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Two Things

Written By: - Date published: 5:05 pm, March 13th, 2013 - 124 comments
Categories: climate change, david shearer, farming, Privatisation - Tags:

Shearer seems to be opening up to an asset buy-back at cost policy – that should be popular among quite a few Standardistas.

It’s more of a luke-warm, “negotiable with coalition partners” or “if we’ve enough space in the budget once we work out the numbers at election time” move at this stage, rather than full-blooded, but it’s a start of an angle and a buyer beware.

(in the link Bill English continues his characterisation of signees as children who were bailed up by paid parliamentary staff, as National continue to be dismissive of 400,000 Kiwis, plus more who support them)

-

This article on Coal Action Network Aotearoa’s blog is worth a read:

[..] “experts warn it could spell the end for farming as we know it and may cost the country billions of dollars in drought relief each year before practices are adjusted.”

It’s taken quite some time for the words “climate change” to enter the national conversation about this drought.  I spoke with NIWA’s Brett Mullan last week and he had some very interesting points to make on the massive and very unusual highs that have been sitting over the country since early February. He’d make a great interview, I thought, but he said no media had called him to even ask. [..]

Our agriculture-based economy is going to feel this pinch more than most in the decades to come.  Indeed the Government is already signalling it may cause a return to recession. What worries me is that our agriculture is increasingly turning to intensive, water-hungry dairy farming, at a time when water scarcity is expected to rise.

In 1981 there were 2.92 million dairy cows wandering our land.  By 2010 this had grown to nearly six million.

In the last few weeks we’ve seen farmer after dairy farmer on the news, having to dry off their herd early, buy in feed and sell cows off to the works as they can’t sustain them.

There are so many ironies in this story that it’s difficult to know where to start. [..]

[..]

We’re all in this climate change business together.  From my own fast-emptying water tanks to the farmers (and associated industries) suffering across the country, we need to turn to a new way of thinking, a new way of operating in this climate-changing world.

If I were a farmer I’d be screaming at the government to take leadership on all counts.  Maps like this aren’t pretty.

Our Government, for the sake of our farmers and all of our futures, needs to wake up, dump its short-term, fossil fuel-based thinking that holds up international action, and, indeed our economy. [..]

that’s only some of it – it’s worth reading the full thing.

.

[Title note: National MPs / candidates always seem to have 2 Things to say to questions (with appropriate fingers) - presumably as a result of their candidate schooling - so "Two Things" is an in-joke in my household...]

124 comments on “Two Things”

  1. Daveo 1

    Of course, the only way you can do it credibly is if you signal to the market beforehand, which Shearer won’t do. I suspect this is just a sop to try to cover his increasingly vulnerable left flank – and to not expose the cynicism of his position on asset sales.

    • xtasy 1.1

      Going by past “Shearer Says” e-letter contributions on TS, and going by the vagueness of so much that Shearer has been saying, speaking about and announced thus far, I would not put much trust at all in Labour preparing to buy back the sold shares in MRP and other SOEs to be partially sold.

      Anything that comes from Shearers mouth is verbal fluff, and that is a compliment, I’d say.

    • McFlock 1.2

      But this is exactly the sort of policy where Greens and Mana will be able to pressure for action. The credibility comes from their pre-election announcements and labour not standing in the way. And it provides a clear differentiation between labour and its coalition partners, for those voters who cares about how left wing labour is (or isn’t).

      This is MMP working. Labour can lead, follow or get out of the way – the one thing it can’t do is obstruct. I actually sort of want national to go for broke, because I reckon that if they can piss off enough nzers, then the left parties will be able to pull labour much farther left than in lab5. Unless Shearer does a “grand coalition” with national (super-highly unlikely although included as a theoretical possibility) – but that would see labour support disappear quicker than Winston’s.

      • The Chairman 1.2.1

        This is exactly the sort of policy where the Greens and Mana will be REQUIRED to pressure for action.

        Taking the buyer beware position from the start would have prevented the sales process.

        Investors would quickly lose interest once aware there was no money to be made.

        • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1

          Taking the buyer beware position from the start would have prevented the sales process.

          No strategic thinking whatsoever, just beltway thinking.

          • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1

            No sales have been made yet, and some people will still gamble and buy no matter what. And national will sell, no matter what.

            Sum change: nothing

            • The Chairman 1.2.1.1.1.1

              The number still willing to take the punt would be extremely limited, hence leaving if far from feasible from a sales perspective.

              What National want to do and what they can get away with are two different things.

              • McFlock

                Nact passed the law. Its doable for them.
                The two issues that I see are:

                Will public opposition make the tories blink?
                Will coalition partners make labour renationalise?

                The first, I think no.
                The second, the chances are good.

                Calling caveat emptor before or during expressions of interest are indistinguishable in outcome.

                • The Chairman

                  We’re talking political opposition – not public

                  Any future buy back (at cost) would now be jeopardized, potentially suffering valid buyer backlash due to the initial lack of clarity.

                  • McFlock

                    Political opposition? Its a done deal, passed and signed off in cabinet.

                    Nats are selling.

                    Buyer backlash? What will the profiteers do, emigrate? Good riddance. And don’t be fool enough to think that all those who register for free will have a spare two grand to gamble on shares.

                    • The Chairman

                      Before it was passed.

                      Why risk a backlash and create unnecessary market uncertainty when it could have been initially adverted?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Political opposition? Its a done deal, passed and signed off in cabinet.

                      Nats are selling.

                      Hmmmm perhaps you’re not familiar with the classic stockmarket quip,

                      “You may be in the market to sell, but who the hell is going to buy?”

                      That’s where the political opposition can come in. Stick the blade right between the shoulder blades of the prospectus and make it obsolete.

                    • McFlock

                      Cv, I ain’t big on the stockmarket. But I do know folk even bought facebook shares.

                      Tc – sounds like the same bullshit we’ve been told for years: Managers and profiteers need assurance, confidence and stability, but workers don’t. Excuse me if I’m not sympathetic to that perspective. Profiteers can join the real world, where shit happens.

                    • The Chairman

                      It’s not a sympathy seeking issue. It’s an economic reality.

                      Certainty and stability in the market also flows on to workers.

                      By taking a bet either way, Shearer is creating uncertainty, missed the opportunity to stifle the sales process, and is failing to give supporters a clear sense of direction.

                    • McFlock

                      Trickle down certainty is as much a myth as trickle-down economics.
                      But if the captains of industry really are shrinking violets, we’re talking about businesses with strong fundamentals, no matter how much key tries to mismanage them.

                      You seem to be arguing that shearer’s statements create “uncertainty” for the market, but not so much that the sales are stifled. Here’s a hint: national are going to sell no matter what. Even if the price took a hit from their projections, they’d blame lab/GFC/earthquake/whatever. Like they’ve done with GDP, unemployment and every other thing they’ve fucked up. And with two probable coalition partners talking about renationalisation already, buyers had better be darned aware no matter what.

                    • The Chairman

                      No. The point is an initial united front would have been far more effective, sending a clear message to investors and to electorate at large

                      Again, what National want to do and what they can get away with is two different things. Why make it easier for them?

                      Wealth does trickle down. The myth is the belief it flows.

                    • McFlock

                      Nothing labour can do or could have done (short of goff winning the election debates) would interfere with the sale. National have gotten away with it already – the best robbery is one where they willingly hand you the keys to the safe.

                      “easier for them”? It cannot be made difficult. National crossed the “fuck you” threshold when they rammed through the legislation. They don’t care. The investors already know that there is a good chance come 2014 that there will be a renationalisation, whether labour say anything or not. That’ll get factored in. As to messages to the electorate, labour either are waiting to determine policy rather than making it up on the fly (is it any wonder that the renationalisation announcements came from largely on-man-band parties), or they’re playing “good cop” to nz1/mana’s “bad cop”. Either is a logical reason to avoid going off half cocked. I’m slightly more interested as to what the Greens’ renationalisation policy will be, personally.

                      And the myth of trickle-down wealth is that it hasn’t been filtered through kidneys first.

                    • The Chairman

                      Again you’re missing the point.

                      Labour initially missed the opportunity to make it more difficult..

                      Announcing a buyer beware position right from the start is what Labour could and should have done.

                      Sending a clear message would have been far more effective.

                      The failure to do so has cost them voter support.

                      Failing to commit is one of the reasons Labour is lagging in the polls.

                      Labour won’t secure votes when voters have to second guess what the party actually stands for.

                    • McFlock

                      how would they have made it more difficult? Any more difficult than a massive CIR petition? Or more difficult than the fiscal idiocy of the decision? What would an immediate renationalisation announcement have done to make things more difficult for national?

                      There are two issues you keep coming back to: one is that labour saying something more than “we oppose sales” would have made it more difficult for national to move ahead with the sales; the other is the idea that labour pushing stronger and more leftwing policies driven by caucus would get it higher poll ratings.

                      The first is doubtful, because that relies on either power in parliament or national having a sense of shame. Nact+dunnikins mean labour doesn’t have the power to force a halt, and nact have no shame to force them do what is right.

                      The second is pure speculation as to the minds of the voters, although a commonly held belief around the traps here. Personally, I’m not sure there’s a self-articulated, alienated and oppressed left wing mass that’s large enough to hold the barricades come the Labour-led revolution. I suspect that it might simply be swapping an unknown number of floaters for an unknown number of lefties, and greater advance in the polls would be sustained by basic slog and some stable leadership.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      People bought Failbook shares in a classic pump and dump scam run by the investment banks.

                      McFlock, not sure why you are so vigorously defending Labour’s strategy opposing asset sales.

                      As if you really believe that There Is No Alternative to what was, and is being done, in the Labour strategy.

                    • McFlock

                      people still bought fb shares.

                      I’m not arguing TINA, just that whether labour opposes asset sales with the threat of renationalisation or merely opposes the sales is irrelevant to whether the assets will be sold. And that either is a valid option. The key expectations I have from labour are that labour oppose the sales, and that they renationalise either willingly or in the same way they renationalised the railways and created kiwibank: as a direct result of pressure from a coalition partner.

                      So what are the greens’ renationalisation plans?

                    • The Chairman

                      Announcing a buyer beware position right from the start would have reduced investor interest, placing another hurdle in front of the Government..

                      Moreover, merely stating you oppose something (and Labour has a habit of doing this with a number of issues) while not actually being prepared to reverse (when later in power) the issues you claim to oppose, is a voter letdown.

                      It lessens the Party’s creditability, giving the opposition further ammunition, while making voters feel as if they are being conned.

                      The party requires the support of the left to get them over the line, hence their halfhearted attempt to appease them.

                      However, as the polls clearly indicate, their halfhearted attempt is failing to win over.voters.

                    • McFlock

                      Announcing a buyer beware position right from the start would have reduced investor interest, placing another hurdle in front of the Government..

                      Even if the CEO of Forsyth Barr came out and said they were advising against buying the public assets, Key would have shrugged it off in exactly the same way he shrugged off the CIR petition. They just do not give a fuck.

                      Moreover, merely stating you oppose something (and Labour has a habit of doing this with a number of issues) while not actually being prepared to reverse (when later in power) the issues you claim to oppose, is a voter letdown.

                      Did you miss the work labour and the other parties did on the CIR petition? And what evidence do you have that more voters would switch to labour and the other left parties if labour go all Hugo Chavez, than the number of soft tories who’d be scared back to nact be such a move?

                      I agree with the policy, I just don’t know that it’s a game-changing votewinner. You can project as many motives and emotions as you want onto people who currently don’t vote labour, but it’s just guesswork.

                      However, as the polls clearly indicate, their halfhearted attempt is failing to win over.voters.

                      Key is borderline. He has no friends of note. A 2% swing in 18 months is doable at even labour’s rate of change, and they’re not taking votes from the greens.

                    • The Chairman

                      The evidence from taking the soft tone approach can been seen in the lagging in the polls.

                      Moreover, in the trashing in the last election.

                      .The party can’t expect to secure votes when voters have to second guess their policy.

                      Guessing they can is highlighting the Party’s denial to the reality facing them in the polls.

                      Whereas, their more left thinking hands on housing policy received a widespread, warm welcoming.

                      Just over 70 per cent of the 500 respondents in the Herald-DigiPoll survey approved of Labour’s promise to enter the housing market..

                    • McFlock

                      Funny, I thought much of lab’s 2011 campaign involved getting back to their lefty roots. How did that work out again?

                    • The Chairman

                      They failed to listen.

                      It was just another halfhearted attempt to appease the left.

                      And we can all see how that has worked out.

                    • McFlock

                      Again, you’re assuming particular motives to the electorate. All we really know is that a 2% swing away from national means a left wing government.

                    • The Chairman

                      No. I’m highlighting their halfhearted, soft tone approach is failing to win over voters. As shown in the polls.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Funny, I thought much of lab’s 2011 campaign involved getting back to their lefty roots. How did that work out again?

                      People figured that it was just a ploy, and not genuine. Also that a lot of people in caucus weren’t happy with Goff – a line the MSM repeated ad nauseam.

                      Within a couple of months of the election, they were all proven right.

                    • The Chairman

                      Ponder this:

                      A left wing Government with Labour failing to commit to reversing a number of right wing policies they currently oppose?

                      Are voters to interpret that as a win for the left?

                    • McFlock

                      What percentage are the parties that have so far announced renationalisation policies? More than 30% each?

                    • McFlock

                      A left wing government with flagship green and mana policies (including renationalisation) will be a victory for the left. Regardless of whether the labour caucus make up nice policy statements on the fly.

                    • The Chairman

                      It’s a flawed comparison.

                      Those parties are far younger and are growing off a far smaller support base.

                      A number of polls have shown a large number of voters want to retain our assets.

                    • McFlock

                      Maybe so. But at 70% (I seem to recall) against asset sales, roughly a third of opponents will still vote for the party selling them. I reckon that means labour can go through the policy process rather than rushing to announce renationalisation plans that haven’t been worked through and might not have the support of membership anyway.

                    • The Chairman

                      Labour is not committing to buying the assets back or reversing a number of other right wing policies..

                      Therefore, there is no assurance Labour will give the the Greens or Mana much leeway.

                      In fact, the more support Labour secures the less they will need them and the less likely they will be swayed.

                    • McFlock

                      Yep.
                      Labour on 35 to 40% would be mighty fine. Enough to make them adopt left policies, if they need to be made.

                      And any investors should be expecting mana and maybe nz1 to be pushing for renationalisation in 2014, even if lab/grns are to be determined at this time.

                    • The Chairman

                      Taking that approach hasn’t secured voter support, hence they failed to fully capitalize off that 70%

                      New Zealand’s low income coupled with our growing inequality would suggest there are more votes to be gained going after those in the lower pay brackets.

                      Which, one would assume a Labour party would do.

                      Ours wants to chase the middle ground – and it’s not working out for them.

                    • McFlock

                      I disagree. Labour can only take votes from the “unhappy with national” crowd. I.e. other parties or the didnotvote.

                      Assumptions about what will reinvolve the dnvs are at best premature. That leaves labour poaching off the greens, which helps nobody.

                      Basically, in my view labour can realistically start 2014 in the mid to high thirties. The will be enough to make the issue in doubt and so the nats won’t have the gloss of being a clear frontrunner. Then it’s up to the campaign.

                    • The Chairman

                      That was the approach taken last election. It resulted in Labour taking a trashing.

                      You’d be surprised where, in the political spectrum, a clear sense of direction and good policy can attain support..

                    • McFlock

                      That’s not my recollection of labour’s approach last election. They tried to be the most left wing they’d been in at least two elections.

                      What lost the election in my opinion was the campaign, especially playing a residential-style game (not to mention rugby and disasters). But even that abysmal result for labour was only a narrow defeat for the Left.

                      I don’t want labour to win. I want the left to win.

                    • The Chairman

                      How did you come to that conclusion (the most left wing)?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I suppose left wing parties are ones which announce surprise increases in the age of retirement eh McFlock?

                      There Is No Alternative mate?

                    • McFlock

                      Significant references to the legacy of savage and kirk . Extending WFF to beneficiaries.
                      Having a policy platform larger than a credit card.

                      CV, I think you are responding to what you think I wrote, not what’s on the screen.

                    • The Chairman

                      By the way, the left didn’t win. Labour’s thrashing ensured that..

                      References are worthless if the policy fails to match up.

                      With a policy platform larger than a credit card you only named one policy that led to your conclusion.

                      Extending WFF is a bandage, highlighting the fiscal shortfall beneficiaries currently face.

                      Why not avoid the tax bureaucracy and increase benefits directly?

                    • McFlock

                      Yes. Blanket raising of benefits would have been even more left wing. However, I used the WFF policy because it was an extension of benefits to the dispossessed, and was a specific announcement rather than a :mum & apple pie” platitude.

                      Labour in 2011 were more left wing than in 2008/5. That does not mean that they could not have been more left wing still. However, a party that’s more left wing than labour would be called “green” or “mana”.

                      The left lost in 2011 – narrowly. Labour did very poorly. Try drawing a venn diagram to see the difference.

                    • The Chairman

                      More left then 05/08 perhaps, but no where near left enough to be deemed as representing the left..

                      If Labour don’t want to represent the left, perhaps the unions should start backing the Greens and Mana then?

                    • McFlock

                      maybe they should. That’s up to them.

                      But that doesn’t mean that soft labour can’t provide the bulk of a left wing government – “left wing” because parties like greens and mana negotiate left wing policies as part of c&s agreements.

                    • The Chairman

                      If the unions stopped backing Labour, I doubt Labour would retain the ‘bulk’.

                      Moreover, the polls indicate their current soft approach won’t get Labour or the left over the line.

                      What core policy changes have they made since their thrashing?

                    • The Chairman

                      National down 4. Labour and NZ First up 2.. Greens up 1.

                      According to that poll the only other minor party that would make the threshold is NZ First. And they are sitting on 5%.

                      Therefore, Labour’s current halfhearted approach is largely going to rely on NZ First maintaining there 5% – moreover, that Winston will form a government with Labour?

                      Is that your recommended winning strategy?

                    • McFlock

                      almost.

                      Give lab and or the greens another 5%, preferably so they both need mana for an overhang government, and that would be my ideal.
                      Worst non-nact case would be a lab govt able to govern with either green or nz1 support, thus being able to play them off against each other. I want the bargaining power to be with the minor parties, preferably not nz1 but needs must and all that..

          • The Chairman 1.2.1.1.2

            Could the strategy have been to appease the left without actually effecting the sale process?

            • McFlock 1.2.1.1.2.1

              meh. Maybe. Maybe not. But labour are only 70% of a likely left government, so renationalising the assets will be like kiwibank or kiwirail. Pushecd by partners if labour wants to play semitorycop, I don’t care, as long as 15% of the vote play leftycop.

              • The Chairman

                NZ First and Mana have taken the buyer beware position.

                It was Labour, Maori, and the Greens that left them hanging.

                • McFlock

                  Well maori are nat, so big surprise.

                  ” Left hanging ” is a bit much with 2 of 3 likely labour coalition partners making the signal as expressions of interest (not actual share purchases) start.

                  • The Chairman

                    Failing to initially commit left them hanging.

                    A ‘signal’ is not a commitment

                  • The Chairman

                    NZ First and Mana have taken the buyer beware position.

                    Well before expressions of interest was sought.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Centrist political parties sympathetic to the free market wouldn’t want to scare the horses yeah.

                    • McFlock

                      Yes two out of three likely labour coalition partners.
                      Eoi irrelevant, because it doesn’t bind to a purchase

    • Lew 1.3

      Daveo sez Of course, the only way you can do it credibly is if you signal to the market beforehand, which Shearer won’t do. I suspect this is just a sop to try to cover his increasingly vulnerable left flank

      This. Shearer’s position is gutless dithering, allowing Winston Peters to run the game. Worse than useless.

      L

      • Ed 1.3.1

        What signals do you want to give? Winston’s promise to buy back shares at their purchase price will have the merchant bankers salivating. All they need is a bit of notice. An owner wanting a bit more from the government will gladly arrange with a friendly broker to sell his shares at above the current market price, with a promise that his family trust will buy them back at the cost to the broker. He no longer owns the shares, but his family trust gets paid out its purchase price. A few trades like that and suddenly the government is paying out a lot more . . .

        On the other hand, you may want a promise to re-purchase at issue price. That would be popular for a foreign investor that buys after the float at more than issue price, with an assurance from John Key that he will win the next election as well . . .

        There are enough cautions around – when National can stuff up a wholly owned company like Solid Energy, what says they won’t do the same to a 51% owned company . . . Then of course there is the possibility of difficulties regarding competition with wholly government owned entities, problems with the possibility of water rights having increases in charges, problems with distribution, problems with teh initial float price being too high (hype may get some investors to subscribe, but would you trust a National government’s valuation?), problems with the major shareholder insisting on further share issues to fund further generation ( a deep pocket majority shareholder can be quite difficult for minority shareholders) – and there may well be other concerns.

        I would be tempting to support Winstons ‘obvious’ counter to the sales, but both Labour and the Green Party are too principled to mislead in that way. Besides, the real answer to the asset sales, as with much of the objectionable actions or neglect of National in other areas, is to get them booted out at the next election. The last thing we want is Labour or Green to be seen as having stopped objecting to the sales by finding ways to shaft investors

  2. Rogue Trooper 2

    “You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last
    But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast,
    Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
    Cryin’ like a fire in the sun.
    Strike another match go start anew,
    Aaaand, It’s all over now, Baby Blue.”

    • just saying 2.1

      The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense
      Take what you have gathered from coincidence
      The empty handed painter from your streets
      Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets
      This sky, too, is folding under you

      And it’s all over now, Baby Blue.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLV-OcgdYuA

  3. clashman 3

    Read between the lines, ffs, Labour will not be buying the assets back.
    As for the drought, expect more dairying, a hell of alot more irrigation and alot of fucked streams and rivers and the big finger from Govt re CC and planning for a sustainable future.

  4. xtasy 4

    As for climate change and the effects on farmers and the population in general, the hands off approach delivered by English is appalling. The government should show leadership on this. But of course, we will never get “leadership” from a NatACT neo lib capitalist ideological bunch of hypocrites, liars and up-fuckers.

    • JK 4.1

      To Xtasy and Clashman – on climate change/drought effects on farmers – there has been a recent announcement by Fonterra – $20m over 10 years to be shared among five “delicate water systems” in need of TLC and planting – the northern catchment rivers which flow into the Kaipara Harbour, the Waikato peat lakes, Firth of Thames, Lake Ellesmere, and the Awarua-Waituna lagoon system. Details were in our local Northern Advocate on Saturday.

      • xtasy 4.1.1

        JK: Fair enough, but Fonterra is not the government, is it?

        And for god’s sake, Fonterra better do something, as they (the collective of farmers behind it) have caused a lot of the worsening of water pollution over the last 10 or so years.

        More will be needed, and it can be done. I appreciate that some things get done, but much can be learned from some European countries, where intensive farming is rather common, which has forced farmers there to do more to protect the environment.

        Yet had it not been for governments, particularly pressured by environmentalists, this would not have happened, at least not to the degree it is being done.

        • JK 4.1.1.1

          to xtasy – yep. I agree. but at least the Fonterra gesture is a start, perhaps also an example of what can be done …. and a slight turning around from the exploitative nature of NZ’s farming/timber/mining/ take what you can from the land culture.

          • Macro 4.1.1.1.1

            nah it’s just a sweetener to say ‘look how good we are!” as they fuck the climate and Auckland’s water supply in the Hunuas, and the local environment, with their new coal mine at Mangatawhiri.

  5. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5

    Why stop there?

    Two of the five power companies are presently privately owned. Why is three out of five, rather than two and a half, the exact right number for the government to own?

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      We’re not looking for the final destination mate, just the direction back towards sovereignty.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1.1

        Well, why buy back this half? Why not half of one of the other ones?

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1.1.1

          I mean, if you’re going to start nationalising stuff, why this? Why not take half of Trade Me? Or Fonterra?

          • Pascal's bookie 5.1.1.1.1

            That’s actually more of a question for National party types. They’re the one’s that reckon the mixed ownership model is superior to both state ownership and private ownership.

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1.2

            One re-nationalisation at a time mate.

          • The Al1en 5.1.1.1.3

            “I mean, if you’re going to start nationalising stuff, why this? Why not take half of Trade Me? Or Fonterra?”

            The position one takes on privatising core infrastructure is whether it benefits the whole or the few, but if it’s a nationalising wish list, you can keep trade me and national carriers, but added to state owned power generation, there’s domestic food/water supply and health care for starters.

            To me, those who aren’t the moneyed elite yet support stupid, negligent policy on their behalf need a big cuddle.

            Hug a leftie and save your souls.

          • saarbo 5.1.1.1.4

            Because gormless. In Trade Me’s case, that market works.

            But in the case of our electricity companies, you should try and work out how our wholesale electricity rates are calculated (if you can let me know)…in this case the market does not work…so nationalise. Once nationalised, run them according to world benchmark for similar electricity generation and charge out on a cost plus basis…simple.

  6. One Tāne Huna 6

    I’ll believe it when I see it, but I do like the idea of the scum who allowed ACT to “dictate” education policy getting a dose of their own medicine.

  7. George D 7

    Also another excellent article from Nicola Toki in the Stuff today.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/blogs/in-our-nature/8417261/Don-t-mention-the-climate-change-war

    The comments are as stupid as ever.

  8. QoT 8

    As I’ve seen others comment on Twitter, it’s a bit fucking late for Shearer to start trying to softly-softly a position on this. Asset sales were the best-flagged issue of the last election. Labour (and yes, the Greens) have had more than enough time to figure out a clean, decisive response which would simultaneously let the market know what they’re in for if they participate in this rort, and paint them as principled, plain-speaking future leaders of the country.

    Waffling about now when the deal’s basically done and National have stolen all the good soundbites = the quintessence of Captain Mumblefuck.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Yep. But don’t Labour have full time professionals highly paid to do this shit? How is it you, an amateur part timer, can come up with such a spot-on analysis?

      An event like the Supreme Court ruling on the Iwi water appeal was the perfect event for Labour to launch a late but new policy approach “regardless of this ruling Labour will ensure strong government regulation over and gradual reacquisition of any power assets sold”.

      That would have grabbed media attention and headlines around the issue of re-nationalisation.

      Of course, those aren’t the kinds of headlines that an economically centrist, market sympathetic political party really wants.

    • George D 8.2

      The Greens have a buy-back policy under review by members at the moment. In the meantime, I hope the co-leaders keep making clear statements.

      Because lord knows the other side have good spin doctors. They’ll create their own narrative, even if it bears little resemblance to reality. If it sounds good and coherent, it will stick.

    • JonL 8.4

      “Man who walks down middle of road gets run over”

      For god’s sake Shearer – try and state a positive firm decision on something! Anything! You and your mates are becoming worse than an embarrassment! This is not a school play – you are responsible for trying to stand up for people’s hopes, lives and futures. At the moment, you’re Nationals biggest ally!

  9. karol 9

    a href=’http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QOA/2/7/6/50HansQ_20130313_00000005-5-Drought-Conditions-Minister-s-Statements.htm’>In Question Time today, Blinglish was dancing on a pin, owning there was some change to weather patterns that farmers should adapt to, but refusing to admit that this change in pattern was part of the human impact on climate change.

    Dr Russel Norman: Does he understand that what it has to do with this question is that if climate change is happening and it is human-caused, we will face more droughts and more intense droughts?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: That could turn out to be the case. The point I am making is that fluctuating climate is not new to farmers. It might be a recent discovery by the Greens as a way of making political points, but farmers in New Zealand have for a few hundred years, actually, been adapting their farming practice according to relatively short cycles of weather change. In the 1970s there was a run of droughts. Later on in the 1980s there was a run of quite wet summers, and farming practice changed significantly. It may have to change again.

    Dr Russel Norman: If New Zealand is facing more droughts and more intense droughts because of climate change, why is his Government doing nothing to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions, and at an international level why is it undermining international efforts to cut greenhouse emissions?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, the member is simply wrong. I could run through the whole range of initiatives, including the Government continuing to implement the emissions trading system, which the Greens were part of creating. The result, of course, is quite striking. When the Greens were supporting a Labour Government emissions were going up rapidly; since that Government went out, emissions have flattened or dropped.

    • Jenny 9.2

      About, bloody time!

      It might be a recent discovery by the Greens as a way of making political points….

      Hon BILL ENGLISH

      A “recent discovery” by the Greens, that is making the government very uncomfortable.

      I have always said that it is on climate change, that this government’s record is most weakest. And where the opposition could land the heaviest blows.

      I can only hope that the Greens will keep the pressure up.

      But, I doubt it.

      In the quotes you put up karol. Not once does Russel Norman challenge the government over plans to level the Denniston Plateau to mine it for coal, or even this week inviting the likes of Petrobras and the rest to come here to drill for deep sea oil. Or allowing Fonterra to open a new coal mine in Mangatangi.

      (I have not gone to the link, karol. But I willing to take the chance, and guess. It will be silent on these issues all the way through.)

      Why is Norman still pulling his punches?

      Is it because the Shearer led Labour Party is also committed to all these things as well?

      Is Russel Norman not willing to risk missing out on a front row seat in the next government and in particular the finance seat which he coverts?

      (Why he even wants that poisoned chalice is beyond me)

      • karol 9.2.1

        Jenny, I’m sure you wouldn’t be happy unless you could find some fault with the Green Party. They never did back off from CC, that was your interpretation. And the question today was focused on English’s comments on the current drought, so why would Norman mention Denniston? The speaker would rule him out of order.

        Blog post on the Denniston Plateau by Eudenie Sage a couple of days ago.

        It’s not possible to mention every crucial issue every time a person opens their mouth.

        • karol 9.2.1.1

          edit: Sage’s post mentions Denniston Plateau but isn’t specifically about it.

          • Jenny 9.2.1.1.1

            Answer this question karol.

            Do the Green Party intend to make climate change an election issue in 2014?

            Yes, or No

            You know what the answer is karol. So if not for our sakes, at least for yourself, give us a clear answer. Long winded excuses and apologies won’t cut it.

            • karol 9.2.1.1.1.1

              Oh for goodness sake, Jenny. My patience wears thin. I like debate, but your superficial, j’acuse, soap-box approach of acting like you know better than everyone else is not discussion. And ultimately not helpful in forging a way forward. It’s a style that alienates rather than engaging and working with others. If you want to dismiss that as “long winded excuses and apologies”, good luck to you. But that just comes across as more bullying by you – an ultimatum, that incorporates a view that I don’t agree with. It demands agreement with and basically says you won’t take any notice of any alternative approach, however well thought out.

              I am not a Green Party member or spokesperson, and I rarely make predictions about the political future. I’d rather take Green policies and practices as they are designed: an integrated whole.

              There are many ways to approach the politics of climate change. The Greens seem to me to embed it within a range of issues, giving it depth and traction. Large numbers of people already see the Green Party as a one issue party, and climate as a significant part of that. The Greens don’t need to keep mentioning it with every sentence, and in fact, given the way many perceive them, it could be counter productive.

              The Green MPs regularly make comments about policies and issues where climate change is having a significant impact. Their approach to the drought is very good, IMO. It is a graphic example of the future in a warming world.

              The Greens have responded both to the immediate problems, and to the long term implications. It’s embedded in many kinds of statements: like this on GE as a solution to drought; this on water quality is relevant and a necessary plank in any approach to dealing with the impact on CC; this from Kennedy Graham on Tuesday, focuses directly on the impact on farming by climate change, and the kinds of support farmers require to deal with it.

              The environment is a core part of the Green Party platform, and climate change has top priority within it.

              I’m more concerned that Russel Norman is a Third-wayer, which will hinder any efforts to counter climate change, poverty, work fairness and many other issues.

              Other Green MPs seems to have a more solidly left wing approach to the way various elements are interwoven: economy, environment, fair society. In contrast, constantly hammering a single thread of that directly is superficial, and will be limited in effect.

              • Jenny

                A more long winded defence and rationalisation of the Green Party sell out over climate change, than usual.

                The answer of course is, No.

                The Green Party will not make climate change an electoral issue in 2014.

                Following the sick example set by Barack Obama and Mit Romney in their electoral contest all the major parties including the Greens will do their best to say as little as possible about climate change.

                A fact that no doubt makes you very happy.

                I take on board karol that you are not a Green Party member. I had guessed this. You are obviously a Labour Party supporter who is very happy to see the Green Party repeat their 2011 decision, to not make climate change an election issue. If the Green Party were to make climate change an election issue this would seriously offend and embarrass the Labour Party. Because the Labour Party are as a hell bent as the National Party to drill in the deep sea and to level the Denniston plateau for coal for the export market.

                Mining coal for export is New Zealand’s version of the XL pipeline.

                The oil sands pipeline that President Obama will soon be shocking the world by giving his approval too.

                The oil sands pipeline that if it can be built all the way to Southern oil terminals in the Gulf of Mexico will turn the US into a net oil exporter.

                Just as the Green Party will sign up to not opposing the Denniston open cast coal export mining operation, to get a coal lition with Labour.

              • Jenny

                Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability.

                Bullying http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying

                Unable to refute my argument for Green Party and Labour Party down playing and ignoring of climate change, karol has repeatedly accused me of bullying.

                …. more bullying by you.

                karol http://thestandard.org.nz/two-things-2/#comment-603545

                Unpleasant as it is. I feel that I have to address this nasty slur. The reason. It is obviously karol’s intent in continually making this accusation, is her hope of making it stick, so that the moderators will be moved to shut down this debate.

                I would challenge karol to point out were I have used coercion, personal abuse or intimidation, in pointing out the obvious down playing of the climate change by both the Labour Party and the Greens.

                I may have “forced” karol to look at something that she doesn’t want to look at. But for this I make no apology. Karol can call this bullying if she chooses, but only because she cannot argue her defence of this grotesque sell out.

                Instead karol tries to shut down debate with accusations of bullying.

      • AmaKiwi 9.2.2

        @ Jenny

        “I have always said that it is on climate change, that this government’s record is most weakest. And where the opposition could land the heaviest blows.

        I can only hope that the Greens will keep the pressure up” . . . . . because Labour’s spokesperson, Grant Robertson, has been pathetic at it.

        But when Shearer gets dumped guess who will claim the crown, Labour’s non-performing environmental spokesperson, Grant Robertson.

    • Macro 9.3

      “When the Greens were supporting a Labour Government emissions were going up rapidly; since that Government went out, emissions have flattened or dropped.” outright lie based upon how you count the Pro kyoto and post kyoto carbon credits – which of course following our ejection from kyoto is now meaningless.

  10. gobsmacked 10

    Quite apart from anything else, it’s absurd to have a flagship economic policy decided by post-election negotiations with NZ First. That’s the time when you toss your coalition minnows a Gold Card or Families Commission or Minister of Racing, not use it to work out who should own the nation’s core assets. If you want to lead the government, you really should know that one already.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      It’s quite possible that a full 34% to 38% of the MPs in the next Labour-led Government will be non-Labour.

      A Minister for Racing, a Gold Card, and a housing insulation scheme is not going to cut it.

      • gobsmacked 10.1.1

        Yes, but the point is that in 1999 (last point of comparison) Labour and the Alliance prepared for coalition in advance, and had core policies in common (e.g. raising top tax rate).

        Labour should (I think) be campaigning for a Labour-Green gov’t in the same way, but they seem stuck in the 2002/2005 mindset of getting cheap centrist partners instead. And on that basis, Shearer seems to be saying “Winston can get this policy out of us”, which just looks weak and feeble.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          We’ve got to face it sooner or later: a binch of senior MPs, advisors and staff in Labour have a major problem with the Greens.

          Re: the Alliance and Labour preparing for coalition in advance, well all of them were basically Labour people and had a common background and long standing working relationships to drawn on.

          • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.1

            “a bunch of”

          • McFlock 10.1.1.1.2

            A bunch of labour folk were also openly hostile to the Alliance, too. Fucking hated us. And 9 years of coalition counts as a working relationship.

            If they were bosom buddies, they would have been Alliance members. But folk swallowed their bile and worked with each other.

            What I will say is that labour, tactically, needs to learn that jones needs to behave himself with the inlaws or get sent to the kiddy bench. There’s a difference between open hostility and having it on public record.

            • Rhinocrates 10.1.1.1.2.1

              jones needs to behave himself with the inlaws

              Good luck with the Member for Sealord doing that.

              or get sent to the kiddy bench.

              Well, we’ve seen that Captain Mumblefuck values loyalty to himself over competence or ability to further the fortunes of the party already, haven’t we?

              • McFlock

                Not really.
                All shearer did was backbench the biggest splitters immediately after a schism. As things stabilise, the question becomes whether jones’ support and work on the front bench outweighs his dickishness. Whether you call that personal loyalty or party contribution, I don’t care

                • Colonial Viper

                  All shearer did was backbench the biggest splitters immediately after a schism.

                  was that all that Shearer the Uniter did? Shit that’s fine then.

                  Put out into political Siberia the woman who had the courage to successfully defend her private members bill against the powerful religious conservatives in her own constituency where tonight it passed its second reading 77 votes to 40-ish?

                  Knee cap Cunliffe on the pretext of jumped up charges after Conference so Labour now has zero people on front bench who can string a decent sentence together about non-orthodox economic policy. Which people can understand. So all we get out of Labour is, oh National’s implementation of neoliberalism is shit, we wouldn’t do it much different except we’d put a watchdog committee in place to make sure the market’s animal spirits aren’t t too way out of hand.

                  Etc etc. no big deal I suppose.

                  Your oblique support of Shearer and now Jonesey is so heartening.

                  • Raa

                    Correct me if I am wrong, but is he not a former researcher for Phil Goff ?

                    As Lucky Luciano’s generation would put it, “the fix is in”.

              • MaxwellS

                Rhino: A while back you wanted to know why Bellamys is so popular?

                Apparently it’s the cheese scones.

                (From Colin Espiner’s Stuff blog)
                Plus, Bellamy’s makes sensational cheese scones. Parliamentary Service tried to ban them once, on the grounds they were unhealthy, but MPs threatened a revolt.

                http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/blogs/bull-dust/8414157/The-best-show-in-town

                Random I know but that’s the way my brain works.

  11. just saying 11

    In an alternate universe where the assets were not flogged off, would Labour consider selling them should they find “the books” are in bad shape?

    If not, what’s the difference in buying them back at cost?

    Shout it from the freaking rooftops because anything else is hypocrisy.

    This mealy-mouthed shit from Shearer is so typical. A Labour-led government under him is just more of the same-old same-old

  12. Jenny 12

    This concept of the “New Normal” is another excuse for doing nothing. It leaves out even the concept of even mitigating against the effects of the coming catastrophe. The “new normal” throws the problem back onto the individual.

    The ‘new normal’, deal with it.

    The above sentence is the subtext of the concept, of the ‘new normal’

    The individual response to the ‘new normal’ is the opposite of what is required…..

    ……What is required, is a huge collective and societal response.

    If our elected leaders won’t call for it. Then as in the past, over nuclear warships, or apartheid, citizens themselves will have mobilise against climate change. Either that, or remain powerless as our leaders would like, as the ‘new normal’ sweeps over the country and the world. To become the ‘New Horror’.

    The front line in the public’s fight against climate change is Fonterra’s plan to build a new open cast coal mine just south of Auckland.

    This new coal mine must be stopped.

    If this new coal mine cannot be stopped then all the other planned new coal mines will be also be unable to be stopped.

    Don’t let the ‘new normal’ become the ‘new horror’.

    SAVE MANGATANGI

    Auckland Coal Action in alliance with the local community, is calling on all citizens to mobilise against the new coal mine planned for Mangatangi.

  13. Joe Bloggs 13

    Mr Shearer said, “We won’t rule it out but we won’t rule it in either.” Labour would not be able to make any commitment on it before an election.

    Great to see such forceful and clear leadership in action – not.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Glad you’ve been picking up what myself and others have been saying on the Standard for the last 6 or more months.

      • Joe Bloggs 13.1.1

        Trust me when I say that the absence of effective leadership on the Left has not gone unnoticed

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    Shearer seems to be opening up to an asset buy-back at cost policy – that should be popular among quite a few Standardistas.

    Bunji, I just wanted to say that many would have cheered Shearer on if he had done this within the first 2 or 3 months of his leadership. In politics making the right hits is about timing as much as it is about substance. It would have set the tone of Shearer’s leadership as a courageous one for Labour. A renewed left wing party with an inspired new leader willing to step forward and make Labour values unmistakenly heard. A new leadership with a real strategic sense of how to operate to be an effective operation*.

    Instead, doing coming out now with this “will neither confirm nor deny” style line when the sale process is fully underway and buyers are making themselves known, represents to me the opposite of all of the above. Timid, insufficient, unprincipled, un-strategic.

    *Sorry but we were never going to get Leadership level strategic political thinking from a backbencher who hasn’t even served a full term in office.

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