Five days to Save our Assets

Written By: - Date published: 6:42 am, November 21st, 2011 - 151 comments
Categories: economy, labour, phil goff - Tags:

Phil Goff said yesterday at Labour’s big rally that we had “Six days to save our assets” – now we have 5.

There’s a great letter to the editor in this week’s Listener (not online) by Tim Hazeldine, Auckland University’s Professor of Economics that succinctly puts National’s case for Asset Sales in the bin.  I’d like to quote it in full:

Your editorial puff for the proposed asset sales (November 19) reveals absolutely zero understanding of why the policy is so deeply unpopular with the public – and with many economists and business commentators.

These are not financial investments to be sold off to adjust an over-reliance on energy assets in the Government’s “portfolio”. They are genuine strategic assets, held by the Crown – as in Australia and many other countries – to safeguard the future availability and affordability of one of our most fundamental social and economic needs: cheap, reliable electric power.

They are well run as SOEs, so there is no privatisation premium to be extracted. They are in a mature steady industry and do not face difficulties raising funds for needed investments, as you claim with no supporting evidence.

Other projects, such as agriculture infrastructure investments, are not tied to the asset sales, as you assert. There is no link at all. Good projects can always be funded – if not, they aren’t good projects.

The Government faces a huge conflict of interest as both privatiser and regulator. We can use the Listener as an example here. You rather coyly note “in the interests of full transparency”, that this magazine is a privatised former state-owned asset.

When the Listener was state-owned, its biggest commercial asset by far – its cash cow – was the state-sanctioned monopoly on the printing in advance of radio and television programming. If the Government wanted to maximise revenues from privatisation, it would have sold the mag with that monopoly in place. Wisely, it didn’t.

The electricity generation sector is one enormous cash cow, ready for milking. Even – perhaps, especially – with partial privatisation the conflict between private profit and public interest in pricing would be acute. The Government has not even sketched how it proposes to deal with this problem, if at all.

Basically, privatisation of SOEs is the answer to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Tim Hazledine

Professor of Economics, University of Auckland

There are so many arguments against asset sales:

  • The fact that even Bill English thinks that they may raise less than $5 billion – when last year’s deficit was $18 billion – shows how quickly the money raised will disappear, leaving us without the income stream or the cash.
  • The fact that the only “Mums and Dads” able to afford to buy shares of assets we already own will be the top 1 or 2% – ensuring another National transfer of wealth from all of us to the richest in the country.
  • The fact that those uber-wealthy “Mums and Dads” will inevitably sell off their shares for a quick buck to foreign owners, as they did with Contact Energy, meaning a much worse balance of payments as those profits head offshore – growing other countries’ economies, not ours.
  • The fact that those foreign owners will have no motive to protect and improve our vitally important electricity supply, only to rake as much wealth out of us as they can.

Kiwirail, Air New Zealand – we’ve seen the likelihood of asset-stripping to our country’s disadvantage.  Telecom – we see the lack of investment in broadband until they can force the Government into a handout.  Bank of New Zealand – we see the vast profits extracted from this country, leaving us all poorer.  Contact Energy – we see that, and the start of the higher power prices that we will all suffer more of when all the companies are (part-) privatised.

New Zealand: you have 5 days to save your assets from a path of no return.

151 comments on “Five days to Save our Assets”

  1. chris73 1

    So will when Goff announce the buy back of all the assetts that were sold under Labour?

    • So when will Chris73 engage properly in the debate rather than troll?

      • Pete George 1.1.1

        It’s a valid question if asset sales are seen by Labour as such an important issue. It’s a huge election gamble focussing all argument against a soft sales policy of mixed ownership.

        Will Labour fully nationalise Air New Zealand?

        • mickysavage

          Well it goes like this:

          1.  If the power company shares are sold I am sure Labour will want to get them back like it did with Rail.
          2.  The country would have lost the $100 million to the Australian Bankers who sold the shares.
          3.  The country would have lost the dividend income for a period of time.
          4.  If it wants to renationalise the shares it will have to stand in the market and offer a premium for the shares.  This will be really expensive.
          5.  No doubt the share holders, realising that these are guilt edged shares will demand a premium.  Some will hold out until the bitter end.  Unless the Government can get over 90% of the shares it cannot force a share sale.
          6.  In the meantime the minority shareholding will drive the Government spare, insisting that it uses the cheapest forms of power generation rather than the cleanest, and demanding as high as possible a return on their shareholding no matter what the social costs.

          So dumb question and obviously asked to troll rather than from a basis of understanding.

          So Petey if it cost twice as much should the Government, if it can afford to do so, buy them back?

          This just reinforces what a dumb policy it is.

          And by the way I would actually support the sell down of Air New Zealand shares, long term I believe that airlines will be toast. 

          • Pete George

            It’s not Labour policy to sell allm of Air New Zealand, they seem happy with mixed ownership there but don’t want to broadcast that because it’s at odds with their campaign.

            • Colonial Viper

              Labur bought back what was convenient, and if it is convenient to buy back more, it certainly will. What’s the problem Petey?

            • mickysavage

              Petey you always trot out Air New Zealand as a justification for partially privatising the power companies.  You do recall that Air New Zealand was privatised but failing and Cullen decided to buy in to stop it failing?  There was a significant strategic justification for him doing this.
              The power companies are entirely different in that they are fully owned by the Crown.  If you partially privatise you lose control.  The accountants take over, the minority shareholders insist on profit and not sustainability and prices will go up.
              But you have been told this repeatedly over many posts yet you still trot out the same tired line.

              • Lanthanide

                Yeah, I’ll just make this point clearer.

                Air NZ went from no government control to significant government control.

                What is being proposed for the energy SoEs is to go from total government control to moderate (ineffective) government control.

                Quite a big difference.

            • mik e

              PG Air new zealnd is not an essential utility purile git besides your party United F/wits was part of the govt that both sold and bought back air new zealand Purile GIT.
              So git out of here until you make up your mind and have the guts to stand for something instead of going where the political wind blows you

            • mik e

              PG Air new zealnd is not an essential utility purile git besides your party United F/wits was part of the govt that both sold and bought back air new zealand now you want yo sell it again Purile GIT.Your party name should be can’t make up mind party!
              So git out of here until you make up your mind and have the guts to stand for something instead of going where the political wind blows you

          • Draco T Bastard

            Unless the Government can get over 90% of the shares it cannot force a share sale.

            Well, they could. That is one advantage to government being supreme. All they’d have to do is write a law saying that the shares will be bought at the present share market price.

            So dumb question and obviously asked to troll rather than from a basis of understanding.

            Yep, seems to be par for the course when the RWNJs don’t really have anything to rebut the facts.

            • mikesh

              Why purchase at the market price? Why not purchase at a price we can afford, or at the original sale price, even if that means that the private owners are forced to take a haircut?

              • Draco T Bastard

                Because that makes it look fair and equitable. Can’t telegraph the purchase though as that will push the price up although I suppose you could say the share price at a random time at least one year before the announcement.

                Personally, I’d just go for the renationalisation without compensation but governments can’t really do that unless they have good reason – rule of law, fairness and ethics. I actually think Telecom could be – they’ve had their pound of flesh.

          • queenstfarmer

            And by the way I would actually support the sell down of Air New Zealand shares, long term I believe that airlines will be toast.

            Wow, this is a turn up for the books. I applaud you for applying a reasoned approach, instead of unthinking ideology, despite the fact such an approach flies in the face of Labour policy.

            Do any other Labour supporters share your views (i.e. fundamentally disagree with their leader)?

            • Colonial Viper

              Unthinking ideology is selling assets which actually earn at a higher rate than your debt costs.

              But tell that to Key, the financial moron.

              • warren

                Agreed. And for queenstownfarmer this leftie is also pro selling AirNZ for the same reason DTB stated. Having a national airline has always been more about national prestige than about providing the public with air transportation. Lets sell it while it is still worth something.

                • insider

                  There is also apparantly a reciprocal landing rights issue, particularly in some key markets.

                  From wikipedia “Landing rights may not be owned by the airlines themselves but by the nation in which their head office resides. If an airline loses its national identity by merging to a large extent with a foreign company, existing agreements may be declared void by a country which objects to the merger. In 2010 Swiss lost overflight rights after being bought by Lufthansa.”

                  From memory, this was one of the issues when Singapore Airlines was bidding for ANZ

                • Draco T Bastard

                  And for queenstownfarmer this leftie is also pro selling AirNZ for the same reason DTB stated.

                  Wasn’t me but mickysavage.

                  Having a national airline has always been more about national prestige than about providing the public with air transportation.

                  Not according to LPrent.

                  • lprent

                    Air freight is the strategic importance of Air NZ. Has been for a long time. There are heaps of export based industries that depend on having reliable air-freight in and out of NZ. That includes most every export companies (almost all of them were/are export orientated) that I have worked with over the last couple of decades. During that period we have seen other air-freight companies come and go as the kerosene prices fluctuate. But Air NZ has been there during those short seasons when goods have to ship out or into NZ.

                    It always amuses me the way that the theoretical dickheads talking about Air NZ seem to fail to pick up on such a basic point. We’re on the arse-end of nowhere. How do they think that industries in NZ get high priority goods out and into the country? Frigging broomsticks?

                    As far as I’m concerned the passenger cargo is just a additional revenue stream on top of air-freight. If the airfreight from AirNZ wasn’t there, then you’d be able to scratch quite a few percent off our GNP.

                    • newsense


                    • ropata

                      The tourism industry is also somewhat important to our economy, although Tourism NZ is friendly to all airlines, AirNZ is one of our highest profile companies and the best way to get here. It has done amazing things since the govt takeover. There is a cultural difference between companies run by greedy psychopaths and companies run for the public good.

                      AirNZ is a poster child for state ownership, not privatisation!

                • queenstfarmer

                  Phil Goff is a smart man, and I expect he would also agree to sell Air NZ if it made sense (I don’t know about the reasons you give, but maybe so). After all, Phil thought it made sense to sell (outright) vast amounts of assets once. He is currently saying the opposite, taking an unthinking, ideological stance.

                  So it is true that Phil voted for asset sales, before he voted against them. And he may well agree with you and mickysavage and change his mind again, if it makes political expediency or economic sense.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    He is currently saying the opposite, taking an unthinking, ideological stance.

                    No, he’s looking at the evidence of the last 20 years and come to the conclusion that selling assets was a bad idea and that selling more would be an even worse idea. The ideology is that selling assets is a good idea and you get that from National and Act.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      The ideology is that selling assets is a good idea and you get that from National and Act

                      Not true. If it were, then explain a) why didn’t they sell a single asset in the past 3 years? b) why is the Govt only proposing to sell a minority stake in just 5 specific business, not more? c) why is the Govt seeking a mandate on asset sales at all? d) why is the Govt signalling possibly delaying the sales? e) why has the Govt acquired assets?

                      Many other facts that don’t fit your allegation, DTB.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      why didn’t they sell a single asset in the past 3 years?

                      Because they said they wouldn’t. One promise they kept – probably because they know just how much NZ is against selling assets.

                      why is the Govt only proposing to sell a minority stake in just 5 specific business, not more?

                      Because they’re trying to dress it up as not selling the assets.

                      why is the Govt seeking a mandate on asset sales at all?

                      They’re not – the process of selling them has already started.

                      why is the Govt signalling possibly delaying the sales?

                      Because NZers don’t want to sell their assets and so NAct are trying to look like they won’t even though they will.

                      why has the Govt acquired assets?

                      Because they are needed for the functioning of society.

            • felix

              “I applaud you for applying a reasoned approach, instead of unthinking ideology, despite the fact such an approach flies in the face of Labour policy.”

              Err, whut?

              You need to decide what you’re criticising Labour over. One minute they have to buy 100% of AirNZ or they can’t oppose selling the power companies (for reasons known only to yourself) and then nek minit…

            • Anaia

              So does 60% of national voters opposed to the asset sales so are they going against John key

          • insider

            You forgot

            #7 It will pay far more for the assets than they are worth just to make a political statement.

            • Colonial Viper

              Usual right wing bullshit, know the price of everything, the value of nothing.

              • insider

                I seem to recall the price paid for Kiwirail was significantly higher than its assessed value after purchase. It would have been nice if Cullen had been aware of both at the time he was negotiating

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Ah, a RWNJ confusing book value with actual value again.

                  There was also only one buyer and one seller and the buyer had to buy. That puts a lot of power to inflate price into the hands of the seller.

      • chris73 1.1.2

        I’m sorry Lionel Hutz I didn’t realise asking questions about assets was trolling. If selling assets is bad why then doesn’t Goff announce he’ll buy back those assets already sold? Hey it might even be a good investment.

        Or is it like axe the tax, all hot air?

        • vto

          chris73 your style of debate is just stupid. You ask dumb questions. Let me give you another example the same as yours – Don Brash (not you is it chris?), as an argument he considers credible and worth people turning their minds to, in opposing the raising of the minimum wage asks “if it such a good idea then why not legislate for a nimimum wage of $25 per hour?”


          Why not ask Brash back – if decreasing taxes is such a good idea why not drop all tax rates to 5%?

          it’s like arguing with a child..

        • Colonial Viper

          Fuck an “asset buy back” by Labour, sooner or later the assets are going to get re-nationalised with no compensation.

          People forget the powers of the state.

          • lefty

            “Fuck an “asset buy back” by Labour, sooner or later the assets are going to get re-nationalised with no compensation.”


            In fact an announcement by Labour they are going to do that would stone cold stop any sales.

        • Draco T Bastard

          …he’ll buy back those assets already sold?

          As much as I’d prefer that they did doing so does need to be costed and they’re not yet looking at the massive tax increases needed to pay for the buy backs.

      • Galeandra 1.1.3

        Next election cycle, when he’s ‘growed up’ enough to have a vote?

    • pundit X 1.2

      Chris I can’t hear you but there appears to be a muffled sound coming out of your arse..

    • mik e 1.3

      It was an ACT lead labour govt TROLL

  2. kriswgtn 3

    that dumbass Baghurst tried to troll on Brekkie this morning by sayin ** oh but we will have 51% of the assets retained by the govt**

    fuk shes dumb

    may have 51% of the assests you dumb ass bitch BUT we will lose 41% of the dividend

    I even texted breakfast and said this **nicely* wasnt read out

    Is this the best our taxpayer $ can find???

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Once a minority shareholder reaches ~30% shareholding, their wishes must be taken into account by any majority shareholder. In other words, Government control diminishes from that point onwards.

      Also, in order to sweeten the deal Key might guarantee the minor shareholders the majority of the seats on the board of directors.

      In other words, the Govt may retain a controlling ownership stake but in practice, it is anything but.

      • queenstfarmer 3.1.1

        Once a minority shareholder reaches ~30% shareholding, their wishes must be taken into account by any majority shareholder

        That is incorrect, and on several levels. Simply, no shareholders’ “wishes” have to be taken into account by a majority shareholder.

        • Colonial Viper

          Sorry mate it is you who are incorrect. you are indeed required to take into account their wishes. Remember they own 30% not 3% of the company and are therefore considered a major shareholder.

          And they will gain effective control of the company if the Government cedes the majority of the board seats to them.

          • queenstfarmer

            you are indeed required to take into account their wishes. Remember they own 30% not 3% of the company and are therefore considered a major shareholder

            You are wrong. Please show me the law where it says this. You go first. Then I’ll prove you wrong. (and please cite actual law – not just your own beliefs).

            • Colonial Viper

              Its not a requirement by law, its a requirement of anyone investing billions into a business. Fool. Do you even have any corporate M&A experience?

              Further as I said, Key will cede the majority of the seats on the Board of Directors in order to sweeten the deal for his mates, regardless of how many shares the Govt still owns.

              • queenstfarmer

                Thank you for admitting it’s not actually a legal requirement. I believe this represents progress, even if the latter part of your first sentence remains misguided.

                Do you even have any corporate M&A experience?

                Yes – you learn a lot by doing it with your own businesses. Do you? If I had to guess, based on your plainly incorrect statements, and your latest “well it’s not the law but it’s a requirement” comment, I would say not.

                • felix

                  Actually it’s fairly obvious that you’ve never owned a business that anyone else wanted to invest in.

                  It’s laughable to think anyone would supply that level of capital for no say in how the business is run.

                  • queenstfarmer

                    it’s fairly obvious that you’ve never owned a business that anyone else wanted to invest in.

                    Au contraire.

                    It’s laughable to think anyone would supply that level of capital for no say in how the business is run.

                    You must get a kick out of being wrong.

                    There are literally thousands of examples. If you knew even a little bit about the evil business world you would know this. Let’s pick an obvious local one: Woolworths bought 10% of the Warehouse a few years back to become its second biggest shareholder. It threatened a takeover. It paid about $200m for those shares (way back when they were +$6 – I am going off rough data here). But since then it has no representation on the board, and no say in how the Warehouse is run. In fact the Warehouse remains very much in competition and hostile to Woolies.

                    I suggest you look at their annual reports if you wish to learn more about this unfamiliar, confusing world of business, law and commerce.

                    • McFlock

                      Actually you’re just taking advantage of a slight language error more than anything else.

                      The interests of the minority shareholders must be taken into account, i.e. the value of their investment. So the Warehouse directors need to act in the interest of the Warehouse, not in the strategic interests of the majority shareholders.

                      But then the Warehouse is not an asset with significant positive externalities for the nation, externalities that might rely on the Warehouse running at reduced profits (e.g. extensive next gen infrastructure investment) in order to be maintained.

                    • felix

                      You don’t fool anyone q. Your phoney attribution of the word “evil” gives you away.

                    • queenstfarmer

                      ^ McFlock

                      The interests of the minority shareholders must be taken into account, i.e. the value of their investment.

                      Wrong. As I said to CV (who failed to take the challenge), please show me the law where you think it says this (and actual law, not your beliefs). Then I’ll prove you wrong.

                    • McFlock

                      Oh wow, are you the greasy slope or just the rock I have to keep rolling?

                      We’ve been here before.

                      As I say, as soon as there is anything other than 100% ownership the directors cannot, even under explicit instruction from the majority of shareholders, place the interests of the holding company (or the NZ government) ahead of the interests of the company itself, i.e. preserving the investment made by minority shareholders, aka their “interests”.

          • jingyang

            Actually, the example of Wellington International Airport Ltd shows that the government could lose control of an energy SOE even if they did appoint the majority of directors – the clown Wellington City Council appointed director on the WIAL board (a city councillor) voted with the rest fo the directors on the increase in landing charges because he said ‘it was his job to vote in the best interests of the airport’ – no reference to the needs of Wellington City at all.

            Admittedly Infratil owns 66% of the airport, my point is the ‘thinking’ shown by this director – it is easy to imagine some similarly intellectually challenged businessman appointed by the government to a semi-privatised SOE board doing the same and ignoring the government and public’s interests.

    • felix 3.2

      Chill out kris, sure she’s a waste of electricity but you don’t need to bust out the misogynist language to express that.

    • newsense 3.3

      Minority shareholders have rights! Thus you do not retain control. You can not act in a manner prejudicial to the minority shareholders interests though it might be in NZ’s interests.

  3. Draco T Bastard 4

    Wow, an economics professor who manages to see the flaws in privatisation. Wonder if he’s seen the flaws in the free-market capitalism ideology yet.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Thtat’s the end of his career progression in the department.

      • DavidW 4.1.1

        As it should be if he leaps into print with personal opinions coloured by blind ideology rather than sound economic principles. Making comments as Tim Hazeldene is OK but he needs to be a bit more considered when he makes them as Tim Hazeldene, Auckland University’s Professor of Economics.
        For every economist against the partial selldown of a minority of shares in State Companies, there will be two who support it.
        But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good bit of propoganda.

        • William Joyce

          Blind ideologists calling others blind ideologists? Sheesh!
          There are two groups of people that I have encountered in my life that are the most blind of ideologists – religious fundamentalists and right wing Neo-Lib, Friedmanite, unregulated free market proponents.
          They will doggedly resist the empirical evidence (which after thirty years of “reform” is now in) and continue to espouse their ideas as if they are gospel.
          DavidW, it’s time for you to move on. You are already on the downside of the debate and the events will soon leave you behind.

        • Draco T Bastard

          That just means that there are at least twice as many economists who are purely wrong than there are who are starting to look outside the delusional capitalist free-market BS.

        • insider

          Hazeldine is well known as a pretty soft left economist. If you are looking for a rationale around govt funded market interventions to ‘solve’ a ‘market failure’ then from what I have read of their work he is probably far more likely to come up with something favourable than say Castalia. Nothing wrong with that. Why should economists not work within an ideological framework based on their experience? That he said these things is not surprising but nor is it earth shattering – economists disagree…big deal.

    • Afewknowthetruth 4.2


    • newsense 4.3

      get informed- economics is not all neo-liberals. Tim Hazeldine has been a moderating voice for a long time and OF COURSE he’s bloody aware of the problems of the free market.

      Despite what you might think economics isn’t all TINA

  4. aerobubble 5

    Don’t you love NZ! If being on the
    edge of the world, far from anywhere,
    even Australia only has 25 million people
    wasn’t enough.
    NZ has the astonishing ability to make
    everything even harder for themselves,
    take capitalism for example, the idea
    is to get richer as a nation not grow
    third world disease. The ideal of business
    is to own the assets, not sell them off.
    The goal is to structure the tax regime
    so that we invest in own our economy,
    not hand our banks over to Australians
    and reward short term capital gains at
    the expense of long term investment.
    National’s idea of business is to sell
    it off, let private sector borrow uncontrolably
    from aboard, watch their mates pay themselves
    large bonuses for nothing more than
    churn on borrowing, and then when the debt
    gets too unmaintainable, then to squeeze the
    average serf for yet more tax cuts for the
    fewest, calling it fair and balanced
    (this is like calling everyone an idiot
    without actually using that word).
    Recently I realize where so many good
    people, who vote National, go wrong,
    they seem to view property like a holy
    relic rather than a means to an end
    created by a human parliament. Basically
    property is a tax on everyone else,
    those who do not hold the property right
    are barred from using it and have to
    find other ways to acheive their goals.
    Now currently
    globally the wealthiest few own too much
    of the world economy, so few minds holding
    so much of the wealth, cuts out the invisible
    hand of markets, but also means a lot of
    property goes under utilized, ACT seem
    to love the idea of paying less tax but
    have not taken it to its logical conclusion,
    that the richest must pay more tax so
    in aggregate we are all taxed less
    (from freed up hoarded property). They
    can’t take it with them, there isn’t enough
    oil to spend all of it, and the really funny
    thing is their grandkids will suffer as a
    result of their blind avarice.
    Think how much more money Key would have
    made had the NZ economy been competitive,
    actually building business that had to deal
    with a capital gains, were not leaking profits
    to pay of unnecessarily heavy borrowing.
    Well we know the answer, he knows the answer,
    a fair sight less than he actually did since
    he made his money from the remunirations
    on interest paid on borrowed money!!!
    Key is the problem with the NZ economy!
    In this election we have a choice between
    style and substance, and once again NZ voters
    looks like choosing style, like the managers
    of Pike River who can readily recant
    safety management policies in their sleep.
    Like the ChCh council who ordinarily think
    nothing of allowing building on sand wet soils.
    Or any of a number of other issues, Rima,
    School testing, Auckland public transport….
    Will it be just another election, another
    missed opportunity, and don’t get me
    started, CGT, GST off fresh food, tax free
    theshold, only brings us up to parity with
    the world.
    Then we get to asset sales, who sells an
    asset returning higher than the cost of
    borrowing? Who sells an asset at the bottom
    of the market??? Who sells an asset when the
    world is desperate to hold real rather than
    fiscal paper???? Only the most ideological
    corrupt government in NZ history.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      The edit box has word wrap – please use it and stop cutting your comments into tiny, short, badly formatted and unreadable lines.

    • pollywog 5.2

      annoying !!!

      • aerobubble 5.2.1

        Oh goody everyone take turns expressing their frustration.

        tell me this, why is Key bashing Goff over numbers?

        Goff has been in government longer.

        Labour did a fine job in government.

        Key goes negative on Goff and Goff allows him.

        Everyone knows in the first year CGT will not return
        much in tax at all.

        Yet somehow its made to look like Goff doesn’t have the numbers.

        How come?

        • Draco T Bastard

          why is Key bashing Goff over numbers?

          Because his don’t stack up and so he has to create a diversion.

          Key goes negative on Goff and Goff allows him.

          It’s not Goff who’s allowing Key but the MSM who hardly ever question what Key says.

          Yet somehow its made to look like Goff doesn’t have the numbers.

          How come?

          Political bias on the part of the MSM.

  5. locus 6

    but like the rant aerobubble 🙂

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Rants are best when they create a strain 😀

      • aerobubble 6.1.1

        Its pretty simple really, if lies comes in ultra clean slick presentations, then the obvious solution to get the attention of those who seek to know the arguments, have the debates, then its counter productive to care about delivery vehicle. The rightwing isn’t the right wing anymore, its a shambolic sharade for doing nothing and hoarding wealth, has nothing to do with real concerns of those who want to maintain our lifestyle, our economy, grow a nation. The fact that people seem to get something from my efforts, rants, proves only that I should care even less. 😉

        • Colonial Viper

          very nice, break people out of their glossy marketing, MSM induced hypnotic trances 🙂

        • Afewknowthetruth


          ‘The rightwing isn’t the right wing anymore, its a shambolic sharade for doing nothing and hoarding wealth,’

          True (though it’s normally spelt charade).

          ‘has nothing to do with real concerns of those who want to maintain our lifestyle, our economy, grow a nation.’

          Unfortunately, to ‘maintain our lifestyle, our economy, grow a nation.’ requires the suspension of the laws of mathematics, physics and chemistry, so that combination is definitely in the realms of fantasy.

          The warning was given many years ago:


          or more recently:

          I guess people in NZ will start to understand around 2013, after many have learned the hard way.

          • ropata

            On the other hand, maybe we aren’t all doomed and need to go live in a bunker.
            For any economy, ‘growth’ is possible when the middle/working classes are able to flourish.
            All that is needed is political will to stop the bankers and corporates from constantly tilting the playing field.

            We need to stop looking at GDP and OECD ladders, rather look at our own situation and start taking the advice of the actual experts like Hazledine.

            • aerobubble

              Yes. Growth measures activity and activity was accelerated by cheap oil (and necessary loosen credit to create more activity). But this growth was essentially quantity, not quality, in fact a lot of the quantity came with a decline in quality. That’s all changed, or soon will, now it does matter what the policies of government are since less government isn’t the way to create activity, we need quality not quantity now.

  6. Tombstone 7

    Key just seems to be banking on all the chips falling into place for his economic vision to play out as he is claiming it will. In effect he is ignoring all the warning signs, public opinion which is against asset sales and effectively taking a punt in the hope that it pays off. If it doesn’t – then what? Who will pick up the tab for his failed economic policies? The rich? I doubt it. No, it will be ordinary Kiwis once again who will be asked to tighten their belts while he continues to play God with our assets and our hard earned money. I am not a political genius. I am not an academic or some sort of economic brainiac. I’m a welder fabricator. A metal worker. But I know enough to know that Key has done nothing for this country. I know enough to know that all the numbers look bad and then some. I know that poverty in this country is rife and that on the flip side of that the rich have gotten richer under Key. Asset sales make no sense whatsoever – I know that and I refuse to buy into the lie that is Key’s economic plan because he has no plan other than to line his rich mates up for an even bigger slice of the NZ pie. My welder makes me money. Without that welder I would have no means by which to continue to make that money so selling it would be kinda dumb. It’s a no brainer. If people vote National knowing this then to my mind you are no more than betraying current and future generations by allowing for the sale of our country’s assets. You should be ashamed of yourselves and I hope that decision comes back to haunt you all.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      I’m a welder fabricator.

      In which case you probably have a better understanding of economics than the economists who study the movement of money and have lost sight of the economy.

    • DavidC 7.2

      But if you were to sell 49% of your welder and retain control of it at a known reasonable cost you could then make a choice to either pay down some debt (to stop bank manager calling you weekly) or buy another asset (lets say a drill press) and thus increase your ability to make more dosh.
      This is why some people lease things like cars, building and plant because they can do more work and make more dosh without a mountain of debt.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1

        But if you were to sell 49% of your welder and retain control of it at a known reasonable cost you could then make a choice to either pay down some debt (to stop bank manager calling you weekly) or buy another asset (lets say a drill press) and thus increase your ability to make more dosh.

        And pay rent for the other 49% and so decreasing your income.

        This is why some people lease things like cars, building and plant because they can do more work and make more dosh without a mountain of debt.

        Those people are actually in the business of leasing out equipment, they’re not in the business of using the equipment.

        • insider

          “And pay rent for the other 49% and so decreasing your income.”

          No. As a shareholder, I get dividends not rent. Dividends (usually) come from profits. If I’m not making money and I’m not paying dividends, the 49% of my welder is effectively ‘free’.

          • Draco T Bastard


            Obviously a welder will be using the welder and so paying the dividends (rent*).

            * It’s rent because the person who holds the 49% won’t be using it and will be getting an income from someone else’s work. In other words, he’d be a bludger.

          • mik e

            outsider For a party that pretends to understand business socoldly yeah right.
            You are trying to infer the 49% of nothing is free dumb argument.
            No wonder national is full of conmen and failed businessmen.
            Tell me what percentage of $800million is 49The true immediate potential income of these assets will be closer to $ 1.3 billion dollars next year whats 49% of that Insider.

          • mik e

            outsider For a party that pretends to understand business socoldly yeah right.
            You are trying to infer the 49% of nothing is free dumb argument.
            No wonder national is full of conmen and failed businessmen.
            Tell me what percentage of $800million is 49% The true immediate potential income of these assets will be closer to $ 1.3 billion dollars next year whats 49% of that Insider.

      • felix 7.2.2

        When John Key demonstrates that it’s good business to sell off his own revenue generating assets in a recession, I’ll start listening to him talking about selling mine.

  7. Karl Sinclair 8

    According to Dr Patrick Dixon (ranked 20 most influential thinkers in business) Global Warming: is going to drive some of the BIGGEST BUSINESS opportunities ever seen in History. WHY? Because it’s just about EVERYTHING to do with ENERGY. Due to Carbon Offsets etc banks, airlines will metaphorically become water powered????? How?

    Our Government is about to sell off one of the best businesses WE own (i.e. State Owned Sustainable Energy Enterprises). Shares will be UNDERVALUED, shares will be sold to foreign companies, NZers will have to pay extra in the form of revenues lost through Carbon Offsets…….

    New Zealand has generally undertaken some of the most ambitious of privatization efforts by auctioning off companies directly to the public–thereby letting the market determine the value of these companies through the bidding process. In some cases, (for example, see the discussion on the privatization of British Energy) the auctioning off of a company has revealed an enormous divergence between newly-discovered market value and the previous book value of the company as recognized by the government.

    FEAR is not an argument to sell off NZs Sustainable Energy Producing States Owned Assets. NZ is ranked 5th BEST in the WORLD on the GLOBAL ADAPTION INDEX. If sustainable ENERGY producing assets are a key determinant in any Countries RISK MITIGATION strategies why would you sell? Foreign Companies want to buy undervalued Energy assets in low risk Countries with good return.

    The Global Adaptation Index (GAIN) summarizes a country’s Vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges on …

  8. Karl Sinclair 9

    If the SIS is responsible for ensuring NZs Economic wellbeing you’d expect well qualified unbiased economists amongst its ranks to keep an eye out for economic hit men? These would then have to report to a key Minister no? Complete the circle! If our Government is about to sell off one of the best businesses WE own (i.e. State Owned Sustainable Energy Enterprises). Shares will be UNDERVALUED, shares will be sold to foreign companies, NZers will have to pay extra in the form of revenues lost through Carbon Offsets…….

    Cup of Tea anyone?

    • Afewknowthetruth 9.1


      The game has never been about what is good for NZ or people who live here. It has alawys been about extraction of wealth via resources and compund interest.

      However, in recent times the game has shifted to a new level. The agenda is total control of the world via control of:

      1. money systems

      2. energy sytems

      3. food

      4. water

      Goldman Sachs have been in control of the US government for the past two decades and have now taken control of much of Europe:

      Global corporations have been driving policy in NZ for decades (e.g. Muldonn era ‘Think Big’) and the money-lenders now have their men in place for the next round of looting.

      I found Sunday’s Independent front page, which clearly showed that the wheels are falling off all over the place:, very interesting.

      Students peacefully protesting attacked by campus police with pepper spray.

      More deaths and rioting in Caiaro

      Surge in immolation in Tibet.

      Can Cameron do anything with the failing UK economy?

      Economic gloom in Spain, Italy, Greece, Irelan…….

      Syria next in line to be ‘saved’ by NATO?

      The ‘implosion’ is coming soon. And most people in NZ are completely clueless.

  9. Here is something you might want to share with your National voting zombi friends: Why a vote for John Key is a really,really bad idea:

  10. Afewknowthetruth 11

    Wow. Look what just turned up:

    “Nervous investors around the globe are accelerating their exit from the debt of European governments and banks, increasing the risk of a credit squeeze that could set off a downward spiral. Financial institutions are dumping their vast holdings of European government debt and spurning new bond issues by countries like Spain and Italy. And many have decided not to renew short-term loans to European banks, which are needed to finance day-to-day operations. ”

    So begins an article not in some hyperventilating fringe blog, but a cover article in the venerable New York Times titled “Europe Fears a Credit Squeeze as Investors Sell Bond Holdings.” Said otherwise, Europe’s continental bank run in which virtually, but not quite, all banks are dumping any peripheral exposure with reckless abandon is now on. Granted, considering the epic collapse in bond prices of Italian, French, Austrian, Hungarian, Spanish and Belgian bonds which all hit record wide yields and spreads in the past week, and furthermore following last week’s “Sold To You”: European Banks Quietly Dumping €300 Billion In Italian Debt” which predicted precisely this outcome, the news is not much of a surprise.

    However, learning that everyone (with two exceptions) has given up on Europe’s financial system should send a shudder through the back of everyone who still is capable of independent thought – because said otherwise, the world’s largest economic block is becoming unglued, and its entire financial system is on the edge of a complete meltdown. And just to make sure that various fringe bloggers who warned this would happen over a year ago no longer lead to the hyperventilation of the venerable NYT, below, with the help of Goldman’s Jernej Omahan, we bring to our readers the complete annotated and abbreviated beginner’s guide to the pan-European bank run.

    Anyone who thinks NZ is isolated and immune is deluded.

  11. In Vino Veritas 12

    I note that Phil Goff was flayed on the radio this morning by Leighton Smith, around asset sales and his numbers. Phil Goff squirmed when being caught out telling porkies to the public. He also squirmed when he recited the “17% return” mantra, since Smith then put him to the sword regarding the public being ripped off in terms of power prices.

    I see Labour are still pushing the fallacy that a partial sell down of assets is bad. Perhaps their brains (I use the term loosely) trust should do some reading regarding the time value of money.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      Perhaps you could purchase a brain. That way you might be able to think beyond what you’re told by your heroes.

      • In Vino Veritas 12.1.1

        I guess Draco, the difference between you and I is that I can afford to purchase something. You have more than once referred to “my heroes” or such like. The difference between you and me is that I, at least, can be swayed by a well thought out, logical argument backed by fact. To me, it appears you are the one that suffers from idealogical delusions, since you often rant, but seldom have facts or research to back up your case.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The difference between you and me is that I, at least, can be swayed by a well thought out, logical argument backed by fact.

          No you can’t. If you could you wouldn’t be a RWNJ.

          …but seldom have facts or research to back up your case.

          I’ve backed up almost everything I’ve said on this board and in other places. The facts are there and they’re on my side.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      , since Smith then put him to the sword regarding the public being ripped off in terms of power prices.

      Don’;t be a fucking moron

      Because we own those power assets now, every dollar paid by the public for that electricity goes back into the country and is spent back into the community by the Government.

      Not like if we sell the assets off.

      • In Vino Veritas 12.2.1

        Ah Colonial, there’s no need to resort to name calling, it does you no favours. Lets examine this bit shall we?

        “every dollar paid by the public for that electricity goes back into the country and is spent back into the community by the Government”.

        Many left wingers tell us that the “community” you speak of cannot afford their power. How then, is it justifiable, that a Government owned entitiy is effectively, and has done so for a reasonable period of time, gouging its consumers?

        Whether the dividends go back to the community via distribution by the Government, is not the issue. The issue is one of overpricing.

        Secondly “Not like if we sell the assets off.” Best you go and do some reading around corporate acquisitions the pricing methodologies thereof. I would repsectfully suggest that you don’t have much idea how it is done.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Whether the dividends go back to the community via distribution by the Government, is not the issue.

          Yes it is. Having the money go back into circulation via the government helps keep the economy moving while having it go into private pockets via profits slowly, but surely, strangles the economy.

          • In Vino Veritas

            Draco, as always, you have no empathy with the discussion at hand. You are therefore saying, that a poor family, who are struggling to pay their power bill (because it is overpriced by a government entity), should forgo the cash saved (by dint of lower prices) and have a small part of that cash given back to them in some distribution from Government, a net loss to the family. Earlier, you suggested I purchase a brain. Ditto.

    • Roger 12.3

      Your’e full of it mate, just listened to the conversation and Phil Goff did quite well dealing with Leighton Smith. The 17% figure came from John Key, and Phil Goff was quite clear about where the rest of his figures came from and simply wasn’t willing to put up with any of Leighton Smith’s nonsense, especially when Leighton Smith quoted Kiwiblog of all places.

      I am disappointed in the fact that talk back radio does not provide the best forum to discuss what actual issues exist that may justify a reasonable level of return and why it is important that electricity is state controlled, not as an SOE but ideally as a council controlled organisation that does not function in market settings.

      Issues such as:

      -The importance of security of supply; as we have predominantly hydro as the main source of power, dry years lead to difficulty in supply and push spot prices up.
      -To deal with this, back-up generation plants are used in dry years but the fixed costs of having this backup capacity is needed to be met every year. This goes some way to justify a high level of returns. It also highlights the risk of private shareholders wanting immediate dividends over producing extra capacity if it may or may not be used.
      -Since residential consumers are not generally affected by the spot market, conservation campaigns are over used and tend to benefit business customers that are charged spot prices. Greater prevalence of private stakeholders will exacerbate this issue.
      -The government is expected to front up when there is the threat of a blackout, They should be working to get the greatest level of control of the power supply that they can.

      It’s not just the loss of dividends that make it a foolish idea to partially privatise, but the loss of control over our power supply, especially if shares end up in the hands of foreign investors who do not suffer any major consequence if the country were to suffer rolling blackouts for extended periods.

      • insider 12.3.1

        You’ve got a few things back to front Roger

        We already have a mixed market and private players are contributing large amounts to security of supply. two of the most recent large power stations built were the 100MW peakers in Taranaki built by Contact. The Govt wasn’t required to fund or order these assets. Contact analysed the market and took a risk. It may not pay off given that power demand is flat but they will contribute significantly to the NZ market which needs fast starting peaking plant.

        Security of supply around dry years can be managed through regulation and good signals/information. The biggest threat to our security of supply in recent years was down to two big SOEs game playing – Meridian and Genesis decided to see who had the biggest bollox and refused to play nicely and think through the consequences. The restructure of the energy industry and their generation portfolios was a direct result. The private sector didn’t play much of a role except having to wear the cost.

        The Government’s idea of providing security of supply was to put a diesel generator in Gisborne of all places, where it sat idle for three years and consumers got compulsorily levied $20m a year to pay for it. It didn’t affect the returns of power companies except to shield them from the risk of failure and encourage the wrong behaviour.

        “-Since residential consumers are not generally affected by the spot market, conservation campaigns are over used and tend to benefit business customers that are charged spot prices. Greater prevalence of private stakeholders will exacerbate this issue.”

        Savings campaigns are a big con. They benefit generator/retailerss by reducing their exposure to supply at fixed rates in high spot markets, and the only people who suffer are those who switch off. More private stakeholders/generators will encourage greater focus on supply meeting demand IMO and more diversity in terms of supply and demand control options. In recent years we have a range of private niche retailers doing innovative things with contracts and retial/commercial offers as well as new generators too. Govt tends to be all care no responsibility.

        “-The government is expected to front up when there is the threat of a blackout, They should be working to get the greatest level of control of the power supply that they can.”

        Well they encourage that behaviour by endlessly meddling in the industry. The GPS is 30 pages of direct ministerial intervention pushing whatever is the latest bugbear. They have to bear responsibility if they want such interventions. It also depends on the cause of the risk. If it is transmission, then that is 100% govt owned so who else should get the blame?

        • Roger

          Yes, the extra 200MW capacity was added to the Straford power station capacity generation site in 2010 and opened officially in 2011. But this doesn’t replace the lost 600MW capacity from the decomissioning of the New Plymouth power station. So not a case of more capacity being added than previous. The reasons for decomissioning the old power station are very valid though.

          Considering the frequency of dry years, what sorts of regulation or signals do you suggest would mitigate the issue of less supply through hydro, market signals such as higher prices? Regulation such as minimum levels of peak capacity (I agree that government responses have been adhoc at best)?

          Information such as conservation campaigns which you an I both agree are just a big have run by spot price consumers (you stated my point about these much better, I suggested I wanted to see this happening less often).

          More private stakeholders/generators may also lead to a less coordinated response to problems as different parties fight over who carries what burdens or responsibilities, leads to higher margins to meet costs through diseconomies of scale, and companies dissuming responsibility for building peak capacity considering that new plants will be a larger percentage increase in their respective capital holdings.

          Government interventions have been a failure because they are trying to manage a natural monopoly as a pretend competitive industry, this is why I stated my preferrence for a Crown controlled organisation to look after the industry.

      • In Vino Veritas 12.3.2

        Roger, the 17% was never at issue. The discussion surrounded Goff’s numbers around Contact being more expensive that the SOE power companies. Goff got his figures from Fairfax, which quoted in the context of one family. Goff used these figures as a blanket number, which Smith then showed were nonsense, when used in the context of power prices over various cities in NZ. Sure he used Farrar as a source, but also used the consumer magazine which showed Goff was lieing at worst, and scaremongering at best.

        You also say that a loss of dividends makes it a foolish idea to partially privatise. On what basis is it foolish? If the government maintains a majority shareholding in the partially privatised assets, how will the risk of rolling black outs increase from the risk at present? Or are you makeing sweeping statements without thought?

    • felix 12.4

      “I note that Phil Goff was flayed…”

      I note that Cameron Slater is a moron who’s having a cry because Phil dissed the National Party bullshit dissemination ring that Slater works for.

    • mik e 12.5

      Ivvy leaguer the profits of the energy companies have increased to record levels this year and could have been higher if not for pike river CH CH quake +derivative rip off at meridian $103 million lost where’s gerry on that one.Profits would have been nearly $1billion likely to be $1.3 billion next year given that solid energy will be at full capacity and hopefully meridian won,t loose $103 million, this figure does not include the $ 700million one off rip off by brownoselee which should have gone back into renewable energy production for increased taxpayer return instead it went into consolidated fund to make Nationals books look better

  12. anne 13

    No matter what was done in the past,assets have had to been bought back by the tax payer because those that bought them run them into the ground,the assets we are left with need to be kept.
    On tv the other night a place in the uk sold their power assets and now the people’s power
    costs have trebled and they can not afford to even boil the jug,their power is owned by Germany.
    When you have corporate greed and shareholders the consumer concern goes out the window in
    favour of profit,NO to sale of assets.
    It is rather limp to say that labour sold them in the past ,that was the past,this is now,lessons learned and never to be repeated.Roger Douglas was the biggest mistake that labour have ever
    made in their time as a party,was he a national stooge? it would appear so.
    There are some from other sites that have imparted some useful tit bits concerning a certain event,which include —–like goats,easily led,intelligence levels are pre-chimpanzee,there is no problems,all under control. Hopefully the nz public is wise when
    they vote because going by the site there certainly is something to loose and that is nz’s well being.

  13. Dan hansen 14

    5 days for Goff to pretend he still leads the Labour party…

    Some questions:

    – Do you think Goff will resign on the night or wait a day or two?

    – When Goff resigns will other senior members resign also – how many labour related bi-elections will we have in 2012?

    – Should Labour consider merging with the Greens, if so, who would be the best leader?

    – Will Dear Leader return to ‘save’ the labour party and defeat the evil that is Key in 2015?

    – Will labour finally admit to the failings of the 1999 – 2008 era and regain the respect and trust of the electorate or will they continue to believe the majority of NZ voters are ‘wrong’ …step one will be a complete clean out of their front bench

    • mik e 14.1

      labour ran the economy better than national it was the social agenda that didn,t go down with the voters Civil union anti smacking haven’t been repealed
      3.8% unemployment
      28.7% growth compared to bil englsh five years as finance minister and still not 1% growth given his track record we can look forward to another 3 years of O.1% growth
      370,000 new jobs under labour National lost 170,000

    • just saying 14.2

      Dan, you really must try and sort out your ‘mummy’ issues. I know it must have been traumatic for you, having a woman prime minister ‘n’ all, but it’s been three years and you really need to get over it.

      As for resignations, if it comes to that (or even if i doesn’t :D)- the whole front bench is what I’m hoping. Nothing less will do really.

  14. anne 15

    It also makes me smile that alot of voters see key as a’business man’ which he is not,he is a ‘failed
    money trader’ now trading our very precious money and commodities away to his preferred
    people in our society and the world elite society,end of.
    He will make life for the vulnerable far harder if his rhetoric is anything to go by under the shroud of the rwc,shameless timing when he knew people wouldn’t take much notice because they were flying high because of the win,but he could claim he actually said it,couldn’t he,even the media let
    him off the hook.
    Key’s words were “There will be much,much deeper and bigger cuts involving everyone in our second term” unquote.
    Has he got the guts to repeat it,i doubt it,he will deny it and then slither under his rock again.

  15. In Vino Veritas 16

    Having read Tim Hazeldines article again, I note that he conveniently overlooks that the proposed sale is only a partial sale, which makes some of his discussions spurious.

    Ben Clark says

    “The fact that those foreign owners will have no motive to protect and improve our vitally important electricity supply, only to rake as much wealth out of us as they can.”

    He forgets that should one shareholder for instance, end up with all the shares issued to outside investors, they will only have 49%. This gives them limited ability to “rake” out wealth. In fact, their dividend will be at an identical rate to the Government. So, this argument would prima facie, appear to be incorrect.


    “The fact that even Bill English thinks that they may raise less than $5 billion – when last year’s deficit was $18 billion – shows how quickly the money raised will disappear, leaving us without the income stream or the cash.”

    The Government will in fact, under the proposed model, retain an income stream. That would be the income stream from 51% of the dividends. The “money raised” does not disappear, it reduces debt and therefore interest payments (if that is what it is used for). Basically it nets off money used in advance ie: money in advance has been used for something else. I would have thought that Ben Clark isnt proposing that money used to pay benefits has “dissappeared” (though I’m sure there are those out there that do say this). Anyway, a specious argument.

    • McFlock 16.1

      Weasel words. There is no reason the assets will not continue to generate dividends in the long term. Your portayal of a fiscally-neutral subsitiution relies on us being in debt in perpetuity. And we still lose the ongoing income stream of 49% of the dividends.

      Of course, some would say that that is the nats goal, anyway.

      • insider 16.1.1

        Dividends aren’t guaranteed; they are likely but that means the selling price will be that much higher. 49% of the shares means you are up for 49% of any major costs too.

        • mik e

          BS outsider the electricity companies will continue to make money hand over fist so long as they don’t keep giving it away to Tiwai aluminium smelter + $103 million of futures dodgey derivative losses cost+on top of that $200 million dollars of free electricity.The $ 800 million in profits [should have been $1.2 billion but for earthquake and pike river].Key is giving these assets your assets away happily to his mates not yours you won’t be able to afford many shares your just a lapdog failure that National and Act are quite happy to have on board .

        • McFlock

          “49% of the shares means you are up for 49% of any major costs too.”

          Like with tranzrail. Or telescum (as in why our internet speeds are so 1990s). Systemic improvements will be deferred to maximise short term profit. And when it finally hits a wall, govt will have to put in billions more to renationalise and upgrade.

          Privatisation only “works” if your objective is to run something into the ground while giving millions to the already rich.

      • In Vino Veritas 16.1.2

        McFlock, surely you are not stupid enough to believe that the dividend streams earned today, even if they are sustainted, will be worth the same amount in future years? Your knowledge of financial mathematics cannot be that limited…. or can it?

        On weasel words. The sort of response expected from someone with no argument.

        • McFlock

          I merely assume that any buyer today will pay a price that is somewhat less than the value of the dividends they expect to receive from their purchase.

          To imply otherwise when I said no such thing justifies not only the term “weasel words”, but is also moving into “slippery bastard” territory.

    • insider 16.2

      “The fact that those foreign owners will have no motive to protect and improve our vitally important electricity supply, only to rake as much wealth out of us as they can.”

      SUrely the biggest motive is maintaining the value of their investment by ensuring they have power to sell and customers to sell to? They only make money by selling power. If the system doesn’t work they can’t sell. Their interests should be aligned with ours as a result. If they just wanted a rental return they could invest in fixed interest not something that is risky and requires doses of capital to improve its value.

      • McFlock 16.2.1


        That’s what they said about tranzrail – which was then run into the ground, but NZ needs a rail network so the govt bought it back and proceeded to upgrade it.

        Same will happen with the power companies – the profits will be privatised, but the country is lumped with the capital investment. Remember, as soon as we sell one share the priority goes from “NZ interests” to “shareholder return on investment”.

      • Roger 16.2.2

        The only real way to ensure supply of electricity is to have back up generation capacity. These back up power plants make money when they are running during crisis periods but cost money every time they are not, It may be cheaper to just allow for periodic blackouts or jack up regular prices so that people are constantly trying to conserve power.

      • mik e 16.2.3

        So telecon asset strip monopolization share failure, nz rail asset strip near bankruptcy 2x+ bailout Air New Zealand Bankruptcy nearly twice Bad private management+ bailout .Land info bankruptcy all have cost New Zealand more than what they got from them.Lost tax income lost investor income lost productivity especially when it came to Telecon who monopolized the communications industry wiping out 3% growth per annum out of the New Zealand economy research has shown Labour was the only Govt with balls to fix these problems!
        insider trading again is what showponkey is up to

      • Draco T Bastard 16.2.4

        One word rebuttal for your delusion – Telecom.

        If the private owners interests aligned with ours we wouldn’t be having to pay out billions of dollars of taxpayers money to bring the network up to standard. The private owners raked in the profits and then got us to pay to fix up the network. Great for the private owners, not so great for us.

        • insider


          How much has your speed increased on your internet connection in the last five years? How much of that was driven by govt spending? They have put nothing into capacity. I don’t consider a spendthrift plan to put fibre to the home by govt as proof of anything but a govt wanting to chuck money at stuff to make itself look good. How has Weta managed to run a global digital business from suburban Wellington otherwise?

          • Draco T Bastard

            Well, yes, things have improved since Gatung resigned. The whole point is that it improved a hell of a lot slower and cost us a hell of a lot more (~$20b more) than what it would have done if Telecom had been not been sold and telecommunications not been deregulated.

            We were putting in fibre to the cabinets in the late 1980s, Telecom in the early 2000s was taking that out and putting in copper to get ADSL out from the exchange rather than cabinetising. The technology was available but using installing the copper was cheaper short term with the cost of cabinetising being then being borne later. Result, higher immediate profits and higher long term costs.

  16. tsmithfield 17

    Here is some perspective on some of the propaganda being pushed by the left on dividend returns on assets. As can be seen the 17% being touted by the left includes a number of one-offs that don’t form part of normal profitable activity. In fact, dividend returns were paid out at up to 311% of net profit, demonstrating that the true dividend is very much lower.

    As it is however, the media are starting to take Goff to task on a lot of this misinformation and he is being found seriously wanting.

    • mik e 17.1

      tsm lying again any one can look up the profits of the 4 companies for sale. The $700 million that Gerry brownoseee stole out of their balance sheet to make the govts books look good should have been reinvested in more renewable energy production.The regular profits outside that figure are nearly not quite $800 million and could have been much higher had it not been for pike river {solid energy had to suspend production ]+ lyttleton Quake.Then meridian had to pay out $103 million to derivatives traders + sell electricity to tiwai below cost!
      Look up facts and not your master mankeys lies and while your about it it might pay if you sit down and have a cuppa

  17. chris73 18

    I give Goff credit for the amount of punishment hes taking

    • McFlock 18.1

      Yeah – Goff did damned well in a hard interview. And at least he fronted up, unlike our glorious leader.

    • felix 18.2

      Slater doesn’t know what “flaying” means, apparently. Goff stuck it to that tory prick just like he will tonight to the other one.

      • chris73 18.2.1

        All I heard was Smith picking apart Goffs lies but then we hear what we want I guess

        • McFlock

          What “lies”?
          Name one. He was open and honest about his sources, and he was obviously looking right at the documents smith was talking about. And his figures were pretty consistent, none of this $17b, $15b, 4b crap.

          • chris73

            The one about contact energy, no sorry he got figures from “fairfax” so thats alright

            • McFlock

              “Fairfax survey” is no good, whereas “consumer magazine” that leighton came up with was fine?

              And we would have gotten into the $500 as well, if Leighton Smith wasn’t pissed at being shown up as assuming that nothing exists south of the bombay hills.

              Let’s do a quick google search. How about this? That gives a range of ” $1945 to $2415 depending on supplier” for wellington. But wait, they source Consumer Magazine. No link, though, so they must be lying, too. Intrigued that Farrar missed it, though. But hang on, what was Leighton’s source – “Consumer Magazine”! He must be lying, too!

              I guess you see what you want to see, alright. You saw a liar being ruthlessly dispatched, when at the end of the day everyone was probably using the same damned piece of research, and explicitly saying where they got it from. Unless you’ve figured out how to do APA referencing over the radio.

  18. anne 19

    3 big reasons to keep john key’s paws off our assets.

    1/ John Key had been involved with the biggest attack on the nz dollar in history and lied about it.

    2/ John Key had been involved in the Asian crisis,Russian crisis, LTCM hedgefund collapse.

    3/ John Key is one of the architects of the Subprime crisis and lied about his involvment.

    Those three things only skim the surface of his history as a money trader.

    His time with the Bankers Trust ended with the forced release of 6.500 tapes by the company
    who bought derivitives , Proctor & Gamble,but before they did money was siphoned off
    which led to the tapes being released exposing his bank as a thoroughly,fraudeulent,and corrupt

    Key does have a sordid past and the public of nz are being used as a vehicle for his continuence
    of slick dishonesty practices.

    • felix 19.1

      I also have good reason to believe he has stolen at least one coffee table and possibly many more.

    • chris73 19.2

      Wow thats a bombshell alright. If you’ve got any proof you might want to send it to T. Mallard c/o Labour party brains trust

    • In Vino Veritas 19.3

      anne, you have plenty to say, and have backed it up with no proof. Claiming Key has a sordid past appears to be a figment of your imagination. Perhaps if you backed it up with solid evidence then your rant might have some traction.

      • felix 19.3.1

        Yawn. Everyone knows what Key did to rake up his pile of cash IVV, and none of it was much use to anyone.

        Just like the way he “governs” really.

        Useless selfish greedy prick, off you fuck Johnny your facade is breached.

        • In Vino Veritas

          And good on you felix. As always, foul language backed by an intellectual void, with nothing to offer except rabid ideoligical putridity.

  19. mik e 20

    Ivvy leaguer to much blue rinse wine again.Tim Hazeldine is the head of economics at our best performing and biggest university the university of Auckland. He has criticized both National and labour policy but he has criticized National more because his research has shown nationals policies don,t work . to say he’s left wing is an insult to his intelligence and shows your lack of intelligence!

    • In Vino Veritas 20.1

      mik e, I couldnt care less who Tim Hazeldine is, nor which university he sits at, though I’m sure he’s a bright man. I am interested in his comments however, and having read his comments as posted above, I found them incomplete and analytically flawed by dint of the fact the assets are only to be partially privatised. My comment still stands.

  20. Marta 21

    Now we only have one day left to save our future climate!

    Oh no!

    Who is going to take action on climate change this election?

    Go to to find out!

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    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
    2 weeks ago

  • Minister of Finance and Sport and Recreation to visit Japan and Vietnam
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson departs tomorrow for events and meetings in Japan and Vietnam.  While in Japan, he will discuss economic and fiscal issues including meeting with the Minister of Finance, Taro Aso, and Minister of Economic and Fiscal Policy, Yasutoshi Nishimura. He will meet with the Minister of Education, ...
    7 hours ago
  • Dashboard tracks housing progress
    The Government’s Housing Dashboard released today confirms record numbers of state houses are under construction and shows the Government build programme is gaining momentum.  “After nine years of inaction, and a hands-off attitude from the previous government we’re starting to see things move in the right direction for housing,” says ...
    8 hours ago
  • Ministerial Statement on the International Convention Centre fire
    Mr Speaker, I wish to make a ministerial statement relating to the Auckland fire. The Government is closely monitoring the situation with the fire at the NZ International Convention Centre and is thankful that everyone is now safe. Firefighters are doing an incredible job managing the fire and bringing it ...
    10 hours ago
  • Government invests in Te Reo, environmental data research
    The Government is investing in ambitious research that will digitise Te Reo, grow the low-carbon protein efficient aquaculture industry, help interpret environmental trends, and large data sets says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The four projects range from teaching Siri to speak Te Reo to crunching large environmental ...
    15 hours ago
  • Government announces next steps as part of a comprehensive plan to fix skills gap
    A new education-to-employment brokerage service to strengthen connections between local employers and schools. Funding for more trades focused ‘speed-dating’ events to connect schools with employers. Promotional campaign to raise profile of vocational education. The Government is taking action to increase the number of young people taking up vocational education and ...
    16 hours ago
  • Corrections Amendment Bill passes third reading
    A Bill to improve prison security and ensure the fair, safe, and humane treatment of people in prison while upholding public safety has passed its third reading. Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the Corrections Amendment Bill makes a number of changes to ensure the Corrections Act 2004 is fit for ...
    1 day ago
  • Ngāi Tahu CEO appointed to NZ-China Council
    Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, has selected Arihia Bennett MNZM, Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, as the Te Puni Kōkiri appointed representative on the New Zealand-China Council. The New Zealand-China Council (the Council) was established in 2012 as a New Zealand led and funded organisation ...
    1 day ago
  • Southern Response claims move to EQC
    Responsibility for processing the small number of Southern Response claims still to be settled will be transferred to EQC by the end of the year. “As claim numbers reduce, it no longer makes sense for the Crown to have two organisations processing the remaining Canterbury claims,” Grant Robertson says. “Since ...
    2 days ago
  • Bowel screening starts in Whanganui
    Health Minister David Clark is encouraging Whanganui residents to take up the opportunity for free bowel screening, which can detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat.   Over the next two years 12,000 Whanganui locals, aged 60 to 74 will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Screening ...
    2 days ago
  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, heads to Oslo today to represent New Zealand at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which is being hosted by the Norwegian Government from the 23-24 October. “The Our Ocean Conference mobilises real action on issues like marine plastic pollution and the impacts of ...
    2 days ago
  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures Conference: Connection...
    Session 4: Pacific Connectivity – Youth, Media and New Opportunities   Kia ora tatou katoa and Warm Pacific greetings to one and all. Representatives of Tainui, the local people of the land, or manawhenua – the indigenous peoples of this area – have welcomed you this morning in accordance with ...
    5 days ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    5 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    6 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    6 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    6 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    6 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    6 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    6 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    7 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    7 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    7 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    7 days 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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. ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago