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Asset sales & Brand Key becoming inextricably linked

Written By: - Date published: 7:08 am, July 10th, 2012 - 163 comments
Categories: Maori Issues, privatisation - Tags:

It’s getting almost sad, how desperate John Key is to sell our assets.

He’s prepared to rush them through more quickly than the market can absorb – trading return for pre-empting the referendum.

He’s prepared to use our money to reward people who can afford to buy shares anyway with illegal bonus shares – in an effort to attract a few marginal retail investors to boost numbers but at a massive cost.

He’ll almost certainly under-price Mighty River – trading return for number of investors.

The indication that shares would be priced for a dividend return of 4%, which, after tax, is half what you get paying off the mortgage – that means, to make it a sensible investment, Key will have to entice investors with the promise of significant share price increase after a float. The only way to do that is to set the price too low.

Now, he’s preparing to overturn convention and ignore the Waitangi Tribunal – the fact that he was raising this option before the hearing shows he expects to lose. Key’s display of comtempt for the Tribunal just because it will apply the law and come to a finding that doesn’t suit him, means he is willing to throw away 25 years of healing over the Treaty just to try to get asset sales through. (and how will the Maori Party react to that?)

It’ll go to the High Court. There’ll be injunctions. Any attempt to sell shares with the question of water ownership unresolved will be a disaster – who would take up shares with such a large question affecting their value unresolved? It will probably end in another expensive share giveaway, this time to iwi.

Meanwhile, something on the order of 3,000 people a day are signing the referendum petition on asset sales.

Key wanted to get asset sales through quickly without too much fuss and without too much connection to his brand. Instead, it is becoming the policy that he is most closely aligned with – they have become Key’s asset sales. He is having to lead on them every day. And his brand is hurting for it.

Isn’t it kind of sad that, when Key looks back on his 5-6 years at the top, his signature policy will be one that made no economic or fiscal sense – it was just a wealth grab for the rich? Or would that epitmose his time as PM?


163 comments on “Asset sales & Brand Key becoming inextricably linked”

  1. Shame that Key does not understand law, amongst other things.  He made the claim that the common law does not recognize ownership of fresh water.  Although it is clear that it does not, water the rivers and the river beds are all Taonga under the Treaty of Waitangi.  Unless it can be shown that they have been sold, confiscated or otherwise taken they remain in Maori ownership.

    He is on a collision course with this one in the same way that Labour was after the Ngati Apa decision in 2004.  The politics are different though.  Labour upset a significant number of supporters by their action.  National supporters, apart form the Maori Party will applaud Key’s belligerence.

    • toad 1.1

      Labour upset a significant number of supporters by their action. National supporters, apart form the Maori Party will applaud Key’s belligerence.

      Not sure about that. The bigoted underbelly that supports National will, but every poll on the asset sales would indicate that there are a sizeable proportion of soft National supporters who do not agree with the asset sales policy and support National despite it rather than because of it. I doubt that group will be happy with Key’s belligerence.

      • ak 1.1.1

        there are a sizeable proportion of soft National supporters who do not agree with the asset sales policy

        Correct, oh wise reptilian one. Yarn with even the most rabid tory rural rumper and watch the bewilderment and mistrust bubble up. Who knows better the family fate when the farm is sold – some, via this experience, have even made the tortuous journey to a grudging respect for maori.

        And now a gratuitous racist swipe (“maori don’t own the air”) from their formerly inoffensive manager revealing desperation to maintain a grip on the family jewels ready for the docking knife.

        Anomie in the crucial heartland, ripe for a spur. Shearers, youth and maori leering up in the towns perhaps?

        • Sanctuary

          Toads are amphibians, not reptiles. Just saying.

          Now I am off to write yet another angry letter to Pack ‘n’ Save about their policy of classing tomatoes as vegetables.

      • aerobubble 1.1.2

        Surely a National voter who sees the blindingly obvious, selling a asset return far more than the
        cost of borrowing, the best assets in the portfolio, working safe assets, goes against every grain
        in any competent capitalist. And that the National partys own leadership by bringing Maori party into the tent, would actually make it easier for National voters to side with Maori over their own out of touch National leaders.

        Look in the broader game, the wealthiest (not most National voters) are getting richer, much much richer, and the size of the pie is actually shrinking, the wealthiest are not serving the
        economy by growing it, rather they are trying to buy up assets and sit on them, sit out the
        recession and force it into a global depression. Because that’s what happens, it happened to
        the Mayan who ate their future, their soils, their forests, and change their local climate, and
        suddenly instead of growing their started cannibalizing their core, their own people.
        National represent the party of preservation of the few, and they’re eating our assets.

        We need a representative right of center party, not the party for the few National. Not the
        party of the left Labor, and not wacky NZF. A party who will reintroduce death taxes, raise the top tax
        rates, work with workers to raise wages (by lowering boardroom pay, ending the echo chamber).
        And even yes nationalizing, or the very least, demanding real royalties on mining, oil, gas, etc.

        But it won’t happen because our media NZ isn’t a free media, the same tired old hacks, or their
        twins, continue to pander the same defensive dogma to keep the preservation of accumulated
        wealth parties in power.

        • Gosman

          National party supporters, (if they are true to their ideological leanings), would recognise that it is not the role of the State to own and operate commercial enterprises long term. It sometimes pays for the State to involve themselves in the development of key infrastructure but then the resulting commercial asset should be sold to the private sector so that they can take the risk.

          • Pascal's bookie

            You’re thinking of the ACT party. Or saying that National’s current public position is dishonest. Can’t decide, don’t care.

            • Gosman

              Is the National party a political party of the left or the right of the spectrum?

              What is the often stated position of the National party on the role of the Private sector in the economy?

              I’ll give you a clue – this is from their vision statement on their website

              “• Competitive enterprise and rewards for achievement
              • Limited government”

              • Pascal's bookie

                What’s their stated position on SOEs?

                And ‘limited govt’ just means they don’t believe in Totalitarianism. Whipiddy whoop. It doesn’t make them minarchists.

                • Gosman

                  Don’t act stupid PB, (although you are very good at it admittedly). It is obvious to most people that the National Party represents a traditional right wing view of the world where individual liberty and freedom are generally regarded as being more important than the economic and social rights of the collective. I’m sure you would love it if there were only political parties of one particular hue but I believe places like that are generally frowned upon now days.

                  • Pascal's bookie


                    You might like it if National was just like the ACT party and still got lots of votes , but look at their policies Gos.

                    I don’t agree with plenty of National’s policies, but lots of people do.

                    Lots of those people, I’d assume most all of them, don’t agree with ACTs policies, or Libertarianz.

                    I base this astounding theory on the actual policies the different parties have, and the parties people actually vote for. I make an inductive leap that the policies and the votes are related. I’m in favour of this sort of thing.

                    • Gosman

                      I didn’t state they were identical. National is far more interventionist in terms of managing the business environment than ACT is. The point is you can’t argue that National party policy is not to favour private sector business development over the State sector. That is why Muldoon was such an aberation.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      But their policy is what it is.

                      It thinks MOM is superior to full privatisation, and that there are many SOEs that shouldn’t be sold.

                      Unless you think they are lying about that of course.

                    • Gosman

                      National party is a pragmatic party of the right. They tend to move gradually on policy. It is why I generally prefer ACT.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Good for you!

                      People who support the National party don’t have to agree with you to be true to their political leanings though.

                      Glad that’s cleared up.

          • Hayden

            Yes, they can “take the risk” that people will no longer require electricity. How courageous, these captains of industry.

            • Gosman

              People survive more than adequately in NZ without electricity, or even with electricity but off grid.

              Your argument could be applied to any number of businesses. That doesn’t mean they should be all Government owned.

              • Hayden

                Holy shit, are you serious? Care to express those households as a percentage?

                This is probably the most essential commodity in the country after housing, and it’s continued supply, for many people, is literally a matter of life or death. At the same time, it’s also practically impossible for anyone else to enter the market.

                • Gosman

                  Is there Private sector involvement in the provision of Housing in NZ, or would you rather that be under the full control of the Government as well?

                  • vto

                    The market doesn’t work here though does it gosman, that is why Housing NZ exists and all number of voluntary social agencies helping people who can’t afford a market-driven house.

                    Same with food. Heard of food banks?

                    I understand your point and would not like to see food and shelter being provided solely by government etc. But your analogy doesn’t quite flow. Look at it like this, oh great private free market diviner…. how about you lot go out and build your own electricity companies? Go on. Leave our ones alone. You are the captains of industry and fantastic at making money and setting up enterprises. So go to it – there are plenty of ways to make and sell electricity. So come on, set up yor own ones.

                    These have been set up by the taxpayer. Leave them alone. Get your own.

                    Same with that useless heap, the NZX. Tell them to go find their own.






                    you actually don’t have the ability that you claim you do. You lot would be stuffed without the taxpayer. So naff off…

                    • Gosman

                      Actually the point you raise is where traditional right leaning people would see a role for Government in commercial enterprises. Where a key infratructure area is not attracting interest from the Private sector because of various reasons there is a case to be made that Government could step in and develop the industry initially. However it should then look to remove itself for this at the earliest convenience. Obviously this doesn’t tend to happen as Politicians tend to enjoy empire building a little too much.

                    • vto

                      “Where a key infratructure area is not attracting interest from the Private sector because of various reasons there is a case to be made that Government could step in and develop the industry initially. However it should then look to remove itself for this at the earliest convenience.”

                      Why should it remove itself? It has built it up and can provide for society from its returns, for one thing. There is plenty of room for the private sector alongside and no obstacle in their way. You see, the electricity sector is already developed and has been for about 100 years. So, answer the question – why don’t you lot now go and set up your own electricity companies? You crow that you are the best at this stuff, yet it never happens.

                      Have a crack at it gosman – what is stopping the captains of industry from setting up their own electricity companies today?


                    • Murray Olsen

                      That sums it up very well. The great Kiwi entrepreneurs of NAct are good at letting the government build something with everyone’s money, then gifting it to themselves. This is the only vision they have when you examine them objectively.

                    • Gosman

                      Where’s the evidence they are gifting anything here?

                    • vto

                      oh you avoided the question i see gosman

                    • vto

                      hellooo gosmannnn ….


                      i see felix is asking you a similar thing. Why don’t you start up your own electricity companies to trade in, instead of taking ours? You are perfectly welcome to – it’s a free world and even your very own free market. You claim to be so very good at that sort of thing. So come on, why don’t you? Eh?

                      I can’t heaarrrr yoouuuuuu ………

                    • Gosman

                      It’s irrelevant to the situation so there is no point in answering it. I could equally turn it around and ask why the State didn’t set up a new company instead of nationalising companies like BNZ or the various Coal mines that make up Solid Energy. I could then act like a spoilt child demanding you answer such a pointless question and explain the seeming contradiction of your position of why it is okay for the State to take control of industries originally developed by the private sector but not vice versa.

                    • felix

                      Why was the BNZ nationalised, Gosman?

                      (and yes, it is relevant)

                    • Gosman

                      Make your point felix.

                    • McFlock

                      why it is okay for the State to take control of industries originally developed by the private sector but not vice versa.

                      Because corporate owners extract as much capital as possible regardless of the public good, kicking back as little as possible to the community.
                      Even if an SOE is run for profit, it’s dividends pay for schools and hospitals.

                    • Gosman

                      If that is the case then it applies to all Private businesses and a case could be made to nationalise all ‘Strategic’ assets. However it fails to address the point that the Government could set up competing businesses and apply higher taxes on the private companies to pay for their ‘evil’ ways. This approach would be consistent with this silly idea that somehow transferring ownership of busineses between the State and Private sector is wrong.

                    • mike e

                      Goose you in the past defended Goldman Sachs
                      Now you are saying governments like building empires.
                      Govts have just rescued the private sector again.
                      The private sector likes going bankrupt and needs regular rescuing.
                      The investment banking sector is bankrupt.

                    • Gosman


                      Been on the turps again have we?

                    • McFlock


                      If that is the case then it applies to all Private businesses and a case could be made to nationalise all ‘Strategic’ assets.

                      Yes. Yes it could.

                      However it fails to address the point that the Government could set up competing businesses and apply higher taxes on the private companies to pay for their ‘evil’ ways.

                      Cheaper and quicker to nationalise. Expenditure of the public purse needs to be responsible.

                      This approach would be consistent with this silly idea that somehow transferring ownership of busineses between the State and Private sector is wrong.

                      See “strategic assets” above.

                    • vto

                      Piss off then gosman. You answered several little pithy part things around the question I asked but not the main question i.e. the little pithy part things are all you can answer.

                      As for your idea that somehow the state has taken control of industries established by the private sector, well that is just hollow and empty of any truth whatsoever, with not a single example anywhere. I see you even tried on the BNZ – you’re an idiot in trying to claim that was anything remotely like the hollow and empty thing you have just claimed.

                      You have no answer gosman.

                      Like tsmithfield, you just piss off when the going gets tough. Because you don’t have an answer.

                      Your creed, your religion, your ideology, has founded on the tides and bashed itself to bits on the rocks…. failed. Failed failed failed.

                      Go do something useful gosman – start up your own electricity company. The taxpayers have.

                    • Gosman

                      Please explain why the BNZ wasn’t nationalised.

                      This article seems to suggest that the BNZ WAS nationalised and mainly for ideological and political reasons (because Walter Nash wanted to do it)


                    • vto

                      why don’t the great captains of industry start up their own electricity companies to trade in instead of taking the ones taxpayers have built?

                    • McFlock


                      Please explain why the BNZ wasn’t nationalised.
                      This article seems to suggest that the BNZ WAS nationalised

                      Who the fuck are you to accuse others of being on the turps when you put down shit like that?

                    • felix

                      Hurry up Gosman. Why was the BNZ nationalised?

                      You should be able to find the answer in the paper you linked to but didn’t read.

                      (Hint: it wasn’t because of 50 years of compounding successes)

                  • Gosman

                    I already answered that. Mainly for political and ideological reasons driven by Walter Nash.

                    • McFlock

                      almost there! I’ll start you off:
                      “Those reasons were […] “

                    • felix

                      Starter for 10: How many times was the BNZ bailed out by the state before it was nationalised?

                    • Gosman

                      Ummmm… felix the BNZ was nationalised when exactly?

                      Prior to that when was the last time it required Government support?

                    • vto

                      oh my giddy aunt,,,

                      the last time a bank needed bailing out was ………………..

                    • felix

                      Come on Gos, you can do it.

                      Why did the BNZ require the state to bail it out and what would have happened otherwise?

                    • McFlock

                      “Those reasons were …”

                    • Gosman

                      Answer my question felix. When was the last time the BNZ required State support prior to nationalisation? You do have access to this information don’t you?

                    • McFlock

                      Gos, Felix asked you.

                    • felix

                      Come on Gos, the reason the BNZ was nationalised was…

                      [edit: true McFlock, but I might as well be asking the cat]

                    • vto

                      Nope, he just can’t do it

                    • felix

                      Can’t bring himself to type the words, v.

                    • vto

                      Well at least we know now that there are some questions that gosman just refuses to answer.

                      And we are left with only conjecture, nothing else, to explain why…………

                    • Gosman

                      As far as the details I have the last time the BNZ required a bail out was FIFTY YEARS prior to Nationalisation. Fifty freaking years! If you seriously expect that provides justification for Nationalisation then you need help of a mental health variety. Now felix might have evidence of a more recent to 1945 bail out though.

                    • felix

                      Still no answer. I’m done with this weaseling fool.

                    • Gosman

                      Fifty freaking years felix! You can’t seriously be arguing that a company requiring a bail out 50 years previously is justification for nationalisation can you?

                    • Gosman

                      People have been born, got married, had kids, became a grand parent, and died in less time than that.

                    • McFlock

                      Oh well if it happened a few decades ago it couldn’t happen again.
                      Oh, btw:
                      “And those reasons were …”?

                    • Gosman

                      Serious McFluck?!? You are going to go with the line that a company was bailed out 50 years ago it is a candidate for Nationalisation are you? Jeeze, I didn’t realise how desperate you were to try and win this argument to have to resort to such a tenuous link. felix I can understand as he specialises in BS like this.

                    • felix

                      Nope, and I didn’t do that.

                      The BNZ was bailed out in 1945 because either a) it had been failing miserably on and off for half a century putting large parts of the economy at risk or b) it was doing awesome sauce but goddam c0mmies just love taking over successful businesses for the lulz.

                      I think we all know which answer you’re going with.

                      Goodnight dickhead.

                    • Gosman

                      I call you on your BS felix. The BNZ was not bailed out in 1945. Provide evidence for this outrageous claim.

                    • McFlock

                      If it’s nationally significant enough to be bailed out, it’s significant enough to be nationalised.
                      But what then were the reasons for nationalisation? Saying they were “ideological” is like answering the question “who committed the assault?” with “they were tall”.
                      Go on gos, what were the reasons for nationalising BNZ?

                    • McFlock

                      That’s assuming nothing similar was done during the Depression, of course.

                    • Gosman

                      Well according to felix it was bailed out in 1945. Are you going to agree with this view McFack or you going to conveniently ignore felix’s rather obvious fluffing of history?

                      I provided a link to a paper which detailed the reasons behind the nationalisation of the bank. If you disagree with what the author has to say on the issue then explain why.

                    • vto

                      Hey everybody. It’s ok, gosman says as long as banks only need bailing out every second generation then the system is working fine..

                      … not
                      sure.. why ….


                    • Gosman

                      Do you have any evidence the BNZ was bailed out during the Depression McCluck? IF not then it is irrelevant.

                    • McFlock

                      Nah, in your own words. You have  habit of not reading your own links.

                    • vto

                      and so nobody will ever know why our great captains of industry are unable to start up their own electricity companies instead of taking those belonging to the taxpayers…

                      good night small children… sleep tight and know that the good fairy gosman has everything under control

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah I’m off too.
                      Don’t put your back out sucking your own cock, gos. You know your doctor told you to wank looking into a mirror.

                • Gosman

                  It’s not practically impossible for people to enter the market. There is a trend in a number of places for micro producers to sell surplus electricty into the grid when they have a surplus for their own needs. New technologies are likely to increase this occuring in my view.

                  I think you are obsessed by the idea of large super producers of electricity, which I admit make it difficult, (but not impossible), for new entrants. However the same could be applied to say mining. Would you want that industry to be nationalised as well (I suspect many here would)?

                  • mike e

                    I’m sure we can heat our homes and cook our meals and light our houses with a mine goose

                  • Colonial Viper

                    When do you anticipate the next new entrant 100MW worth of generation will appear, Gossie?

                    Or are you just pointing to irrelevant breadcrumbs of hopium which are enough to feed sparrows, but certainly not a whole nation’s hunger?

              • mike e

                Gooseman Singapore doesn’t have aproblem with that.

                • Gosman

                  That’s cool. I can’t wait for a party on the left to argue that provision of housing should be be left entirely to the State.

                  • mike e

                    Goose not entirely true wellthy people in singapore can own their own property but your trying with feeble excuses to change thread.

                    • Gosman

                      You brought Singapore up in response to my question over whether people would prefer the State to be fully in charge of provision of Housing. Now you are seeming to change your mind. I wish you would make your mind up.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Gosman the state should only be in charge of 50% of housing provision. You know, to the 50% of the population who the free market leaves to rot, currently.

                    • Gosman

                      Any evidence to support this 50% figure or did you pull it from somewhere intimate?

                  • Hayden

                    Who said that electricity should only be provided by the state? The fact of the matter is that they are very low-risk businesses with a captive market and a supply that literally falls from the sky (that’s some mild hyperbole, before PG jumps in with a thousand words about sources other than hydro). They make the government more money than they will save on the borrowing they’re not doing (or whatever the money’s slated for this week) and they, to a larger degree than almost any other business, cannot fail. And if it looks like failing, or perhaps not making quite enough money, put the prices up.

                    Therefore, “let the private sector take the risk” is a nonsense.

                    • Populuxe1

                      However the security and affordability of the electricity supply should be guaranteed by the state as an essential part of infrastructure.

                    • felix

                      Pop, if we socialise the risk then why privatise the reward?

            • Pete George

              There’s a definite risk that our dependence of large scale electricity generation will be diminished or superceded by new technology based on any of solar, micro generation, super conductivity and improved local storage, renewable fuel efficiencies, insulation, conservation etc.

              • mike e

                Pathetic Guile so if that was So no body would buy these shares you idiot.
                Or it would be considered insider trading.

              • Reality Bytes

                All very well and true, but there isn’t much support from the government in the areas you talk of Pete.

                I have wondered on a certain scenario though:

                Let’s say soon after implementing a MOM, the Nat’s decide to heavily invest in and support those types of technologies. They provide grants for self-generation, serious commitment to getting power buy-back systems in place – to further encourage decentralization generation and self reliance etc etc

                If they didn’t just merely pay some lip service to this, and they seriously meant business – that would be a very interesting development. As it would mean several things:

                1. They would have essentially just pillaged the investors of the MOM with insider knowledge that the share prices of these assets were due to take a hit from these TBA policies. A Mom+Dad investor tax perhaps.

                2. They trawl the Greens website to get ideas for policies regarding efficient energy resource utilization.

                4. They would have (on this issue) appear to be quite suddenly shifted to the left. Since they would tactically be a) getting a good chunk of cash for these assets, then be mitigating the effects, all at the expense of capitalism.

                My gut feeling is this scenario is very very unlikely, I don’t think the Nat’s would want to eliminate the political capital they have built up as the friend of investors party. It would be quite a significant realignment for them.

                My gut feeling is they WILL pay lip service to the things you talk about Pete, but it will be a lot of talk and very little result and action, you know like oh we’ll spend 2.5mil on some random study into the benefits of solar panels or some half ass shit.

          • Bored

            Gos, when will you finally get around to considering the arguments of classical economists with regard to rentier behavior? Smith would have contended that private ownership of a universally necessary resource such as electrical power would drive rentier behavior to the detriment of the market. Price discovery would fail and the private sector as a whole would suffer.

            It is very interesting that in NZ and most countries infrastructure to support the market and productive (as opposed to rentier) economy was undertaken by the state. In NZ right wing governments have funded and encouraged state ownership of post, telecommunications, power, rail, water supply, air travel, roading etc etc. The private sector has benefited and been accelerated far beyond what it could have achieved otherwise.

            History would indicate over time that it is NOT a core National ideological leaning to privatise everything. Over the long run National party supporters (as much as Labour supporters) have seen through some unfounded and unproven neo lib shibboleths such as “private is more efficient”, that “the market knows best”.

            • Gosman

              My problem with this is that I don’t accept that there is anything such as an universally necessary resource and even if there was I don’t accept that electricity is one.

              The argument falls down anyway when it comes to both Food and Shelter. If any resources could be deemed “universally necessary” then it would be these. However in both of these markets in most developed countries the supply of the resources are largely in the hands of the private sector. Indeed in many countries where the Government attempts to influence the market by taking a more active role in it with say the production of food the end result tends to be shortages.

              • vto

                Incomplete gosman, see above

              • Populuxe1

                This is the twenty-first century, not the nineteenth. Arguably electricity and internet access are essential to maintaining life in the Western urban context.

                • mike e

                  So any inheritance you are entitled to you should not receive according to your theory.
                  Maori were given those rights as well European over looked those rights for as long as it suited them.
                  So your saying that you still live in the past where Maori may have rights so long as they are not aware of them that’s fine
                  .So look who’s living in the past

                  • Populuxe1

                    Comprehension fail? Or more gibberish than usual? If indeed you are replying to me And you should probably also familiarise yourself with New Zealand inheritance law – you’re lucky if there’s any estate left over these days.

                    • mike e

                      loosing it pop’s I was comparing idiot.
                      Well I must be lucky then with my inheritance.

              • freedom

                Gosman, Housing and Food are both well on the way to being State controlled through incremental legislative and regulatory methods. This process has been ongoing for many decades. Housing is continuously reminded, the State is very clear, The State tells the Housing and Building sectors what to do. From financial tweaks to absurd OSH regs the State has a firm hand on the sector. Scaffolds mandatory on a single story build? Whoever wrote that reg has never put up a wall board.

                Food is not immune. There are many major shifts in the right to grow food that may well be instigated by the greed of the market but are being enforced by laws drawn up by the State. If you have any doubts on that issue the very clear influence of the ‘Monsanto Laws’ in the coming years will confirm that for you. A good example is the $25,000 fine a NZ gardener can now face trying to give away a pack of Chamomile tea they prepared from their own plants. Certainly not a case that faces a high likelihood of being prosecuted in NZ but the fact of the matter is the State can if it so chooses. It has laws now that say it can.

                There is a difference between these situations and the structure of the Electricity Sector. The difference is the Electricity Sector began at the other end of the spectrum. Electricity was fully state controlled and as technology developed more and more people tirelessly carved niches of independence into the cliff face of State control. As the wealth transfer of the last century rolled over the public assets Electricity was is and always will be a very clear target of those who believe ownership and stewardship are somehow mutually exclusive.

              • Bored

                I don’t accept that there is anything such as an universally necessary resource... A simple statement that puts you well out of alignment with classical economic thought and well into alignment with the neo lib concept that everything can be ascribed ownership rights regardless of necessity OR more to the point “the common good”.

                Gos, to go down the path that there is no “common good” but only “proprietary property rights” has some fairly stark conclusions. In effect it says “property rights” can be withdrawn at the behest of the owner from providing what is necessary for the common good. Famines and death in India during the Raj occurred at the same time as grain was exported from the famine areas based upon the property rights of the landlords. Clearly in this case there was no balance between property rights and the common good.

                I think what your arguments lack in general is any balance: if I were to reword your arguments and replace free market with state ownership the same mechanistic dogma would appear. Friedman, Rand or Marx, its all the same extreme antisocial nonsense, none of them serve the common good.

                • Gosman

                  You seem to implay that the food supply is in the common good, (otherwise why reference the Indian famines?), yet fail to address the fact that the vast majority of food production is carried out by private individuals and not the State. How do you reconcile that?

                  • Bored

                    Easily….I dont have any ideological driven concept that either the state or private sector are better at supplying food. Experience however and a bit history tell me that the private sector appears to be pretty good at supplying it if you have the money, and that collectivised supply tends to be less reliable but at a better price.

                    Food supply and affordability is however beyond doubt in the common good. The doyens of the “free market” in the US see food supply to be sufficiently in the “common good” to massively subsidise their industrial farming practices with public money, whilst enforcing import tariff barriers to cheaper producers. Perhaps they have learnt the lesson from other states which have had private sector food supply collapses which lead to revolutions in 1794 and 1917? (That is a generous interpretation: I see it more as corruption that has a paradox of being good for Americans yet ruinous for other producers).

                    • mike e


                    • Gosman

                      Good to see you have no ideological objection to the private sector providing a perceived common good like food. If you extend that to the energy sector then you should also have no problems with private involvement in the energy sector. This is at odds with many here who believe that as a ‘Strategic’ industry it should be fully controlled by the State.

                    • felix

                      So you think electricity provision should be run for a profit by the private sector because food production is heavily subsidised and protected by the state?

                      Making no sense tonight Gosman.

                    • Gosman

                      Is the food industry in NZ heavily subsidised and protected by the state?

                    • felix

                      Learn to read your own bullshit ffs. You made the link between U.S. food production and NZ electricity production, not I.

                      I’m the one who questioned it, fool.

                    • Gosman

                      Learn to read and comprehend dickhead. Nowhere did I make the link between US food production and electricity market.

                    • felix

                      I refer you to this brilliant bit of extrapolation that you’ve apparently forgotten about, in which by way of reply to Bored’s comment about the U.S. food industry you postulated that the same applied to the NZ energysector: http://thestandard.org.nz/asset-sales-brand-key-becoming-inextricably-linked/comment-page-1/#comment-491889

                    • Gosman

                      Where do I mention the US at all?

                      If you have a problem with the US food industry coming into this then take it up with bored not me – dickhead.

                    • felix

                      If you weren’t replying to Bored’s comment when you wrote “If you extend that”, then just say so.

                    • Gosman

                      For fecks sake felix you are having a massive comprehension failure tonight aren’t you?

                      As well as seemingly arguing that a bail out 50 years ago somehow justifies a nationalisation of a company you missed boreds original paragraph where he stated the following:

                      “…I dont have any ideological driven concept that either the state or private sector are better at supplying food”

                      Please note there is no mention of the US food sector in that paragraph.

                      If you bother to make comments on other peoples conversations try and understand what it is they are discussing. Otherwise you just look like a dumbass.

          • ScottGN

            Wow. This post sure sums up the crappy way business and capital operate in NZ. Too scared to actually go out and develop assets on their own they wait till generations of NZers create a bluechip company and then they move in.

            • mike e

              Goose road transport is heavily subsidized as road transport makes up one of the largest costs involved in food production.
              Our competition commission stops new competitors coming into the market ie foodstuffs progressive duopolies stifling the warehouses attempt to start a super market chain/Then the govt allows turners and growers to monopolize the wholesaling of fresh fruit and vegetables. Dairy products need I say more.
              Food banks which are opening at faster rate than the other type of banks are closing branches!

            • Gosman

              You mean like the State did with the BNZ and Coal mines?

              • felix

                But the state didn’t move in on a bluechip company in the case of the BNZ, did they Gosman?

                Come on dickhead stop dodging the question: Why was the BNZ nationalised?

                • Gosman

                  See above. You have evidence to the contrary then provide it – dickhead.

                  • felix

                    Still waiting for your answer above too.

                    Why was the BNZ nationalised?

                    (“cos goddam c0mmies” isn’t an answer btw)

          • aerobubble

            The state owns the public roads because there is little risk and lots of costs. Similarly, dams.
            Access to a roading network, to energy, are essentials for a functioning national economy,

    • Enough is Enough 1.2

      That is what I am afraid of here Savage.

      Don Brash rose to popularity through getting the support of red neck New Zealand and promising to bash “Maori Privilege”.

      Key will upset his coalition partner here and probably drive them away. But a a move to ignore the Waitangi Tribunal or legislate to over turn a High Court decsision will be met with support from those same Brash loving racisits.

      It is dirty politics, but he knows what he is doing here.

      • weka 1.2.1

        Except he will have to bring in legislation to ensure that NZ rivers (and lakes) are owned by the Crown (a la Seabed and Foreshore), and he will have to do that with everyone knowing that instead of ‘saving’ the rivers for kiwis, he’s doing it so he can SELL the rivers. You think that’s going to go down well with anyone other than the likes of Brash and Louis Crimp?

        • mike e

          National lost the airwaves argument.
          Now they are going to loose this argument because the national party changed the legilation back in 1996 which means treaty of Waitangi decisions are legally binding.

      • Deano 1.2.2

        if he has to legislate, at least it means delaying asset sales by at least a year until the new law is passed.

      • Fortran 1.2.3

        The Maori Appellants will be satisfied with a substantial share of the shares in Mighty River however. Follow the money !

    • Gosman 1.3

      Ummmm… why was this not a problem when Contact Energy was fully privatised?

      • mike e 1.3.1

        We sold Contact energy’s assets for less than their true value and the govt was left with the debt from the Clyde dam cost over runs by a short sighted National govt of the day’
        Nothing has changed their

        • McFlock

          not to mention we know not to fall for the “mum and dad investors” bullshit these days.

        • Gosman

          I see you didn’t address the point. The water rights issue didn’t seem to come into the equation for the sale of Contact Energy. Why is that?

          • Bored

            The Foreshore issue awoke a fearsome taniwha. It was asleep when Contact was sold.

          • mike e

            Gooseman Because Ngai Tahu did a deal with Contact.

            • Gosman

              What deal was that and what is stopping the Government doing deals with the relevant Iwi’s in the case of the other power companies?

              • Pascal's bookie

                “what is stopping the Government doing deals with the relevant Iwi’s in the case of the other power companies?”

                You’d have to ask the government that one I guess. I’d say the numbers don’t really add up to start with, and further deals would make the whole thing even more farcical.

                Also, racism.

                But that’s just my guesswork, like I say, you’d have to ask the govt for a definitive answer.

                good luck 🙂

  2. Jim Nald 2

    Frankly, John Key’s modus operandi is quite simple: the greedy ends justify any means to achieve that? As well as consequences for the many others?

    It is encouraging to see there are people in our country who reject that.

  3. Dv 3

    >Share deal could settle Treaty claims

    >The Government could buy back shares in the state-owned power companies to settle Treaty claims.

    So how is that going to work?
    Are the Govt going to give (cant be sell) a large no of shares to Iwi and then buy back?

    So how does that affect the $$$ received for the companies?

    How will it affect the % ownership?

    May be they will give them out of their 51% and then buy back.

    Seems very fiddly, why not just settle by giving money.

    Really weird and bizzare.

    Can anyone shed light on how this could happen?

    • lcmortensen 3.1

      The government cannot reduce their share below 51 percent without amending the MOM Act (and that being passed is as likely as pigs flying) – they would have to buy the shares back first to resell them.

      • Dv 3.1.1

        >>they would have to buy the shares back first to resell them.

        But to pay off the ToW claim they would have to gift them, not resell.
        So whats the point?

        I guess they could retain shares from the 49% to pay off ToW claim.
        But that would reduce to amount received.

        There are a lot of pigs around!!!

    • Seems very fiddly, why not just settle by giving money.

      If there’s anything to be settled that’s how it should be done. Then the recipients could do what they like with that money, including buy shares on the same basis that everyone else can.

      • Pascal's bookie 3.2.1


        Whatever Pete.

        If it’s found that iwi do still own the water then the Crown is going to have to one of two things.

        Give it back, in which case, users of the water will have to negotiate with the owners.

        That’s going to be tricky, so the Crown is most likely going to want to negotiate and outcome that has them retaining control.

        Those negotiations will be complex as all hell, and the idea that a the value of a bundle of MRP shares will fix it is pretty laughable.

        the fact will be that if iwi own it, it will up to iwi what “should” happen.

        I strongly suggest you quit with the korero about ‘extortion’ and ‘should’ and instead approach things with the goodwill, humility and forbearance that iwi have shown for over a hundred years.

        I for one am constantly amazed at the patience and respect that comes from the iwi side in these things. It is something I am grateful for, and frankly embarassed by, given what flows the other way.

  4. just saying 4

    Was the bonus-for-not-selling included in the legislation passed?

    Your assumption about Iwi selling-out feels unnecessarily unfair and ungrateful to me. They are incurring legal fees in undertaking an action that will hopefully benefit all but the most privileged. I wonder if there is a koha system to help them with that. Iwi are the only substantial thing standing between our essential energy reserves and Key’s thieving hands at the moment.

  5. Dv 5

    If nobody owns the water, does that mean anybody can use it?

    So that could mean that a large irrigation project above a HEP could remove all/most of the water, leaving the dam stranded.

    • very good point.if nobody owns the water , who says that mighty river power can dam it and use it as they see fit? successive governments have handed responsibility back to iwi of the waterways(mostly because of pollution and the cost to clean up waterways). now those iwi are taking their responsibility seriously, key and his thieves arent happy. hahaha

    • Deano 5.2

      that’s right. when Key says that ‘no-one’ owns the water, he’s actually saying that the Crown owns the water and has decided that no-one may have exclusive occupation/usage title.

      • SpaceMonkey 5.2.1

        But “the Crown” is a different entity to “the People”. If that is what Key means when he says that… it’s another form of resource grab. But that’s what this is anyway.

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      Well you’d have to get rid of the RMA first, also authorities like ECAN.

    • Thisblogrocks 5.4

      The Resource Management Act gives local council authority to grant access to water for irrigation etc. But im not sure if there are legal ramifications if you use water without resource consent however one would assume so. But yeah nobody owns the water, specific Iwi have had river and lake beds returned to them with the Crown merely claiming to own the space above the river bed within which the water resides.

  6. Bored 6

    Brand Key has a big problem……try this scenario…

    For supply and support they require Dunne, Banks….the agreement with the Maori party is a back stop.

    Helen and Labour forced the creation of the Maori party with the Foreshore and Seabed issue. The Maori Party consequently see this issue as the same….and withdraw from the Supply agreement.

    Banks gets suspended from Parliament for electoral expenses issues.

    Key no longer has a majority….no wonder he is in a hurry.

  7. Plan B 7

    Key will divide and conquor. Driving racial divide, a rich and poor divide. He will win. We seem unable to understand that we stand or fall together.

    • Tim 7.1

      and then we’ll all wonder why there are so many gated communities whose residents within start protesting about an increasing crime rate, awful graffiti spoiling their well-manicured walls…..but all the while expecting state provision of a fire service, an ambulance service, and a sympathetic police force. Best they plan now to incorporate a schooling system within and a toll driven roading system that has walls either side the entire length.
      Civilisation? I think not – even if only because the 99%/1% – 1%/.001% numbers just don’t add up. The end game is inevitable.
      This unwillingness for ideologues to learn lessons from history is really quite pathetic.
      Has anyone else noticed how “democracy” is now being questioned; why youth are disengaging in trad ideas; why people are feeling less represented by their politicians?
      Still…I spose “there is no such thing as Society”. – Look what happened to that bitch too…. now there’s a Jonky legacy for you – he’ll be the NZ equivalent, and just as camp with it.

  8. vto 9

    Key will be remembered for his shallow outlook and perceptions. The man has no depth.

  9. Glg 10

    What happens if asset sales don’t go through? Will we find John Key behind the toilets with his knees smashed or what? He does indeed seem desperate to get the sales through, and charitably I don’t want to think its craven greed and self interest.

  10. captain hook 11

    New Zealand has become like France in the late 18th century.
    i.e the tax is sold off to taxfarmers and when they have collected the take anything left over is theirs.
    just about time for a revolution methinks.

    • Gosman 11.1

      Please explain how NZ is anything like France pre-revolution in the 18th Century. I’d suggest you have no idea of history given that amazingly ignorant statement.

  11. mike e 12

    When the libor scandal broke you couldn’t find a RWNJ for all the money in the bank of England.
    Now these neo con artists are backing an investment banker trying to fleece the NZ public they are hanging round like flies hovering over a piece of rotten meat!

  12. Pascal's bookie 13



    Bringing up the F&S is significant because err, oh yeah, that was an issue worth withdrawing confidence and supply over.



    Some interesting things going on at the tribunal this arvo

  13. Fiji Bill 14

    Emmerson’s cartoon is ripe with metaphor.

  14. Pascal's bookie 15

    DPF is still working out what to say about this I guess, but his commenters have noticed there’s a story here and are working up a good head of steam defending the notion of property rights.

    Nah, they’re starting to get their freak on.

  15. captain hook 16

    so who is the idiot who says the state has no role in owning any business?
    who said that?
    John Howard…loud barfing noises, barf barf barf.
    its not true.
    the state can do what it likes.
    hoiking up crap like that just means that some people want to get their hands on the states assets and then they invent pithy little sayings and retail them endlessly so that eventually some people believe it.
    anyway if the ancient state of Athens hadnt grabbed all the silver from a new mine and used it to build warships (450bc approx) then we would all be speaking persian now.
    Hows that for a little bit of history?

    • Gosman 16.1

      “Hows that for a little bit of history?”

      Ummmm… really really superficial and wrong on a number of levels.

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