Cullen Fund earns more for New Zealand than Asset Sales

Written By: - Date published: 7:14 am, December 19th, 2013 - 170 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags: ,

Michael Cullen

So the Cullen Fund shows the Government that it does not have to sell strategically important assets to improve the country’s finances, all it has to do is continue investing in the fund.

From Stuff:

The “Cullen” superannuation fund has posted a return of 1.66 per cent in November, taking its overall value to $24.93 billion – roughly half the Government’s net debt.

Over the last 12 months, as world equity markets soared, it earned 27.76 per cent or about $5.5b. That was more than the Government’s asset-sales programme, which is forecast to bring in between $4.6b and $5b.

The fund’s annual return since inception in 2003 has been 9.55 per cent.

Please remind me, why did we stop contributions to the Cullen Fund and why are we selling the country’s silverware?

170 comments on “Cullen Fund earns more for New Zealand than Asset Sales”

  1. One Anonymous Knucklehead 1

    Teaching the National Party basic economics is a waste of time: they lack the cognitive ability to apply the lesson.

  2. Ad 2

    Great stuff Mickey.

  3. Che'sCrushedSkull 3

    Please remind me, why did we stop contributions to the Cullen Fund and why are we selling the country’s silverware?


    As stated, the Cullen fund has earned it’s returns from overseas – because there is bugger all in NZ to invest in – and if you increase the contributions to the Cullen Fund, then even more money flows overseas. That is not what NZ needs if it is truely a ‘low wage economy’ and has ‘high unemployment & under employment’ amongst of course, other things.

    Now, if power companies are the silverware, then they too, SHOULD BE returning at least what the Cullen fund is investing in – of which I doubt – but if they are – then why can’t ‘mum and dad kiwi investors’ not have the opportunity to invest in them – as they are giving the best returns – better even than the Cullen fund investments! As an aside, there is probably a better term to use to describe those public assets[what ever that means] than ‘silver ware’. ‘Nostalgia’ maybe? Anyway, the Cullen fund managers don’t describe their investments as the ‘silverware of the market’ as they sell their assets to ‘realise a profit’.

    Anyhow it doesn’t matter either way if they are sold as electricity prices are the least of peoples worries – just look at the price of oil, sorry, I mean petrol. Have a nice day.

    • Puckish Rogue 3.1

      You didn’t get the memo I take it, let me remind you: National bad

      • Paul 3.1.1

        Nice to see some growing perception on your part pr

      • framu 3.1.2

        on this subject – theyre so fricken appalling its bordering on criminal intent

        so yes your right

        if you want to play the 1 = good, 2 = bad game, you might to pick a topic where you can actually argue that the nats have been successful

        • alwyn

          I suppose that the simplest and yet most important one will do.
          It is also the reason that New Zealand has been much more successful in the last five years than has Australia.
          National have kept the Labour and Green nutters away from the reins of Government. Long may it continue.

          • framu

            that doesnt make much sense

            me – “you might to pick a topic where you can actually argue that the nats have been successful”

            you – “I suppose that the simplest and yet most important one will do.”
            – which one then, you didnt specify

            “It is also the reason that New Zealand has been much more successful in the last five years than has Australia.”
            – the unspecified topic is the reason?

            no wonder you think nats are good economic managers

            aaaand considering that asset sales have been an economic clusterfuck in slow motion, thats still going…….

            • alwyn

              The third sentence is the reason Framu.
              To spell it out a little more clearly for you.

              The Nats have been successful in that they have kept the Labour and Green nutters away from the reins of Government. and that is the reason that New Zealand has been much more successful than Australia in the last five years.

              There. Is what I meant clearer this time?

              • KJT

                If success is the “communists” paying more for our milk.

                Offsetting the swath of destruction National are leaving.

                National. The party that cannot run a business, or a country.

                Even National’s MP’s are well aware that if they had been in power for the 9 years before the GFC, we would be on par with Greece.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Even National’s MP’s are well aware that if they had been in power for the 9 years before the GFC, we would be on par with Greece.

                  We would have been much, much worse than Greece. They would have been cutting taxes and increasing borrowing for the entire 9 years before the GFC. Essentially, we would have been economically devastated and then the GFC would have hit.

                  The rich would have been a hell of a lot richer though.

                • alwyn

                  Do you have any vidence for that rather incredible statement in the last sentence.
                  I’m sure you wouldn’t say such a thing if it was only your unsupported opinion would you?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    The present National government and it’s massive, unneeded borrowing.

                  • KJT

                    If you had the attention span of more than a Gnat, you would remember Brash, then Key, planning to follow the “successful” policies of Ireland.

                    Fortunately for us they did not get elected until the folly of that approach was obvious, even to the greedy delusional prats that are in charge of the National party.

                    9 extra years of lolly scrambles for National’s rich mates, borrowing for unaffordable tax cuts, running down infrastructure, fucking with education, asset stripping, de-regulation, slavishly following policies that have failed elsewhere, “because they are a good idea” sic, and the financial “free for all” would have meant bankruptcy.

                    We weathered the GFC so well because Cullen paid down debt and Keating regulated the Aussie banks. Both policies National would have reversed.

                    Now National; are taking credit for the effects of coming out of recession aided by high dairy prices and an earthquake.

                    Rather fortuitous for National.

                    Even National MP’s are not stupid enough to think it was anything they did. Though they are happy to have unthinking followers give them the credit.

                    • Tracey

                      you are speaking to the ideologically blinded who still think that golden rain is the trickle down they have waited so long for.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Even National MP’s are not stupid enough to think it was anything they did.

                      I’m pretty sure that some of the are – probably most in fact – with the egos to match.

                    • KJT

                      The term “useful idiots” does come to mind.

                    • alwyn

                      In other words, and in much shorter words, you haven’t any information that any of the National MPs think any such thing.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Aaron Gilmore comes to mind about the stupidity and the ego.

              • framu

                ahh righto – was reading that as more a conclusion or aside – aint it funny the order you put things in your mind 🙂

                sorry – my bad

                still disagree with you though – but the place would be boring if we all got along

              • Tracey

                which is odd because apparently being able to bring resources tot he surface is a panacea. Was it not so for Australia?

              • Crunchtime

                Please tell us how New Zealand has been “more successful than Australia in the last five years”.

                Economically by almost every measure, NZ has done better under every Labour Government than it has under National.

                The only ones who are better off under a National Government are a small rich minority and large corporations (many of them foreign).

                The current National government is just another typically poor economic manager who is especially harsh on low and middle income earners as well as beneficiaries.

                • alwyn

                  I suppose that I could point out that New Zealand expects to get the budget back into surplus in the 2015 year, rather than continuing in the 10 years of deficits that were predicted when they got into office at the end of 2008.
                  Australia on the other hand is forecast, not to be back in surplus as their six year Labour Government promised for 2014, but to have a deficit of about $NZ51 billion next year.
                  If you prefer unemployment rates the IMF made predictions for 2014, and actuals for 2013 of
                  Australia 2013 5.6% and 2014 6%
                  NZ 2013 6.0% and 2014 5.3%
                  We are picking up n’est ce pas

                  • Tracey

                    so dredging up minerals isnt a panacea as so many in this country keep preaching????

                    Did Australia have minimal govt debt in 2008?

                    I’m just trying to recall who got us to a place that this government could borrow so heavily (50+B and rising) and still see “growth”?

                  • KJT

                    Didn’t you have a look at the census results. The falling unemployment rate is bullshit.

                    Newsflash. All those people basher got off the welfare rolls did not suddenly “find jobs”.

                    • alwyn

                      What census results do you have that are supposed to be relevant to the overall figure for 2013 and for the forecast for 2014?
                      After all the census was held on 5 March 2013, which is nine and a half months ago. If the figure you have is above 6% that shoes that the unemployment rate is dropping.
                      Actually I find it very difficult to see, from the questions asked in the Census, how they could come up with any unemployment rate at all, much less one that uses any methodology like that in the household labour survey. Have a look at the questions and see what combination of answers would lead to an interpretation that the person was unemployed and that it was comparable to the HLFS..

                    • KJT

                      You can try and spin it all you like, but less people on the dole, does not equate to less unemployed.
                      When people are being dropped off the dole for all sorts of dodgy reasons by WINZ, pushed by Basher and National determined to get the headline numbers down..

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    The 10 years of deficits was a load of BS as you well know and if unemployment drops below 6% with this government in charge then it will be by accident. Blinglish is on record, after all, of saying that it’s a hoax to get unemployment below 6%.

                    • alwyn

                      Is your statement, that the 10 years of deficits is bs, to be preferred to the Treasury one, and do you have any evidence to back it up?
                      As for English saying it was a hoax. You give a link to someone else on the Standard saying that English had said it. That is hardly a reliable reference. Do you have an actual link to English actually making such a statement?

                    • KJT

                      Given treasuries strike rate, anything they say should be taken in the same vein as predictions of the “second coming”. or is it the third.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The decade of deficits would only have happened if:
                      a) Nothing changed
                      b) Treasury was actually right

                      Labour were altering the budget to address them thus no decade of deficits despite increased borrowing in the short term. As for Treasury, well, their projections aren’t all that accurate. How many times did they say that the surplus during the last Labour led government was X with it ending up being X+2b+? IIRC, it was close to every fucken year.

                      I actually recall English saying that but I can’t find any news item on the web. But you have to consider the NAIRU which has been estimated as 6% and, yes, that was the rate that I was taught at uni for NZ. So, would Bill English, who slavishly follows the free-market dogma, say anything else?

              • If Labour and the Greens are such nutters, why is it that all the government’s most successful policies are the ones it has kept from the previous Labour government?

      • Tracey 3.1.3

        John key made his living buying low and selling high, of telling people to put in an even amount over a whole year to spread he risk of low and high swings. For NZ he decided we should stop buying when the price was lowest, despite a return of more than 5% per annum (more than the price of borrowing). It is odd that he broke this golden rule just for us.

        • Ricky Rogers

          Its not odd, its simple maths.
          Cullen Fund return = 1.66% (income).
          Interest on bond debt 3.5% to 4%

          The numbers say, stop contributing to cullen fund and focus on minimising debt.
          Any genius can work that out.

          The cullen fund might return 1.66% but that is still a net loss of 2.34% against national debt.

          I’m glad you monkeys aren’t running our country, you can’t even do simple maths!!!

          [Please enlighten us. The article says the return per annum has been 9.55% which is over twice what we are paying on debt. So this is a bad thing? – MS]

        • srylands


          [lprent: currently banned. ]

          • Draco T Bastard

            A country is not a house/family and thus it’s budget doesn’t resemble that of a house/family no matter how much you RWNJs like to think it does.

            • Melb

              The overarching point was did you take on debt of some sort in 2010 and invest it in the stockmarket? No? Didn’t think so.

              • Draco T Bastard

                And the bit you fail to understand is that a country is not a household or an individual.

                BTW, have you heard of the Carry Trade? It’s where individuals and conglomerates borrow money cheaply and stick it in the bank at higher interest rates. When the loan is paid back at the end of it’s term the people who took out the loan have made a profit.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Are we? A lot of posters and commentors here criticized the decision to stop investing in the fund back in the day. Seriously, go back and look.

            As to your analogy, this is where the metaphor with a household budget breaks down.

            Firstly… continued investment in the Cullen fund is nothing like maxing out your home equity, as the deficit is caused by other policies. The fund is a drop in the bucket, not the culprit. To stretch the metaphor a bit, you’re doing the equivalent of complaining that we’re still buying food with the household income when there’s a debt to service, and it’s not like we can stop Daddy gambling.

            Secondly, f I could borrow money on the same terms and conditions as the New Zealand Government, it might actually be pretty advisable for me to take out quite a large loan, if I were using said loan to start or improve a business. In the long term I’ll pay it back and if I’m a good business owner (ie. if we have a good government or at least a good budget) then I’ll be making more than enough profit to service the incredibly small interest.

        • alwyn

          John Key made his living dealing in currency. He was never a share broker or an investment adviser who would have given the type of advice you propose.

          • Tracey

            So his knowledge is even more limited (about business and economics than we all thought)?

            • alwyn

              In fact no, he is very good on those subjects. However you claimed that he was telling people to “put an even amount in over the whole year to even out etc”. I am merely pointing out that that might be the advice of a stockbroker or investment adviser but it would not have been done by someone giving advice in foreign exchange trading. You are clearly making it up and it is you, I am afraid, who is displaying your ignorance.

          • KJT

            More like a crooked poker player who got lucky, then!

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.2

      “Mum and Dad” investors? Won’t someone think of the mum and dad investors, those battley strugglers who comprise two percent of the population and just happen to have $18k lying (speaking of lying, have you been listening to the National Party?) around?

      I say fuck them, let these two-percenter leeches take a haircut.

    • framu 3.3

      ” and if you increase the contributions to the Cullen Fund, then even more money flows overseas.”

      yes – and then what happens?

      – “The “Cullen” superannuation fund has posted a return of 1.66 per cent in November” – oh look profit! – your a real genius arent you

      also you do know that infrastructure assets and investment funds are utterly different things that work completely differently to each other dont you?

      • Che'sCrushedSkull 3.3.1

        “…..also you do know that infrastructure assets and investment funds are utterly different things that work completely differently to each other dont you?…”

        No I didn’t actually……I just took it for granted that investment funds were a much needed ‘infrastructure asset’ in…well…..all modern economies…….and that it didn’t matter at all that they worked completely different to each other.

        One generates power and one generates profit……..much like unionists and capitalists I suppose… may be right then….maybe they do ‘work’ differently…..I wonder then if the ‘outcomes’ are the same?

        • framu

          one creates a product and sells it – the other invests money hoping for a return

          one is vital to all of the people and businesses in NZ being able to function on a day to day basis in a modern society – the other is a scheme to lessen govt burden for superannuation

          im guessing you do know this stuff and are being deliberately thick

          so drop it and stop playing trool games

    • felix 3.4

      “As stated, the Cullen fund has earned it’s returns from overseas – because there is bugger all in NZ to invest in – and if you increase the contributions to the Cullen Fund, then even more money flows overseas. “

      Err, “flow overseas”? I think you’ll find that more money flowed back. That’s kinda the point.

      Sorta like what happens when you let overseas investors buy all your assets, only in reverse.

    • Tat Loo (CV) 3.5

      You’re an idiot.

      The power assets are amongst the highest returning most low risk physical assets in the world.

      Where the hell do you righties get off spewing crap like that? Sure, you could have invested in Bitcoins this year for a 2000% return, but its not quite AAA rated (if that means anything), you know.

      • Lanthanide 3.5.1

        I really regret not buying bitcoins back when they were 6c each.

      • Che'sCrushedSkull 3.5.2

        “……The power assets are amongst the highest returning most low risk physical assets in the world…..”

        Compared to what?

        Kiwi Rail? Kiwi Post? Kiwi Bank? Kiwi Assure?

        “……Where the hell do you righties get off spewing crap like that? Sure, you could have invested in Bitcoins this year for a 2000% return, but its not quite AAA rated (if that means anything), you know…..”

        Compared to what…..Kiwi…..?

        “….You’re an idiot…..”

        Yeah…….so…….What was your point again?

      • Ennui 3.5.3

        I bought them at around $80s not so long ago, they crashed 50% this week…I cashed out the actual dollars on an earlier price rise months ago by selling a few…so the remainder owe me nothing. Which makes them a good investment…its a day at the races. I will sit tight and watch.

      • aerobubble 3.5.4

        The power assets are rigged to produce dividends. The energy market is not competitive. Our economy is not competitive when gouging is so widespread. Welcome to NZ.

    • greywarbler 3.6

      It’s good for you to come here to get facts and informed opinion on your economic concerns. It is obvious that you are getting bogged down and anxious. If you read the replies and try to understand them uou’ss get the picture. But there are always some who have great difficulty with this.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.7

      because there is bugger all in NZ to invest in

      Actually, there’s a huge amount that NZ could be investing in but the returns would take decades and everyone seems to not have the patience for that.

      then why can’t ‘mum and dad kiwi investors’ not have the opportunity to invest in them

      Why should they? Why should a few people get to be bludgers on the rest of us?

      Besides, when the power companies were owned by all of us we all had an equal share and an equal return.

      Anyhow it doesn’t matter either way if they are sold as electricity prices are the least of peoples worries

      Actually, for a lot of people power prices will be the most of their worries. Not being able to afford to heat the home and thus dying of cold would be a worry.

    • Francis 3.8

      Like most other people, you focus on the principal rather than the returns. Yes, the initial amount has flowed overseas, but the 5.5 billion returned this year will flow into New Zealand, when it’s needed. That’s besides the fact that the principal amount will eventually come back into New Zealand, when it’s needed.

      The reverse is one of the reasons why our current account is in such a bad state, and has been for a long time. While we do get the initial “investment”, all the returns flow directly out of the country. Good in the short term, bad in the long term.

  4. philj 4

    Asset sales are a collective I Q test that we failed. Albeit facilitated by a biased media. It’s called thought control.

    • Paul 4.1

      Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

    • Ennui 4.2

      We the citizens failed the IQ test…we are still looking at this as a financial issue. It most surely is not. For the millionth time I will point out it is about asset transfer of ongoing means of clipping the ticket from the people to a few wealthy individuals.

      Every time we look at this issue as an economic failure we fail the IQ test. The robber barons are laughing at how cheaply they got hold of the crown jewels, they know their true worth. Which makes us fools and them geniuses.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1

        I will point out it is about asset transfer of ongoing means of clipping the ticket from the people to a few wealthy individuals.


        • Naturesong

          It’s about democratic control of infrastructure critical to the country.

          As an example, how easy is it going to be to decomission coal based power plants once they are all in private hands. Same for Solid energy.
          Doable, but the private companies now lobby the government, the owners of capital will fight tooth and nail (legal and stirring up public opinion – Democracy under attack anyone?)

          All critical infrastructure that is a natural monopoly should be democratically accountable (we also, we built the bloody stuff in the first place).
          That is
          – Power Infrastructure
          – Copper and Fibre networks
          – Rail
          – Roads
          – Bridges
          – Water supply
          – Water Waste and purification
          – Education
          – Sewage
          – Hospitals
          – etc.

          They should all be run to make zero profit. And either be free (education), or charge enough to pay for maintenance, wages, planning for future projects.
          The future planning horizon for capacity should be measured in decades rather than quarters.

          This does not preclude the use of other small businesses and contractors for specialist work. But core capabilities should reside with the state entity.

          It comes down to the role of government – should a government legislate to ensure capitalists local and overseas can make profit (and as a by product occasionally hire people, and pay tax on profit they are unable to hide).
          Or for the citizens of the country, ensuring all citizens have the opportunity to have good lives, healthy communities (both physically and mentally), learn as much as their abilities allow, make discoveries, create new technology.
          New Zealand could literally be paradise on earth. All it needs is the political will – and about 2 generations of concentrated work.

          Oh, and points to any commentator who leans toward the right if they know why this is not socialism.

          • Draco T Bastard

            It comes down to the role of government – should a government legislate to ensure capitalists local and overseas can make profit

            That’s what both National and Labour think. It’s really the heart of neo-liberal economics. Everything that you listed is an expense upon the community as a whole but the RWNJs and economists think that a few people should make a profit out of them.

            Once it’s accepted that they are an expense then those making a profit from them are obviously bludgers of the first order as they choose to be bludgers.

          • Ennui

            The whole argument about necessities, utilities and monopolies is older than Adam Smith. It predates the formalised concepts of socialism such as Marxism. To call state ownership or regulation of natural monopolies etc “socialist” is to ignore this. In his treatise Smith considered any meeting of business people behind closed doors a reason to suspect they were up to no good (form a public perspective).

          • ropata

            +1 googolplex 🙂
            Please add:
            Access to capital at fair market prices … not rigged to enrich a useless bankster class
            Forex not rigged by LIBOR scams
            Insurance prices not rigged by cartels

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper)

            Well, what about noncritical stuff like airlines and TV stations? Could the money that the government has tied up in equity in AirNZ and TVNZ be put to better use? Do those companies have a profitable future? Seems hard to justify having millions tied up in 100% ownership of shrinking enterprises like those two when the money could get spent on teachers and nurses and policemen.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Well, what about noncritical stuff like airlines and TV stations?

              What makes you think that they’re non-critical?

              We really do need a cheap way to distribute information. Just because TVNZ no longer does this doesn’t mean to say that it’s not needed.

              I’m also pretty sure you’ll find that a lot of businesses would collapse if our airline wasn’t there to provide that service for them. In fact, I believe that was why the 5th Labour led government had to buy it back.

              And what you spend on teachers and nurses isn’t one off income from sales. You need to keep them on and so you need to pay them from ongoing income.

      • Tracey 4.2.2


  5. Tat Loo (CV) 5

    Gamed, hyper-financialised, paper asset markets manipulated by automated high frequency trading algorithms and fuelled by billions in newly digitally printed money (how many zeroes would you like with that) from world central banks.

    Its great to see that NZ can play the Wall St game with the best of them.

    Meanwhile I saw a report earlier saying that we have 250K kids in poverty and we just must must raise the retirement age because “we cant afford not to.” Even though the RBNZ tells us that household wealth increased by $5B in the last 3 months alone.

    Add into this the asset sales debacle.

    Friends, we are being made fucking fools of.

  6. tricledrown 6

    We could end up paying no tax in fact the govt could pay us all if we put aside a small investment over time!
    The right wing fundamentalists havr no where to hide on this one.
    Compulsory Kiwisaver with govt contributions from the Cullen fund surpluses would be the way to get every body onboard.
    Come on you right whinging nutjobs gazumped again.
    Assey sales are dumb thosr assets were providing govt with
    Dividends that you dumbarse Bumptious Midden idiots Now have to make up in increased taxes.
    As you right whinging idiots continually point out that you pay more taxes than everyone else !
    Own Goal shooting one self in the foot backing a loosing horse cutting ones nose of to spite onrs face.
    Come on BM SSlands tighty almighty etc where the hell are your comments Cowards

  7. Tat Loo (CV) 7

    We can easily get sucked into this game of maximising ROI. Let’s just remember that this is what all the capitalists in the world are doing. And they are willing to consume and hollow out both people and the natural world in the process of doing so.

  8. Lanthanide 8

    “all it has to do is continue investing in the fund.”

    And hope that the fund beats the market returns, which is a very difficult thing to do that most investment managers don’t ever pull off.

  9. tricledrown 9

    Still no comment from the Right Whinging Hollow grinches.

  10. tricledrown 10

    Lanth that’s the pathetic spiel Dickhead Nick Smith tried with ACC .
    Borrowing bling English pushed that pathetic propaganda in 2008.
    Longterm investments something That the Right you would think would be pushing!
    So they can keep the peasants in place while as individuals they practice longterm investment for finacial independence .
    Its about power(sick joke)
    The filthy few just eant to laude it over the peasants.
    Results 100,000 starving children in poor health and poor education outcomes!
    While the Gringes get a Narcissistic BUZZ.

  11. Natwest 11

    I heard on the radio this morning that Cullen and Labours stroke of economic genius in buying back Tranzrail for $750m odd has reaped huge benefits for NZ, not.

    Now valued at -$500m.


    • Tat Loo (CV) 11.1

      Infrastructure to take 50% of heavy freight traffic off our highways: priceless.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.2

      And I heard that you’re a moron.

      If the value has reversed like that then it must have something to do with the government undermining it. Probably has something to do with them building uneconomic roads for the roading lobby.

      • framu 11.2.1

        hes also only focusing on a dollar value, and missing out how the rail network fits into the wider infrastructure network and what the cost impacts of having it fail might be

        • KJT

          RWNJ’s can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Don’t confuse them by showing there are other sides to a ledger.

      • KJT 11.2.2

        The cross subsidies for trucking, a big National party funder, by the way.

        If roads were expected to make the same “opportunity cost” return as rail, or ports, there would be bugger-all trucks on the road.

        • Draco T Bastard

          That’s why I want fuel taxes that relate to paying for the roads removed and put into RUCs with the price on them related to maximum mass. Damage to the road goes up as an exponential of mass – 2^16 in fact, a doubling of mass will see 16 times more damage. Start off with a one tonne base and even a really low base rate for that means that 50 tonne trucks will pretty much disappear over night.

          • Murray Olsen

            I think you mean that the damage goes up as the weight to the fourth power, which is true to a first approximation. This means that doubling the weight, with the same number of axles, does 16 times the damage. A twenty ton truck with four axles will have ten times as much weight on each axle as a one ton car, and do approximately 10,000 times the damage. The road transport agency needs those mates in government or it would go broke within a week.

            • Draco T Bastard

              I think you mean that the damage goes up as the weight to the fourth power, which is true to a first approximation.

              Damn, you’re right 😳

  12. tricledrown 12

    Grinches all spewing on whaleoil

  13. infused 13

    Easy solution then. Lets borrow, sorry print, another 50b and invest it in the fund.

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    Please remind me, why did we stop contributions to the Cullen Fund and why are we selling the country’s silverware?

    To do two things:
    1.) Impoverish NZers so that they would have to work harder for longer and
    2.) Transfer the commonwealth in the hands of the few so that those few could live as bludgers on the hard work of the rest of NZ.

  15. Saarbo 15

    Faaarrrrrr…this just shows how incredibly inept this National Party is, fucken hopeless. Good post Micky!

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      They’re neither inept nor hopeless – they’re achieving exactly what they set out to do. It’s just that it’s not in NZ’s favour but it does it make the rich richer.

  16. srylands 16

    Why are we selling the country’s silverware? Because it is tarnished.

    “While some State-owned enterprises have performed well, overall performance of the Crown’s commercial portfolio has been mediocre, with poor performance by Solid Energy, KiwiRail and Learning Media,” the Treasury said in a statement.

    “Total shareholder return across the wholly owned commercial priority companies was 3 per cent,” the Treasury said, adding that this did not include KiwiRail because of the change in its structure at the start of 2013.”

    The Treasury

    We should sell TVNZ and the rest of the power cos while we can. Solid Energy is too far gone. NZ Post is dying.

    The Cullen Fund has performed well. It is managed by brilliant fund managers (an occupation that most commentators here deride – how ironic.).

    Unfortunately in the long run, borrowing money to invest in equities is a high risk strategy. Personaly, I woudl rather do my own investing than have the State do it on my behalf.

    • Will@Welly 16.1

      Treasury’s mantra is for us to sell everything. They are God’s arsehole. If one outfit can take credit for the state of New Zealand, and for the way National has lead us in the last 25 years, look no further than Treasury.
      Look back to 1984. When Labour won the election, they advised the incoming Government to devalue. In the weeks before the election, money had flowed out of the economy, when the Government devalued, that money flowed right back in. Who made money? The likes of John Key, money trader.
      So don’t tell me Treasury works in the best interests of New Zealand. They are in the pockets of the rich and powerful elsewhere, singing a tune that rhymes with America.

      • srylands 16.1.1


        [lprent: currently banned. ]

        • Draco T Bastard

          Treasury is simply an impartial economic advisor to the government of the day.

          BS. The ideology that they follow removes all impartiality.

          It promotes prosperity and has a deep interest in equity.

          And that would be why poverty in NZ has been increasing since government started listening to them. /sarc

        • KJT

          Given treasuries strike rate so far, we may as well go back to reading chicken entrails, or replace them with a walking talking Don Brash doll saying, “cut taxes, cut Government spending, cut wages and sell everything”.

          Worked well so far hasn’t it!

        • Murray Olsen

          You have a great future in comedy, SSlands. Treasury is impartial and the GCSB acts to protect New Zealand sovereignty, right? And Gerry Brownlee has the physique of a personal trainer.

    • Tracey 16.2

      so now you accept the treasury statements? That’s good because you may be beginning to see some truth at last.

      I didnt pick you as someone who thinks you sell the high dividend yielding companies and keep the ones dragging you down.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.3

      And that’s one of the times where Treasury is so far wrong it’s obvious that they’re not in this reality.

      Government services such as power, telecommunications, health etc aren’t supposed to make a profit.

      • srylands 16.3.1


        [lprent: currently banned. ]

        • Will@Welly

          We didn’t lose the argument. We never had the discussion. We were railroaded by the neo-liberals who high-jacked the Labour Party for the own ideological benefits. Look at whose still there. This is not the country I was raised in. This is not the country our forefathers fought for. Oh, that’s right, John Key’s father didn’t fight for New Zealand.
          Originally our services were modeled on the British system, now we want to run it along the American model. If that’s the case, then lets declare ourselves a republic, but J.K. won’t have a bar of that, it’ll mean he’ll miss out on his precious knighthood.

        • Draco T Bastard

          There’s a difference between the way things are and the way things should be. Government services should not make a profit/pay dividends.

  17. captain hook 17

    the thing about the Cullen fund is that it is very hard to sell pieces of it to your mates.
    National is all about doing back room deals and special considerations and any other euphimisms you might dream up for malfeasance and looting the treasury for your own benefit.

  18. Ricky Rogers 18

    A return of 1.66% is less than the ~4% we pay in interest on Government Bonds on our $65b of debt.

    Therefore, the most prudent financial decision would be to cash in the Cullen Fund and put it on our national debt.

    At present the Cullen Fund is the personal equivalent of having a massive mortgage and borrowing a whole pile of cash off your credit card to invest in the stock market.
    The best financial decision would be to not borrow that $25b and instead pay it off our ‘mortgage’.
    We would be better off in the long run without the Cullen fund and to simply borrow the money for superannuation as we need it.

    • Hayden 18.1


      The “Cullen” superannuation fund has posted a return of 1.66 per cent in November, taking its overall value to $24.93 billion – roughly half the Government’s net debt.

      Over the last 12 months, as world equity markets soared, it earned 27.76 per cent or about $5.5b.


      The fund’s annual return since inception in 2003 has been 9.55 per cent.

      Can you spot your error?

      • Ricky Rogers 18.1.1

        oops, sorry I thought that was 1.66%. I’ll admit when I make a mistake.

        However I still stand by my comment, what happens when the market drops by 27% as it inevitably will at some point?

        Just because the fund made a whole pile of money in the short term, doesn’t mean long term its the
        best option.

        Ask any financial adviser in the world anywhere and they will always tell you that paying off debt is the best financial strategy and borrowing money to take a punt while you have debt is highly risky.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          What do they say about deliberately slashing your own revenue stream?

        • KJT

          Worse than borrowing for unaffordable tax cuts/current consumption, while selling the tool kit to pay the grocery bill, and claiming a surplus, for example?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Ask any financial adviser in the world anywhere and they will always tell you that paying off debt is the best financial strategy and borrowing money to take a punt while you have debt is highly risky.

          That would apply to an individual but it does not apply to a nation. As a nation is a permanent entity it can ride out the slumps and get the long term average rise.

          • Ricky Rogers

            So you are advocating that we should borrow say $500 billion and invest it in the cullen fund because the same universal laws of financial investment don’t apply to us because we are a country.

            If its ok for $25b why would it not be ok for $500b or 10 trillion?

            • Tracey

              Oh I dunno, I suspect the current PM has made calls similar to this over the years…. at the moment he and you are the only ones who think prudence is to stop buying into the sharemarket when it is at rock bottom and only start buying when the market has climbed high again. Contrary to the very way Mr Key would have made his money.

              • Ricky Rogers

                So you are saying Key is trying to deliberately get the country to perform poorly.
                Man, that is serious conspiracy stuff.

                In reality, when you are a young single guy you are prepared to take risks because you don’t have a lot to learn.
                You can make a lot of money doing that but you can also lose a lot.
                You read about the financial traders who make millions, but you don’t often read about the ones who lose everything and believe me there are far more of the latter.

                When you grow up and run a country, you are a little more prudent because you are risking the future of the entire country. If you go bankrupt taking a risk, nobody cares. But if you sent an entire country bankrupt by making stupid financial decisions then a lot of people suffer.

                It seems odd that so many lefties are advocating for investing in the right wing capitalist share market. What is going on here?

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  Yeah, the problem with making up homilies as you go along is that you end up looking like a bit of a numpty, but now it’s time for your reality check: only people who’ve actually gone bankrupt learn the lessons that bankruptcy offers. The rest (of the currency trader types) often mistake their luck for skill.

                  PS: you probably got your notions about what lefties think from some righty, in which case the chances are you’ve been lied to.

        • Tracey

          so if the sharemarket is such a risky investment how come so many of the right of the political spectrum think one way to deal with issues like property prices is to encourage people into the stock market

          • Ricky Rogers

            Its risky to borrow to invest in the stock market.
            Its less risky to invest savings in the share-market.

            Its not rocket science.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              Is it risky to sell high dividend-yield assets, thereby slashing your income, or is that just considered sub-moronic?

              • Ricky Rogers

                FFS, this forum is frustrating.

                We get far to attached to ‘owning things’. The financial side of asset sales is rather irrelevant.

                If you look at it from a purely rational perspective, the value of a power plant is that it exists in the first place. The value of a power plant that exists is much higher to a country than the value of a power plant that doesn’t exist. It generates power that we need at a price the market is willing to pay.

                You can’t pick up a power plant and move it to another country, therefore who own’s it is rather irrelevant so long as it exists in the first place.

                The revenue it generated for the government is minuscule relative to the value it represents to the country in generating power. (a country without power is pretty screwed).

                Now if you sell half of it, you still control it and it still has all its value to you because nobody can pick it up and take it away. But you now have a big wad of cash in your pocket that you can invest in other infrastructure that adds value to the country.

                Everyone gets far too hung up on owning stuff and the lost revenue. We can’t own everything and we are far better off owning a smaller portion of a lot of things than 100% of a small number of things.

                Think of all the lost value we have tied up in state assets. Those assets aren’t going anywhere no matter who owns them. So imagine if you could take all that money out and invest in more new assets. All of a sudden that same capital is delivering far more value to the country than having it tied up in a small number of very expensive things.

                If you have 10 power plants and you own 100% of them, then no private company will build a power plant because you have a government monopoly. You can’t get another power plant until you spend more money.

                However, if you sell a half share in your ten power plants and then use the money to build another 5 power plants, then your country now has 15 power plants for the same money that you had before even though you are only getting the revenue from 10 the country is still better off because it needs power plants more than it needs the revenue that power plants generate.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  You daft bastard, the value to the country is diminished if you convert it into profits to shareholders. Dividends = higher power prices.

                  • Ricky Rogers

                    man, you really don’t get it aye.

                    Lets say all the power plants in the country were worth $15 billion and collectively they generate $1b a year in revenue for the government.

                    Now take them all away, yip thats right, NZ no longer has power.

                    How much are they worth now to the country.
                    Pretty much the entire gross domestic product of the country (hundreds of billions) because overnight we would be 3rd world.

                    Your golden goose, or tiny little bit of revenue they generate relative to their real value to the country is so absolutely irrelevant its hardly worth half a wank.

                    If prices go up, that makes it more attractive for companies to build power plants. When more companies build power plants, supply is increased and prices go down.

                    So your fine to take the dividends so long as the Govt gets them but its not ok if anyone private gets them.
                    Who really gives a flying fuck about the dividends.
                    Its the power plants themselves that we need, not the fricking dividends.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Since the dividends are immaterial according to you (hundreds of millions though they are), you won’t mind if Labour reacquires the assets at a low price?

                      Thanks in advance.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead


                      Oh, just one question: will the private shareholders be happy when we run the companies so that they never return a dividend? Is that legal and everything?

                    • Naturesong

                      Exactly, and now we are unable to supply power to New Zealanders (who built and paid for them) at cost.

                      The real damage was done by Max Bradford, this just cements in the change.

                      They are public utilities and should not be a vehicle to generate profit.

                • Naturesong

                  Except the sale of critical infrastructure and utilities was never about the money.

                  It’s about removing the democratic governance of state owned monopolies. And now we have to spend more money to regulate them.

                  Executives are hired to maximize profits; that is their responsibility to their company’s shareholders. Even if executives wanted to forgo some profit to benefit society, they could expect to lose their jobs if they tried—and be replaced by managers who would restore profit as the top priority
                  Arneel Karnani – University of Michigan

                  And as they look to maximise profits, prices go up, increasing costs to every single user of power in New Zealand. From small and large businesses, to hospitals, schools, to people who are already struggling to pay for power, to you and me.

                • felix

                  Ricky, Ricky, Ricky.

                  “the value of a power plant is that it exists in the first place.”

                  Yes indeed. The only real value of owning a power plant is that you can use it to generate power. That’s why you build one. So you can generate power for yourself.

                  “It generates power that we need at a price the market is willing to pay.”

                  That’s where you go completely off the rails. It generates power fullstop. The market doesn’t come into it if you own the power plant and generate power for yourself.

                  We did own the ability to generate our own power. We now own about half of that ability. We now own less of the only real value of the power companies.

                  Your argument is a bit like saying it doesn’t matter whether you own the food in your garden or not as long as whoever owns it will sell your own food back to you.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  You can’t pick up a power plant and move it to another country, therefore who own’s it is rather irrelevant so long as it exists in the first place.

                  You truly are a fucken moron. Of course it fucken matters who owns the power generation because individuals owning it get to charge whatever they fucken like becoming parasites on the backs of the majority of people.

                  We can’t own everything and we are far better off owning a smaller portion of a lot of things than 100% of a small number of things.

                  Actually, the state can own everything.

                  If you have 10 power plants and you own 100% of them, then no private company will build a power plant because you have a government monopoly. You can’t get another power plant until you spend more money.

                  Wow, the absolute nonsense just keeps getting worse.

                  Even if all the generators were fully privatised and competing against each other it would still be us paying for them as well as any new plants built. I know this because, lo and behold, the private owners will get the money that they spent back plus a hell of a lot in profit.

                  However, if you sell a half share in your ten power plants and then use the money to build another 5 power plants,

                  And if we kept the full 100% of the power plants and paid to build 5 more we’d have 15 as well as still owning all of them.

                  Privatisation costs us more – a lot more – than state ownership. The reason why National and Act like private ownership is because a few psychopaths get to be parasites on the rest of us. Shareholders are the biggest bludgers in the world.

    • Tracey 18.2

      ah, like Muldoon…

      so now the supporters of national think we should borrow to fund anything and pay back the debt they ran up, in part, for a tax cut for a small number at the worst possible time.

      You forgot to say how prudent it was of Labour to set up the fund in the first place and the questionable management of anyone who has borrowed so heavily you think they should sell the golden goose.

      • Ricky Rogers 18.2.1

        I wouldn’t say it was prudent. Long term Labour would have been better to pay off debt than to set up the cullen fund.

        All the time we have any debt, we are better of paying it off than what we are creating investment funds.

        It would be very prudent if we have had have cleared all our debt.

        Debt is a buffer, the level of debt will go up and down over time. When you clear your debt you invest and save, if you haven’t cleared your debt you focus on clearing your debt until its gone.

        What on earth are you calling the golden goose?
        Power companies?
        Your joking right….

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Earth to fuckwit. What debt? Cullen paid it all off.

          • Ricky Rogers

            Fuckwit to Dickface..
            No he didn’t, we never ever had $0 national debt, not in the last 100 years anyway.
            I’m calling your bluff, prove it!

          • Colonial Viper

            Ricky Rogers would prefer to be paying off debt costing 4%, rather then making investment returns of over 20%.

            The financial stupidity of these RWNJs is underwhelming.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              …and typical. Low intelligence is a gateway trait to right wing dogma.

            • Ricky Rogers

              If you can show me an investment fund that pays 20% consistently for 20 years in a row then I’ll change my mind. But it doesn’t exist anywhere on the planet.

              You can’t take result from a very small period of time and extrapolate that out to make long term investment decisions for a country unless you want to lose a lot of money.

              Yes it made 20% in one hit, but that isn’t a long term return. Long term it will be closer to the average for the associated level of risk which I can assure you is not 20%.
              Some years it might lose 20%.

              The only businesses that return 20% are cocaine shipping businesses and I can assure you that they are quite risky operations.

              I’m bloody glad you are not in charge of our purse strings Colonial Viper.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Speaking of long term investment decisions, the New Zealand Left makes better ones, as our history demonstrates.

              • Colonial Viper

                Ricky Rogers only ponzi schemes pay 20% consistently for 20 years.

                But of course, the Cullen fund doesn’t need to make a single cent more for the next 4 years and it will still beat your stupid idea to pay debt off first. Financial moron.

        • Tracey

          no the cullen fund. Nice way to avoid having to give any credit to labour for the fund. It kind of shines a light onto your perspective on things.

  19. tricledrown 19

    Sslands borrowing everyone else printed money printed money being given away at 1/2 % while borrowing bling english borrows at 5.5%.

  20. tricledrown 20

    Sslands get your economic comic knowledge from sarah palin.

  21. tricledrown 21

    So Michael Cullen has a Phd in economic history with honours.
    Tory toiletrolls have gossip magizine knowledge.
    The difference shows without the Cullen fund the ACC fund and Now Kiwisaver.
    Assets built by largly labour govts.
    You sick rwnj toiletrolls would be paying heaps more tax.

  22. tricledrown 22

    Rick Rogers .
    Because of lost income from asset sales you will be paying more tax to make up shotfall.
    Because of private ownership prices of electricity will Go up.
    Cartels will form and they will collude to force up prices by lowering the amount of electricity generated,no brainer.
    Cartels virtually are gouging this country .

  23. Rich 23

    The assets sales could never have *earnt* anything and have in fact lost NZ money by reducing the value of the assets (both the parts that were sold and the remainder that were in public hands).

    Even without that, selling an asset doesn’t make you money – it just turns it into cash. Accountancy 101.

  24. tricledrown 24

    Infrasructure.have roads made any profit no
    1 lane of motorway from the harbour bridge to Auckland Airport would cost more than $750 million the economic benefits would be a fraction of what the railnetwork would return.
    Natwest learn some economics before you put up you feeble theorries.

  25. tricledrown 25

    Infrasructure.have roads made any profit no
    1 lane of motorway from the harbour bridge to Auckland Airport would cost more than $750 million the economic benefits would be a fraction of what the railnetwork would return.
    Natwest learn some economics before you put up you feeble theories.

  26. newsense 26

    And live from the bear-pit that is parliament and raging Bill English is Paddy Gower’s pugilistic politician of the year ‘cos it don’t matter about the money, it’s how you look a man in the eye and talk complete shit. Honestly Patrick. Have you seen the numbers on asset sales or do you just make shit up?—Bill-English/tabid/1382/articleID/325632/Default.aspx

    Honestly dude are you a political journalist or more in the Don King mold?

    Cos if you wanna call white black and night day that’s the profession. Cullen Fund that the finance minister stopped contributions to makes more than the flagship asset sales policy, and much less than was forecast etc etc In any other job that’d make you anything but employee of the month. But you’re the political journo, we just have to live here.

  27. tricledrown 27

    Gower golumb grinch

  28. Stephen 28

    “the fastest way to get rich is to make someone else poor” National has always appealed to the upper middle class, or higher. Exactly the kind of people who want the government to sell those sorts of assets, they cant buy them if they’re not for sale.

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    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    7 days ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    7 days ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    1 week ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Exclusive language
    What is language? We generally assume that it a facility unique to humans, allowing us to share what’s in and on our minds. We can tell of our plans, our past exploits, our knowledge. It also allows us to lie. And yet there are vast numbers of people we can’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Guardian: Poll shows DISASTER for Corbyn and the End of Times
    The Guardian - ever eager to forewarn of doom and disaster on the left - are leading with a new poll from Opinium, which puts the Conservatives 15% clear of Labour.Con 38% +2Lab 23% -1Lib Dem 15% -5Brexit 12% +1Green 4% +2This isn't good news, and it would be very ...
    1 week ago
  • How prostitution became the world’s most modern profession
    Being and Being Bought (Spinifex Press, 2013) by Kajsa Ekis Ekman  A synopsis and commentary of Chapters 1-2 by Daphna Whitmore Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book She opens the discussion with a definition of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Clever legal fellow on Scottish challenge to Brexit
    I make no claims to having much legal knowledge,  so I defer to those trained in this area.I am very much enjoying this twitter stream from m'learned friend in Edinburgh, deciphering the legal arguments around the Scottish court challenge to Boris Johnson, based on the charmingly obscure principle of Nobile ...
    2 weeks ago
  • An Open Letter From Closed Minds.
    Ivory Folly? The University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, upheld the right of the radical nationalist group, Action Zealandia to exercise their freedom of speech – not matter how distasteful that speech might be. A wiser community of students and scholars would have nodded their agreement and moved on. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extinction Rebellion members want to “eat babies”
    If you are not convinced terrorist Organisation ‘Extinction Rebellion’ is very, very dangerous – watch this video at one of their recent meetings. Not only is this obviously mentally ill Woman begging the other terrorists to promote killing and “eating” babies and children, if you watch carefully other members nod ...
    An average kiwiBy
    2 weeks ago
  • The government needs to tell people about the OIA
    The Ombudsman has been surveying people about their knowledge of the OIA and the right to information. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that widespread:The Chief Ombudsman says too many New Zealanders were in the dark over their right to access official information. Peter Boshier said an independent survey released yesterday on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Join the rebellion
    In the wake of last Friday's climate strike, Peter McKenzie had an article in The Spinoff about protest strategies. The school strike movement is "polite" and cooperates with those in power because that's its kaupapa - its led by schoolkids who understandably don't want to risk arrest. But there's more ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Jermey Corbyn, I don’t like GNU (sorry)
    So, the latest ruminations on the gnews from Westminster (Again, sorry; I'll stop making that pun right now).  This follows on from, and likely repeats bits of, my last post, on the suggestion that a Government of National Unity (GNU) should be set up and then oversee a referendum before ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • About time
    New Zealand likes to think of itself as not a racist country (despite being founded on the racist dispossession and subjugation of Maori). But for years, we've had a racist refugee policy, which basicly excludes refugees from Africa and the Middle East unless they already have relatives here. Now, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Legal Beagle: Vexation, or Something Too Long for Twitter
    Several people have asked me whether a particular repeat litigant could be declared a vexatious litigant, in light of their recent decision to appeal an adverse High Court ruling. My nascent tweet thread was getting ridiculously long, so it became this blog post instead.The short answer is: no. The particular ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Zealandia’s Lost Boys.
    Appealing To The Past: Action Zealandia, like so many of the organisations springing up on the far-Right, across what they call the “Anglosphere”, is born out of the profound confusion over what a man is supposed to be in the twenty-first century and, more importantly, what he is supposed to do.THE STATUE OF ...
    2 weeks ago
  • British trade union and political activists defend women’s right to speak, organise
      The attempts of anti-democratic transactivists to (often violently) disrupt women’s rights organising is largely ignored by those sections of the left most prone to misogyny and authoritarianism in New Zealand.  In Britain, however, scores of trade union and left activists added their names to a letter in July, defending ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Turning their back on justice
    The Justice Committee has reported back on the Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill. The Bill would establish an independent, quasi-judicial body to investigate and review potential miscarriages of justice, and refer them back to the Court of appeal if required. It would be a vital backstop to our judiciary, help ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    9 hours ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    15 hours ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    17 hours ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    18 hours ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    18 hours ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    19 hours ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    19 hours ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    19 hours ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    22 hours ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    2 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    2 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    2 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    3 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    3 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    3 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    4 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    5 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    6 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    6 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    6 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    6 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    6 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    6 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    6 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    7 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    7 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    7 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    7 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    1 week ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    1 week ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    1 week ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    1 week ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    1 week ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    1 week ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    1 week ago