the Greens would say privately: “That’ll learn ya.”

Also today, Matt McCarten argues that the Labour-Green power policy has “knee-capped” the government’s privatisation agenda, with the government going into “panic mode’.

The best that unofficial co-prime minister Steven Joyce could come up with was his spluttered comment that the agency was a basket-case idea from Albania. Is that the best he can do?

In any event, the correct international example to use overseas would be capitalist California, which brought in a similar agency to stop its power companies from ripping off its citizens. It has worked fine.

McCarten also points out that Pharmac and Fonterrra operate in a similar way to the proposed NZ Power.  Further, McCarten says that the government’s asset sale programme is based on a “structural unfairness”, with powerco profits exceeding inflation and the gap between prices to homes and businesses being the 2nd biggest in the OECD.

On the other side of the PR war, the Mighty River Power chief, Doug Hefferman, draws from the red scare play book, labeling the Labour-Green policy as “socialist” (as if that’s a crime).

The Government says competition is the best way to set power prices and a single buyer would result in higher prices over time.

Heffernan said the surge in renewable electricity investment over the last five years would not have happened under the opposition parties’ plan. “What you’ve just described is a socialist consumer model,” he said in an exclusive interview. “Mighty River Power would not have made the $1billion investment into geothermal energy that we’ve made in the last five years … The risks would have been too high.”

The article ends with Gareth Hughes successfully going to the heart of the issue while David Parker opts for a bit of Blairist, Third Way, “neoliberal’ apologetics.

Asked if the policy was socialist, Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes said: “We’d call it a practical and cost-effective solution.” Parker rejected the “socialist” accusation: “I would say excessive profiteering is neither socialist nor capitalist, it’s just uncompetitive.”

Perhaps Labour needs to heed Bomber Bradbury’s advice on media management of their power policy, in his review off yesterday’s The Nation. And perhaps we all need to take note of Bomber’s argument on ‘why Mana  is the Greens best friend’.

[Updated title] to add quote marks.  NZ Power is not actually a socialist policy.  It does nothing to change the capitalist system.  Just makes it less damaging to those on low incomes.

h/t Colonial Viper.

123 comments on “The “socialist” vs capitalist PR war: NZ Power”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    Isnt this the type of policies the US Republicans favoured to allow George W Bush narrow victories.

    But of course in the opposite direction.

    Gone are the middle of the road- dont offend anyone policies , instead throw out some red meat.

  2. Dv 2

    Heffernan is right.
    >>Mighty River Power would not have made the $1billion investment into geothermal energy that we’ve made in the last five years … The risks would have been too high.”

    Yes the MARKET model does require profits to make new generation.

    BUT he conveniently ignores how his dams were built in the first place. You know by the government of the day!!

    • Alanz 2.1

      Love his suits and his stylish glasses
      Love to aspire to his obscene fees
      telling off the rest of you lot
      that you are socialists
      with competitive choices to pay high power bills
      pile on another jersey to look like the Michelin man or
      shiver in your homes.

  3. weka 3

    Not sure that using Fonterra as an example is a good idea. Is milk cheap/affordable? Is the price of milk able to be set to NZ needs rather than global ones? Is the dairy industry any kind of example of best practice and moving towards sustainability, environmental protection, and being accountable towards climate change prevention? Want to know why the profit is god farmers’ union is now pushing for beef and sheep farmers to adopt the Fonterra model? Hint, it’s not to make meat more affordable.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1

      Fonterra is a single ‘buyer’ which provides the benefits for the farmers.

      • weka 3.1.1

        Yes, I understand that.

        edit: surely the point of NZPower is not the single buyer structure, but how that structure can deliver certain results to the people of NZ?

        • mike e 3.1.1.1

          Bulk buying ie like what tiwai aluminium smelter does weks they get power at 2.5 cents a unit while we mugs pay 20 cents+ s unit!

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.2

          weka – the Fonterra structure benefits the people it is serving – it’s farmer shareholders. The Pharmac structure, also a monopsony, benefits the people it is serving – the NZ public (and the Govt budget).

          I’m actually very interested in what the TPPA terms and conditions has to say about NZ Power. I think our foreign investment overlords will not be liking it.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.2.1

            The TPPA will be written to disallow such entities – unless they’re in the USA. Signing the TPPA will most likely make Pharmac and Fonterra illegal.

            • Matt 3.1.1.2.1.1

              If that were to happen, which it won’t, National would be well and truly out of constituents. Surely even they appreciate that.

            • yeshe 3.1.1.2.1.2

              and make legal Monsanto’s et als GMO foods

          • weka 3.1.1.2.2

            “the Fonterra structure benefits the people it is serving”

            yes, and the current electricity system benefits the people it is serving. So?

            • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.2.2.1

              Labour/Greens have promoted NZ Power as an organisation serving the interests of NZers who use electrictiy.

            • georgecom 3.1.1.2.2.2

              So, you can understand the level of opposition and rhetoric from those it is serving – mainy the shareholders, CEO, Board and 5% who are looking forward to a stream of profit from the MRP sale.

      • TighyRighty 3.1.2

        But it’s not the single buyer. There is the provision for competition in the market. So it’s a terrible example.

      • Luva 3.1.3

        Tell Open Country Dairy or Tatua that Fonterra is a single buyer.

        Do some basic research you fool

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.3.1

          Ah yes Fonterra is only 96% single buyer

          There is 4% “competition” in there

          • TightyRighty 3.1.3.1.1

            So we can see another buyer allowed in the market under the regime labour and the greens have as policy?

            • Colonial Viper 3.1.3.1.1.1

              4% buyer just cost adding window dressing.

              • TightyRighty

                Don’t be so flippant. It’s all about service and prices offered by the buyer in situations like this. So the “window dressing” you dismiss so easily could actually become a serious player. Voila competition working its magic. Therefore your whole argument is invalid

      • Shane 3.1.4

        Fonterra is a single buyer, however farmers selling to Fonterra can choose to sell somewhere else. Under the NZ Power model, generators can only sell to them. That is nationalisation.

      • Jimmie 3.1.5

        However translating the Fonterra example into the NZ Power scenario is incorrect as Fonterra is designed to extract maximum value from end consumers and pass that back to the producers.

        In a power scenario this would be power consumers paying more for power to power generators and retailers – the opposite of what Labour proposes?

        And to all the lefties thinking about how this will benefit low income families – any price saving will be off set by the green ETS expansion and hiking in fuel excise to help subsidize public transport.

        Anyone thinking that a red/green government won’t result in almost everyone paying more taxes one way or another has been on the magic pipe too long….

        • Rogue Trooper 3.1.5.1

          depends who pays the taxes, and who calls the tune…

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.5.2

          The use of Fonterra as a monopsony example is merely there to demonstrate the buying and co-ordination power that single buyers have.

          But don’t worry, Labour/Greens won’t actually structure NZ Power on a model of farmer shareholders.

          Anyone thinking that a red/green government won’t result in almost everyone paying more taxes one way or another has been on the magic pipe too long….

          You mean like National’s increases in GST, petrol, ciggies, alcohol, carbon trading subsidies,…

          • TighyRighty 3.1.5.2.1

            You say that, but have you got any policy proof of that? We are supposed to accept the bland assurances of a fanboy that the parties themselves tell to STFU?

            • Colonial Viper 3.1.5.2.1.1

              Sure, I’m holding the proof in my hands lol

            • felix 3.1.5.2.1.2

              Hi Tighty.

              You’re missing a crucial point in this whole discussion. Like to know what it is?

              No-one cares whether you think this policy makes good neoliberal free-market sense.

              • TightyRighty

                Blah blah blah neo-lib blah blah blah I don’t care, I want it my way at some else’s expense. Pretty much summing every left argument ever. Also the answer to any question about why the left fails

                • felix

                  Oh the irony. Perhaps you didn’t understand what I said.

                  You want everything to be run according to market theories and you don’t like this policy because it’s meddling with the market.

                  Cool. Keep saying that, loud as you can and to anyone who’ll listen. You’ll be doing Labour and the Greens a favour because that’s what kiwis are looking for now, a break from everything you believe in.

                  Off you go now and spread the good word.

                  • ghostrider888

                    you have provided some Excellent laughs today felix; you are very witty, almost as witty as…Did I tell you that they are playing my movie on the tele? Do I look good all rising out of the ashes and those chains, oh the chains.

    • Binders full of viper- women 3.2

      Agreed it’s not a good analogy. Fonterra sells at a competitive world price in global dairy auctions. Almost the opposite of the NZPower idea.

      • ghostrider888 3.2.1

        Yep.(some peeps aye; wotta ya gonna do?)

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.2

        As a monopsony Fonterra exercises far more pricing power than having 20 different NZ milk companies trying to undercut each other in the very same auctions.

        The point for the public is that monopsonies work, and they work here in NZ today.

        • TightyRighty 3.2.2.1

          No they don’t. All your examples that relate to New Zealand have exceptions to the monopsony definin characteristics. Therefore you cannot relate them. This is typical labour policy. Say something the public want to here but have no way of explaining, let alone implementing successfully.

  4. TheContrarian 4

    Bomber’s article is funny:

    “Q+A isn’t intelligent current affairs, it’s Sunday morning shouty and yelly. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind shouty yelly, I like it. But not on a Sunday morning, it’s just too undignified.'”

    Says the guy who used to spend every Sunday morning getting all shouty and yelly about what he’d just seen on Q+A. Why the left give credence to this hypocritical jerk is beyond me.
    A left wing Cameron Slater.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Are you saying that he is wrong and that Q+A is not shouty and yelly on Sunday mornings?

      Or are you saying that he is spot on correct?

      • TheContrarian 4.1.1

        I am saying the guy who crticises Q+A for being ‘undiginified’ because they are “shouty and yelly” on a Sunday morning while regularly being shouty and yelly themselves on a Sunday morning is a hypocritical jerk.

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          Am just trying to think of the name for someone who badmouths the person who has moderated them, but badmouths them for other reasons than the moderation.

          The reason why I give Bomber credence is because he provides useful and credible analysis of issues from a left wing perspective. Don’t always agree with him, but can’t say his style bothers me. Slater on the other hand is sleazy, has almost no discernible ethics, and is highly untrustworthy.

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.2

          It seems to me that you are criticising style not substance. Which doesn’t equal him with Slater.

        • Galeandra 4.1.1.3

          There, spellings aside, FIFY:

          I am saying the guy who crticises the guy who crticises Q+A for being ‘undiginified’ because they are “shouty and yelly” on a Sunday morning while regularly being shouty and yelly themselves on a Sunday morning is a hypocritical jerk.

  5. Alanz 5

    After a long dry & hot summer/autumn behind us, the impending sudden change to wet & cold weather will be bloody lousy timing to flog off our power dam assets to the richest NZers and foreign buyers.

  6. Colonial Viper 6

    Reading the Hickey article is interesting. Including this bit where it is clear that the Labour Govt let power prices run away during their term in power

    The National Government realised the power-consuming public was nearing the end of its tether in 2008, so it acted to force more competition with its 2009 sector review and the very successful “Whatsmynumber”… Annual residential power price inflation halved from 8 per cent in the decade from 1998 to 2008 to 4 per cent since then.

    Thank you National for significantly reducing the rate of rise of electricity prices. During Labour’s term in power, electricity prices doubled, helping Cullen hit massive budget surpluses off the back of NZ workers and businesses.

    • geoff 6.1

      Don’t be too facetious, CV, National may use that statistic to try and justify the, “see it’s getting better, just give it more time” angle.

      My bet on what National’s response to NZ Power will actually be is that they will see how widely popular it is and so they’ll capitulate on the issue a bit, just to stay in government. They’ll say something like “ok ok we can see this is a big issue so we’ll do something about it, we had some ideas that we were going to introduce a bit later but Labour and the Green’s marxist stupidity has forced our hand”.

      Then they’ll bring out a policy that they’ll argue further increases competition in the electricity market which consequently reduces consumer prices. Then they’ll say look we’ve addressed the issue that Labour raised, all through sensible, realistic (code for market forces) policy and that the voter can have cheaper electricity without being subjected to the rest of the crazy, loonie lefty crap from Labour/Greens which would surely wreck the economy.

      I doubt they will be successful though. I hope that at least the Green’s will successfully frame the election as one of rent-seeking tories versus the people of NZ. Therefore it won’t just be about power prices, it will be about housing, food, everything. And National can’t capitulate on all of those fronts.

      • Alanz 6.1.1

        “see it’s getting better, just give it more time” angle

        – well, i have been vigorously chanting this in relation to the shearer-led labour party. hoping for dividends to come soon.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.2

        Not sure if “facetious” was what I’m aiming for: according to Hickey’s numbers, power prices almost exactly doubled during Helen Clark’s 9 years in power. Nothing humourous about that. NZers tolerated that increase while minimum wage increases were good and unemployment low under Labour.

        But now, 4% power price increases (although lower) are on top of that high baseline set by Labour, and during a time where wage increases fall well short of 4%, not to mention high unemployment.

  7. tinfoilhat 7

    martyn bradbury is a fucking cunt.

    • geoff 7.1

      And yet next to Steven Joyce he looks like Mother Teresa. Not sure why I’m responding to this because I strongly suspect your post is going to get edited…

    • JonL 7.2

      Well – they say it takes one to know one……..

  8. ghostrider888 8

    wheel (SPIN) = steven joyce;
    -on power generators withholding; ” I haven’t got the details”
    -“I very much believe in strong regulation”
    -“investment loss scare-mongering”
    if you NAct spin doctors are reading this; every time steven joyce opens his nepotistic mouth he is a liability to your party and constituents; he clearly cannot think any further than beyond displacement.

    more from Q + A (watching their lying, or other wise eyes)

    -from the couch political commentator;
    -“Russell Norman is the centre-left’s most effective spokesman”
    -“that David Shearer has to sell this, that’s the worry”
    -echoed Winstons desire to nationalize, not National eyes.

    and according to Heather Roy (be nice now ghost, play nice…) “politically (NZPower announcement) was a master-stroke (unlike just strokin’ it steven).

    from Think Tank (why can’t JT be this circumspect a bit more of the time?)
    -our overall adolescent death rate is the second highest in the developed world, behind only where they arm their young with hand-guns early.

    according to Dr Nicola Coupe (cool surname) these are some prime concerns
    -the environment (now all you Libertarians who think that every thing boils down to an individuals choice of sweets; you are in an imaginary candy shop)
    -lack of purpose (low ed, low job prospects, low esteem…)
    -there is a real potential for UK-type riots (think boyracer road chains ;) , social-media facilitated parties in the street; of a kind all but in name; compare and contrast with the social outrages of the 70s; Mob huis, Bikies not paying for their petrol and Terry Clark.
    “Its not a good place where we are heading” capiche?

    and according to Heffernan power price pressure is now from transmission and distribution costs!…moving (the buck) along.

  9. Polish Pride 9

    There has been an incredible amount of frothing at the mouth over the NZ Power policy from the Greens and Labour. It has been attacked with a ferocity that I personally have not seen in NZ politics before. It has certainly caught many completely by surprise and the underlying message from the right (once you filter out the scaremongering) is that it should simply be left to the market too resolve. But should it?

    The market is not a guarantee of low prices. especially in a market where there is a low level of consumer engagement or a low level of choice.
    examples: on choice a price conscious consumer can go to the supermarket and will do so regularly and select the lowest priced product from 10 different brands. They are all there in front of them its easy to see and they just have to reach out and grab the one they want. There are only two major players in New Zealand but low prices are there because of the high level of choice and the high level of customer interaction. Hell they have buyers price checking the competitors weekly to ensure they are remaining competitive.
    On interaction you can use the same example. How often does a person go to the supermarket, a couple of times per week, once per week once per fortnight. There is a high level of interaction and the market works well.
    Even marketing plays a huge part and marketing is always more powerful and effective if you play to the senses.
    The market works very well in these areas.
    Power companies however are not like this. It is very difficult to market power to the senses to a level that will cause the consumer to get up and switch power companies.
    There is a low level of interaction. You use your lights, your appliances etc. Your interaction is with those things. Unless you are on the bones of your arse your effective interaction level with power is almost non existent. What I mean by this is that when you turn on the lights you don’t consciously think I am going to use power do you, of course not you just flip the switch and the light is on.
    As a consumer you just get your power bill and you pay it. 99% of will not go and compare what the rates are with other companies each and every time they get their power bill and then on top of that switch if they find a cheaper one each and every month. They might do a comparison when they sign up and that is about it.
    Because of this the customer base of a power company is very stable. The just need to buy the power, supply it, bill the customer and receive the payment. They are never in a position of losing customers hand over fist that means they constantly need to keep an eye on pricing in order to remain competitive and to stay in business. Customers just aren’t that interested in switching regularly enough. It is this reason that the market is unlikely to deliver lower prices. It simply doesn’t have a strong driver to. It is not doing anything that is not going to maximise profits to its shareholders.
    But could ‘the Market’ ever solve the problem of higher power prices?
    Well yes in theory and probably in practice given enough time…..
    The most likely realisation of a market solution in New Zealand will be where the price of off grid equipment such as inverters, solar panels, batteries etc. continues to drop and the cost of electricity keeps rising. Once things get to a point where it becomes more and more economically viable to switch to having your own power supply (i.e. installing an off grid set up) rather than continuing to pay the power companies ever increasing prices then this is what more and more people will do.
    Once this point is reached power companies have two options.
    1. lower the cost of power to a point where it is
    A: no longer economical to go off the grid.
    &
    B: will attract customers from other power companies thus increasing or at least restoring profits.
    Or
    2. increase prices to make up the short fall from customers that have been lost to off grid alternatives.
    With the pressure to produce ever increasing profits and dividends to shareholders in the short term rather than take a long term approach to the problem. Option 2 is the one that will most likely be realised.
    The problem is that this outcome is the worst possible outcome for the low the income sections of society, those that can’t afford to go off grid and need lower power prices the most.
    In theory the market can solve the problem. But for many, by the time it is finally able to it will be far too late.

  10. KJT 10

    It was depressing watching this morning.

    Watching Parker and Hughes being interviewed and putting their feet in their mouths after such a brilliant policy hit.

    Those two torn to shreds by a not very competent right wing TV interviewer.

    Unfortunately both sounded like not very competent mumblers.

    Of course it is socialist, designed to remove the profits share buyers intended to make by ripping off the rest of us. Of course it is a move away from “the market”. And of course it is designed to stop nationals privatisations. (The economic vandalism of excessive profits having to be paid offshore.)

    Neither had the guts to say so!

    Parker seemed to be stuck in some “third way” paradigm where a labour party MP could not be “Socialist” FFS.

    Don’t know what happened to Gareth, but going to an interview without all the facts and figures, is deadly.

    Maybe we need to hire super salesman Key from National? I am sure he would switch for a couple of hundred mill.

    Or David Cunliff??

    • felix 10.1

      Parker is in the wrong party. Or maybe the right party 30 years too late.

      • Jokerman 10.1.1

        I “got” all those “GAMES” (sssh, don’t let the RW in on the joke), singularly cleaning up the back nine with your walkman on at the time you may have been all out to see. Over, and Out. (You’re never alone when you’re a schizophrenic, or not) ;)

    • Jimmie 10.2

      Don’t forget the ‘e’ lol I’m sure Mr Cunliffe is sensitive about folk who misspell his surname

  11. What was broken back in the pre-Rogernomic$ days of the NZ Department of Electricity and local Power Boards?

    In those ‘bad old inefficient’ days – you could at least afford to have a heater on in winter and a soak in a hot bath?

    When you take an essential public service – like electricity – which is a ‘natural monopoly’, and introduce the ‘market model’ – all that happens is a duplication of resources and price increases for (residential) customers.

    The ‘market model’ for electricity has been a disaster for most NZ households.

    Who would take the slightest notice of ‘market maniac’ John Key?

    He was the former Head of Derivatives for Merrill Lynch, at a time that the market for derivatives was completely deregulated (repeal of the Glass Steagall Act in 1999), now look at the global financial meltdown, caused by the collapse of the derivatives market?

    Isn’t it time for a review of the entire Rogernomic$ model?

    Time to match the FACTS against the MANTRA – “Public is bad – private is good?”

    FOR WHOM?

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation’ campaigner.

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    http://www.switchoffmercuryenergy.org.nz/

  12. Paul 12

    A quick look at the quantity of the comments and the amount of likes below Bernard Hickey’s article ‘ Power barons fail to fool the public this time around’ would suggest the capitalists are losing the PR war.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10878726
    This is a watershed issue.

  13. burt 13

    Socialise power pricing. No water meters – no power meters. Nationalise the telco’s again and nationalise all food production and distribution.

    Each house could be charged a flat rate based on its capital value for water, electricity, phone and Internet. Food stamps allocated based on the house value as well which can be redeemed in state run shops which don’t make a profit.

    This NZ Power thing is just re start comrades, get behind it… State run monopolies always deliver the best value for money – look at the Soviet Union which was the richest country on earth before it lost its way.

    • ghostrider888 13.1

      and that’s just the tip of the Caucasus!

    • Colonial Viper 13.2

      One nationalisation at a time mate

      • ghostrider888 13.2.1

        ahhh you following me, or am I following you Hoss?

        • Colonial Viper 13.2.1.1

          Lockstep dude.

          • ghostrider888 13.2.1.1.1

            Blind Lemon Jefferson; a good friend (redundant former DPS) and staunch unionist, now in the printing industry ;) sniffed that artist out during our sessions together.anyway, Press on I say!

      • burt 13.2.2

        That’s right, lefty’s never reveal their true agenda because it might not be popular enough for them to gain power. How silly of me …

        • Colonial Viper 13.2.2.1

          Wow what an ironic comment

          • karol 13.2.2.1.1

            Yes, gos’s comments are like stepping through the looking glass into a world where everything is reversed: right MOs become left MOs.

  14. Coronial Typer 14

    Which would we all prefer: cheaper electricity prices for all (hey great spike there Labour), or partially-privatised generator companies with majority New Zealand ownership.

    Labour has so spooked local investors over MRP float that Labour will only get the former, not the latter.

    • burt 14.1

      Yes of course, history shows categorically that monopolies always deliver the best results for consumers.

      • Colonial Viper 14.1.1

        And NZ history has shown that moving away from the NZED was a right wing mistake.

        • burt 14.1.1.1

          Yes indeed. It made power companies report profits accurately and openly and let people know how much profit was being extracted from families struggling to pay the power bill. Openness and accountability are completely abhorrent to leftist ideology which relies on perception and propaganda. Bring back the state control and stealth taxation so we can all be happy in our ignorance.

          • Coronial Typer 14.1.1.1.1

            Which of you, Burt and CV, are buying MRP shares?

            If you are not and can afford to, is signing the petition your main resistance to foreign ownership?

            If you are, does the Labour Kiwipower policy make you feel confident about the Labour Party as a future majority shareholder?

            • burt 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Coronial Typer

              I’m taking the piss. Seriously. There has never been a monopoly that retains its original purpose of serving the best interests of its customers/clients above serving its own best interests or the agenda of its “management”.

              Look at NZ Railways before it was privatised. Train fares were pegged at about a few dollars below air fares where air travel was available ( eg Wellington to Auckland). Legislation was enabled to ensure road freight was slower than rail. Passenger bus services were not allowed to travel comparable routes faster than trains. The railways employed 22,000 people prior to privatisation – 5,000 after and fares reduced considerably as did freight charges.

              ACC is another shining example. There is no contractual compensation … You get the level of compensation de-jour which is dependent on the capability of the organisation to deliver profit as mandated by the government less the costs of operation. Yet the lefties still call it the best system in the world despite not one other country ever adopting our model.

              Telecom ( NZ post ) is another example. Poorly educated ideologues will tell you it was sold cheaply because they either don’t know or have forgotten it was a money pit for tax ayers funds, a sheltered workshop employing thousands of bums on seats hiding unemployment while being completely non customer focused.

              • felix

                Tough titty burt.

                We as a society built the electricity network and we as a society will decide how to use it.

                • burt

                  That’s right felix, and once the Red=good labour one size fits themselves government loose the levers of power how confident are you that the Blue=bad government will continue to run this all powerful monopoly in the spirit of goodness you were stupid enough to believe in when you empowered its creation ?

                  • felix

                    Didn’t say anything about red/labour/blue/national burt. That’s your world not mine.

                    We as a society, the owners of the electricity infrastructure, will decide how to use it.

                    Awful isn’t it?

                    • burt

                      The only awful thing felix is the reckless flip flop wastage and expense of reorganising everything critical in social services for the sake of electoral popularity.

                      A complete restructure of the electricity sector done with cross party support in the best interest of NZ would be a fine thing. Successive governments turning infrastructure and essential social services into political footballs is the problem. And this is what we are seeing going on here with partisan support/resistance.

                    • felix

                      Nah, it’s not up to the political parties.

                      We the people will decide. And chances are we’ll decide to use them for our own benefit. Horrible, I know.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      did you just see burt declare the badness of “electoral popularity”?

                      Its like he doesn’t realise that the idea of “democracy” centres around decision making by the people for the people, and that is a good thing.

                      Not decision making by the elites, for the elites.

                    • felix

                      Funny eh?

                      And I love the appeal to “cross party support in the best interest of NZ” (who does that remind you of lol) which means “maybe the people could have a say as long as the power of the elites is maintained at no less than current levels”.

                    • burt

                      Yep, keep fooling yourself guys. Keep believing the two major parties exist to serve the people. Keep thinking that their main interest is serving the people by being established in a structure where one rules as an all powerful elite executive ad the other opposes on principle. That without a mandate they can and do impose changes over and above the mandate we give them every three years.

                      Keep thinking our half Westminster system with its unconstrained ability to pass any law it wants to is a democracy. Keep forgetting we’ve never had a binding referendum that makes for the people by the people real rather than a fickle sound bite to give you confidence to vote for an ideology on blind faith that your team is better than the other one.

                      It’s half thinkers like you that perpetuate this two horse system allowing electoral popularity to dictate government policy funded by all of us.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Are you pretending that you are for true democratic constitutional reform?

                      Are you pretending that you are a backer of alternatives to a democracy based on political parties?

                      Or are you just an authoritarian poseur trying to hide your natural inclinations?

                      electoral popularity

                      Yes because systems of government which ignore the will of the people work out so well.

                    • burt

                      Executive power without accountability – that’s the problem CV. It’s what we have, what you seem to support.

                      You won’t need to google very far to find me banging on about accountability and the folly of flip-flop policies in our predominately two party system.

                      But sure, your entitled to your opinion of my motivations. The fact you support an ideology that’s never produced an enduring benefit proves your opinions are ideologically based rather than on fact and reason so basically I don’t consider your opinions any more valid than I do a child’s opinion that they shouldn’t have to do homework valid,

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Trust me mate, you’re not as wise and all knowing as you’d like to make out.

                    • burt

                      CV

                      I don’t claim to be wise, and unlike you I don’t claim to know what your motivations are. I have my opinions – I share them. You are free to argue with them but I would prefer you didn’t attack me over debating the points I make – but that is up to you.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      burt and the moral high ground, how fabulous

                    • felix

                      “The fact you support an ideology that’s never produced an enduring benefit”

                      Funny, just the other day burt was arguing that it’s wrong to try to change anything for the better, that we’re born with what we’re born with and it’s pointless to interfere with that destiny.

                    • burt

                      CV & felix

                      Thanks for validating my assertion that you would rather attack me than engage in the meat of the issue. Well done.

                      felix, tinkering isn’t the solution. Perhaps you could explain in the context of NZ power how a state owned monopoly for no more than price control isn’t a classic Muldoon style policy and perhaps while doing that you could point to enduring benefits from these types of policies as implemented by Muldoon – other than the enduring benefit of making people weary of regulation and price control to solve complex problems.

                    • felix

                      Don’t really care about any of that burt.

                      What we’re going to do is use our electricity infrastructure to supply nzers with cheaper energy.

                      Whether it fits with your theoretical model is the least of my concerns.

                    • burt

                      felix

                      It’s refreshing that you trust a political party so completely. I’m a little more jaded by reality and by the history of profit taking from electricity by your beloved red team over their last term in government, clearly I’m more cynicle than you about our form of governance and its usage of price control devices it has always had to serve our best interests.

                      But sure, changing the tools might change their behaviour. I mean it’s not like they didn’t always have the ability to reduce power pricing over the last 15 years – but hey with a new branded entity with NZ in the name it might all change.

                      Good for you felix, your trust in political parties to behave differently once they change their clothes is admirable.

                    • felix

                      How many times do I have to say it? I’m not interested in political parties.

                      Your concerns are not my concerns.

                    • burt

                      Ok felix, sure I’m starting to get that. Your trust in a power company to reduce power pricing is interesting given your current lack of trust in power companies to reduce power pricing. Good luck working out where you stand felix, other than against me.

                    • felix

                      You’re funny burt.

                      One hint of a tool to loosen the grip of the elite – even a tiny bit – from the throat of the rest of us and now it’s about trust.

                      And no, it’s not about being against ‘you’. You’re irrelevant in this discussion.

                • freedom

                  once back in the hands of the society, we as a society must create a specific law that the network can only be further changed ( ie sold) through binding referenda.

                  • burt

                    Good luck with taking power away from the hands of the elite once they have used it for electoral popularity successfully.

                    It’s like asking for control of the school system to be under the mandate of referendum, health policy or changes to the justice system to be under binding referendum.

                    Where is this faith you have in our politicians to serve our best interests coming from ?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    That’s one thing which disturbs me about the title of this post. NZ Power is not a socialist initiative; at best it represents a social democratic initiative based on market based capitalism.

                    The NZ Power initiative does not place the ownership of any network back into the hands of society.

                    • burt

                      Exactly CV. If it were socialist then the debate would be about socialising power billing for the common good rather than introducing a state monopoly to regulate and price control. Regulation and price control reminds us of Muldoon and I don’t see much support for his polices on either side if the current political spectrum.

                      Perhaps if you read the comments I’ve been making on this thread again you will see I’m basically pointing to the folly of state control and regulation to solve the problem.

                      Furthermore, your inability to see the points I’m making about our broken constitutional model of a predominately two party system unconstrained might best best be referred to Geffory Palmer’s book Unbridaled Power where he refers to the NZ government as the fastest law makers in the west, I don’t expect you to agree with much I say but I would be interested to hear your opinion of Geoffery Palmer’s assertions that our government ( the model not the current party in power) is not a very valid constructional model and also without a proud history of serving the people of NZ well.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      It’s not price controls mate its profit control.

                    • RedLogix

                      Perhaps if you read the comments I’ve been making on this thread again you will see I’m basically pointing to the folly of state control and regulation to solve the problem.

                      Well then you’ll just have to explain that to all those countries like South Korea, California and Canada (to name a couple that have pop up as similar examples). Maybe they’ll be interested your idea that they’ve been committing folly.

                      And I’m baffled by your constant denigration of anything to do with the State, when in fact there are a whole lot of things that your take totally for granted, which function for the most part pretty smoothly …. and are run by public servants going about their normal jobs.

                      Of course all things human are subject to improvement; there’s always something we could do better. But that’s true whether it’s the state or the private sector. And I’ve seen plenty of wasteful, inefficient and destructive “folly” from the private sector in my life. Especially when it’s been allowed to do a job that the state would be inherently better at.

                    • burt

                      CV

                      Yes indeed. Profit control.. Control … Not minimisalisation. Your belief it will be for minimisalisation is based on your faith in the integrity of the party that is proposing it. Once in the hands of the fastest law makers in the west – it will certainly be about profit control – which by the way the current structure already enables as evidenced by billions of profit being taken over the last 15 years.

                    • burt

                      RedLogix

                      Is not only about the model, its about the history of behaviour in an unconstrained parliament.

                      It might be interesting to shift this debate to viewing the constitutional structure of the countries you mention if you want to introduce them as valid examples of how it might work here.

                    • karol

                      I agree CV. After I left for work yesterday, I regretted not putting quote marks around the “socialist”. Will do it now.

                    • burt

                      Rather revealing you only quote socialist karol. I say that because I think Labour don’t have a position, rather just they are opposition. Like felix, they have no real opinions other that the other people they argue with are wrong.

                    • felix

                      Nonsense burt. I have many opinions, all of immeasurable worth.

                      You tend to overlook them because you are only concerned with philosophical consistency and have no apparent concern for outcomes.

              • Colonial Viper

                Frankly burt since you have no understanding of the concept of an economic commons for the good of all, nor any understanding of the failings of neoliberalism, your faulty analysis is completely expected.

                Oh BTW, the only reason that privateers like Fay Richwhite and Co bought into all these public goods was because they knew they were getting huge free value and scamming the NZ tax payers who had built those assets up over decades.

                • burt

                  So no power meters then CV… It’s the only way…

                  • felix

                    There are many ways burt, not just your extreme fantasy contrasted with your extreme nightmare.

                    Do you know what an electricity meter does burt?

                    • burt

                      I think I know what it does felix. It does the same thing for electricity billing that water meters do for water billing. One s status quo and unthinkable to change and the other is evil and must not happen – have I got it right.

                    • felix

                      No burt, it measures the amount of electricity being used.

                      Always about the fucking money with you, isn’t it?

                    • burt

                      It’s back to attacking me felix. Perhaps you could call your electricity company tomorrow and ask them if the meter you have in/on your dwellinging is there for billing. You might be surprised to learn its not there to demonstrate the physics of measuring power usage for your entertainment. I guess knowing your usage by having that measured in terms of money could ave a side effect of making you use less – so maybe the power company only bill via your metered usage to charge for you education – which should be free anyway… He’ll they are pigs those power companies … Life will be much better when nanny only measures our power usage for our pleasure of witnessing the technology of power metering.

                    • felix

                      *whoosh*

            • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1.1.2

              The Labour Party is not going to be a future major shareholder of anything.

              End of 2015 is the earliest I imagine the new NZ Power mechanism will come into force.

              “Investors” who think they can do a speculative ‘pump and dump’ on the shares before then will not be dissuaded from investing.

          • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1.2

            Extracting profits from critical economic infrastructure is a neoliberal idea. Instead, they should be operated as a public good, part of the commons of the country.

  15. Michael 15

    Just had a look at “Q&A” – I reckon the TVNZ journalist was auditioning for a job as one of Steven Joyce’s spin doctors, or he was already working as one. Look at the monologues he made Parker face, in the guise of “questions”, v the obsequious obeisances he made to Joyce. Reminded me of those BBC interviewers grovelling to royalty.

  16. Rodel 16

    I seem to remember the name Hefferman from somewhere back in the political scene. Who was he then?

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