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Darkhorse: Subsidising “capital markets” through asset sales

Written By: - Date published: 12:16 pm, June 20th, 2012 - 26 comments
Categories: capitalism, privatisation - Tags:

Darkhorse writes amazingly insightful economic pieces on his ‘How Daft’ blog (the title gives you a clue as to what he thinks of the current state of affairs). The neoliberal experiment has been an abject failure by any rational measure. And there are alternatives. Darkhorse has given us permission to syndicate his posts, the originals are here.

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Subsidising “capital markets” through asset sales

Investment banker Rob Cameron a key player in the lead-up to the Government’s decision to float stakes in State enterprises says the attempts to sell that to the public have been a disaster. Radio NZ
These “assets” aren’t assets they are essential services.  They are fundamental to the growth and dynamism of the economy.  They are owned by the public for good reason and that good reason is that they are monopoly services that need to be run as a single system for the benefit of the whole economy.   These essential services exist to provide the whole economy with electricity.  They do not exist to subsidise or to provide secure shelter for private capital.  If they are to be run to maximise returns to shareholders they will not be run to maximise the benefit to the whole economy.

Mr Cameron says the taskforce recommended the sales as a means to boost the sharemarket to the benefit of investors and capital-starved businesses. 
This comment proves how duplicitous Mr. Cameron truly is (or how plain bloody stupid).  If he was a really clever banker this should not be a problem.  How can “capital starved” businesses gain access to more capital through the government absorbing multiple billions of this apparently scarce capital so that it can spend it on activities that should be funded through taxation.
How will the economy grow when it is parasitised by “bankers” like Mr Cameron?
And led by Bankers such as Mr Key.
Mr Cameron is only trying to by seek a subsidy on his investment activity.  If he was a real investment banker he would be looking for real investments in productive enterprises.

This man is self-serving.  It is people like him who have taken us to the bottom of the OECD, to being among the most indebted countries in the world.

26 comments on “Darkhorse: Subsidising “capital markets” through asset sales ”

  1. captain hook 1

    Rob Cameron is just another fast buck boiler shop operator waiting for a parcel of shares so he can stag them and wait for the next deal.
    This whole sale of new zealands vital infrastructure just gets crummier and crummier.

  2. We should be looking to the future for our energy needs anyway. Large scale power stations may become far less lucrative, so maybe we’re better off at least spreading the risk and selling off half.

    What would happen to power company values if there’s a breakthrough in solar collection? Energy storage? Micro generation? Superconduction?

    And imagine if the ~$6b was invested in power conservation projects.

    Currently I won’t double glaze because the payback period is too long. It’s cheaper for me to pay for more power. With a little bit of incentive – or assisted investment – I could cut my power use easily.

    I think we’re too obsessed with one narrow aspect of power assets and distracted by politicking.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 2.1

      And I think you’re desperate for attention and will do anything to get it.

      • Pete George 2.1.1

        Ok, back to bashing heads against brick walls of futile opposition.

        • ropata 2.1.1.1

          You mean your futile hair religion has bashed against the brick wall of inconvenient reality?

        • bbfloyd 2.1.1.2

          Why waste your time then little pete…… you’re just a figure of fun here now anyway…… nobody takes anything you say seriously…… for very good reason……

          Maybe the kiwiblog troll site would give your views a better reception……making sense isn’t regarded as necessary for good argument there…..

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        +1

        PG’s desperate for attention and also distraction from the problem – the government he supports.

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      “What would happen to power company values if there’s a breakthrough in solar collection? Energy storage? Micro generation? Superconduction?”

      Who cares? If the government owned them, the government’s assets might go from $5bn worth of power companies to $2.5bn of power companies. What exactly would have changed, except an accounting line item on a piece of paper in an accountants office?

      Now, if we sell them now when they’re worth $5bn and then bought them back when they were worth $2.5bn (because of said discovery), then we would have gained something. But that’s gambling.

    • AAMC 2.3

      So we should sell our renewable energy resources to invest in renewable energy.

      I’m totally with you on micro generation Pete, but why does that have to mean back peddling on the infrastructure we already posses.

      Cause of debt? We don’t have a public debt problem, we have a private debt problem. And to resolve that, the government needs to be downing to stimulate aggregate demand and employment so that in the fairyland future that involves a return o equilibrium we can pay down the debt when times get good.

      • darkhorse 2.3.1

        The marginal cost of operating a hydro-power station is virtually nil

        The future is a mix of dispersed microgeneration as growth at the margins – it is the most efficient way of building on our base of renewables and displacing carbon based generation.  Microgeneration at the point of consumption means that we can get far more gross benefit from our existing infrastructure.  It does not mean that hydro power is or ever will be a devaluing asset

        Renewable energy assets will not lose value – indeed they will follow the value of hydrocarbons as they are close substitutes – you can expect these assets our traitor of a prime minister is proposing to sell as the one safe bet – they will double in real value in the next ten years.  There is nothing else approaching them for long term value appreciation – these hydro-power stations are like a perpetually self renewing oil field – there is no other energy source that refills itself for free each night while you sleep – to sell them – and even worse to offer bribes to make people want to buy them is the work of someone who is working for interest other than those of this country and its citizens.  

        • Draco T Bastard 2.3.1.1

          …and even worse to offer bribes to make people want to buy them is the work of someone who is working for interest other than those of this country and its citizens.

          The more I think about it the more I think this government needs to be charged with treason. They are actively doing something that is damaging to the country and benefits only the rich and most likely foreigners. And they know it.

    • Colonial Viper 2.4

      We should be looking to the future for our energy needs anyway. Large scale power stations may become far less lucrative, so maybe we’re better off at least spreading the risk and selling off half.

      This is the dumbest non-sequitor filled sentence that I’ve read for a long time.

      It doesn’t even recognise that foreigners are lining up to buy the power assets BECAUSE they are low risk, high return investments.

      • Georgecom 2.4.1

        Another thing for Pete to consider is that power generation utilities are first and foremost national & social assets that are there to serve a social and economic need. They are to be primary profit generating businesses that carry a risk or need a risk to be spread. That they create a dividend to the state is by virtue of how electricity is priced. They need not operate on a surplus creation mentality and therefore need not carry any economic ‘risk’ that needs to be spread.

    • BLiP 2.5

      .

      Oh, sweet irony, most faithful maiden . . .

      I think we’re too obsessed . . . [snip drivel] . . . and distracted by politicking.

      . . . remind me, Pete, why do you persist in posting here, nothing to do with distraction and/or politicking, is it?

    • tc 2.6

      wah wah wah wah…..focus on the core issues Petey boy, I know it’s hard as the hypocracy required can make you ill but you’d be used to that by now.

      ‘Large scale power stations may become far less lucrative, so maybe we’re better off at least spreading the risk and selling off half.’ funny man, hydro power will always be lucrative and as for spreading risk by selling half so let’s follow that logic.

      Sell half a guaranteed ROI and assured power supply to invest in less reliable sources not yet constructed…..nurse !

  3. fatty 3

    “And imagine if the ~$6b was invested in power conservation projects.”

    I just imagined it…and it made things slightly more acceptable, but still a disaster.
    Now, back to reality…

  4. Dv 4

    PG
    >>Currently I won’t double glaze because the payback period is too long. It’s cheaper for me to pay for more power. With a little bit of incentive – or assisted investment – I could cut my power use easily.

    NOT to worry, that will sorted with the power price rises.

    • Yep, it could be. Coincedentally there’s an article in today’s ODT about solar already being economic with a 10 year payback period – as long as power can be sold to the grid.

      Asset sales jeopardise a positive energy future

      For perhaps the first time, it makes economic sense to generate my own electricity from sunlight, which could be great for the country and my bank account, but only if the Government resists the temptation to let power companies chase short-term economic gain instead of safeguarding the country’s wider interests.

      Today, I’m able to install a solar array on the roof of my home in Alexandra, and it would be more than enough to supply the 1kW of power that we need to get by. In fact, because Alexandra is so sunny, during the summer these panels would generate more electricity than we could use. In the winter, however, it would be the other way around: we would need to rely on outside sources.

      So, even with our solar installation, we would have to stay plugged into the national electricity grid to ensure our energy needs are always served.

      http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/opinion/213898/asset-sales-jeopardise-positive-energy-future

      • Shane Gallagher 4.1.1

        And precisely WHY would a privately owned power company want to do that? It reduces their income and causes them headaches with trying to manage the supply-side of the grid. If you try to regulate it then a private firm could take the govt to court using the TPPA or other free-trade deal to force money out of the state for lost earnings…

        • bbfloyd 4.1.1.1

          Seems like there are far too many really good reasons for keeping our power grid govt owned….and only one for selling it off, and losing control of it…..

          And that one only makes sense to those in a position to profit from it….. even if it will only be windfall profits…before the bailout has to occur as a result of the asset stripping that will follow the period of stagnation in infrastructure investment by the new owners…..

  5. ropata 5

    We will just add Mighty River Power to the long list of former State assets that have become a bonanza for the (overseas) 1 percenters … BNZ, Telecom, Contact, Manapouri, and huge tracts of land
    See the CAFCA site for a lot of research.

  6. Richard 6

    Your new columnist’s ramblings could do with thorough sub-editing.

    • BLiP 6.1

      .

      Thanks, Dick.

    • darkhorse 6.2

      grammar sacrificed for brevity – hoping for meaningful debate rather than nitpicking comment on grammar and structure – go for the ideas and build on them – which isn’t asking you to agree – only to engage

  7. Have you seen those high-powered water jets used by industry to cut steel?

    Could someone please put the hand of Darkhorse on a lever of power?

  8. Peter 8

    It would seem that the private sector have given up on generating economic growth through innovation and enterprise. Far easier to make a quick buck selling off what is not yours to sell. If nothing else the Nats have spent the last four years supposedly supporting the private sector to grow the economy, yet we have had increasing levels of private foreign debt and diminished ability to pay our way internationally.

    At least they will look busy, and effective in the eyes of many, despite even more profits eventually heading overseas.

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