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Communicating policy

Written By: - Date published: 12:42 pm, April 24th, 2013 - 86 comments
Categories: energy, greens, labour, Media - Tags: , ,

We’re seeing more of these “infographic” approaches to communicating policy. Labour’s most recent effort on NZ Power seems like a good one:


(Compare and contrast with a recent National effort.)

Now that we’re getting past National’s histrionics, we’re also seeing some good simple presentations of the NZ power policy, and the responses of various groups to it:
“Power shake up – a beginner’s guide”
“User groups give power plan thumbs up”


86 comments on “Communicating policy”

  1. Sweetd 1

    What is the fair return on capital?

    • quartz 1.1

      Global research house Morningstar said Mighty River Power would be hit particularly hard under the plan because the firm generated about 64 per cent of its power from hydro dams.

      Senior analyst Nachiket Moghe said the cost of hydro generation was less than $5 a megawatt hour, whereas the market was now paying about $70/MWh.

      That equates to a $100m hit, or 22 per cent reduction, on the firm’s operating earnings.

      • Tom Gould 1.1.1

        I stand to be corrected, but in the bad old socialist days, the ECNZ generated the power and ran the grid, and the democratically elected power boards distributed it. So on the morning star numbers, we could be getting our power at home for maybe 10 bucks a megawatt hour or 1 cent a kilowatt hour? Instead we are paying 25 cents a kilowatt hour plus a dollar a day to be connected. Thanks, Max. Brilliant.

        • Draco T Bastard

          That sounds about right. Running a service for a profit does raise the price astronomically.

        • geoff

          When you consider how much hydro capacity will have when manapouri returns to our supply we should be asking for a shit load more than $300 per year off our power bills. The other nice thing about manapouri is that because it is in rainy fiordland it has a great reliability.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.2

      What is the fair return on capital? Having taken the Green/Labour proposal into account Morningstar reckon MRP will be returning 12%.

      • AmaKiwi 1.2.1

        When I was in the USA (many, many years ago), regulated power companies were considered to be an ultra-safe investment, one step below government stock. Their dividends were a fraction higher than what comparable government stock was paying, say one or one and a half percent higher.

      • prism 1.2.2

        A recent discussion on Radionz referred to fair value. I think that one of the issues is that fair value on present valuations is higher than if at takeover all assets hadn’t been revalued to a level of a new one.

    • Enough is Enough 1.3

      It is a good question and something Norman needs to articulate soon becuase otherwise we will have another “show me the money” debacle.

      A simple formula or explanation on what fair return on capital is essential. It has to be simple firstly so that Shearer doesn’t fuck it up and secondly so voters can understand it.

      • AmaKiwi 1.3.1

        @ Enough is Enough

        Please see my comment above: 1.2.1

        The formula is straightforward. The company’s assets can be valued by accountants. The risk is extremely low. Low risk = low reward (dividend).

        Overseas regulated power companies provide clear examples.

    • Dem Young Sconies 1.4

      Most of the electricity generating assets have paid for themselves many times over. Therefore a fair return on this capital would be zero. I’m guessing Labour & Greens would placate the generators though, by letting them get away with a degree of usury under the NZPower scheme.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.4.1


      • Colonial Viper 1.4.2

        A fund needs to be built up for replacement and addition of new generation.

        • Draco T Bastard

          No it doesn’t. The government prints the money at the time and then, over time, taxes take that money back out of circulation.

          IMO, With infrastructure you build from taxes and do maintenance through user charges.

    • Rich 1.5

      NZ government bonds yield around 3.4%. That seems like a fair return – if a private company can’t borrow at that rate, it would me more cost-effective for the goverment to do it.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.6


  2. indiana 2

    Should there be a change of government, what is the planned implementation date of this policy? In other words, will consumers see the intended savings…year 1, year 2 or year 3 when we head to the polls again?

    • Te Reo Putake 2.1

      I see you got your talking points email, Indiana. Keep up the good work, the others will be along shortly. Pip Pip!

    • AmaKiwi 2.2

      @ indiana

      “what is the planned implementation date of this policy”

      ASAP because getting those prices down fast will pay dividends in the polling booths.

    • Hah, you can tell the Right has acknowledged they’ve lost the fight when they’re asking “when will our socialist overlords implement their entirely reasonable agenda?” instead of “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

  3. kiwicommie 3

    Looks good and is long overdue, like the breaking up off the Telecom monopoly was long overdue. Glad it is happening come 2014-2015. 🙂

    • Sweetd 3.1

      Is it happening come 2014-2015? If they can’t answer a simple question like what is a fair return on capital this policy risks being scuttled in its first few days of announcement.

      Looks like it is a rushed policy to get max damage against the MRP offer but as always, the devil is in the detail. Thought they might have learnt their lesson with the short lived Kiwi Build.

  4. Rich 4

    I don’t see the point of having multiple retailers once the price is centrally set. How will they differentiate themselves with one product / one price (other than the way they do now with ‘creative confusion’).

    It’d be best if NZPower offer a direct option and retailers are free to put a margin on top of that if people want their power bills on fine parchment delivered weekly by camel or whatever.

    • AmaKiwi 4.1

      @ Rich

      “How will they differentiate themselves”

      Pricing and service.

      In highly competitive markets there is rarely any significant difference between competitors. They just try to convince you there is.

      Example: Labour versus National

      OK, maybe that smart assed answer pissed you off. But what is the difference between Shell (now Z), Caltex, BP, and whoever else sells petrol?

      • Rich 4.1.1

        Very little. Different grocery store deals, better or worse shops, presence out in the boondocks.

        Electricity even more so – who you buy power from has absolutely zero influence on the chance of a breakdown. It’s like having a choice of tax departments.

  5. dumrse 5

    5000 jobs. All sitting around a desk administering the new power policy ? The next headline…. 5000 less unemployed. Sheeps dreamers need to get a fucking life.

    • QoT 5.1

      5000 jobs. All sitting around a desk administering the new power policy ?

      I love it when you tr*lls make it incredibly obvious you haven’t done even minimal reading on an issue before trying to spike it.

      • dumrse 5.1.1

        The big red “infographic” at the top of the page is what people read and in this particular case it has achieved its aim of telling me that this policy will “Create 5000 extra jobs”. I did indeed do the minimal amount of reading possible to the get the message. The message, that most normal people should get as well, unless of course you are referring to a subliminal message which you and your ilk seem to see all the time.

        • Colonial Viper

          It seems like the 5000 jobs will come from the bullet point immediately above: the $450M economic boost.

          • Lanthanide

            Nah, my first thought was “why does NZPower need 5,000 people working there?”.

            It could simply say “Create 5,000 extra jobs throughout the economy”. Simple, not confusing.

  6. BM 6

    Needs some unicorns.

  7. Financially literate 7

    Some people will believe anything.

    • Pascal's bookie 7.1

      Apparently so.

      Goldman Sachs now saying the initial reaction to the policy was irrational. Wonder what was feeding that irrationality huh?

  8. Financially literate 8

    You’re telling the story… Excite me… Please say it has a happy ending… I like happy endings…

  9. Rhinocrates 9

    Good, finally the focus groups have said something sensible and even moral to Mumblefuck, but it would be nice if the useless prick acknowledged the Green inspiration and contribution… but once again it’s “I, I, I, I…”

    If Labour expects to be in a coalition, then it better start presenting itself as a partner.

    • Te Reo Putake 9.1

      Ummm, the Greens talk about it being ‘their’ policy too.* Btw, I’m pretty sure Labour do regard themselves as heading into a partnership, but, having seen Gareth Hughes in action on the matter, there’s no doubt about who the junior partner is 😉

      *From their fb page:

      “The Greens have a plan that will reduce household power prices by up to $300 per year. We are paying too much for our power, with prices rising by 70% since 1992 while the OECD average price has fallen. This is how we’re going to change that.

      We welcome your feedback on this exciting new initiative: http://www.greens.org.nz/energy

      And while I’m in the mood, ableist abuse sucks.

      • felix 9.1.1

        Ableist abuse?

          • felix

            Oh I know what it means, just wondered what you were referring to.

            Was it “useless prick”? Because I don’t think that’s about erectile dysfunction…

            • Te Reo Putake

              I believe “disingenuous” was word of the week last week, felix.

              • Colonial Viper

                It can’t be abuse based on disability, if in fact no such disability exists.

                • felix

                  I reckon TRP is deliberately confusing disability with lack of ability.

                  Pretty lame.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  So if I call you a fucken jew, when you are not of that faith, that’s OK, CV? And abuse of red headed kids is Ok, because it’s only a perceived disability? Actually, abuse based on ‘otherness’ is um, abuse.

                  Felix, look up disability, there are plenty of definitions on the net you can learn from. If you take the time to educate yourself, you might look at terms like lame differently too. Or stay an ignorant bigot. Your choice.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Abusing someone for being ginger when they are blonde, or trying to be anti-semitic towards an atheist is…sorta stupid?

                    Actually, abuse based on ‘otherness’ is um, abuse.

                    People aren’t made out of candy glass mate.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Yeak, fuck ’em all, they should just harden up, eh? It must be nice to be so isolated from real life that you have no fucken idea of what people have to put up with because smug and cowardly gits think its funny to bully and abuse ‘others’. Abuse is abuse, CV. Don’t condone it, you’re better than that.


                    • Colonial Viper

                      Who do you think is it exactly that Rhinocrates is going to drive to self harm?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Nobody, hopefully. Right now I’m more worried about you two. I kinda thought both of you were a tad more sophisticated than this exchange suggests. Nowt queerer than folks.

                    • felix

                      Found any examples of ableist abuse in Rhino’s comment yet?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Yep, that’s why I made the comment, as you well know. Are you enjoying playing the ignoramus, felix? It’s not very becoming.

                    • felix

                      So are you going to share your secret with the group?

                      Or am I too ignorant and unsophisticated to understand it?

                  • felix

                    So TRP are you going to point out the abuse or not?

                    As a wise commenter said to muzza just the other day ‘if no-one knows what you’re trying to say it doesn’t mean you’re smarter than them, it means you’re communicating poorly’.

                    Or something like that.

                    I reckon once you’ve asked someone to clarify three or four times and they plain refuse, it’s safe to assume they’ve got nothing.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Ha, didn’t I already point out that disingenuous is so last week?

                    • felix

                      So that’s nothing then. Cheers.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Also can’t see what TRP is on about.

                      But felix, this is somewhat of the pot calling the kettle black, you often are evasive and take a smarter-than-thou tone with others, instead of just answering straight questions that are asked of you.

                    • felix

                      Cool, let me know when that invalidates my question won’t you?

              • felix

                Seriously. I don’t see it.

                Is it in a different comment or something?

                • felix

                  Come on TRP, spill the beans. What’s the ableist abuse that caught your attention.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    I’m sure the Health and Disabilities Commissioner will want to hear of this, whatever “this” is.

                    • felix

                      We’ll never know. Apparently explaining your points is sooooo last week.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Yeah, felix, keep on being a wanker about it. You’re fooling no one.

                    • felix

                      Still nothing then.

                    • felix

                      I don’t think TRP has the ability to back up his accusation.

                      Is it ableist of me to say that?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Nope, just sad.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I hope we’ve all learnt a lesson here. Accusing Key of simply being a superficial “smile and wave” politician (and one with miserable diction) is ableist and needs to be stopped now. You never know what you might drive the man to do if we keep the abuse up.

                    • felix

                      lolz, still nothing.

                      What if I said Shearer won’t be able to win a one on one debate with Key?

                      Is that ableism?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Yep, starting to get there, CV, you are at least thinking it through. But not the same thing, actually.

                      And, no, felix, that would not be an abusive statement.

                      edit, much as though this has been terrific fun, I’m off. Early start, dawn service. Feel free to carry on without me.

                    • felix

                      Why not? I’m commenting on his lack of ability.

                      That’s what you’re so upset about isn’t it? Knocking people for things they aren’t good at?

                      That’s what got you screeching about Rhino’s comment isn’t it?

                      If not, then what?

                      Edit: Good night then. Bit disappointed tbh, thought you were better than that. Also I never got to call you out for your disgraceful ageism.

                    • The Al1en

                      “lolz, still nothing.

                      What if I said Shearer won’t be able to win a one on one debate with Key?

                      Is that ableism?”

                      If you wrote ‘you’d have to be a deaf, dumb, blind retard to believe shearer could win a one on one debate with key’, then yes, although a truism, it would also be an ableism.

                      Monkey shit argument for no reason whatsoever.

                    • felix

                      Is that to me, Al1en?

                      If so, do YOU know what TRP is referring to? ‘Cos s/he sure as hell doesn’t seem to.

                    • felix

                      ps jumping into a thread without bothering to find out what it’s about: 3/10

                    • The Al1en

                      Just a general comment at face value on a net fight.

                      On the first link, it lists words such as blind, dumb, lame etc… as words not to be used, ’cause they’re ablelist.

                      A really poor piece of arguing, right there, but I’d be in trouble if I said I was ‘bound’ to point it out.

                      Quality, not quantity is the way to go sometimes.

                      ps, Though quoting your comment, my monkey shit argument wasn’t directed at you, it just gave me an in. 😉

                      Peace it out with me and breeeaathe 😆

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I don’t believe in banning or controlling all but the most offensive words and expressions from the English language, it’s the start of Newspeak.

                      Further I can’t believe you used the term “monkey”. The racist overtones and history of that highly abusive and ethnically prejudicial term means that it must always be avoided in polite conversation! Really. It must. Otherwise, you’re being racist or at least, you know, referencing racist overtones, even if, you know, none was meant or even, maybe, if it wasn’t vaguely relevant. 😈

                    • felix

                      Sorry for snapping at you.

                      Would still be interested to know if you have any idea what the ableist abuse TRP accused Rhino of is though.

                    • The Al1en

                      “Sorry for snapping at you.”

                      If it doesn’t leave a mark it don’t count 😉

                      “Would still be interested to know if you have any idea what the ableist abuse TRP accused Rhino of is though.”

                      I’m guessing it’s the mumblefuck effect, though in context of effective communications, is a bit like me saying he’s as good in front of an open goal as my mate one leg pete with his slipper on.

                    • The Al1en

                      Further I can’t believe you used the term “monkey”. The racist overtones and history of that highly abusive and ethnically prejudicial term means that it must always be avoided in polite conversation! Really.

                      That’s the simmionists pissed off, no for those weirdo ape men 😆

            • QoT

              Jumping in at the top of the thread: I believe TRP is referring to “Mumblefuck”. He has previous form.

              (Note: in replying to TRP I did compare mumbling to stuttering, which obviously was actually ableist of me. Readers may however note that his “evidence” for “Mumblefuck” being ableist consists of snapping “Truth hurts”, which sadly is not an actual argument.)

              • Colonial Viper

                That and no one has had any problem taking the piss out of Key’s unbelievably bad diction, suggesting that he puts it on, that he’s drunk, etc.

              • felix

                I don’t think that can be it QoT or TeReo would have said so, surely.

  10. newsense 10

    This is an issue about competency and trust.

    This is a major change to a vital part of Kiwis lives. Do the electorate trust this Labour and the left coalition enough to make this change without ignoring problematic issues?

    The country has trusted Key and co on asset sales on much the same principal- he said we’ll be better off, ok sure let’s give it a go ‘cos we trust them not to mess it up. Can Labour achieve the same trust with people with misgivings?

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Maybe we should trust the competency and intentions of foreign investors that they won’t raise power prices on Kiwis.

      Hey wait – unlike the old Telecom kiwishare commitment, these foreign asset sales buyers have made no such promises!

      (Hey it’s too bad you can’t run the racism against Chinese investors line on this as a follow up, as it would undermine your “Ma and Pa Kiwi Investors” pitch. Shame haha)

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  • Cleaning up our rivers and lakes
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  • Record year for diversity on Govt boards
    The Government is on the verge of reaching its target of state sector boards and committees made up of at least 50 percent women, says Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter and Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa. For the first time, the Government stocktake measures the number of Māori, ...
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  • New appointments to the Commerce Commission
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  • Historic pay equity settlement imminent for teacher aides
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  • Govt delivers security for construction subcontractors
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  • New Zealand and Singapore reaffirm ties
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  • Government investment supports the acquisition of new Interislander ferries
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