Asset sales mean power price rises

Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, April 25th, 2012 - 79 comments
Categories: energy, privatisation - Tags:

Molly Melhuish was one of dozens of oral submitters on the Privatising Your Assets Mixed Ownership Model Bill yesterday – all of them opposed.

She presented research showing that the average price of power from a private provider is 3.31 c/kWh higher than from an SOE. The difference amounts to $265 a year.

Contact Energy’s boss has talked about the need for prices to rise further to make a sufficient profit for private investors. The implication is privatisation will remove the shackles. We won’t just see the SOEs move up to the price level of the private companies – the whole market will shift upwards.

Can someone tell me why it’s a good idea to sell our energy assets so that big profits can be made off them by someone else? National’s MPs on the select committee clearly had no answer.

79 comments on “Asset sales mean power price rises ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    It seems to me that the public ownership model hasn’t been very effective at keeping power prices in check with power prices increasing roughly 40% over the period between 2002 and 2010, at around 5% per year which I suspect is considerably higher than the rate of inflation for the period..

    One consequence of the government being the sole shareholder, and demanding dividends from the power companies is that they can use dividends as taxation by stealth. Thus, extracting unreasonable dividends from the power companies and driving up prices artificially. I wonder how much that has to do with the price rises over the last decade or so.

    • Eddie 1.1


      a) if the SOEs were driving prices up unreasonably then they would have higher prices than the private companies. They have lower ones.

      b) I thought the whole argument was these were low return assets that the government shouldn’t bother to own. you’re saying they’re high return now.

      c) the private companies want to make prices higher. if anything, that suggests public ownership is keeping prices artificially low. And that conforms to logic too: the Crown has a lower cost of capital than private investors, so it can make a return off lower profit margins (ie lower prices) than private investors can

    • lprent 1.2

      Not much. You are thinking too small on the causation.

      The biggest single issue pushing price rises over the last few decades has been the lack of investment by the companies, both public and private, in generating and carrying capacity. That has caused a gradual reduction in the ability to deliver power where it is is required, which causes prices rises. So the question is why wasn’t that investment going in.

      The previous rounds of privatization in the electricity sector shifted to focus from creating power as a public benefit to the whole of the economy, to a model of extracting the most efficient use (ie profit) out of what power we had. Which was exactly what the changes in the 1990’s were intended to achieve – despite being billed as a way to get cheaper power prices. Of course anyone with a brain (ie not a National voter) who looked at the issue realized the it’d make power prices rise drastically over the long term.

      The problem is that the objectives were short-term in a industry that provides long term infrastructure. So it resulted in the generating companies playing chicken about adding capacity. We have less capacity per economic unit because it is more efficient for the companies to drive prices up than to make long term capacity building investments.

      The overall effect is to dampen economic growth and raise everyone’s bills to pay for the power company profits and returns to the shareholders (including the government – which is what you referred to) without major investment in capacity and carry.

      It is why letting idiots for National run the country is a dumb idea. They always think too short term and penalize businesses over the long term through stupidity.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.1

        That has caused a gradual reduction in the ability to deliver power where it is is required, which causes prices rises. So the question is why wasn’t that investment going in.

        1) Invest less in your business.
        2) Charge more due to shortages, making more profit.

        Brings a tear to my capitalist eye, the beauty of it.

        • Draco T Bastard

          That’s it exactly and that’s is why privatisation of infrastructure is bad for the country.

  2. DavidW 2

    Can I refer you to a competitive analysis by Farrar at Kiwiblog. Quite clearly it calls Grey Power’s bullshit for what it is.

    • Eddie 2.1

      I refer you to the MED’s quarterly electricity price survey, which the Grey power analysis is sourced from. Add it up and you’ll see that the average price for the private companies is higher than that for the public companies across the country.

      Farrar’s analysis, typical of the man, is cherry-picked and misleading. He doesn’t look at the whole country, he doesn’t look at all suppliers, he doesn’t weight them for size.

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      Quite clearly it calls Grey Power’s bullshit for what it is.

      I see you are backing National’s electoral suicide. The always voting elderly population who can do math and who will notice every single $5 increase in their power bill.

      • felix 2.2.1

        .. and have been around long enough to know a bunch of corkscrew shysters selling snake oil when they see them.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    We saw how the private sector ran down and extracted the capital value of core NZ infrastructure (Toll/railways).

    They’ll do the same for our power generation infrastructure.

    That’ll screw the economy good. In 20 years.

  4. vto 4

    So let me get this straight….

    It is actually going to cost the government to sell (after lost dividends and cost of other funds are accounted for)…

    AND power prices are going to rise……

    So what’s the reason for selling again?

    • freedom 4.1

      if memory serves it was to build schools, fix hospitals, create vast employment opportunities, balance the books and make your dishes sparkle like the tell-tale eyes of the smiling assassin.
      If you order right now, for no extra profit, they will throw in multi-generational poverty.

      • seeker 4.1.1

        Initially I thought it was to pay off debt.. Just before the election I rang my local National electorate office to find out, just why Key and co. were so cavalierly and callously selling OUR necessary, precious public utilities.

        I was told by a wonderfully sincere, well meaning older National supporting lady that she had been thinking about this and this is what she had come up with. “We need to sell our assets so we can pay for more roads,schools and hospitals and we don’t have to go overseas to borrow more money to do so. What’s more it will give ordinary people, like you and me, the chance to buy shares and invest in something reliable rather than those horrible old investment houses. Anyone who had a spare $5,000 or $10,000 dollars could do this!”
        I said I didn’t have any ‘spare ‘ thousands. However, she was naively convinced that this was ‘the answer to life’ ‘cos John Key had said so.

        The next day she rang me to say that she had asked ‘Nick'(Smith) and she had it a bit wrong because he told her, as he was dashing out of the office, that the dividends the electricity companies provided were not enough to pay off the 16 billion/million dollar debt we had then (November2011) so we had to sell the electricity companies to pay for it!

        The reason for people to buy assets I owned was still too confusing. Still needing an answer I rang the pm’s office. They didn’t know the answer and pointed me to the nat’s website – blank.

        It is not enough that I have to freeze every winter for no valid reason. I have fought Contact as their prices rose and rose(swiftly followed by the other companies,but not as much). Now I have to endure and fight another self serving and ignorant government, voted in by nincompoops, who really has no regard for the people it is meant to serve and protect.

  5. burt 5

    Here is a reminder of how Labour gouged the public for profit from electricity when they were last in office.

    It seems that profit from power is great when the red team do it…..

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Weak burt. Labour’s model is profit from power for the people.

      Not profit from power for rich pricks.

      • burt 5.1.1

        Labour’s model is profit from power for via the people.

        Fixed it for you.

      • burt 5.1.2


        Perhaps you can tell me how during the last Labour government it was valid to crank power bills to help create a surplus for the government but now we need to focus on reducing power prices.

        I’m sorry I can’t see how when a person is struggling to pay the power bill it is OK to over charge them when it’s the government doing it but it’s wrong when it’s a private company. Over charging is over charging and the party doing the over charging is wrong regardless of their own perceived “right” to do so.

        • felix

          Yep, overcharging is wrong. The business model has failed.

          Re-nationalise the entire network and deliver electricity at cost to non-commercial users.

        • lprent

          burt – you are bullshitting again.

          The prices were set by the “market” that the National government set up in the 90’s when they seperated and sold a large chunk of the electricity infrastructure. The government had nothing to do with setting the prices.

          The conditions and legislation around those sales were such that to regulate extensively or to change the legislation would most likely have faced a difficult time through the courts as it would have removed property rights. That would have included rejigging the SOE acts to allow the government to direct the electricity SOE’s to bias the market.

          Sure the government could have nationalized the generating companies (and that is exactly what I’d like them to have done), but then you’d have been the first person attacking them for doing so.

          Either tell me I am wrong, or suggest an alternative approach that the government could have used to constrain or tar yourself as a complete hypocrite.

          Personally I think the latter.

          • burt


            You are wrong….

            The prices were set by the “market” that the National government set up in the 90′s

            The prices are set by the generators…. the fact that they all decided to keep their prices at a level that enabled them to scoop up to $1.2b in a single year is nothing to do with the structure of the market.

            The state owned generators are the main players in the generation market, they could have easily pulled the market price down to a level that reduced their profit.

            Your position seems to be that minority market players force the dominant players to be profit takers.

            Stop defending this price gouging profit taking crap just because you support the “team” that did it. It makes you look like an apologist and you are normally better than that.

            • felix

              There shouldn’t be any profit in it.

              We built the dams. We built the generators. We built the distribution network. We maintained the lot for decades.

              Now we have to line someone’s pockets just to use the power? Ridiculous.

              • burt


                That’s actually a fair comment.

                The taxes of the older people today paid for it and the last Labour government made them turn their heaters off more than ever before. Sadly that reality has bugger all to do with the pricing structure and a lot to do with the government wanting the profit for other things – not for reinvestment in power infrastructure which would have made it more difficult to call the gouging wrong.

                • felix

                  Haha, who’d have thought you’d try to make it about the Labour party?

                  The neoliberals in the 4th Labour govt didn’t quite get around to ruining the electricity network although I’m sure it was on the list. Luckily for them, the neoliberals in the 4th National govt got the job done instead.

                  The slightly more moderate but still essentially free-market 5th Labour govt should’ve done something to reverse Max Bradford’s ideological nonsense. Pity they didn’t.

                  Reckon the crony-capitalist 5th National govt is going to help? Not likely. They don’t seem too keen on having public institutions under democratic control.

                  Any fool can see where the fault lies: squarely at the feet of the neoliberal free-market ideology both parties (more or less) subscribe to.

                  So who’s going to bite the bullet and do away with this absurd pretense of a market?

                  • burt

                    You seem to be missing something critical here. The structure may or may not be right, how it’s used is however what drives the profit (or loss) it generates.

                    Sure the structure allows the state owned generators to make massive profits as most succinctly demonstrated by the 5th Labour government. The largest profit take in the history of the model – hence their special place in my comments.

                    There was nothing stopping the 5th Labour government from reducing that profit to reduce the cost of power to the consumers – they didn’t. Now they sit in opposition and criticise National for doing a weaker job of pillaging the consumers than they were doing…. who would have guessed that partisan red flag wavers would miss this point….

                    You are right though, the model is open for abuse. The question is do we radically change the model OR use it for the benefit of consumers rather than have it as a stealth tax collection device while claiming it’s a bad model but doing nothing to change it???

                    • felix

                      I notice you only seem to have a problem with the generation end.

                      I’m talking about the whole kaboodle burt. Why do we need “retailers” to sell us our own electricity at all?

                      Why is any of set up to make money off the people who rightfully own the whole damn lot?

                      Simple question burt: You don’t like seeing the govt taking profits out of the community via our power bills. Neither do I. Does your concern extend to privately owned power companies doing the same or not?

                    • burt


                      That’s a fair question. As long as we have choice and there actually is competition then the privately owned companies will soon work out that charging more than their competition is bad for their business.

                      The whole issue around return on capital can’t be ignored.

                      The problem we have at the moment is that the majority producers are the state and they set the benchmark for pricing. When they set their prices such that they make massive profits the smaller operators join them and also make (proportionately) massive returns on their investment.

                      The idea of a full state monopoly scares the hell out of me because time and time again we see that it works well for a few years then self serving politicians see it as a cash cow for stealth taxation. When there is only one petrol station in town filling up your tank is going to be expensive…..

                    • burt


                      Does your concern extend to privately owned power companies doing the same or not?

                      To directly answer this; Yes of course it worries me.

                      But unlike some other dreamers I would be equally worried by there being a single private company as I would be with a state monopoly. Both would take advantage of their position and pillage the consumers because they can. The idea that the state is inherently “good” is quickly disproved by Labour’s behaviour wrt power prices in their last three terms of office.

                    • burt


                      As a point of interest I have investigated going off the grid for electricity. I have the physical space to stand a wind turbine and I have a good north/west facing aspect for solar generation. I specifically directed the design of my roof lines to enable the placement of solar panels.

                      However the economics of doing so are dubious at best. They are getting better though with advancements is solar cell and battery technology.

                      The economics of small scale wind turbines are also improving and the council red tape to install one is decreasing. When I first fully investigated it about 14 years ago the consent process was arduous. About 2 years ago I re-investigated the consent process and now all I would need is a building permit and engineering report. However the return on investment is still not really stacking up.

                    • felix

                      But there’s no need for any of that.

                      No need for a single profit driven company – whether state owned or privately owned – in the entire chain.

                      The whole lot can be operated by democratically controlled institutions to supply electricity to the owners of the network – us – at cost.

                      Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion, burt

    • Karen 5.2

      But didn’t the money that Labour supposedly ‘gouged’ from the public ultimately get returned to the public?

      • burt 5.2.1


        I can’t speak for all power consumers but It’s hard to imagine that when struggling to pay their power bills they felt warm and comforted that the government was the one inflicting the pain rather than a private company.

        • felix

          Yeah, ‘cos a private company is only going to take that money and spend it on health education and social services just like the govt does.

          But I do agree with you, the model has utterly failed us.

          • burt


            The problem is that, as demonstrated by the last Labour government, when a single owner controls the market they set the price. Now you might trust the government to not use the convenience of monopoly power supply as a cash cow for other agenda’s – I don’t.

            • felix

              Good for you, burt.

              Trouble is you’re not arguing for an end to price gouging, you’re arguing for privatised price gouging.

          • burt

            Yeah, ‘cos the gummit used that profit for election bribes …. and that was good because they chose where to spend the money so they would stay in office and continue to rape the power consumers so they could continue to be popular so they could stay in office.

            • felix

              I thought they just gave all the money to their union mates to buy ferraris.

              • burt

                You need a capital “F” for Ferraris.

                Although I’m not sure that’s where the money went. I think it’s more likely that fees extracted from low paid workers paid for the union boss Ferraris. Perhaps we need to investigated the unincorporated societies that don’t publish their accounts but still call themselves unions.

                • felix

                  Yep, as far as I can tell the only thing holding up such an investigation is that these union bosses with the ferraris are very hard to find.

                  My guess is they mostly move through underground lava tunnels. Like Wilberforces.

  6. Can’t you guys leave aside the petty politicking for half a day at least?

    • felix 6.1

      Sure, you start.

    • Carol 6.2


      ANZAC Day, and the wars it commemorates, has always been political.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        In the US they shut down any discussion on the political decisions around wars by claiming that it would be “unpatriotic” to those who died and that it would “dishonour” their memories. Or some bullshit like that.

        In other words, trying to sidestep the fact that geopolitical and economic factors play a huge role in the decision to go to war, that its always older, more powerful, (usually men) in comfortable offices who send young citizens to fight and die.

        Let’s not forget that one contributory reason that the NZ Government sent so many of its best and brightest to die on foreign shores in WWII was to guarantee our continued access to Britain for our agricultural products.

      • QoT 6.2.2

        Agreed, Carol. There’s a great article doing the rounds about how ANZAC Day’s “apolitical” aesthetic is actually anti-political (admittedly, an Aussie article but I think the same is true here): ANZAC Day celebrates forgetting.

        • Draco T Bastard

          It’s a central part of Anzac’s anti-politics: the hellishness of war separates it from ordinary life, transforming Clausewitz’s ‘politics by other means’ into a transcendental experience at which civilians can only marvel. Whereas for the writers of the twenties and the thirties, the Great War disappointed by representing, in concentrated form, the violent banality of industrial society, today the very bloodiness of the conflict is used to highlight the contrast with our own day-to-day life. The narrative therefore shifts from social critique (why did we allow these atrocities to happen?) to a veneration of sacrifice, the nature of which is largely irrelevant.

          Says it most eloquently.

    • millsy 6.3

      Ummmm, no.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.4

      Should we shut down political discussion on a day that commemorates political stupidity? No.

  7. KJT 7

    It is obvious now that the amount of State dividend demanded from the, still to be privatised, power companies was deliberately kept high to allow the privatised ones to compete.

    So much for extra efficiency from privatisation.

    • burt 7.1


      The dividends were higher under Labour than they are now under National. So much for extra efficiency from the failed model of pretending to be serving the people.

      • KJT 7.1.1

        I have said many times I was extremely disappointed in Labour continuing failed policies from the 80’s.

        Labour has been NACT light for a long time.

        That is why I am a Green party member.

        I still have some hopes that Labour are learning their lessons from the failures.
        No hope of that with National.

        Why do you still think we are all Labour party members?

        • Draco T Bastard

          I still have some hopes that Labour are learning their lessons from the failures.

          I don’t. Just reading their press releases and Red Alert (very occasionally these days) proves that they haven’t.

  8. RedLogix 8

    Which is it burt?

    1. Public power companies have lower prices and higher dividends because they are more efficient.


    2. Public power companies have lower prices and higher dividends because they are a ‘failed model”

    • burt 8.1


      I’m not sure. But I don know that Labour are completely hollow in their claims they would stop the profit taking from power generation. This is my key point.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 8.1.1

        “Stop the profit taking” ≠ “Labour will, the next time it is in government, ensure that electricity prices will not be forced up due to higher dividends which are not being ploughed back into plant investment, to ease the burden on Kiwi families,”

        I’m not sure why Burt feels the need to make things up and make himself look deluded or deceitful, but I do know that he is completely hollow in his claims about anything that ever happened anywhere. That is my key point.

        • burt

          Labour will, the next time it is in government…

          That’s classic socialist rhetoric… we won’t fail this time…. now sure last time we were totally hollow and lied like flat fish… but trust us – this time will be different.

          If you believe; next time it will be different then you are exactly the type of dim-bulb that continues to support self serving govt and therefore it’s people like you we should be pointing the finger at when our power bills go through the roof under a failed ideology reelected for “one more chance”.

          • Colonial Viper

            That’s classic socialist rhetoric… we won’t fail this time….

            Wow you’re really reaching dude. Its just a statement of intent.

            • burt

              In 1999 we were paying a few cents more tax to fix health and education…. What’s on Labour’s agenda for 2014… Oh gee it’s a few cents more tax to fix health and education….

              You keep believing they will actually do something other than bribe enough people so they can stay in office using your money which they took with the intent of ‘fixing’ something.

              The problem is CV profit from artificially high power prices is possibly more regressive than GST as a form of tax. I simply can’t understand how you accept up to a billion dollars in tax paid profit in a single year from over charging for power while complaining about the likes of a GST hike. The only explanation is that it’s good when your team do it.

              • Kotahi Tane Huna

                LOL, hey Burt, you poor thing, do you always throw your toys out of the cot like this when your “facts” are exposed as total fabrications? Spewing, becoming more and more incoherent with every comment…

                Yes, you’ve got lots of tiny rage pent up against bogey men that don’t exist, but how does your tanty relate to Labour party policy?

              • Colonial Viper

                The problem is CV profit from artificially high power prices is possibly more regressive than GST as a form of tax.

                As the post makes quite clear, power prices are going to go up under hungry private sector ownership. So what’s your stance on that, One Eyed Burt?

                • burt


                  My take on that is that this is a post on a one eyed politically bias blog. The “fact” that private ownership increases prices is simply a politically motivated opinion which is not supported by any facts at all.

                  But hey, how are you doing justifying $3.2b in profit from state owned power generation during 5 years of Labour government ?

                  How is that compared to a politically bias idea, unsupported by any facts, that private ownership = profit taking?

                  • RedLogix

                    The “fact” that private ownership increases prices is simply a politically motivated opinion which is not supported by any facts at all.

                    Absolutely no facts at all burt. Especially if you refuse to examine any evidence.

                    But hey, how are you doing justifying $3.2b in profit from state owned power generation during 5 years of Labour government ?

                    We are not. On the other hand the power industry is an oligopoly, so why do you imagine private owners would be motivated to reduce profits?

                    • burt


                      From the “presented research” link at the top of this post….

                      Sarah Free of the Domestic Energy Users Network said she was representing the children of poor households who would lose out under the policy.

                      It seems Sarah Free has missed the most critical point of profit taking in the power market. It was at it’s highest in recent decades under the last Labour government. I’m flabbergasted that she didn’t conclude that children of poor households lose out under Labour government policies…. I wonder why she missed that…..

                      Here are some actual price comparisons…. makes you go ummm eh.

                      This public ownership thing really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be is it… but the state can say what it wants to make people think it is even when the actual evidence runs against the spin.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Public ownership is fine – when it’s a public service but it gets really screwed when it’s used to provide a profit instead. The profiteering is the direct result of changing power (and telecoms etc) into profiting companies.

                    • RedLogix

                      It seems Sarah Free has missed the most critical point of profit taking in the power market. It was at it’s highest in recent decades under the last Labour government.

                      Love the way you blame everything on the last Labour govt, while totally exonerating the 1990’s National administration who set the system up. Just as with the leaky building debacle… National created the problem while you’d blame Labour for not fixing it quick enough.

                      Farrar is National’s spinmeister. I don’t trust him further than I can spit upwind into stiff northerly while clinging onto a steep Tararua ridgeline.

                      Rather than Farrar’s cherry picking you may want to spend some time taking a look at the MED source documents.

                      And you might also want to have a read of Grey Power’s actual submission.

                    • burt


                      I don’t trust him further than I can spit upwind into stiff northerly while clinging onto a steep Tararua ridgeline.

                      Totally relate to that… I’ve spent years running around up there. Hey this will make you laugh. As a green-horn tramper I was about to take a piss in a really strong northerly and one of the older chaps said ‘stand with your back directly to the wind’ so I did. They were pissing themselves laughing when the turbulence I created made the piss fly around and completely cover me. The effect was abaout as drenching as facing the wind… I quickly discovered that there is a ‘right’ angle to the wind that works…..

              • muzza

                I understand what you are trying to say Burt, and you are in the right direction.

                What many can’t get their heads around is that the political system is , other than a 3 yearly vote 100% out of their control. Hence why sites such as this exist, as it gives the commentators a place to “have some control”. It also serves to suck energy out of the bloggers, by way of the faux online protestations.

                The point is that the government are puppets operating against the best interests of NZ, and 99.9% of the people in it!

                Loss of control and helplessness can be disempowering for most. This country, like the swaths of the globe, is being relieved of its resources right in front of our faces, and the political system, regardless of the “teams flag, has been sponsoring the theft via its complicity for decades!

                It won’t be changing by moaning online!

  9. millsy 9

    The whole electricity market model is flawed anyway.

    What should have happened is:

    1) Retail operations left with community owned lines companies. They own the lines to houses and businesses and should be in a better place to bill customers and attend to queries.

    2) Transpower (National Grid operator) takes over planning and co-ordination from ECNZ, and tenders for power stations in specific locations, buying the electricity off them to onsell to the lines companies.

    3) ECNZ (which as a publicly owned company has various public obligations) operates stations and sells power to the national grid authority, and competes with private generators for the right to build power stations (of various shapes and sizes) as and when planned for.

    Makes sense to me.

    • insider 9.1

      Millasy you are years behind the times – ECNZ was discarded well over a decade ago. Transpower already plan the grid and has a regular planning and forecasting process which is discussed publicly and open to submissions.

      Under the current rules the electricity authority can commission power stations if it thinks the market is not providing enough to maintain energy security.

      The problem with having transpower buy and sell wholesale power and plan generation and run the system is it puts a huge amount of power in its hands but it is completely removed from any connection to the end customers, and creates the risk of a technocratic driven system that is designed, built and operated to meet the needs of engineers not the consumers paying for it. There is a really high risk of gold plated systems that are really cool engineering wise but also very expensive and over built.

      Note about 40 % of your power bill goes to monopoly lines providers. Much of the current power increase is being driven by transpowers massive construction projects which we are all,forced to pay for no matter whether we are benefitting from them.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Under the current rules the electricity authority can commission power stations if it thinks the market is not providing enough to maintain energy security.

        And how will this new generation be funded, prey tell? By the tax payer?

        Note about 40 % of your power bill goes to monopoly lines providers. Much of the current power increase is being driven by transpowers massive construction projects which we are all,forced to pay for no matter whether we are benefitting from them.

        Yeah you are forced to pay for it because it is for the country, not for you.

        • insider

          electricity companies and consumers through the EA levy.

          I’m not sure old ladies in Invercargill being charged for the $1b transmission upgade for Auckland’s power system is that fair. We have the capability to charge it to Auckland consumers but the powercos including SOEs don’t want to suffer more than their competitors so they are happyfor the rules to smear it equally across the country because none of them are competitively disadvantaged. its a very cosy arrangement for them…but it is not only unfair to non Auckland consumers it doesn’t encourage powercos to demand value for money from Transpower, nor to look at alternatives.

      • lprent 9.1.2

        It is the inevitable result of having nearly 30 years of low investment in the grid. How long did you think it could carry on with patches?

  10. seeker 10

    I believe it was Contact Energy that put all it’s energy into raising electricity charges and the other companies followed suit from about 2004/5 onwards . I kept all my bills and could not believe how they jumped under Contact- 3 cents per unit at a couple of points plus bills went up twice, some times, three times year. I rang to remonstrate once(probably about2008) and the young man said that the shareholders required it.I hadn’t really known that Contact was a private company until then.

    At another point I also rang the electrucity commission to complain about Contact’s methods concerning the ETS rise. I think it was a guy there that said he remembered when Contact took over fom Origin and some executive said that he thought they could double the prices. Well they did from approx. 9cents in 200/4 to approx 19 cents in 2009/10, and who knows where the prices are now as I left after GST and ETS rise. Did not want to pay the shareholders their blood money anymore.

    I am still trying to work out how to be self sufficient if a miracle has not occurred and I am required to purchase electricity from other privatised companies because I do not have a choice anymore-and I cannot afford it as I will be on a fixed income.

  11. Matt 11

    Burt said: “As long as we have choice and there actually is competition then the privately owned companies will soon work out that charging more than their competition is bad for their business.”

    100% private industry as deus ex machina nonsense. Case in point, the ‘privatisation’ of electricity in California, where private companies colluded to manipulate the market and jack up prices astronomically. Ever heard of Enron?  

  12. xtasy 12

    For those interested in asset sales in NZ, perhaps also look at this story from Argentina. It may be a bit economically risky a step there, but people there support it resolutely, why? History tells:

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  • Government to rollout roadside drug testing
    The Coalition Government will introduce legislation this year that will enable roadside drug testing as part of our commitment to improve road safety and restore law and order, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Alcohol and drugs are the number one contributing factor in fatal road crashes in New Zealand. In ...
    9 hours ago
  • Minister responds to review of Kāinga Ora
    The Government has announced a series of immediate actions in response to the independent review of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “Kāinga Ora is a large and important Crown entity, with assets of $45 billion and over $2.5 billion of expenditure each year. It ...
    11 hours ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour is pleased that Pseudoephedrine can now be purchased by the general public to protect them from winter illness, after the coalition government worked swiftly to change the law and oversaw a fast approval process by Medsafe. “Pharmacies are now putting the medicines back on their ...
    13 hours ago
  • New Zealand-China Business Summit
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Da jia hao.  Good morning everyone.   Prime Minister Luxon, your excellency, a great friend of New Zealand and my friend Ambassador Wang, Mayor of what he tells me is the best city in New Zealand, Wayne Brown, the highly respected Fran O’Sullivan, Champion of the Auckland business ...
    21 hours ago
  • New measures to protect powerlines from trees
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has announced that the Government will make it easier for lines firms to take action to remove vegetation from obstructing local powerlines. The change will ensure greater security of electricity supply in local communities, particularly during severe weather events.  “Trees or parts of trees falling on ...
    3 days ago
  • Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani win top Māori dairy farming award
    Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani were the top winners at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards recognising the best in Māori dairy farming. Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka announced the winners and congratulated runners-up, Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, at an awards celebration also attended by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Finance Minister ...
    3 days ago
  • DJ Fred Again – Assurance report received
    "On the 27th of March, I sought assurances from the Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs, that the Department’s correct processes and policies had been followed in regards to a passport application which received media attention,” says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “I raised my concerns after being ...
    3 days ago
  • District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins has announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges, to replace Judges who have recently retired. Peter James Davey of Auckland has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based at Whangarei. Mr Davey initially started work as a law clerk/solicitor with ...
    4 days ago
  • Unions should put learning ahead of ideology
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour is calling on the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) to put ideology to the side and focus on students’ learning, in reaction to the union holding paid teacher meetings across New Zealand about charter schools.     “The PPTA is disrupting schools up and down the ...
    4 days ago
  • Craig Stobo appointed as chair of FMA
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly today announced the appointment of Craig Stobo as the new chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Mr Stobo takes over from Mark Todd, whose term expired at the end of April. Mr Stobo’s appointment is for a five-year term. “The FMA plays ...
    4 days ago
  • Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguard
    Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey say. “Heading to the beach for ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and Tuvalu reaffirm close relationship
    New Zealand and Tuvalu have reaffirmed their close relationship, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says.  “New Zealand is committed to working with Tuvalu on a shared vision of resilience, prosperity and security, in close concert with Australia,” says Mr Peters, who last visited Tuvalu in 2019.  “It is my pleasure ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand calls for calm, constructive dialogue in New Caledonia
    New Zealand is gravely concerned about the situation in New Caledonia, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.  “The escalating situation and violent protests in Nouméa are of serious concern across the Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.  “The immediate priority must be for all sides to take steps to de-escalate the ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand welcomes Samoa Head of State
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met today with Samoa’s O le Ao o le Malo, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, who is making a State Visit to New Zealand. “His Highness and I reflected on our two countries’ extensive community links, with Samoan–New Zealanders contributing to all areas of our national ...
    5 days ago
  • Island Direct eligible for SuperGold Card funding
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has announced that he has approved Waiheke Island ferry operator Island Direct to be eligible for SuperGold Card funding, paving the way for a commercial agreement to bring the operator into the scheme. “Island Direct started operating in November 2023, offering an additional option for people ...
    5 days ago
  • Further sanctions against Russia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further sanctions on 28 individuals and 14 entities providing military and strategic support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  “Russia is directly supported by its military-industrial complex in its illegal aggression against Ukraine, attacking its sovereignty and territorial integrity. New Zealand condemns all entities and ...
    5 days ago
  • One year on from Loafers Lodge
    A year on from the tragedy at Loafers Lodge, the Government is working hard to improve building fire safety, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “I want to share my sincere condolences with the families and friends of the victims on the anniversary of the tragic fire at Loafers ...
    5 days ago
  • Pre-Budget speech to Auckland Business Chamber
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora and good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for having me here in the lead up to my Government’s first Budget. Before I get started can I acknowledge: Simon Bridges – Auckland Business Chamber CEO. Steve Jurkovich – Kiwibank CEO. Kids born ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand and Vanuatu to deepen collaboration
    New Zealand and Vanuatu will enhance collaboration on issues of mutual interest, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “It is important to return to Port Vila this week with a broad, high-level political delegation which demonstrates our deep commitment to New Zealand’s relationship with Vanuatu,” Mr Peters says.    “This ...
    6 days ago
  • Penk travels to Peru for trade meetings
    Minister for Land Information, Chris Penk will travel to Peru this week to represent New Zealand at a meeting of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region on behalf of Trade Minister Todd McClay. The annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting will be held on 17-18 May ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister attends global education conferences
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford will head to the United Kingdom this week to participate in the 22nd Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) and the 2024 Education World Forum (EWF). “I am looking forward to sharing this Government’s education priorities, such as introducing a knowledge-rich curriculum, implementing an evidence-based ...
    6 days ago
  • Education Minister thanks outgoing NZQA Chair
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford has today thanked outgoing New Zealand Qualifications Authority Chair, Hon Tracey Martin. “Tracey Martin tendered her resignation late last month in order to take up a new role,” Ms Stanford says. Ms Martin will relinquish the role of Chair on 10 May and current Deputy ...
    6 days ago
  • Joint statement of Christopher Luxon and Emmanuel Macron: Launch of the Christchurch Call Foundation
    New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and President Emmanuel Macron of France today announced a new non-governmental organisation, the Christchurch Call Foundation, to coordinate the Christchurch Call’s work to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.   This change gives effect to the outcomes of the November 2023 Call Leaders’ Summit, ...
    7 days ago
  • Panel announced for review into disability services
    Distinguished public servant and former diplomat Sir Maarten Wevers will lead the independent review into the disability support services administered by the Ministry of Disabled People – Whaikaha. The review was announced by Disability Issues Minister Louise Upston a fortnight ago to examine what could be done to strengthen the ...
    7 days ago
  • Minister welcomes Police gang unit
    Today’s announcement by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster of a National Gang Unit and district Gang Disruption Units will help deliver on the coalition Government’s pledge to restore law and order and crack down on criminal gangs, Police Minister Mark Mitchell says. “The National Gang Unit and Gang Disruption Units will ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand expresses regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today expressed regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric towards New Zealand and its international partners.  “New Zealand proudly stands with the international community in upholding the rules-based order through its monitoring and surveillance deployments, which it has been regularly doing alongside partners since 2018,” Mr ...
    7 days ago
  • New Chief of Defence Force appointed
    Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies MNZM is the new Chief of Defence Force, Defence Minister Judith Collins announced today. The Chief of Defence Force commands the Navy, Army and Air Force and is the principal military advisor to the Defence Minister and other Ministers with relevant portfolio responsibilities in the defence ...
    7 days ago
  • Government puts children first by repealing 7AA
    Legislation to repeal section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has been introduced to Parliament. The Bill’s introduction reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the safety of children in care, says Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “While section 7AA was introduced with good intentions, it creates a conflict for Oranga ...
    7 days ago
  • Defence Minister to meet counterparts in UK, Italy
    Defence Minister Judith Collins will this week travel to the UK and Italy to meet with her defence counterparts, and to attend Battles of Cassino commemorations. “I am humbled to be able to represent the New Zealand Government in Italy at the commemorations for the 80th anniversary of what was ...
    7 days ago
  • Charter schools to lift educational outcomes
    The upcoming Budget will include funding for up to 50 charter schools to help lift declining educational performance, Associate Education Minister David Seymour announced today. $153 million in new funding will be provided over four years to establish and operate up to 15 new charter schools and convert 35 state ...
    7 days ago
  • COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference consultation results received
    “The results of the public consultation on the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into COVID-19 Lessons has now been received, with results indicating over 13,000 submissions were made from members of the public,” Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden says. “We heard feedback about the extended lockdowns in ...
    1 week ago
  • The Pacific family of nations – the changing security outlook
    Foreign Minister, Defence Minister, other Members of Parliament Acting Chief of Defence Force, Secretary of Defence Distinguished Guests  Defence and Diplomatic Colleagues  Ladies and Gentlemen,  Good afternoon, tēna koutou, apinun tru    It’s a pleasure to be back in Port Moresby today, and to speak here at the Kumul Leadership ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Papua New Guinea to work more closely together
    Health, infrastructure, renewable energy, and stability are among the themes of the current visit to Papua New Guinea by a New Zealand political delegation, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Papua New Guinea carries serious weight in the Pacific, and New Zealand deeply values our relationship with it,” Mr Peters ...
    1 week ago
  • Driving ahead with Roads of Regional Significance
    The coalition Government is launching Roads of Regional Significance to sit alongside Roads of National Significance as part of its plan to deliver priority roading projects across the country, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “The Roads of National Significance (RoNS) built by the previous National Government are some of New Zealand’s ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand congratulates new Solomon Islands government
    A high-level New Zealand political delegation in Honiara today congratulated the new Government of Solomon Islands, led by Jeremiah Manele, on taking office.    “We are privileged to meet the new Prime Minister and members of his Cabinet during his government’s first ten days in office,” Deputy Prime Minister and ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand supports UN Palestine resolution
    New Zealand voted in favour of a resolution broadening Palestine’s participation at the United Nations General Assembly overnight, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “The resolution enhances the rights of Palestine to participate in the work of the UN General Assembly while stopping short of admitting Palestine as a full ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the 2024 Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Good morning. It’s a great privilege to be here at the 2024 Infrastructure Symposium. I was extremely happy when the Prime Minister asked me to be his Minister for Infrastructure. It is one of the great barriers holding the New Zealand economy back from achieving its potential. Building high ...
    2 weeks ago
  • $571 million for Defence pay and projects
    Defence Minister Judith Collins today announced the upcoming Budget will include new funding of $571 million for Defence Force pay and projects. “Our servicemen and women do New Zealand proud throughout the world and this funding will help ensure we retain their services and expertise as we navigate an increasingly ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate change – mitigating the risks and costs
    New Zealand’s ability to cope with climate change will be strengthened as part of the Government’s focus to build resilience as we rebuild the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “An enduring and long-term approach is needed to provide New Zealanders and the economy with certainty as the climate ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting new job seekers on the pathway to work
    Jobseeker beneficiaries who have work obligations must now meet with MSD within two weeks of their benefit starting to determine their next step towards finding a job, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “A key part of the coalition Government’s plan to have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker ...
    2 weeks ago

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