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Another $30 Million to prop up Meridian sale

Written By: - Date published: 10:08 am, August 8th, 2013 - 55 comments
Categories: capitalism, economy, energy, john key, national - Tags: , ,

John Key just spent another $30 Million of tax payer’s money to prop up his privatisation ideology:

Tiwai Pt power deal done – Meridian

Meridian Energy has resolved its negotiations with Rio Tinto subsidiary New Zealand Aluminium Smelters locking in the Tiwai smelter until at least January 2017 – with the help of a $30 million subsidy from the New Zealand government.

The deal, which has been a year in the making, will help clear the way for Meridian’s $5 billion float on the stock exchange – expected to go ahead before the end of the year. …

The smelter firm will also be able to terminate the contract completely from January 2017 provided it gives 15 months notice. …

The New Zealand government will chip in $30 million to secure the medium-term future of the smelter and provide greater certainty for the electricity market.

Who would buy shares in a company that needs to be propped up like this?

55 comments on “Another $30 Million to prop up Meridian sale”

  1. Pete 1

    I’m in two minds about this. On the one hand I’m pleased that the jobs there have been saved, on the other hand I don’t want any more asset sales. I don’t know if there was a genuine crisis at the smelter, or if Rio Tinto was just playing brinksmanship at an opportune time for them.

    • tc 1.1

      Add up the subsidies over the decades V paying the workers out and you’ll see this has never been a great deal for the NZ power consumer/taxpayer.

      A manufactured crises so Shonkey can spoon more taxpayer money down Rio Tinto’s throat.

      The smelter’s way out of date, Rio aren’t going to upgrade it and the elephant in the room is China who dominate the market with state supplied electricity to their modern smelters.

      Transpower have finally hooked manipouri up to the grid so Shonkey had to jump in there quickly before logic prevailed as Tiwai is no longer it’s sole consumer.

      • Jenny 1.1.1

        The elephant in the room is climate change. Tiwai on its own is an emitter of Green house gases.

        But apart from this, the amount of electricity that the giant smelter at Tiwai consumes, if freed up, would have made New Zealand the first industrialised country in the world with a totally fossil fuel free electricity grid.

        Which should have become the first historically recognised step on the way to a fossil fuel free future.

        Humanity are in a desperate war to save our climate. The people responsible for this decision are nothing but climate war criminals of the lowest type. Those who support them are quislings and cowards and should be ashamed of themselves. They have greedily put their narrow self interest above the welfare of humanity. In their unprincipled cowardice they are scabbing on future generations even their own children and grandchildren.

        If they live to be old enough to see the economy wrecked and agriculture destroyed, they will earn the contempt that all scabs eventually get, even from their own families.

        The tragedy is that if they weren’t so gutless they could have achieved so much more.

        We are all being held hostage to the lowlife climate war criminals who are using our taxes to help a huge multinational $billion company continue to pollute. They are spending our hard won state treasure paying an incredibly rich multinational to trash the climate. As well as this Rio Tinto has been given a 20% discount on its electricity price, which is already heavily discounted and subsidised. So much so, that the price per unit that Tiwai pays is a closely guarded secret.

        No doubt some quisling will say but the government has spent this money to save 800 jobs. Rubbish whenever has this government ever worried about workers jobs, this is just another grubby example of welfare for the rich.

        If instead of giving this $30million to their rich bosses it was given to the workers this would have seen each worker get a redundancy package of well over $37,000.

        With this sort of money these productive people would have invested it in their communities and families protecting their and their family’s futures in a more sustainable way. As it is now eventually they will still lose their jobs at a time that suits Rio Tinto, to find themselves left not just unemployed but having to survive in a greatly degraded environment where survival will be much harder.

        Of course this subsidy to RTZ and Sumitomo to destroy the climate will pale into insignificance beside the $billion dollars needed to bail out Solid Energy to help them to continue to trash the climate.

  2. BLiP 2

    A $30 million hand out for foreign-owned multinational mates which the National Ltd™ government will reap a handsome return on by maintaining artificially high electricity prices in a contrived market based on secondary school economic text book explanations of supply and demand.

    • yeshe 2.1

      yes, and we can certain the gubbmint negotiating skills were as uselss as on the Sky City deal, where they, and now Rio Tinto held all the cards. Key et al are useless at everything, even at the things they are supposed to be good at !! All done with glittery mirrors …. and what a waste of more money just so they can sell off another asset.

      • BLiP 2.1.1

        Its looking a bit like that, fer sure. The last thing National Ltd™ wants is for those brand new participants in the New Zealand Stock Market Casino reeled in with the Mighty River scam to lose any (more) money before the next election with any sort over-supply problem in the electricty market.

        Still, its a tricky one, this Tiwai Point issue. If the PR fluff is true, the plant employs 750 people and supports an additional 3000 jobs in the Southland. Not to be sneezed at. I would hate to do the figures in working out the dole payments for 750 people, plus, what, say, another 1000 collateral job losses. And then you have to factor in the increasing costs in health and crime which inevitably comes with growing unemployment. Plus there’s the social impact to Southland, such a loss could turn Invercargill into a ghost town. Then again, even if I had the correct digits to do a half-accurate guesstimate, I wonder what the positive result to the economy might be if there’s suddenly a 15% increase in electricity suddenly available. Presumably, prices would have to drop, both businesses and private consumers would have more money in their pocket to spend or, ideally, reduce debt. Would the reduction in the cost of electricity offset the cost of closing Tiwai?

        And then there’s the whole foreign-owned multinational thing. If I was King of New Zealand I would charge Rio Tinto a hefty premium for using our electricity and, if it doesn’t like it, it can fuck off back to where it came from, and take the Sumitomo Chemical Company with it. I’m getting a bit pissed off with these multi-nationals bossing us around and Rio Tinto has been at it a while. Remember back in 2008 when Chris Trotter wrote . . .

        Once again the masks have slipped. Once again we have caught a glimpse of the true faces of our masters. Once again, New Zealand’s acute vulnerability to the power of vast transnational corporations has been brutally revealed.

        As an exercise in raw economic coercion, Rio Tinto’s submission to the parliamentary select committee scrutinising our Government’s proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS) was chilling.

        . . . and this sort of political interference in the affairs of Aotearoa is only going to get worse. Especially under the TPPA which, alas, Labour is as committed to and deceptive about as National Ltd™.

        Labour does seem to be listening and thinking along more sensible lines lately. The housing policy looks good, as does the electricity price control mechanisms. National Ltd™, though, remain blinded to their ideology. Their short-term ashpurirrational “rolling maul” is closing in on Meridian. No time to sit and think about what might happen in ten years from now. Such PC-woolly-woofta-softcock-academic-navel gazing isn’t going to garner a one-off multi-billion dollar boost to the economy. Why make the promotion and sales process more difficult by annoying Meridian’s biggest customer. Rio Tinto has already shown its willingness to play the political game so $30 million is probably cheap if it keeps its mouth shut for the next 18 months or so. At least, that’s what a money trader with mates waiting to clip the ticket on a few billion might think.

  3. vto 3

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    corporate welfare

    bludgers, they need to be drug-tested

    free market – ha the biggest joke of them all.

    Hands-off government – that is the last thing this lot do

    Picking winners

    Nanny state for business

    The failings of the neoliberal approach of the last 30 years are coming thick and fast. Pretty much one a day at the moment……… wonder if its disciples have woken up yet…

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      +1

      The failings of the neoliberal approach of the last 30 years are coming thick and fast. Pretty much one a day at the moment……… wonder if its disciples have woken up yet…

      The neo-liberal approach was proven to be a dog back in the 19th century. Sure, there’s a been a few changes to classical economics but the underlying assumptions are the same and they’re just as wrong today as they were then. And, no, the disciples in both politicians and economics won’t “wake up” to these facts because the people who pay them benefit from them being wrong.

  4. tricledrown 4

    Then theirs the redived income and profit tjat will reduce tje value of the asset sale further!

  5. tracey 5

    Meanwhile kiwirail gives contract to us company… not china this time. Any govt, including any future govt needs a written publicly viewable policy on what it will support and why.

  6. vto 6

    “The $30 million was a “one off incentive payment” to help secure agreement on the revised contract because of the importance of the smelter to the stability of the New Zealand electricity market,” English said. ” (from Stuff)

    should read “… because of the importance of the smelter to the high prices of the New Zealand electricity market, which artificially values Meridian higher than it should be and which will stop our asset sales process form falling apart. Sorry about that, people, you just have to pay higher prices for a while yet. There aint no way we will let the free market take control – it will ruin us”

    Bill English bullshit

    • yeshe 6.1

      nice one vto, thx.

    • fender 6.2

      Yes Bullshit Bill admits this is a scam when he says: “this subsidy will assist with the sale of Meridian shares”. Fucking disgrace!

      I’d like to see EVERY other Meridian customer band together and DEMAND the same subsidy….or else they will take their custom elsewhere.

      “insider” below at 9.0 suggests this is “hands-on economic management”, I see it as “hands-in” and “hand-out” corrupt behaviour.

  7. fender 7

    This was unexpected!

    What happened to the welfare reforms?

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Going great according to National – the poor are being punished for being poor and the rich are being rewarded for being rich with money supplied by the poor.

      • srylands 7.1.1

        “with money supplied by the poor”

        The poor don’t pay any net income tax. (I guess they pay some GST). So it is (mostly) the rich subsidising the rich.

        The subsidy is a mistake. But so are all subsidies.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1

          The poor don’t pay any net income tax.

          The wealth of the nation is sold in such a way so that the majority of people get little or no benefit from it. It is in this way that the poor subsidise the rich.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.2

          The subsidy is a mistake. But so are all subsidies.

          Of course, I disagree with you. Industrial and tech giants have usually been gestated through lavish state subsidies or other support.

          How about wealth inequity, is wealth inequity a mistake?

        • KJT 7.1.1.3

          “The poor don’t pay any net INCOME tax.”

          Neither do a large proportion of the richest people and corporations in New Zealand, according to the IRD.

          However as the poor, those on low wages or welfare, have to spend all their income to survive.

          ALL THE POOR, pay 15% tax. GST.

          Then there are petrol taxes, excise and other taxes which they pay also.

          Not to mention the electricity TAX, the premium on power prices to make electricity company managers look good and keep their bonuses, paid either to the Government or shareholders in electricity companies.

          30 million, plus the extra money we will spend on power prices for the immediate future due to the smelter, could have been spent on capability building and developing future industry, in Southland, for when the smelter goes. Instead of prolonging the inevitable for a few more years, to prop up asset sale prices.

  8. Shane Gallagher 8

    No money for Dunedin businesses but plenty for Invercargill? Perhaps this also has to do with which party holds those respective seats?

  9. insider 9

    Isn’t this the kind of hands on economic management labour and strandedistas keep banging on about?

    not sure it’s a great thing myself but it gives the locals a bit of breathing space before the seeming inevitable closure.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Nope. I keep saying that these subsidies to private businesses need to be canned ASAP. Not the industries though, they should be kept going but under government ownership, control by the workers and demand supplied by vote.

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        Exactly … this kind of corporate hand-out tends to rather wind up sticking to very few fingers indeed.

        Certainly nowhere near the tax-payers who fund them.

  10. Tim 10

    Kick the aluminium (or rather “aluminum”) can down the road again aye Johnny?
    Good thing I heard Maurice Williamson say on RNZ (talking about earthquake strengthening) that future governments can’t be held to the deals of their predecessors.
    Now all it’ll take is a Labour Party that returns to its roots. In the absence of that – those alternatives that are waiting in the wings. Should come to pass, one way or another around the time RioTinto come grovelling again.
    BTW … it’s never taken that much to get Tim Shadbolt exstatic.

    • North 10.1

      Shadbolt is a perennial incumbent. Indistinguishable really from the various officeholders or self-celebrated people who finish in one context then launch out into another. It’s always the self-analysis “I have much to offer…….” – the goat Maggie Barry for example.

      I suspect it’s more a matter of “I need you to need me…….”. Intimations of pathology really. Shadbolt is not different.

      Need indicators of that ? Have a look at the somewhat ugly, emperor with no clothes, silly old man rage he served up when someone had the temerity to put themselves forward as an alternative to him in Invercargill

      No big criticism here but you know, he ain’t God. Seems that the closer and closer people edge to being an institution the closer and closer they get to devising that they are God. Well, not God of course, but certainly indispensable……..”the people” incarnate wank. Gimme a break.

  11. vto 11

    Dunno what the fuck English is worried about the loss of jobs for…

    … there is a colossal dairy boom going on in southland – there should be jobs coming out their ears thanks to the way everything trickles down

    tinkle
    tinkle

  12. Tiresias 12

    Dishonesty of this nailed comprehensively at the well-known left-leaning:

    http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/65788/opinion-there-was-certain-inevitability-long-suffering-taxpayer-would-be-invited-cough

    I noted English’s comment at Stuff, too. Interesting that the omnipotent invisible hand of the market needs to be helped with public money when it’s not making the ‘right’ decisions. Even more depressing is the fact that I can guarantee Bill English is totally blind to the, ah, irony.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      No, I think English knows the deal he had to make here, not for the sake of the smelter, but for the sake of the Meridian float.

      • North 12.1.1

        Well, possibly correct there CV but the notable thing is that these proponets of the “free market” don’t even blink, don’t even blush when the only answer to the “free market” fuck-up is to offer up public money. The handsome, unafraid hard-on but not without the Viagra of public money.

        This is typical of the right-wing non-thinkers, the dirty, dirty minds’ eyes, the unashamed (excited?) voyeurs, historically those who raved darkly about homosexual law reform. Yeah, dirty homos galavanting round seducing young straight boys and deliriously pigging out. Never happened of course. Just less young gay guys killing themselves.

        Did those sex crazed wierdos apologise when what they postulated was proven in the absolute reality years later to be utter shit ? Of course not. That is their nature. Instead, they saved their powder for their next busybody, sex craxed onslaught. Sweet young teenage girls turning into sluts when anyone suggested unimpeded access to contraception. “Woe is me……a nation of whores !”

        They’re scum. Demonstrably gross. Makes you want to punch them for their mindless arrogance, their social irresponsibility and deviance !

        Same story with the proponents of the wondrous “free market”. Unconscionable, entitled , bludgers, moral weaklings. Fuck them !

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          Most of the righties are smart and practical enough to know that the aim is to move wealth to the already wealthy. So yes, of course they have no problem with it, they’re not stuck on silly issues of internal consistency and theoretical purity that the Left are.

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    Who would buy shares in a company that needs to be propped up like this?

    The people who know damn well know that all their wealth comes from the taxpayers and not their own work. The biggest bludgers in the world – the rich.

  14. Wayne 14

    So what would Labour have done; let over 1000 jobs go. There were enough complaints on this site and Labour over a few dozen jobs at Hillside.

    I am certain Labour if it was currently the Govt would have done a deal, even if it just lasted to 2017, as is apparently the case.

    It is not just the jobs, it also reduces the need to immediately spend hundreds of millions upgrading the link from Manoupouri to the rest of the Grid. It will obviously be done but not quite as quickly.

    I guess it is likely the smelter will close in 2017, but 4 years is worth having. The alternative was the smelter closing in 2015 (I think).

    I know commenters on this site generally hate resource based multinationals, but this is about the jobs and Southland, not Rio.

    By the way I think Kiwiblog is wrong on this issue.

    I suspect Labour will play down this deal, or at least primarily tie it to privitisation, which I guess makes sense from their point of view.

    • lprent 14.1

      Surprisingly, I largely agree with you on this as to the effect on Southland. It doesn’t change the basic business case that the smelter is effectively uneconomic and that Southland desperately needs to wean itself from it. It is a stop-gap to allow time for the Southland economy to adapt for life without the smelter.

      Where we disagree probably is how this announcement has been made. It lacks the clear features that say that the government/Meridian are aware of that and are planning on it. Quite simply it is sending the signal that this government is hoping that the NZAS/Meridian tieup will look like hobbling on for more than just 4 years.

      What I don’t see is a clear statement that there will not be further prop-ups from this government. Nor that the government/Meridian are immediately starting to put in a better link from Manapouri to move power north. There are already links to the grid, but they are to the south, and limited in scale. The project lead times are likely to be out to 2018, so contingency planning would dictate that the project should start planning now with a construction start time over the next couple of years.

      As the post points out this announcement has the side-effect/main-effect of making the purchase of Meridian shares to look less risky to suckers. Whereas smarter investors who are aware more aware of the risks underpinning this deal (like the half billion price tag for upgrading the grid to cope with it) are going to be looking for a substantially discounted price.

      Worse it also will allow Southland to drop back into the risky slumber of hoping that somehow the economics of the smelter will somehow magically change. But for the government to do the responsible thing and clearly warn Southlanders of that will scare off the “punters’ even further. That to my mind probably explains the way that this announcement has been handled.

      The comparison with the Hillside workshops is a bit inane. The smelter doesn’t offer virtually any strategic skills to the NZ economy, as for us it is largely a way to sell some power. Whereas we’re more than a little light in organisations capable of training people in heavy engineering fabrication skills anywhere throughout NZ. That is a very hard to replace strategic skill loss.

      • Pascal's bookie 14.1.1

        Also interseting to compare the differences between the treatment Southland jobs are given, and those in Dunedin. What could the difference be I wonder, can’t quite put, oh that’s right. Voters’ ‘poor choices’.

  15. Dv 15

    So let me understand this.

    We have given $30million to an Aussie company so that we can sell the Meridian to a bunch of Aussies.

  16. Jellytussle 16

    How about the idea of thirty million divided by 750 jobs……….being the same as 750 people paid $40000 each to work for a pretend company that actually does nothing.
    Surely (except for the ‘dignity’ of work and and the benefit to downstream companies) the result is the same……750 families being supported by the state.

  17. Descendant Of Sssmith 17

    It’s inevitable that it will close at some point as the plant nears it use by date.

    We were talking the other day about cleaning up the site and how in Nevada companies walked away from billion dollar bonds because the clean upm costs of the mines they operated was higher than that.

    The companies were simply collapsed with no assets to chase.

    Surprise surprise look what appears just one day after the deal:

    Rio would want to sell because it would not want to carry the liability for cleaning up the site when it finally closed, which could be more than $200m. But the price a new buyer would pay would depend on whether they thought they could “get away with murder” when the plant shuts.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/9020341/Rio-tipped-to-fast-track-smelter-sale

    Yeah sell the plant to a new “company” and leave the Southerners and the taxpayer with the mess. Another subsidy.

    Bet this government didn’t have as any part of this deal responsibility by Rio to decommission the smelter and clean it up.

    The government should have legislated their responsibility regardless of who they sell it to.

  18. Walt 18

    And if they didn’t Help keep it open the left would cry foul about that. ( Hillside)

    The problem with labour is they have no creditable policy on increasing jobs and reducing the amount of kiwis on a benefit.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 18.1

      Yeah all the righties were on here saying “but what about the jobs” and supporting work going to Hillside.

      The difference with Hillside was that the work being done was going to be paid for anyway. That’s not the same thing as a lump sum gift to a company that makes a billion dollar profit.

      (Note the points about an aging plant and selling it to avoid responsibility for decommissioning as well).

      Increasing jobs is done quite easily by re-distributing wealth from those who take excessive profit through taxation and redistribution. If we want wealth and jobs in this country money has to circulate.

      When the benefits were cut by Ruth Richardson and her ilk with six months I know 40 businesses that closed within the following nine months in my local area.

      Money circulating allows small business to function, money not circulating allows corporate business to extract more wealth.

      You are right though in that Labour have no plans to create jobs.

      Increasing the minimum wage and increasing benefit rates would be a good start. Increasing taxation would also help.

      Tell me when you see these companies making multi-million dollar profits continuously laying off staff, reducing wages, and sending the profit off-shore, outsourcing to overseas countries, do you really, really, really think that when they say let us pay less tax their motivation is more jobs for people in New Zealand?

      Think Fonterra, think banking, think fast food, think Ryman…….

      Name one employer who after company tax rates were reduced employed 10 more people, 30, 50 because they now had more money in their pocket.

      These companies are pretty good at PR. You’d think after the lobbying they did for lower taxes they’d send out a press release.

      • srylands 18.1.1

        “Name one employer who after company tax rates were reduced employed 10 more people, 30, 50 because they now had more money in their pocket.”

        No because that would be both stupid, and bad for the firm and bad for the economy.

        You state that like it is a surprising, or bad thing. That is not how employment decisions are made. People are employed if they increase profit. It is not like hey we are paying less tax we have some spare cash, lets go employ 30 people.

        • felix 18.1.1.1

          You should explain that to every other neoliberal fuckjob on the planet.

          • srylands 18.1.1.1.1

            “You should explain that to every other neoliberal fuckjob on the planet.”

            I will ignore the gratuitous rudeness as usual. (BTW Why does the Left have a disproportionate share of nasty, bitter losers who are just plain rude? I imagine you frothing at the mouth “fuckjob fuckjob” “fuck neoliberal fuckjob” in a dingy basement somewhere, surrounded by your homebrew gear.)

            Lower company taxes can attract investment which will lead to higher employment. The point I was making is that increasing employment for the sake of employing people is damaging. Lifting productivity, and reducing employment to achieve the same output (and reducing labour costs) is a good thing. It is our inability to sufficiently lift productivity that has been our problem in NZ.

            • Colonial Viper 18.1.1.1.1.1

              To a right winger swear words are rude.

              But closing down entire communities and making generations of workers redundant is just economics.

              Fuck off mate.

              Lower company taxes can attract investment which will lead to higher employment.

              Nah, lower taxes is just capitalists wanting more profits in the pocket for no extra work. Besides, that shit you just spat out is an economic fairytale which doesn’t work, and has been shown not to work for decades.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 18.1.1.1.1.2

              Whereas the Left has always lifted NZ’s productivity more than the Right, whose dogmas fail every single place, every single time they are implemented, causing untold misery and disease.

              That might give you a clue as to the source of the rudeness. People tend to despise advocates for misery and disease.

            • Rosetinted 18.1.1.1.1.3

              wrylands
              Do feel free to take off for some blog of higher thought and use your time usefully in calm and rational discourse as if at a Gentlemen”s Club. It would be wise to get away from the rude mechanicals with their horrid use of four letter words and high talk of impossible principles and low, scurrilous and constant disagreements with anything you or other bloated numbies say.

            • Descendant Of Sssmith 18.1.1.1.1.4

              And the difference between swear words and this “nasty, bitter losers” is what?

              By the way when the smelter is de-comissioned who do you think should pick up the cost of cleaning it up?

              • srylands

                “By the way when the smelter is de-comissioned who do you think should pick up the cost of cleaning it up?”

                The owner.

                • Descendant Of Sssmith

                  The current owner getting the tax payer subsidy and the cheap power or do you think they should be allowed to sell it to another company who then goes bust and has no money?

                  Given the inevitability of it’s closure should Rio Tinto be putting money into an administrated fund in preparation for it’s decommissioning so we can be confident that they will meet this cost?

                  • srylands

                    “Given the inevitability of it’s closure should Rio Tinto be putting money into an administrated fund in preparation for it’s decommissioning so we can be confident that they will meet this cost?”

                    Yes

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 18.1.1.2

          So these people are liars. I’ve heard for years companies and neo-liberals we can’t afford to employ more people cause tax rates are too high.

          http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/abbott-vows-to-cut-company-tax-rate-20130806-2rdwl.html

          http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/fact-sheet-company-tax-cut

          What is changing?
          The company tax rate will fall from 30 per cent to 28 per cent from the 2011/12 income year. For most companies, this will apply from 1 April 2011.
          The Government will allow dividends issued after the new company rate takes effect to be imputed at the existing 30 per cent rate for two years if company tax has been paid at the 30 per cent rate.
          Why?
          A lower company tax rate encourages productive investment in New Zealand, thereby increasing productivity, raising wages and creating jobs.

          Here’s a nice little graph from the US showing unemployment rate against corporate tax rate

          http://corporatetax.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=005137

          The theory you espouse doesn’t match up with reality.

          “No because that would be both stupid, and bad for the firm and bad for the economy.”

          Actually employing more people and taking less profit would be good for the people who would now be employed, good for the firm as they would have more trained and skilled people ready for any increase in production needed and others would be under less pressure and good for the economy because that money would be circulating – being spent in shops, etc. We would spend less on welfare, less on crime, more people would have dignity and self worth, and so on.

          In the end what you are reinforcing is the neo-liberal notion that companies should be and are only about profit. That is stupid!

          Of course if that is the case we know the private sector will never supply employment for everybody and therefore the state has to intervene. The alternative is to let people starve or rely on charity.

          The state should therefore be supported and applauded for intervening and those who espouse that only profit matters in their decision making should contribute to the low employment consequences of that ideology.

          • RedLogix 18.1.1.2.1

            Excellent comment DSS. Personally I’m utterly fed-up with this endless small-minded whining from the right that somehow the public sector is non-productive, inefficient and must be “drowned in a bath-tub” in order for our economies to grow. It’s a childish nonsense.

            The simple, stark and obvious truth is that all real economies are an intertwined symbiosis between both the public and private sectors. Both need each other.

            All the most successful and stable nations run a strong public sector that is somewhere between 40-50% of GDP. Indeed if you really want growth, prosperity and a strong private sector, I'd suggest that ramping up tax rates across the board and expanding the public sector is the most reliable way to go. Government doesn't need to 'pick winners' …. that's a job the private sector does best …. but it is very good at providing the physical, economic, legal and social infrastructure upon which the private sector is entirely dependent for it's success.

            • srylands 18.1.1.2.1.1

              There is no strong correlation between the size of the public sector and prosperity. The government’s focus is on increasing public sector productivity. There is plenty of scope.

  19. Poission 19

    Now lets see.The NZ government (read taxpayer) has to subsidize an Australian multinational for gross incompetence ( fuelled by greed) in its governance.ie doing everything wrong.

    it paid a massive 65 per cent premium.
    Got involved in a bidding war with other giants.
    Bought at a 20-year peak in aluminium prices .
    Increased its debt from $2.4 billion to $46.3 billion, constraining it for years to come.

    http://www.businessinsider.com.au/rio-tinto-alcan-deal-writedown-2013-2

    This GVT only rewards losers.

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  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 3: Riddell et al (2019)
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  • The biggest challenge for a generation ahead – covid-19. Defeat and Recovery
    Last month I wrote my blog on covid-19 pointing out the in our pre Alert Level 4 days that a subject no one had heard here months ago was now dominating the media. An amazing feature of this crisis is how quickly it has swept every other issue aside worldwide. ...
    PunditBy Wyatt Creech
    19 hours ago
  • Testing for COVID-19 in NZ to Achieve the Elimination Goal
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    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    19 hours ago
  • Should we all be wearing face masks to prevent Covid-19 spread?
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    20 hours ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14
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  • The Americans are trying to kill us all again
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    23 hours ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 11
    . . April 5: Day eleven of living in lock-down… My one day of rest for the week, and an opportunity to mow my lawns – which I’d been delaying for about three weeks. (On the plus side, the damp micro-climate in my back yard yielded three lovely fresh mushrooms ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    24 hours ago
  • Now we know what the rules are
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    24 hours ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
    Paul Connett is putting all his eggs in one basket. He says “you only have to read four studies” to find community after fluoridation harmful. Image credit: Fluoride Action Network newsletter. For part 1 of this series see Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018). Paul Connett, ...
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Splore Listening Lounge 2020: the road to a “yes” vote
    As far as anyone can say, New Zeaand still has a general election scheduled for September 19 this year. The election will be accompanied by two referenda, one of which will ask voters:Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?The official campaign period for the cannabis referendum begins ...
    1 day ago
  • Obituary for The New Zealand Listener (1939-2020)
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 day ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    3 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
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    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    4 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    4 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    4 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
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    4 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    5 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    5 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    5 days ago
  • Outsiders.
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    5 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
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    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    5 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    6 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
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    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
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    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    6 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
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    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    7 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
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    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
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    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    7 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
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    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    7 days ago
  • Saving lives
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
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    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
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    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
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    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
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    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago

  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
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    5 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
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    5 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
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    5 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
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    6 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
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    6 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
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  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
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    7 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
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    7 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
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    7 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
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  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
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    7 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
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    1 week ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
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    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
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    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
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    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
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    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
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    2 weeks ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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    2 weeks ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
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    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 updates
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    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
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    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
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    2 weeks ago