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Farrar: Ironically being political and shallow

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, September 4th, 2011 - 66 comments
Categories: assets, business, dpf, privatisation, spin - Tags:

Been reading David Farrar’s column in the Herald yesterday “Asset sales – what’s the political cost?“. I’d say that his opinion is exactly what I’d expect from someone who spends their time at the political trough theorizing about business rather than doing it. Rather than look at the potential costs to the businesses and therefore downstream for the country he prefers just to look at politics.

Sadly this focus on the politics is kind of excusable in his case – he doesn’t know any better. As far as I can see, Davids experience has never been to operate a business operating fully in the private sector. He has been a staffer around parliament followed by running a polling company (whose major business appears to be the private polling for the National party) and political blogger and now seems to be morphing into the voice of National in the media.

Outside of the political blogging my working life provides quite a different viewpoint. I have been worked in private industry in NZ throughout my working life. Over the last few decades this has been for tech companies exporting offshore. I’ve helped form and grow several companies. I even went back to university to pick up a MBA to give myself better tools for the task of being better at business.

But the difference between David’s theoretical approach and mine can best be summed up in his spin..

With $220 billion of existing assets, the proposed sales by National represent around 2% of the Government’s total assets. It’s hardly a closing down sale.

Indeed. However that completely misses the point about why the government built and holds those types of assets.

The government origionally built these strategic assets because private industry wouldn’t put in the required capital and they were natural monopolies providing services to other companies and individuals. As a country we had to have them to grow. With its ability to raise capital cheaply and a set of objectives that operate over a longer term than profits during the next managerial tenure, the government was in a position to build strategic services.

Why were they strategic? Lets emphasize that again. Other businesses required the services provided to be able to build their businesses. Without the underpinning of reliable services businesses would spend much of their time in crisis mode dealing with outages in services rather than focusing on their own operations, markets and customers.

Take an example of the electricity supply for Auckland businesses. In 1998, I was in the Auckland CBD when we had 5 weeks of rolling power blackouts.

Queen Street was almost deserted for the first few days, as few businesses could operate. Some brought goods out onto the street to sell, but heavy rain in the first week made that impractical. Generators were brought in from around the country to power essential services and some businesses. These made Queen Street a very noisy place and thus deterred customers. Some businesses estimated that the outage cost them at least NZ$60,000 per week.

Now this type of outage isn’t an uncommon in some countries that I have visited. The cause was an organisation that had simply let their  maintenance and capacity growth slip. This is the common theme through the power outages in Auckland in 1998, 2006, and 2009 from one part of the electrical supply system of another.

In each of these, I have been one of the dozens of people standing around drawing wages and costing the company I was working for. I often have been the person worrying about being unable to do business, finding out how robust our organisations infrastructure is and keeping an eye on the deadlines. Needless to say, those business affected are unable to recover their losses directly from the power company. And those costs are enormous across the areas affected.

Sure it is nice for a business if it can get its basic services provided at a lower cost – not that has been a notable feature of privatization. But the costs in not having reliable services are almost invariably far higher than the potential savings. It simply doesn’t matter to me in a business if I have dozens of possible providers of retail services saving a few dollars a week when a single failure in their suppliers can waste all of the other costs for a day or weeks. This is the case if I am powering the company, sending/receiving offshore data over our limited cable infrastructure, getting critical parts or sending product/people through Auckland’s sole international airport, or looking at the air-freight capacity.

People in other markets will be interested in different services, but when thinking strategically will be more concerned with reliability of the services that they depend on than David’s interest in political costs.

David (and for that matter Bill English) do not seem to get this. They concentrate on irrelevant spin that carefully misses all of the crucial factors that businesses worry about. For instance David says…

It is literally impossible for a foreign company to take control. In fact it will be impossible for a foreign company to have a share-holding in excess of 10 per cent.

Perhaps David should look at where the effective control lies in most listed companies. It is frequently exerted by minority shareholders because many investors are as passive as Bill English seems to think that the government should be. Generally companies and investors in other companies form formal or informal working alliances with others to achieve their common objectives. Quite simply this is a rather pathetic meaningless political figleaf.

David’s ‘economic’ factors are kind of hilarious in their narrow political and non-strategic focus.

Not every private company is better performing than every public company. But overall, the evidence is that private ownership does lead to better performing companies. This is of course a key difference in ideology between the left and the right.

Of course the question that David very carefully leaves out is for whom to those private companies perform better for? Their shareholders or for the country as a whole?

We’re now decades into the political privatization of strategic assets. But what is clear is that shifting the number of retailers in the electricity sector doesn’t provide the security of supply that other businesses want in this country. We are running so close to the boundaries of the supply vs demand that an earthquake in the wrong place could give us the power shortages that currently afflict Japan. The history of privatizing telecommunications is replete with examples of price gouging by natural monopolies with minimal and slow upgrades in capacities. We have the example of NZ Rail where private owners stripped profit by allowing the strategic infrastructure required by many businesses to deteriorate.

This is why kiwis and especially kiwi businesses are skeptical about privatization of utilities. It seems to largely benefit the shareholders more than the country. Perhaps if we put a considerable duty and cost on the shareholders for not providing reliable services? But that really seems to defeat the rationale for privatizing in the first place if you have to regulate them so tightly. Not to mention it will probably be about as effectively enforceable as National’s figleaf ownership caps (which probably violate a number of our free trade obligations).

A strong secondary reason is the desire to give New Zealanders some more reliable investment options than finance companies.

Which really begs the question about why NZ companies do not list on the NZ stock exchange? And why many investors including myself avoid it. Despite the amounts of money invested around NZ, only a minuscule fraction is available from the stock exchange.

The investment climate in NZ is completely biased towards investing directly into property privately where there is no tax on capital gains. Much of the investment money in the stock market prior to the crash went into finance companies was because they were about the only stocks with more attractive rates of return than speculating on house prices. To achieve those returns they were clearly running their businesses with unacceptable and concealed risk levels.

How is having a few low return utility companies bulking out the stock exchange going to magically change that? The structural problem at the heart of investment in NZ needs to be addressed and this type of pallidness is simply political fluff that governments do when they don’t wish to face the hard and important issues.

A tertiary factor or reason is lowering the amount the Government will need to borrow. The total amount reduced is not huge, but it does send a signal to rating agencies that the Government is serious about keeping gross debt from exceeding a certain level.

He is right about how little it will raise. He is wrong about how rating agencies will read it. Rating agencies look at the longer term rather than the short term. They can read a balance sheet. The reason why these assets are highly salable is because they are profitable. The government currently demands a very high dividend from many of the organizations and the loss of part of that dividend will affect their ongoing fiscal position far more badly than keeping them. Not to mention that it isn’t that likely that the other shareholders will be as interested as the government is in high dividend payments. The loss of revenue to the crown is what the rating agencies are more likely will look at, because over time it increases the risk of lending to the government.

In short, the current round of privatization proposals by National and their mouthpiece has been notable for not making a case for doing it on any basis that would quell the alarm that many businesses will feel. Rather they appear to be more interested in laying political spin with their reasons concealing a bad case of ideological stupidity

66 comments on “Farrar: Ironically being political and shallow”

  1. crashcart 1

    I read his Party Political Ad in the Herald yesterday and wondered why it didn’t have a authorised by statement at the end. It was so one sided and politically biased the stupid reference to his National links didn’t caver it in my opinion.

    What was good to see was how few people in the comments section bought his spin. They really tore in to him.

  2. Rijab 2

    How can our mainstream media let such poorly constructed & blatant propaganda be given such a platform?

    David may be an intelligent and able commentator at times, but he is being downright disingenuous with this asset sales vomit. Well done LPrent for a sound retort. If David reads this he’ll be doing so with a red face, as I’m sure he already has from reading the comments on his nzherald article.

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    You left out the bit where his weekly columns are probably ghost written by Bill English or his tax payer funded staff.

  4. fabregas4 4

    It was great to see how many readers saw this tripe for what it is. Assets sales are the game changer come November.

  5. logie97 5

    Did you have to include his photo with this article. Ahhhhhhhhhhh …….?

    • lprent 5.1

      Well in my posts I try to leave at least one good feature of whomever I am roasting at the time*. That was his. 😈

      * you ever notice how I have to be annoyed at someone before I write a post?

    • HC 5.2

      logie97 – This photo of David does not get out of my mind now. Since you mentioned this, I have seen some old documentaries, reports and photos of some of the leaders, key persons and supporters of that party that ruled Germany and later Austria and large parts of Europe between 1933 and 1945.

      The face on the photo above strongly resembles the face and features of a person belonging to that party. All that is missing is a military hat, a uniform and certain emblems symbolising the membership to that party.

      It may sound offensive, but this is real. I am reminded of such a personality, who strongly resembles the person in the photo above. Is this a co-incidence, or can conclusions be drawn from features being very similar- also meaning that mentality, conviction and psyche must be very similar?

      Just a thought in passing.

  6. RedLogix 6

    I’ve long argued that the crucial test of privatisation can be determined from this simple question, “What would happen if it failed?”.

    Now that failure can be technical or commercial, it doesn’t really matter which… but if the answer is that the government would be politically compelled for whatever reason to bail the entity out… then it should never have been privatised in the first place.

  7. Good comment lprent.
     
    The debate about privatisation drives me to distraction.  It is only going to be partial and the Government will retain a majority stake the right continusly chant.
     
    Associated with this is the “protection” that a single foreign entity will own no more than 10% of the chare holding.
     
    This all ignores the basic problem that when you corportise and list a crown entity you change it irrevocably.
     
    For instance once you hand governance over to a board of directors they are obliged to have the dollar signs in the middle of their sights when they make decisions.  If burning coal is better than developing geothermal then so be it.
     
    A classic example of the problem occurred with Air New Zealand a few years ago when the announced the shut down of the Christchurch Maintenance base.  The EPMU lobbied Cullen as owner of 83% of the shares to reverse the decision.  His response was that he could not interfere because of the minority shareholding.
     
    The tories know this but continue with the spin or lies (however you are feeling) that fundamental change will not occur.  It is guaranteed to occur.  NZ don’t go there …

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      The minority shareholding will allow a full takeover.
      Thats the real idea behind privatising by stealth.
      After the election we will hear that ‘there are too many power companies’ .
      Then Contact will push to takeover one of the newly listed companies with a starting point of 10%, they will line up say 2 others who magically have 10% each- this gives 30% as the prelude for a full takeover.
      English and Key will say their hands are tied because of the benefit for the 49% private owners- voila the lot is gone before you can say – I told you so

  8. ropata 8

    Farrar is astute to focus only on public perceptions and his party’s image.
    John KY is the pied piper leading voters to fairyland on trail of pixie dust.

    How boring of Labour to talk about reality and the social & fiscal impact of destroying our asset base!

    “Asset Sales: What’s the political cost?”
    DPF never asks what is the long term cost to NZ businesses, government revenues, or private citizens

  9. randal 9

    National is supposed to be the party of business but Farrar and the party have never created one business since the election. All they have done is leeched off the real producers and hidden their depredations behind a wall of poisonous vacuous nonsense.
    And the fact is that they couldn’t run a business if they tried.

    • Bob Stanforth 9.1

      Why would a political party create a business? Why would we want them to?

      And just as there are successful business people in National, there are in the other parties as well.

      Or was your comment just a meaningless spiteful rant?

      • joe90 9.1.1

        Why would a political party create a business?

        Why bother even creating businesses when you can steal them off the taxpayers who created them.

        * In December 1986, all of the top 10 companies originated in the private sector and had a total sharemarket value of $20,712 million.

        * Thirteen years later seven of the 10 companies started in the private sector and had a market value of $13,044 million.

        * Today, only four of the top 10 have a private sector background and their sharemarket capitalisation is just $10,866 million.

        Where have New Zealand’s private sector entrepreneurs disappeared to?

        • pollywog 9.1.1.1

          Where have New Zealand’s private sector entrepreneurs disappeared to?

          …they all became slumlords and live overseas for 9 months of the year.

          • Bob Stanforth 9.1.1.1.1

            Actually, I think you’d be surprised that that isnt the truth. I sold my IT consulting business a while back. Ive since started two more companies, both profitable, one web based, the other niche consulting, the latter that Im about to sell.

            The web based one I will sell probably within 10 years. Most of the people I work with and for are self employed, building businesses here in NZ. One of my friends just sold his to an American company for a significant sum of money.

            The vast majority of employed NZ’ers work for small companies, privately held organisations, some like mine. And thats part of the reason why sharemarket valuations to me are meaningless – the role of large organisations is changing, which is seeing the rise of small fast moving niche players.

            I will be 50 in a few years, and will work part time on and in my businesses for a few years yet. Its fun, and I love the people I employ and work with. And everywhere I look I see more of that happening. The rise of NZ’s small company continues.

      • ropata 9.1.2

        I seem to recall a recent post on this site where the author looked at the backgound of the MPs, and Labour clearly had the majority of self-employed or small business owners. NACToids are pinstriped corporate ladder climbers not business creators.

        • Bored 9.1.2.1

          Very prescient comment, the bit which really fekks me off about corporate business types is that they would not know business if they tripped over it: most are private sector beaurocrats pretending to be “capitalists”. The vast majority are merely wage slaves, going by the Marxist definition of relationship to production they are not even petit bourgeois…mere non owning functionaries..(lick spittle running dog roaders to use Maoist Chinese lingo).

          Labour needs to reconnect to the working man, a huge proportion of whom are self employed working for rates that the corporates will pressure mercilessly as the focus goes onto costs.

        • mik e 9.1.2.2

          More theocrates reformed school teachers failed farmers leaders nut jobs that kill the jobs

      • Ianupnorth 9.1.3

        Bob, I commend you for being the only right sided person to actually comment; whenever there is a post that is critical, truthful and presents an accurate reality, those on the right are nowhere to be seen – you mate, broke this tradition, so kudos where it is due.
         
        It still remains that it is stupid to sell off profitable companies, thus removing the profits from treasury.

        • Bob Stanforth 9.1.3.1

          Thanks Ian – I dont believe in mindless support of anything, even my kids 🙂

          Im not sold on the asset programme, but Im holding judgement until I see what rules will be in place around ownership and transferability of that. It makes sense to me to sell a minority stakeholding off to NZ investors, especially KS investors, as our market is tiny. But lets keep as much of it here in our hands as possible. And lets have a reasoned and reasonable debate about it, not descend immediately in to name calling because someone doesnt toe the company line. None of this directed at you BTW.

          But again, thanks, and likewise 🙂

          • mik e 9.1.3.1.1

            Bob Stanforth would you sell your best performing assets or shares . You wouldn’t unless you were bankrupt. This govt isn’t quite bankrupt yet but if we selling of our cash generating assets like the power companies we will be bankrupt and we will have to sell the rest of if we have another crisis it will happen. The returns from these high performing assets will help pay down this debt in eight years . These mates of yours in the National party won’t be around in{8years] parliament to take the blame for such a stupid mistake tell them that.The 4 pwer companies +solid energy have had increases in profit up to 50% this year its dumb dumb and dumber to sell these assets .if you say you are good at business you would see plain sense and stand for whats right.And not bob duck and weave like yopu political masters.

      • lprent 9.1.4

        Umm I retract part of this. I see Bob’s response was to randal and not me… The joys of replying whilst moderating is you don’t see context.

        Umm Bob, did you read the post? What I said was that the government created these companies originally for a specific reason. They were needed to support other businesses and no-one was willing front up with the capital to put them into place.

        But you do appear to be profoundly ignorant about the business history of this country. Perhaps you should look at the origins of the largest companies actually listed on our exchange. You will find that most of them started as government created organisations (telecom and all the power companies for instance) or were set up after a government prototype/study (NZ Steel comes to mind) or developed their size with the tacit semi-monopolistic support of the government (Fletchers comes to mind).

        What does get set up by private enterprise in NZ are the smaller companies like the ones I work in. Starved of investment capital we usually wind up selling equity off directly to overseas buyers because the local exchange cannot fund anything apart from a asset strip on a privatized government property. Now does that sound like a dynamic free market to you?

        There are a number of business people in National. However apart from farmers there are very few people in National who have ever even worked in a export based industry. It has always been notable to me that most of the business experience in National have been suppliers to the local retail markets or parasitic asset strippers. Exporters live in the free market competing worldwide. We know exactly what free markets look like because we deal with them all of the time. The businesses that National seems to want to support are not what what I’d call particularly free market.

        • Bob Stanforth 9.1.4.1

          Sometimes, just sometimes its not about you Lyn. Keep your insults to yourself you arse – I wasnt commenting about your post, it was a very good and reasoned post, BTW. I was commenting about the mindless spit laden rant. Even a newbie web twat could see that.

          Feel free to throw observations into your comments, but dont expect me to agree with them – they arent factual, just as mine arent. But dont bother with the insults just because I dont start with a slavish approval of your post. Try debate, not insult, and you will get reasoned and considered debate back.

          • ropata 9.1.4.1.1

            I agree that your comments aren’t factual Bob, if anything you’re the one losing the plot and throwing insults about. Is it your business model to build up a small company then flog it to a foreign corporation?

            One of my old mates from engineering school has a small company making a certain device and has had $$$ multi million buyout offers from Aussie but he prefers to keep the jobs and skills local.

            My father spent 40 years building up his smallish company in south Auckland employing 30-40 guys then when he retired the other directors sold out to a big firm who ended up shutting the place down.

            This story has been repeated large and small across NZ for decades, no wonder we are in the crapper

            • Bob Stanforth 9.1.4.1.1.1

              Actually, you couldn’t be further from the truth, yet again showing that when you make an assumption, you stick your head up your arse. 🙂

              My IT consulting firm was sold to the people I employed, and I still own a 30% share in their success. The company grew from 10 to now 25.

              The insult was directed at Lyn, who had decided to take an ill-conceived thrust at me, and ended up making himself look like an idiot. You started the queue by the looks of it.

              So, try this, will use simple words. Hows about debate instead of assumption driven stupidity? Go on, try it. 🙂

              • ropata

                I was debating, you had earlier claimed that “the rise of NZ’s small company continues”, which I think is true only for a minority, but in other significant sectors of the economy the decline is dramatic.

                Decline and fall of Kiwi private enterprise

                • Bob Stanforth

                  And nothing you stated or quoted applies to small companies, even slightly.

                  • ropata

                    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/business/5161079

                    Receiverships this year are more than 200% up on five years ago, and the total number of business failures have yet to taper off …

                    NZ Shareholders Association chairman Bruce Sheppard : “it’s pretty bloody ugly out there” …

                    Business NZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly : “A lot of the companies that were marginal after the financial crisis have gone and we’re now talking about the survivors. But we’ve still got a weak internal economy, so we are seeing even some of the strongest cashflow businesses struggling.”

                  • ropata

                    Sometimes it’s hard to get the facts from underneath all the good-news government spin, there’s usually a couple of upbeat pro-National articles per day in the business pages, but remember who owns our major news outlets

  10. alex 10

    Stunning post, articulate, detailed, clear and accurate. Exactly what the National Party’s asset sales spin isn’t.

  11. prism 11

    @ropata – I think you might have a valuable familiar image with the idea that Jokey Hen is a pied piper leading the innocent to oblivion. Without saying so there is the recall that he was a ratcatcher who stole the citizens’ taonga from them. That piedpiper term could be used as a constant up to November and be effective. Who needs Crosby-Textor when there are you and me!

    • ropata 11.1

      Thanks, the Pied Piper story seems apt, especially the part where the future of a community is taken away.
      Marketing isn’t a strong point of mine, I can’t stomach the illusory world of crosby textor marketing shite.

      (I’m an IT analyst in my day job and have to deal with marketing types on occasion, they are all about glamour and image and positive thinking, whereas I am pretty much the opposite, I have to measure *actual* outcomes and be a bit paranoid)

  12. prism 12

    @lprent – Very well stated blog. No doubt about it having one’s own money and efforts put at risk in a business or personal project definitely gets the antenna twisting and sharpens the coping techniques.

  13. Dude’s pissing in the wind. Ain’t NO WAY middle to lower NZ is gonna go for asset sales.

    On a side note, it’s not racist, but what do you call it when you have a dislike of short, pudgy, right wing bald guys with glasses ?

    I bet Farrar wears ill fitting suits, doesn’t tie his laces and has small hands as well…ewwwwww 🙂

    • felix 13.1

      “On a side note, it’s not racist, but what do you call it when you have a dislike of short, pudgy, right wing bald guys with glasses ?”

      I believe the term you’re looking for is “sentient”.

    • vto 13.3

      Simple mr polly. It is called racism by another name.

      And it is just as bad. Shame.

      • prism 13.3.1

        @vto You’re so pure and good.

      • felix 13.3.2

        Short, pudgy, right wing bald guys with glasses are a “race” now v?

        Jeez.

        • Deadly_NZ 13.3.2.1

          In his case I’d call him the Poison Dwarf…

        • vto 13.3.2.2

          messers felix and prism, on further deliberation and consideration you’re right. Let’s get ’em!

          Stupid useless fuckers that they are. Bloody no good, always getting thrown in jail and arrested. I blame it on the red-headed colonists, they just let people get away with everything … and they bloody steal everything. Just see what lprent says in this very post. He’s onto it. bloody looters the lot of ’em. Yeah, I’m voting Winston.

          • prism 13.3.2.2.1

            @vto – Vote for Winston seems a good idea for you. He gets all heated about matters too but delivers his lines with less swear words and he has so much aplomb and generally adds some style to the rest of the scrum in parliament. I hope he gets enough votes to put in an appearance.

          • marty mars 13.3.2.2.2

            I don’t agree with your incitement to get “short, pudgy, right wing bald guys with glasses” – to get everyone all worked up may cause riots and frankly, they are not ‘bloody no good’ or ‘always getting thrown in jail and arrested’ – I would imagine they are underrepresented in those institutions. Please give even further deliberation and consideration vto. 🙂

          • ropata 13.3.2.2.3

            Incidentally the middle aged whilte male in a position of trust seems to be the leading demographic for white collar crime, so vto’s sarcastic comments about looting and getting away had an accidental element of truth.

      • ropata 13.3.3

        Are Munchkins a separate race now? 🙂

  14. HC 14

    Indeed I have started to enjoy David Fartars weekly Herald pieces, because they are often so easy to dissect and expose. Also looking at the response views they are mostly very negative about him and his views. He hardly ever delivers reliable facts, distracts from the truth and tries to be an expert at misinforming people to achieve re-enforcing negative bias towards the left and more centrist positions others hold.

    And you are right. A person like him does not display much real life business or other expertise.

    A wannabe Spinmeister who tries to make this his career.

    • tc 14.1

      In a real unbiased paper, there would be a matching article by someone from the other side of the political spectrum for readers to compare whereas our only daily national paper continues to provide a NACT soapbox….comments are one thing but full and fair debate….not in granny herald.

      The absence of the usual sideshow John fan club members on this post comes as no surprise…nailed lprent, also the cost to the eventual users with generators adding profit to satisfy greedy minority shareholders cascading through the grid operator, then the lines businesses and finally the retailers, each having a higher input cost plus their margin to shareholders.

      Probably making a buck at the generator end become 2-3 bucks when the consumer eventually cops the ticket clipping at each layer.

      • Anne 14.1.1

        In a real unbiased paper, there would be a matching article by someone from the other side of the political spectrum for readers to compare

        Yes, and the obvious choice would be Gordon Campbell from Scoop. The trouble is, Campbell’s intelligent, rational and well informed commentary would show up Farrar for the half-baked Nat Party hack that he is.

    • Deadly_NZ 14.2

      I prefer to read the comments he always seems to get slammed in them.

  15. Tangled up in blue 15

    Farrar is a good example of why people should support policy on a case by case issue rather than being partisan. He’s invested so much of his life into bagging Labour, that even when it’s clearly evident that Labour’s policy around asset sales is more beneficial for New Zealanders; he is forced to suppress the miniscule amount of political impartiality he had and advocate a position he knows very well will only benefit private shareholders.

    Shame on his dishonesty.

  16. randal 16

    why should a government create ‘new business’?
    well bob stanforth that was nationals political plank, their manifesto if you will.
    and their stuffed little popinjay hootin said they would create 170,000 jobs.
    so if they are not there mto create new business what are they there for?
    or is that mean and spiteful in your book.
    is asking for the truth too hard for you?

  17. randal 17

    oh and if they are not there to create new business then why are they selling old businesses that belong to the people and not to them?
    or does that truth hurt too?

  18. logie97 18

    The NACT meme has always been that government should not be in business – that private runs things better than government. So what is the advantage of selling only 49 pcnt into private hands? Is it just for a guaranteed income for investors with no risk, and a chance to recoup losses for those who have got burnt by so many failed private sector run industries/institutions.

  19. MikeG 19

    Farrar has also avoided any mention of the revenue that the assets generate – my guess (and I’m too lazy to do the research) is that the assets they are selling provide a reasonable percentage of the non-tax revenue that the Government gets.

    The Govt may only be selling selling 2% of the total assets, but what % is that of the revenue generating assets, i.e. excluding schools, hospitals, roads… ?

  20. jingyang 20

    Lprent, You may a very good case using many rational, strategic, business and financial arguments against Farrar’s political arguments, however, since it is clear that the Nats’ reasons for selling are entirely political (ie; to please their backers) then you are really pissing up against a wall in terms of changing the government’s mind.
    Where this post IS effective is that it helps to make the debate political as readers start looking closely at what the Nats are really up to. Hopefully by November the political cost of the privisation policy will to be too much for the Nats to bear.

  21. Tangled up in blue 21

    Dude’s pissing in the wind. Ain’t NO WAY middle to lower NZ is gonna go for asset sales.

    It’s seems that a lot of this ‘middle to lower ‘group against asset sales still intend to vote for National.

    But what exactly are they gaining at the expense of asset sales?

    • Anne 21.1

      They think they’re going to continue to ‘feel good’ no matter what happens coz John Key says they will, and if they don’t John Key says it’s all Labour’s fault and they believe him.

    • pollywog 21.2

      It’s seems that a lot of this ‘middle to lower ‘group against asset sales still intend to vote for National.

      i think your lot are in for a short sharp shock if they make asset sales the cornerstone of their campaign strategy…

      …just like the backdown on mining conservation land in the face of massive protest and demonstrations, there is no way Key will get a green light from the average kiwi battler to sell off our state silverware

      once it’s exposed that that’s pretty much all the Nat’s have as their plan for economic salvation they’ll be gone come November.

      it’s gonna be hella fun watching Key get pwned in the leaders debates. That pained spoilt brat look he pulls when he’s flustered is priceless…

    • mik e 21.3

      More debt longer to pay it off cult worshipers don’t need reasons they just follow their leaders no matter how painful the journey, thats why all these finance companies were able to take so much money of so many people, just smile nicely and he’s such a nice man I gave him all my retirement funds.

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  • Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April
    Benefit settings rise in line with wages as of 1 April   Main benefits will increase by over 3 percent, instead of 1.66 percent, on 1 April with the Government’s decision to annually adjust benefit rates to increases in the average wage. The Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, said ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Foreign and Trade Ministers to lead business delegation to India
    Strengthening New Zealand’s political and business ties with India will be the focus of Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters’ and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker’s visit to India this week. The Ministers are co-leading a high level business delegation to India to support increased people and economic engagement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Minister champions more Pacific in STEM – Toloa Awards
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio continues to champion for greater Pacific participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers with the announcement of the Toloa Awards, with 8 recipients of the Toloa Community Fund and 13 Toloa Tertiary Scholarships. “The Toloa Programme encourages more Pacific peoples ...
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    8 hours ago
  • Submission period for whitebait consultation extended
    Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has extended the date for people to have their say on proposed changes to improve management of whitebait across New Zealand.   Submissions were due to close on 2 March 2020 but will now remain open until 9am on Monday 16 March 2020.   “I have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New international protection for frequent fliers
    The endangered toroa/Antipodean albatross has new international protection for its 100,000km annual migration, thanks to collaborative efforts led by New Zealand, Australia and Chile.   Today, 130 countries agreed to strictly protect Antipodean albatross at the Conference of Parties on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild ...
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    1 day ago
  • Government to regulate vaping
      No sales to under-18-year-olds No advertising and sponsorship of vaping products and e-cigarettes No vaping or smokeless tobacco in smokefree areas Regulates vaping product safety comprehensively, - including devices, flavours and ingredients Ensure vaping products are available for those who want to quit smoking   Vaping regulation that balances ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Justice Minister represents New Zealand at Berlin nuclear disarmament summit
    Justice Minister Andrew Little will travel to Berlin tomorrow to represent New Zealand at a high-level summit on nuclear disarmament. This year, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) celebrates 50 years since it entered into force. “New Zealand’s proud record and leadership on nuclear disarmament is unwavering, so it’s important we are present ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister to visit Fiji and Australia
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit two of New Zealand’s most important Pacific partners, Fiji and Australia, next week. The visit to Fiji will be the first by a New Zealand Prime Minister in four years and comes during the 50th anniversary of Fijian independence and diplomatic relations between our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Next steps in Criminal Cases Review Commission announced
    Justice Minister Andrew Little and New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball, have today announced the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the location, and the membership of the Establishment Advisory Group. Colin Carruthers QC has been appointed Chief Commissioner of the CCRC for an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Horticultural Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced
    Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Agriculture Minister Hon Damien O’Connor co-announced the first horticultural finalists for the Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrating excellence in the Māori agricultural sector.  The three finalists are Ngai Tukairangi Trust from Mt Maunganui, Otama Marere Trust from Tauranga, and Hineora Orchard Te Kaha 15B Ahuwhenua ...
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    3 days ago
  • New support for students with dyslexia
    A new kete of resources to strengthen support for students with dyslexia will provide extra tools for the new Learning Support Coordinators (LSCs) as they start in schools, Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Minister launched the kete in Wellington this morning, at the first of three induction ...
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    3 days ago
  • Rental reforms progress to select committee stage
    The Government continues to make progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the First Reading of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill and its referral to the Social Services and Community Select Committee.  “Now is the opportunity for landlords, tenants and others who want ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Papua New Guinea Prime Minister to visit New Zealand
    Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Hon James Marape will visit New Zealand from 21-25 February, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “New Zealand and Papua New Guinea have a warm and friendly relationship. I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Marape here and strengthening the relationship between our two countries,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Free school lunches served up to thousands
    Thousands of children have begun receiving a free lunch on every day of the school week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The Government’s free and healthy school lunch programme is under way for 7,000 students at 31 schools in Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti and Bay of Plenty / Waiariki, extending ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Social Wellbeing Agency replaces Social Investment Agency with new approach
    The Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni today announced a new approach that continues to broaden the Government’s social sector focus from a narrow, investment approach to one centred on people and wellbeing. Minister Sepuloni said redefining the previous approach to social investment by combining science, data and lived experience ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government to strengthen protections for whistleblowers
    The Government is strengthening the Protected Disclosures Act to provide better protection for whistle blowers, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today. “The Protected Disclosures Act is meant to encourage people to speak up about serious wrongdoing in the workplace and protect them from losing their jobs or being ...
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    4 days ago
  • PM speech at Parliamentary Chinese New Year celebration 2020
    Nǐn hǎo (Hello in Mandarin). Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (Happy New Year in Mandarin) Néi Hóu (Hello in Cantonese). Sun Nin Fai Lok (Happy New Year in Cantonese) Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Thank you for your invitation to attend this celebration today. I would like to acknowledge ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 2020 IPANZ Annual Address
    Kia ora. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa. Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Pāremata. E ngā mana whenua ki tēnei rohe Taranaki Whānui, Te Upoko o Te Ika, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa – kei te mihi, kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E ngā mana, e ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tougher penalties for gun crime a step closer
    Tougher penalties for gun crime are a step closer with the passage of firearms reform legislation through another stage in Parliament. The Arms Legislation Bill has tonight passed its Second Reading. “The changes have one objective - to prevent firearms falling into the wrong hands,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Arms Legislation Bill: Second Reading
    Introduction Mr Speaker We all know why we are here today. It has been a long journey. The journey did not actually begin on 15 March 2019. It began on 30 June 1997. Almost 23 years ago, Justice Sir Thomas Thorp told us what was wrong with our firearms legislation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New era for vocational education
    The Government’s work to put trades and vocational education back on the agenda took another major step forward today with the passing of the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is a watershed day for trades and vocational education. These law changes formalise ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bill to Amend the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act
    Speeding up the return of Christchurch regeneration activities to local leadership is behind the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament today by Minister Megan Woods. “As we approach nine years since the February 2011 earthquake in Canterbury, and with the transition to local leadership well underway, the time ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Milford Track to partly reopen after storm damage
    Hundreds of New Zealanders and international visitors will be able to get back out into nature with the Milford Track partially reopening next week, after extensive assessments and repairs, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The popular Great Walk has been closed since 3 February after an extreme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government drives low-emissions transport momentum
    Up to 110 new EV chargers nationwide in cities and regions 50 electric vehicles for ride-sharing The Government is helping deliver more infrastructure and options for low emissions transport through new projects, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods says. Tauranga, Nelson, Levin, New Plymouth and Oamaru are just some ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Kiwis better off under Coalition Government
    New Zealanders are increasingly better off under this Government as wages rise and families have more disposable income, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. Stats NZ reported today that average household disposable incomes after housing costs rose 4.9% in 2019. This was the highest rise in four years and came as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Another step towards restoring rights for screen production workers
    All New Zealanders need to have their voices heard at work to ensure we have an inclusive and productive economy. Today we introduce a Bill to do this for workers in the New Zealand screen industry, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Screen Industry Workers Bill will ...
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    6 days ago
  • Enhanced Taskforce Green for Southland and South Otago
    The Government has announced further help for the Southland and Otago regions to speed up recovery efforts from the floods.  “I’ve approved Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG), making $500,000 available to help with the clean-up in Fiordland, Southland, and the Clutha district in Otago,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Employers and Industry take the lead to connect students to vocational education
    Following the announcement that more than 340 schools will be funded to run events promoting vocational education, the Government has announced it will fund a further 257 events to be run by employers and industry. “These industry-run events will allow more than 30,000 students to connect with more than 2,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Rental reforms a step closer with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill
    Today the Government is making progress on a fairer and more secure rental market for renters and landlords with the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill in Parliament.  “This Bill includes a series of reforms to improve the wellbeing of the 609,700 households that live in rented homes, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity Minister announces world first eradication of pea weevil
    A Government programme to wipe out pea weevil has achieved a world first, with Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor today announcing the successful eradication of the noxious pest from Wairarapa. This means the nearly four-year ban on pea plants and pea straw was lifted today. Commercial and home gardeners can again grow ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for Southland flooding
    Southland residents hit by flooding caused by heavy rainfall can now access help finding temporary accommodation with the Government activating the Temporary Accommodation Service, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare announced today. “The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help ...
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    1 week ago
  • Bridges: Over-hyped and under-delivered
    “Is that it?” That’s Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s response to Simon Bridges’ much-hyped economic speech today. “Simon Bridges just gave the most over-hyped and under-delivered speech that I can remember during my time in politics,” Grant Robertson said. “It’s not surprising. Simon Bridges literally said on the radio this morning ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police to trial eye in the sky in Christchurch
    A trial deployment of the Police Eagle helicopter in Christchurch will test whether the aircraft would make a significant difference to crime prevention and community safety. “The Bell 429 helicopter will be based in Christchurch for five weeks, from 17 February to 20 March,” said Police Minister Stuart Nash. “The ...
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    1 week ago
  • Momentum of trade talks continues with visits to promote Pacific and Middle East links
    The Government has kept up the pace of its work to promote New Zealand’s trade interests and diversify our export markets, with visits to Fiji and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker. Building momentum to bring the PACER Plus trade and development agreement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Coalition Govt’s investment in Customs nets record drugs haul: 3 tonnes stopped at borders in 2019
    The Coalition Government’s investment in a strong border and disrupting transnational organised crime produced record results for stopping drugs in 2019, says Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa. The illegal drugs were seized at the New Zealand border by Customs, and overseas by Customs’ international border partners before the drugs could ...
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    1 week ago
  • Separated scenic cycleway starts
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today kicked off construction of a separated cycleway alongside Tamaki Drive. A two-way separated cycleway will be built along the northern side of Tamaki Drive, between the Quay Street Cycleway extension and Ngapipi Road. There will be a separate walking path alongside. Phil Twyford said giving ...
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    1 week ago
  • Earthquake-Prone Building loan scheme: eligibility criteria announced
    Owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings will have certainty about the financial support they’ll be eligible for with the release of criteria for an upcoming assistance scheme, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing ...
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    1 week ago
  • Travel restrictions to remain in place as coronavirus precaution
    Temporary restrictions on travel from China will remain in place as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The restrictions which prevent foreign nationals travelling from, or transiting through, mainland China from entering New Zealand have been extended for a further 8 days. This position ...
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    1 week ago
  • Over $1 million to help Tairāwhiti youth into employment
    Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today that Tairāwhiti rangatahi will benefit from an investment made by the Government’s He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) scheme. The funding will go to the Tautua Village, Kauneke programme and the Matapuna Supported Employment Programme which will fund 120 rangatahi over two years. “Both programmes work ...
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    1 week ago