Capital market taskforce pushes asset sales scam

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, December 16th, 2009 - 47 comments
Categories: privatisation - Tags:

Another government-appointed taskforce of rightwing, market ideologues (this time appointed by Labour, the fools) has reported and, surprise, surprise, their report is a rightwing prescription without any supporting argument that it would be good for the country.

The headline recommendation of the Capital Market Development Taskforce is that the government sell shares in SOEs. The reasoning behind this major recommendation that would mean privatising the profits of billions of dollars worth public assets forever is incredibly lightweight. Just two pages in the 134 page report* are devoted to explaining why we ought to part-sell our our assets and half of that is taken up with a graph that supposedly shows other countries have allowed private investment in public assets but in fact shows nothing of the sort (Australia, that country we are supposedly trying to catch, actually has a higher portion of its state assets entirely publicly-owned than we do now).

Here is the entirety of the Taskforce’s reasoning for telling us to sell off our hard-built assets:

1.
It would materially increase investors’ choices of domestic assets. Government holdings are extensive in the energy, land and environment, transport and infrastructure, and telecommunications sectors. In many other countries, such companies would be listed on the stock market and could be part of investors’ portfolios. Given the lack of perfect international integration in capital markets, the ability to invest in similar assets offshore does not fully compensate for the lack of these assets domestically.

2.
The government, as owner, would benefit significantly from the capital market discipline and monitoring that would occur with a partial listing. Private sector participants with personal wealth at stake in these companies will be more effective monitoring agents than government can ever be.

3.
It would materially improve the depth of our capital market, particularly in some of the areas in which central and local government is a key holder of assets. Partially floating some of these assets is the only way in which our share market can markedly increase in size in the near term. Bulking up the market in this way will also have the spillover benefit of making it more attractive to other companies considering listing on the market, by increasing activity and investor interest.

No facts, no modelling, no proof. Not even any argument that doing this would benefit us as a country, which is surely meant to be the point.

The clamour for the sale of state assets is coming from one source – the people who would make money off it. They reckon they would get our assets at knock-down prices (like they did last time) and then be able to extract greater profits out of them by demanding higher dividends, which would require asset-stripping (just like last time).

The notion of selling part of the asset to ‘free up capital’ is like those dodgy companies that encourage you to take loans out against your house. We would get some cash up front, and then end up paying back far more from the profit streams of our assets.

It’s a scam. We were tricked into selling our assets by lying neoliberal governments back in the 1980s and 1990s. We’re not dumb enough to be fooled again.

*(there’s little content in those 134 pages. most of the pages are half empty, there are even some pencil sketches to take up space – it’s like what you would get if you asked for a 20 page report from a lazy fifth former.)

47 comments on “Capital market taskforce pushes asset sales scam”

  1. grumpy 1

    A timely post Marty. as i see it this taskforce was to develop capital markets. It seems simple to me that NZ suffers from a lack of capital and the easiest way to get some more is to take it from the State. Certainly much easier than developing the private sector.

    So, stupid solution but understandable.

    Privatisation of State assets in NZ has always been just a rip-off to benefit a small clique. Show me one example where privatisation has left an organisation better off and compare that with Kiwibank, a prime example of a well run state owned organisation.

    Hope this “taskforce” didn’t get paid for this.

    • Tim Ellis 1.1

      Auckland Airport. Wellington Airport. BNZ. State Insurance. Rural Bank. Works Development Services. Capital properties.

      Almost all the international empircal studies show that privatisation delivers more efficiency in the businesses and greater benefits to consumers.

      I don’t think you can argue when the government is creaming billions of dollars in near monopoly profits from electricity generation that you can argue that consumers are getting a good deal.

      • Kirsten 1.1.1

        Nice assertion but unfortunately not actually backed up by the facts. Most public services were created because of market failure – the failure of the private sector to be able to provide these services at a sufficient standard to support social and economic development.

        Public infrastructure (clean water, roading, waste disposal, public education, health and social services etc.) weren’t established because of ideology but because the market failed to provide for them adequately and governments recognised that they were esstential for social and economic development.

  2. bobo 2

    Funny how this announcement is timed with Key being overseas. Just another scheme like the power company privatization of the 90s. Goff should be attacking on this and getting some traction. Oh and we are dumb enough as a nation to do it again, how else do you explain Nact being so high in the polls?

  3. Lanthanide 3

    Seems to me that the government needs to run these taskforces much more like the 5th form assignment you compared it to.

    If you just do a shallow repeat-the-textbook job, you get shoddy marks. You get good marks when you do in-depth analysis and form a plan backed by data.

    Only in the case of the government and taskforces, marks = money.

  4. IrishBill 4

    From the preface: At the same time, we are aware that financial system
    ‘failures’ including recent finance company collapses
    have greatly undermined public trust and confidence in
    our markets.

    ‘failures’, in speech marks. Just in case you thought that the collapse of a finance company leaving thousands of people in financial ruin was some tangible, objective, real world failure rather than a “perception”. These f*ckin people can’t even confront the reality of their f*ckin banckrupt ideology and yet we’re seriously listening to their advice to give them and their mates our family silver???

    • grumpy 4.1

      I agree with you Bill, but why is the NZ financial/business system so piss poor?

      I know that the US and Aussie are not much better but crap like Toll/TranzRail and all the crooked finance company failures mean National will NEVER fight an election on Private v Public.

      In any reasonable country (capitalist or otherwise), Hotchin and Watson et.al. would be looking at real punishment. Not this crap.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10615792

    • Rex Widerstrom 4.2

      That really is shoddy fifth former work.

      For instance they could have left out the speech marks and instead said:

      “… financial system profitability downsizing…”

      “…recent monetary redistribution events…”

      and so on. Or done the old “it’s actually all your fault but we’re not going to say so directly” trick and said:

      “…profitability failure by key stakeholders…”

      “…failure of market forecasts to align with outcomes…”

      Better yet, just get Sarah Palin to write the next one.

  5. Sanctuary 5

    This will founder on the rock of “no privatisations in our first term”. Of course, the more O’Sullivan and the rest of the crony right fume and demand the more the next election will be fought on privatisation.

    I’ll be interested to see the public reaction to English’s next budget. His 2010 budget will be an ideologically driven austerity budget and he is prepared to risk a winter of massive discontent with public sector workers like nurses.

    And race has a lot more to run yet. It’s already been signalled that Tariana Turia will get her wish of getting large sums of taxpayer funded dollars syphoned off to her fat cat buddies in the Iwi authorities to run “welfare programs for Maori”. When the public realise THEIR money is going to privare, unaccountable race based organisations the Hone emails and the flag issue will be very small potatoes indeed.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    We are currently borrowing $250 million per week to fund our deficit. If the crown has surplus assets, why not sell them off to reduce our borrowing?

    That doesn’t mean I don’t support retaining some state assets. For instance, in hind-sight, I would probably support state control of electricity and similar services. However, the government owning things that would normally be in realm of the private market seems silly. Also, many public bodies have excess assets in terms of land, buildings etc. Whats wrong with selling these off to reduce our level of borrowing.

    • grumpy 6.1

      I have no problem with selling surplus assets as any prudent business would do. I do have with selling things like railways, electricity networks etc. that we have to buy back after they have been run down through asset stripping, price gouging etc.

    • Kirsten 6.2

      All governments (like all households) run with a level of debt they feel comfortable with – this is a capitalist world after all. The amount of government borrowing may sound impressive but actually it is proportionally much lower than pretty much all of Europe, the UK, Australia, the US, Canada….So, not quite time to sell the family silver quite yet.

  7. Bored 7

    This is just another of the ongoing attempts from those with money to privatise the commons. What they are really saying is that democratically controlled voter owned infrastructure and services are better controlled by undemocratic private ownership. What these people will never ever mention either is the cost of capital that they wish to recoup and the profit margin they add. It means that you and I will pay 10% plus more for dividends etc for the same outcome. That’s the economics.
    The politics are more severe, to corporatize (i.e to privatise the commons for the benefit of a small sectoral interest group of wealthy investors) means that the democratic process loses breadth and control over what we all commonly utilize. When the commons becomes so limited (as is the thrust of this ‘plan’) we the public will no longer have any democratic share in the “commons’. This is a fairly accurate description of what fascist Italy achieved. What business is really saying is that the public should not make any decisions over anything except through transactions in a “market’ that they own; we are to be reduced to mere transactional units. It sort of out does communist tyranny because their enemies of the state were still regarded as people, in the corporate (fascist) model you are merely a unit of consumption.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    Why should the state own an airline, for goodness sake?

    • snoozer 8.1

      because we sold it and the private owners ran it into the ground (unfortunate metaphor) and we were left with three options

      a) let it collapse
      b) let it be bought out by Singapore Air
      c) buy it back ourselves

      a and b would have meant the end of regional flights in New Zealand, Singapore Air would have had no interest in running such small, low-profit routes.

      knowledge changes things, eh?

      • kelsey 8.1.1

        Incorrect.

        Michael Cullen was a significant cause of the collapse by vetoing an increase in Singapore Air’s minority stake because he preferred it to be bought out by Qantas and have a single Australasian carrier.

        When that fell through he was left with little choice.

        Source:

        http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/nov2001/nz-n03.shtml

        Knowledge changes things, eh?

        • Julio 8.1.1.1

          The ‘World Socialist Web Site’ is hardly a credible source. The guy who writes their NZ stuff, John Braddock, is just a typical trot with an axe to grind.

      • Kirsten 8.1.2

        Also because of its strategic importance to our geographically isolated country – our trade with Japan rose only after sufficient flight services were put in place. Likewise South America.

        And actually quite a few countries have stakes in their national airlines – Air France etc.

    • Because it makes a return for the Country, which can be reinvested to other areas like Health ,Education, roading, public transport. Oh and it was the NZ tax payers under Labour that bailed out Air New Zealand last time. Why shouldn’t the NZ tax payer get a return on their money.
      Why should it only be rich private people making money. Explain to us all tsmithfield why the NZ tax payers interest shouldn’t be advanced.

  9. Why should the state own a commercial TV? Scrap TV one as it is, invest in a genuine public service model and sell TV2.

    The state needs to selectively invest in assets where it’s needed.

    • snoozer 9.1

      TV1 as a true public broadcaster I agree with.

      Selling TV2 – before agreeing I would like to see a business case for it. Something that this report fails to provide.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    Snoozer “because we sold it and the private owners ran it into the ground (unfortunate metaphor) and we were left with three options

    a) let it collapse
    b) let it be bought out by Singapore Air
    c) buy it back ourselves

    a and b would have meant the end of regional flights in New Zealand, Singapore Air would have had no interest in running such small, low-profit routes.

    knowledge changes things, eh?”

    So, the state should bail out every private organisation that fails because some consumers might be disadvantaged by the change? Even under the scenario where Singapore Airlines purchased Air New Zealand there were options that would have preserved the uneconomical routes. For instance, the state could have subsidized the Singapore airlines for operating on those routes if it wanted to. So, I don’t see the problem with private ownership of Air NZ from any perspective.

    Look at it this way from a leftist perspective. Money not tied up in Air NZ is money that could be invested in hospitals, schools etc.

    Heres another one. Why should the state own a valuation company when there are plenty of private ones that can do the job perfectly well?

    • snoozer 10.1

      “So, the state should bail out every private organisation that fails because some consumers might be disadvantaged by the change?”

      No, don’t be silly now. We do need to perserve our transport networks though. We get a lot of value from the regional air network, far more than the airline gets in profits.

      “the state could have subsidized the Singapore airlines for operating on those routes if it wanted to”

      Yeah, because that model has worked so damn well with the rail. If the choices are between owning the company and running it in a way that benefits New Zealand as a whole or annually being blackmailed by some foreign company with the threat of losing our regional air network, I know which I would choose.

      The money isn’t ‘tied up’ in New Zealand. We’re getting a healthy return on equity. Nearly $600 million in dividends on a $885 million investment in 8 years. That return can be spent on hospitals etc.

    • felix 10.2

      For instance, the state could have subsidized the Singapore airlines for operating on those routes if it wanted to. So, I don’t see the problem with private ownership of Air NZ from any perspective.

      So you’d like us, the taxpayers, to subsidise a foreign-owned company so they can make a profit flying us around our own country.

      You’re so opposed to public ownership that you’d actually rather have us pay other people to own our assets so they can profit from our use of them.

      • tsmithfield 10.2.1

        Its called a private/public partnership, Felix. I thought Labour quite liked the idea of private/public partnerships, if I remember correctly.

        • felix 10.2.1.1

          And Labour has what to do with me exactly, tsmithfield?

          Should I start comparing your statements to that of some political party or other or would that be a moronic, arrogant, insulting and presumptuous thing to do rendering me looking as much of a smug, ignorant prick as you do now?

        • Kirsten 10.2.1.2

          Public Private Partnerships – as proposed by the current government for schools. This will mean we sell off education land to a private company who will build a school (financed privately at greater cost as the Government can actually get better rates than the private sector) and then lease back the school to the government and charge for school maintenance.

          Of course for this to be attractive to the private “partner” they will need to factor in a decent wodge of our taxpayer dollars as profit. After around 30 years the State will be able to take ownership of what by that time will be a clapped out facility in a location that may or may not still need a school.

          Of course some time in that 30 year period the private “partner”‘s shareholders may decide they want to move their capital elsewhere and owenership of what should be the centre of a community will be up for grabs. Or, as is just as likely, the “partner” may at some point end up in financial schtook and the shareholders may want to extract maximum benefit from their asset before the company folds – leaving the State to pick up the pieces. This is what has happened in some very high profile cases in the UK.

      • prism 10.2.2

        sounds like that guy Prebble.

    • IrishBill 10.3

      Yes because it’s not like we’re a geographically isolated island trading nation that needs an airline so much that having it fail would devastate our economy. No wait. We are.

      • gitmo 10.3.1

        How would having Air NZ fail devastate our economy ?

        How would having the Canadian Pension Fund own part of AIA Ltd be risky ?

        How can people on this website breath by themselves ?

        • felix 10.3.1.1

          We simply turn away from you to inhale.

        • Kirsten 10.3.1.2

          See my comments above. Our increases in trade with different countries has directly followed the establishment of air services. Just like the advent of refridgerated ships to carry lamb to the UK led to substantial economic growth in NZ, the establishment of regular flights to Japan and South America enabled, for example, the kiwifruit boom.

  11. tsmithfield 11

    Craig “Because it makes a return for the Country, which can be reinvested to other areas like Health ,Education, roading, public transport. Oh and it was the NZ tax payers under Labour that bailed out Air New Zealand last time. Why shouldn’t the NZ tax payer get a return on their money.
    Why should it only be rich private people making money. Explain to us all tsmithfield why the NZ tax payers interest shouldn’t be advanced.”

    When considering where to put state money the question of return on assets and risk needs to be considered. I am not sure this was really a consideration when the government decided to buy out Air NZ. But it may well have been better to put the money into some other investment to get a better return for the taxpayer with a lot less risk. As I recall it, Air NZ was looking very shaky when the government bailed them out. Therefore, public money was put at considerable risk, but the public had no say in it.

    If the shares for Air NZ were simply floated on the market, then of course, NZ taxpayers would have an opportunity to benefit from the profits of Air NZ. However, they would do this out of their own free choice understanding the risks balanced against the returns.

  12. tsmithfield 12

    snoozer: “No, don’t be silly now. We do need to perserve our transport networks though. We get a lot of value from the regional air network, far more than the airline gets in profits.”

    But the service won’t disappear if the private company fails. It will just be taken up by another operator.

    Now, going back to the rail situation. As I recall it, what price did we pay to get rail back under public ownership? As I recall it we may have paid a teeny weeny bit too much. So, was public money well spent? I don’t think so. But thats what tends to happen when the state gets involved where it shouldn’t.

    • grumpy 12.1

      Funnily enough, I once worked for NZ Rail (and even more funnily was a Uniopn Branch Secretary). The operation needed to be sold in order to be reformed but NOT at such a HUGE profit to Fay Richwhite and certainly not bought back at such a ludicrous inflated price from TOLL.

      Who made the money – unscupulous operators.
      Who paid – the taxpayers.

      • tsmithfield 12.1.1

        Thats because public servants are generally to thick and naive and will get screwed by cunning private operators. Thats why its best to leave these sorts of companies in the private sector.

        • grumpy 12.1.1.1

          Interesting point of view and generally correst.

          BUT – it wasn’t public servants who paid a huge price to Toll. In general I have found the PS attracts the mediocre where they are managed by the incompetent. I doubt that happens in Singapore Air – or Kiwibank.

          It is not the fact they are public serbvants that makes them thick and naieve – it’s as much the environment they live in when they get there.

        • felix 12.1.1.2

          generally to thick

          Priceless.

    • snoozer 12.2

      will it be taken up by another operator?

      big punt there. Kind of like saying that it didn’t matter if Toll ran the rail network into the ground because someone else would build a new one.

    • felix 12.3

      You’re absolutely right, tsmithfield – the govt should’ve compulsorily renationalised the rail network (for a fair price determined by themselves) without negotiation.

      It’s a public asset, bought and paid for by the taxes of generations of New Zealanders and no govt was ever in a position to sell it.

      Same for all the rest of them.

      Not yours to sell. Hands off.
      .

  13. I knew Birch’s electricity market reforms were simple asset-stripping and would be a disaster for the nation as a whole, but I snapped up all the Contact shares I could at the float, have hung onto them and done very well out of them, thank you. It would have been stupid not to have done.

    On the Taskforce’s point 1 – “Given the lack of perfect international integration in capital markets, the ability to invest in similar assets offshore does not fully compensate for the lack of these assets domestically.” I have no idea what this means – I receive dividends in A$, US$ and Sterling from holdings in similar assets offshore, which I convert to $NZ and spend here quite happily.

    On point 2, “Private sector participants with personal wealth at stake in these companies will be more effective monitoring agents than government can ever be.” Quite right – I want the public utility etc. companies I hold shares in to maximise their profits for the least possible investment. That the people of Australia, the US, the UK etc. have to pay through the nose for it is no skin off mine.

    On point 3, “Partially floating some of these assets is the only way in which our share market can markedly increase in size in the near term.”

    I’ve also seized my share of other privatisation floats – Capital Properties comes to mind along with another of the power companies – which were, amongst other things, intended to ‘bulk up and help ‘capitalise’ the market, only to have them forcibly bought from me in a hostile take-over which resulted in their disappearance from the New Zealand exchange.

    The only way ‘our’ share market can markedly increase in size in the near or any other term is for New Zealanders to start investing, and that ain’t gonna happen because, frankly, it’s minor league and with a country smaller in every respect except landmass that a hundred or more cities around the world, it’s always going to be.

  14. Herodotus 14

    So from what I understand we list govt asets to boast the sharemakets size allow overseas investment (As many mums & dads cannot afford to buy shares). So we take from NZ and send the profits off shore. How will that effect or current account?
    And what happens when a capital fund takes over majority ownership or a controlling interest?
    Was there not a film made about this dumb and dumber?

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    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    4 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    5 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    5 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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