Contact Energy: A Case Study

Written By: - Date published: 6:01 am, January 29th, 2011 - 65 comments
Categories: overseas investment, privatisation, same old national - Tags: ,

The obvious examples on failed past privatisation are TranzRail and Air New Zealand – vital bits of infrastructure that were run into the ground by their private owners, so they subsequently needed bailing out by the government.  And they do have valuable lessons – vital infrastructure cannot be allowed to fail, so the private owners are guaranteed a bail-out, after they’ve asset-stripped to their heart’s content.  There’s no risk, which in theory is what capitalism is meant to reward.

Another example would be Telecom, which is now providing huge dividends to its owners, when it could be subsiding schools and hospitals for taxpayers.  Those same taxpayers who it most certainly does not act in the interests of, with its shameful customer service record and the fact that we’re now having to spend billions providing it with a fibre network which it should already have built.

But the closest example to National’s new proposals is Contact Energy, as sold by National in 1999.

If we look at what’s happened to Contact we can see a likely route for the ownership and behaviour of our other energy companies.

1/ Mum and Dad investors.

Contact was sold in 1999 to 225,000 shareholders.  Those New Zealanders rich enough to buy a share quickly cashed in as the price rose and in 2002, a little over 3 years later, the number of shareholders had halved.  It now stands at about 80,000.

2/ Foreign Ownership.

A 40% “cornerstone” stake was sold to Edison Mission Energy Taupō Limited, in addition to the 60% public float.  EMET held onto it for 5 years before selling to Australia’s Origin Energy, who became the majority owner (51.4%), ensuring that most of the dividends contributed to our current account deficit as they headed overseas.  How many foreign-owned companies are amongst the 20 that own 75% of Contact shares is not revealed – food for thought for those who believe being privately owned brings “transparency”.

3/ Directors’ Fees

Between splitting up the power companies in 1996 and selling off Contact in 1999 National had let Directors’ Fees balloon from $166,000 to $385,000.  Under NZ-owned EMET’s guidance that was reduced and controlled.  But as soon as Australian-owned Origin took over they nearly tripled.  They tried to double them again during the height of the financial crisis in 2008 (whilst also hiking prices by 10%, and increasing their pay-out in dividends), but Bruce Sheppard and his Shareholders’ Association managed to block the increase in directors’ fees.  Still, they’ve increased from $770,000 then to $993,000 in 2010.  That’s nearly $1million for a few men to each put in a few hours’ work each week.  $250k for a part-time job.

4/ Lost Dividends

Since 1999 Contact has paid out $1.5 billion in dividends to its shareholders.  The majority of that money has gone overseas, with no benefit to our country (or even “Mum and Dad investors”), instead of paying for a few schools and hospitals.  An asset sold for $2.3 billion in 1999 is now worth $3.7 billion – and that increased wealth of an asset built and paid for by our ancestors is going to Australia.

Does it make sense to sell our Energy companies?  Will it make us richer?  No.  It’s like selling your house to pay off your mortgage – the debt may be gone, but you’re living on the street.

65 comments on “Contact Energy: A Case Study”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Succinct and damning. And exactly what Bill and John want to see a repeat of. As far as I am concerned, proposing the sale of our strategic hard energy assets to foreign powers is literally an act of sedition. If they actually go through and do it, it should be considered akin to treason against the people and the future of NZ.

    • vipers revenge 1.1

      So Phil Goff as part of the last Labour Government that sold off NZ strategic assets should be done for treason?

      • Jum 1.1.1

        Vipers Revenge,

        Goff learned that selling off your profit making infrastructure and leaving employees at the mercy of jerk-off foreign/greedy NZ businessmen was not a good idea. Labour rid itself of the pondscum Douglas who is now having a love-in with JKeyll and Hide and finishing his destruction of New Zealand’s ability to run its own affairs.

        The betrayal of NActMU is that it has learned what happened with Douglas’s policies as finance minister in the 1980’s government and has fine tuned those policies, along with the TPPAgreement to loot our country. Making a mistake and fixing it like Clark’s government did by buying the rail back is forgiveable. Using the mistake, perfecting it to use against Kiwis is sedition.

        [Deleted. Not needed. RL]

        • vipers revenge 1.1.1.1

          Yep Kiwirail is a great success. The argument by Comunist Viper was that Bill & John should be done for treason. So I guess if Labur do it, it’s ok but when National do it it’s treason.

          [Deleted…not needed. RL]

          • Jum 1.1.1.1.1

            Vipers Revenge

            Maybe the difference here is that Labour bought back rail, with ever-increasing numbers using it and not enough carriages to carry the increase, thereby giving back ownership and profits to the people, but NAct sells off assets that belong to New Zealanders not individuals in the government, which are then given out in unequal tax cuts mostly to those who don’t need them.

            The finance company debacle down south was a perfect example of money going back to those who took no risks, which is what investing is supposed to be about isn’t it – the higher the risk, the higher the reward? With the investors covered by government underwriting, and with English allowing the greedy investors to increase their investment (without risk, knowing the company was going to fall over) and being fully paid by this government even the amounts not required to be paid back. How crooked is that.

            • Deadly_NZ 1.1.1.1.1.1

              And you really have to ask, and I have no bias either way on this. But why did the SFO take over Hubbards finance company, when there were so many more shoddily run companies out there, that probably needed the same treatment. So I ask this Why Him (hubbard) and what did he do to PISS off the powers that be. Because really he was no worse than any of the others out there and at least he paid out the divs on time from what i have read, unlike some of the others. So who did he Piss off? There you go a conspiracy for you to think about, on a Wet saturday.

            • KJT 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Its called insider trading and is supposedly illegal.

              • Deadly_NZ

                I never heard anything about that only about supposedly too many loans and not enough money/paper trail.

                • KJT

                  Many large investors jumped in despite knowing SCF was going to fail because they knew the Government would bail it out. Only one way they could know that for sure.

    • johnm 1.2

      Well said CV! I agree 100% That’s why I have only contempt for ACT-nat, they really don’t care about the ordinary NZer but blindly follow their has been imported ideology from the U$—and look what a state that unhappy Country is in.

    • wasi 1.3

      i agree that the sale by governments (of any hue)…of NZ`s strategic assets is tantamount to treason…in my view this could or may have been an underlying reason for the passing of the Abolition of the Death Penalty bill in 1989 by the labour govt…specifically Clause 3: Removal of death penalty for crime of treason…i know it sounds like a very, very long stretch but check out the list of privatisers who made up the Ayes on this one…

      http://vdig.net/hansard/archive.jsp?y=1989&m=11&d=08&o=58&p=64

    • I’m inclined to agree. The people putting forward these sales are either dreadfully stupid or deeply cynical…..or perhaps both. The evidence to date with respect to such sales is very clear and one need only look at it and think about what it means.

      This National-lead government do not appear to have either looked or thought. Many of their voters aren’t inclined to either. Any faith-based party will eventually make a mess of things…and National does appear to be faith-based where economic policy is concerned.

      My own view is they should be required by law to change the name of their party to something more accurately reflecting what they really stand for: “Multi-National Party”.

  2. Craig Glen Eden 2

    The there is the other issue that the proponents of state asset sales go on about that is the the very misleading line that private companies are more efficient.
    This of coarse is usually short for restructuring so we take employees and turn them into contractors as is the case with telecom.So that drives income levels down ( in those households) and there Keys done it he has further decreased the standard of living for those households.

    So called efficiency! Thats short for screw the average working man and women.

    The fat cats get richer not through hard work but bludging off the masses.

    Anti spam word SWITCHS yes indeed.

    • KJT 2.1

      There is no inherent reason why private or public companies should be more or less efficient than each other.
      Though it depends on your definition of efficiency.
      Building shareholder wealth at the expense of the rest of the economy. (Power companies both public and private, supermarkets and banks). Preventing a much greater cost to business and society of a US style insurance and litigation system. (ACC). Paying managers and directors many times as much as staff a reward for cutting staff pay and customer service. (Ports of Auckland, Telecom and many others subject to the “cult of managerialism” http://thestandard.org.nz/too-much-of-a-good-thing/#comment-291528.).
      Transferring wealth offshore. (Telecom, Contact etc). Preventing private companies from imposing monopoly rents. (Kiwibank).
      Educating skilled staff for business and informed citizens at a relatively modest cost. (The NZ public education system).

      It comes down to the quality of management which has dropped markedly since we let the accountants off their stools in the back office.
      Note that successful companies in countries like Germany, Japan and Dane mark manage to find exceptional directors and managers despite much lower relative pay scales than Anglo Saxon countries. Usually from the ranks of the skilled in their own companies

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.2

      More efficient ???

      The real point about getting a partial stock market listing is that the next step is to say we have ‘too many ‘power companies..
      Its ‘more efficient’ if say the 4 main ones become two. This is only possible if you have a stock exchange listing to start with, even when the government still owns ( for now) the majority of the shares, National will say the offer is too good to turn down ( Key will of course ditch any previous promises not to sell).

      And how is the takeovers which reduce down to a duopoly achieved? By borrowed money of course, from overseas, thereby making a mockery of nationals ‘debt’ argument.

  3. And yet journos seem to write about the NZ voters’ allergy to asset sales as though it were some kind of unfathomable personality disorder, rather than a straightforward manifestation of learning from previous experience.

    • Craig Glen Eden 3.1

      Yes its the old if we cover it with sugar it wont taste so bad take your medicine its good for you cos we know best
      .Anti spam word THREAT

  4. Janice 4

    Please can we have another march like the anti-mining march? I am getting my placards ready now. “HANDS OFF OUR ASSETS”, “SELLING OUR STUFF IS THEFT”, “MUM AND DAD ALREADY OWN IT”, “DON’T SELL” etc. It might just make John & Co stop and think and it could politicise the deliberately “don’t knows”.

    • johnm 4.1

      I’ll join you Janice! There are real people here in NZ ThankGod! NZ Business has failed big time (Look at all those failed Finance Companies!) Now they want to canibalise the Public’s assets which they’ll stuff up for profit as well, assisted by the traitors Key and English.We shouldn’t supplicate but should show our just ANGER.

      • Just Me 4.1.1

        Whats the need. As much as you might like to criticize the policy National has acted completely appropriately and advertised their intentions well ahead of the Election so that voters will be able to vote whether or not they want this course of action.

    • Jum 4.2

      I will join you Janice. The mining march was an important one to be on. The privatisation one is even more important.

      The TPPA this government intends to sign which allows foreign corporates to control our governments for the next 100 years and beyond is even more important than that. It covers everything that we risk losing autonomy over – ENERGY, environment, Pharmac, land, public government. Jane Kelsey I’m sure will be asking for our support to highlight this to the slumbering public who supposedly elected JKeyll who said he believed in the freedom of the individual. He lied. Come November we will have zero freedom in our own country.

      That is what we really need to march for. The right to have a say. The last so-called democracy march was a scam to get its organiser headlines for his attempt at the Auckland mayoralty and a very weak cover for the hitters and batterers to bring back the written right for big people to hit small people. Sad.

    • Deadly_NZ 4.3

      JK has already said “push off I am not changing my mind”

  5. ianmac 5

    An excellent summary of privatisation Bunji. They are selling the plan on the basis that NZ has soaring debt. The Government debt was near zero in 2008 and the borrowing by Nact has pushed it out to about $30 billion. Of course Key chooses to join that with Private debt to make us look as bad as the PIGS. Bluddy dishonest!

  6. millsy 6

    Anyone noticed that Landcorp was not in Key’s little list?

    Im getting really sick of this selling the family silver nonsense. Even Labour did it between 1999 and 2008, with Terralink, and some individual forests and natural gas/geothermal rersources.

    You could even count treaty settlements as privatisation. John Key only just realised that handing over one of our largest national parks to a unaccountable iwi elite was actually against the grain of what is good and decent in this country.

    Ill tell you right now, if the responsibility of providing certain infrastructure had been left to the private sector, we would

    1) have large parts of rural New Zealand without a landline phone service
    2) large parts of rural new zealand without electricity, indeed we wouldnt have half the hydro stations we have now, something about private sector owners wanting a profit or return or some nonsence like that
    3) Places like New Plymouth, the central north island, and parts of the coast wouldnt have a television service.
    4) Etc.

  7. millsy 7

    Even the farmers benefited from a strong public sector, with the DSIR and the Min. of Ag and Fish undertaking rigorous research and development on how to get the most protein from a paddock, etc, and passing in onto farms, and the university system, supplemented by places like Flock House, etc provided training for young people who wanted a career in agriculture.

    • KJT 7.1

      Farmers are the first to line up for tax payer handouts when weather or any thing else affects their business.
      I am not philosophically opposed to helping export earning business that is good for the rest of us.
      It would be nice, though, if they acknowledged the help they get from these bailouts, farm worker education, government research funding, tax payer support and our paying more than world prices for their products. Not to mention us kindly supplying them with roads, rail and ports to get their products to market.

      No one has yet taken me up on my asking for any one who can show me a farmer who pays income taxes.

  8. Craig Glen Eden 8

    Key has already said on Facebook that he wont backdown not even if there is marching in the streets.

    What the left need to do is get people out to vote against privatization at the next election as well of coarse as a good March up Queen St.

    • ZeeBop 8.1

      What Key knows is there are millions of kiwis who cannot get a loan to buy these shares, and hopes that the rest of NZ will not be ashamed at themselves in making a quick profit onselling the shares to big finance. I would not be surprised if gangs gave their members money to buy the shares and then sell them afterwards for the profit. That’s how bleeding crazy Key is. If he is so reckless with the government financies that he blows out the debt, then surely he could atleast just selling off future dividends not the asset. If its good enough for Fonterra! Why not the government!

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      We need to get the information that Bunji has made available here and disperse it far and wide and keep doing it every week for every piece of infrastructure sold.

  9. “New Zealand the way you want it” Muldoon’s election campaign line in 1975.

    “Foreign ownership of New Zealand assests” Key’s election campaign line in 2011.

    Shame bill boards saying the above could not be erected around the country.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      “New Zealand the way you want it” Muldoon’s election campaign line in 1975.

      And then he went on to cancel the compulsory super scheme which would have helped provide us with the NZ that we wanted.

      • Treetop 9.1.1

        I have compared Key to Muldoon a number of times on the Standard and will continue to do so. Key will kill Kiwi Saver to, he has already lowered the contribution from 4 % to 2 %.

        • millsy 9.1.1.1

          I was only a little baby when Muldoon was PM, but historical records I have read are notably absent of RDM selling the family silver, chopping the DPB, privatising health and education, etc

          • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1.1

            Muldoon was a Keynesian so he wouldn’t have actually done a lot of what JK and NACT have done or even what National did in the 1990s. But he was still a short term thinking conservative as his dismantling of the compulsory super shows. If he hadn’t done that then we would have the capital base in NZ that everyone seems to think we need.

            • millsy 9.1.1.1.1.1

              The New Zealand Superannuation Corporation would have been carved up by the Ruth Richardsons and the Roger Douglases like a plump Christmas turkey come the 1980’s, and by the time those who first started paying into are ready to draw down on it, there would be nothing there.

              Muldoon did us a favour. New Zealand superannuation may not be cheap, but its a damn sight better than the retired having to live on the streets, or take low wages jobs, I really dont see how that could be the vision for someone’s soceity.

            • KJT 9.1.1.1.1.2

              Much as I disliked Muldoon and his policies, give the old bugger his due, he did do what he and his advisers thought was right for NZ at the time. Not all the think big projects were wrong looking at the money private owners have made from them since.
              Unlike the intent on theft 80’s ACT Government, the succeeding National Government and our present lot, who are just glove puppets for large international corporations and our moneyocracy

          • Deadly_NZ 9.1.1.1.2

            Muldoon was the Author Think Big that was around the time of the last oil scare.
            https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Think_Big

  10. Bill 10

    I’m guessing there will be another round of 1980s TINA (There Is No Alternative).

    Potential credit downgrades from the likes of Standard and Poors ( the very bastards complicit in crashing the global economy) will be trotted out as compelling reasons to sell to reduce debt levels. Bogey man fears of capital flight will be trotted out too.

    ‘Our’ corporate media will dutifully regurgitate neo-liberal mantras of ‘necessity’ vis a vis asset sales, austerity and debt reduction.

    Two questions.

    1. What is our debt to GDP ratio ( if that’s the correct measure) now, in relation to historical debt ratios and to other ‘developed’ economies?

    2. What are the parliamentary opposition going to posit as alternatives?

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      1a) Public debt is about 20%
      1b) Private debt is about 80%

      John Key and the MSM have been adding the two together to make it look worse than it is.

      • Bill 10.1.1

        UK government debt sits at 70% of gdp.

        This is lower than the debt levels of the US, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy and France.

        Historically, between 1920 – 60 UK debt levels never fell below 100%…and there were no calls for austerity or for selling off assets.

        Meanwhile, NZ debt is just above 40% of gdp according to this piece I found on ‘stuff’
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/4542411/NZ-debt-levels-compare-favourably.

        Which means that NZ simply does not have a debt problem and therefore no need to sell anything.

        As an addition. Here’s a link for debt levels from 2009. New Zealand sits at number 90 (29.3%).
        http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/economics/list-of-national-debt-by-country/

        In 2010 NZ improved to number 97.
        https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2186rank.html

        Am I missing something? Or is there no rational economic argument for suddenly panicking over debt levels that are by no means unusual?

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1

          There never was a rational argument for selling state assets. We lose big time when we do as can be seen by what’s happened with Contact and Telecom. This means that NACT are lying about the need to do so and the benefits that will accrue because of those sales.

          As I’ve said before: If a NACT MP is speaking just assume that they’re lying and you’ll most likely be right

        • ianmac 10.1.1.2

          Bill I wanted a simple figure/percentage on Debt so that my letter to the editor could state the obvious. NZ is not in a debt crisis so that cannot be a reason to privatise.
          My problem is the contradiction (apples with oranges) in the Stuff column.
          From a low point of 26 percent of GDP just before the New Zealand economy entered a prolonged, but mild, recession, the ratio of gross general government debt to GDP had risen to over 40 percent and would rise somewhat further over the next few years, Moody’s said.

          The central government’s net debt, which was the government’s policy target, was projected to rise from a low of about 6 percent of GDP in 2008 to nearly 30 percent in 2015, when it would peak and begin declining. The long term goal of fiscal policy was to reduce that ratio to under 20 percent.
          I want to write in simple terms:
          the Debt in 2008 was x
          the debt in 2011 is y

          Please clarify?

          • Bill 10.1.1.2.1

            How the f*ck can I clarify someone else’s article? Is the 6% a typo, insofar as 26% would afford consistency?

        • Lanthanide 10.1.1.3

          “Am I missing something? Or is there no rational economic argument for suddenly panicking over debt levels that are by no means unusual?”

          Between 1920 and 1960, with the economic backdrop of ever-increasing growth and technology improvements all the way along, perhaps over 100% debt didn’t look problematic? Now, in a world of increasing energy and food prices and residual termoil from the financial crisis (multiple countries in Europe on the brink, US in the doldrums) suddenly 70% GDP debt looks very risky.

          In other words it’s not the actual number itself that is problematic, it’s the number compared to the short to medium term world situation that is problematic.

  11. Roger 11

    “Since 1999 Contact has paid out $1.5 billion in dividends to its shareholders.”

    Funny isn’t it. That is exactly how much Anne Tolley and Bill English reckon its going to cost to fix the leaky school building problem that has given Tolley sleepless nights. She doesn’t know where the money is going to come from. Funny also that the leaky building problem, as well as the debt problem are of their own making but they play us for idiots by suggesting that these are problems that came from nowhere. If that $1.5 was going to the government this problem could have been fixed and Anne Tolley can go back to sleep (a state which renders her less dangerous and stupid).

  12. jimmy 12

    Id be interested to know weather its even possible to give ‘ma nd pa’ investors first dibs considering out free-trade agreements… has anybody come accross info on the subject?

    • KJT 12.1

      Clauses in many of our “free trade” agreements forbid treating foreign investor’s differently from local ones.

      http://www.asean.fta.govt.nz/chapter-11-investment/
      “Each Party shall accord to investors of another Party, and to covered investments, in relation to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, liquidation, sale, transfer or other disposition of investments, treatment no less favourable than that it accords, in like circumstances, to its own investors and their investments”.

  13. Jum 13

    Never mind selling off our assets; why not sell off this government. Any takers? NActMU going cheap.

    What the heck. No charge, just get ’em out of the country. Now.

  14. Jum 14

    So interesting I’ve printed it again on your behalf, KJT.
    ‘KJT 12.1
    29 January 2011 at 11:51 am

    Clauses in many of our “free trade” agreements forbid treating foreign investor’s differently from local ones.

    http://www.asean.fta.govt.nz/chapter-11-investment/
    “Each Party shall accord to investors of another Party, and to covered investments, in relation to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, liquidation, sale, transfer or other disposition of investments, treatment no less favourable than that it accords, in like circumstances, to its own investors and their investments”.’

    If NAct get the TPPAgreement through in November which allows corporates to sue New Zealand if we try to keep our assets in New Zealand hands can we sue those foreign corporates for attacking our individual rights as New Zealanders.

    Can we ensure any monies the taxpayers are forced to pay to these corporates, because of JKeyll signing the TPPA allowing them to sue us or raise our drug costs, are oncharged to JKeyll’s private account?

  15. ghostwhowalksnz 15

    Dont forget Contact/Origin has by its policies been instrumental in gaming the energy supply system
    )1 They sold the turbines for the original power station at Stratford, which is a known choke point in the grid, all the better to boost prices.
    2) They have let the New Plymouth power station run down, and have now decommissioned it. All the better to restrict generation capacity so that shortages drive up prices – which dont come down when the weather conditions return to normal

  16. It was raised on another thread but I’ll post this link to a great program of what happened in Montana.

    http://watch.montanapbs.org/video/1432006422/

    Are there ‘behind the scenes’ manipulators here too – only the gullible would say no.

  17. Pike is a private mine… it may be that mines would be more deadly is Solid Energy were sold off:

    Union, chamber blame privatization for Turkish mine deaths http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=digging-out-death-mine-or-death-trap-2010-05-19

    Here is an in depth study on privatisation in the energy sector in Victoria:
    Learning the lessons from Project Victoria and the privatisation of Victoria’s electricity industry: http://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/ProjVictoria.html

    It is worth noting who is fishing in New Zealand too:
    Greywolf is in a joint-venture agreement with Chinese energy company Qinghua Group, which is still considering a multibillion-dollar investment in lignite conversion, port development and a steel mill in New Zealand

    Giant Chinese energy company Qinghua Group – with more than $12 billion of mining assets – is assessing several billion-dollar projects across the South Island

    He hoped to be told next week of a time at which Greywolf and Qinghua’s chairman would meet with Finance Minister Bill English and Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee. He hoped they would meet before Christmas.

    Because of the Pike River disaster a meeting with them had been postponed.

    ——
    If labour was on the mark it would make climate and foreign ownership central issues. Nikki Kaye being forced to make a stance on Lignite coal mining etc vs Labour having a position on clean energy and a low carbon economy would make Labour have a point of difference.

    Labour either can work with the greens or it can’t. It needs to show what it has, and how it is different to National…

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      Labour still believes that selling out our resources to foreign corporates is good for the country.

  18. re Free Trade, Tim Groser as the trade minister is trying to get a Free Trade deal with India to send more coal there, as it is the main place New Zealand exports coal to, yet he is also climate minister… conflict of interest???

    • orange whip? 18.1

      “Climate” is one of those portfolios the Nats have to fill so they don’t look like complete neanderthals, but it’s not a job any of them take seriously and requires no specific action on the part of the minister.

      Also see: conservation, labour, women’s affairs

  19. Chinese companies behind Key’s privatisation of Solid Energy and energy companies?

    “We had hoped to make announcements in the new year, but the [three New Zealand] visits by Qinghua have been attracting attention,” said Mr Lancaster, whose company directors include brother Michael and son Jolian.

    Mr Lancaster said meetings were being sought through the offices of Prime Minister John Key and Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee, but the Pike River disaster had prompted deferral of meetings “for several weeks”, he said.

    Mr Lancaster described Qinghua Group as the largest private Chinese mining company and “the Chinese version of BHP Billiton in Australia”, the world’s largest diversified resource group.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/business/139064/chinese-assess-si-mining-projects

  20. “They had hopes eventually to mine 10 million tonnes of coal a year. That is more than twice what New Zealand’s biggest miner, Solid Energy, is doing now.”

  21. I keep thinking of this nice quote about privatisation from Noam Chomsky:

    “Privatisation does not mean you take a public institution and give it to some nice person. It means you take a public institution and give it to an unaccountable tyranny.”

    Nuff said

    • Jum 21.1

      Travellerev,
      “take a public institution and give it to an unaccountable tyranny.”

      That’s what we allowed Rodney Hide to do with Auckland by turning our assets over to unaccountable CCOs. Luckily (and one in the eye for JKeyll, Hide and Banks) we have Len Brown holding back the privateers.

  22. Perhaps more than 50,000 will be marching soon

    • Jum 22.1

      When? Where?

      I’ll be there; just make sure it is in all cities and every New Zealander knows what they risk by not marching to show their anti feelings towards privatisation, whatever fancy name/s JKeyll gives it.

      Who is organizing it? The Greens are great organizers. Labour needs to make it clear what they stand for about privatization – no fancy footwork; just a plain NO to giving New Zealand away will do. There are always better alternatives to selling off the things that earn you money. That’s a no-brainer.

      Labour, use your combined talents to achieve a better country with no sell-offs, partial or otherwise.

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    New Zealand is pushing on with efforts to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax, with the release of proposed options for a digital services tax (DST). In February Cabinet agreed to consult the public on the problem ...
    2 weeks ago