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Hide to speak at privatisation conference

Written By: - Date published: 8:42 am, April 6th, 2010 - 23 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, local government, privatisation, rodney hide - Tags:

Late last year, we revealed that Rodney Hide and Heather Roy were fundraising for Act at ministerial speeches. A journalist who went to the Hide speech in question recorded him telling audience members that John Key was a ‘do nothing’ prime minister, and his fellow ministers were lazy and didn’t pay attention what his was up to. Well, they might like to pay attention now:

At the end of the month, Rodney Hide will be the key note speaker at the Local Government Asset Management Conference. The main event on the agenda is –

Panel Discussion: The implications of privatisation of local government assets in New Zealand (Panel)
Privatisation is a contentious issue due to amendments in the Local Government Act 2002. Water will be the first area of local government which will move towards privatisation but what about the rest of local government controlled functions?

“Water will be” privatised. That’s news to me, how about you?

Is Hide pushing this privatisation agenda, which is apparently progressing with no public mandate or consultation? It looks like he is.

23 comments on “Hide to speak at privatisation conference”

  1. uke 1

    And only a measly $2295 + GST per head to attend! (Probably mostly coming out of your rates.)

  2. RedLogix 2

    The rest of the agenda contains interesting references too;

    As Auckland edges closer to the Super City those within asset management face real uncertainty. This session will discuss some of the challenges of combining asset management systems and asset ownership structures. It will also consider the options that may be available for ownership and management and ways in which the issues can be addressed.

    Options for ownership???

    The EPA: If infrastructure decisions are centralised, what does that mean for asset managers at a local or regional level?

    Decisions centralised???

    • LTCCPs: what are the implications of the 10 year full plan reviews no longer being required for councils?

    Councils stripped of the ability to do long term planning???

    The 3 Waters Strategy is a 50 year strategy relating to the sustainable management of water, wastewater and stormwater in Dunedin. This case study will look at the process involved in developing the Strategy, the integrated approach taken and the collaboration between the City and Regional Councils. It will also look at what the implications may be on the Strategy if the provision of water services becomes more ‘flexible’.

    What the hell is more “flexible”???

    Two topics will be discussed. The Local Government Act 2002 was a radical and successful step forward in Local Government administration. Now however political agendas are seeking changes will these have an effect on asset management planning? Asset Management systems and corporate management systems do they lie in the same space? Should they be integrated?

    In other words the Asset Management function of the existing public sector is going to be ‘corporatised’.

    Seems to me the boys in the smoky back-room have already cut their deals.

  3. Bored 3

    Red,

    Your combing through the detail certainly reveals a picture of the beast, a ravenous monster determined to swallow the common domain for private gain. Sort of modern feudalism, or perhaps overblown landlordism.

    What pisses me off is that the opposition parties are not torpedoing private investment by simply stating that they will overturn any privatisation and will not offer compensation to investors. Such a statement might be significantly frightening enough to deter purchasors.

    • Chris 3.1

      Labour has stated that they will nationalise any mining claims without compensation in schedule 4 land. Albeit it was on the Red Alert site, and Mr Goff made a more muted statement later in public. Still, it’s better than nothing.

      I haven’t seen any other statement, but on reflection, Labour needs to be sure that each time they ‘draw a line in the sand’ that they aren’t inviting further trouble. Lines in the sand are easy, but need careful managment later.

    • prism 3.2

      Bored I agree. It is a real worry that Labour is not thumping its chest about the things that should be important to it. We need a silverback gorilla with attitude looking after our country’s interests while we get along with food gathering and wage earning etc.

      Someone recently commented that many countries are being run by people with criminal connections or intentions. That can be observed and further, that they have no interest in democracy and respect for the people being governed.
      Both major NZ parties have passed and interpreted legislation taking this approach, and whether there are criminal frauds and dealings involved is unclear.

      I no longer trust the governing cohort. The facile comment that there is an election every three years if people don’t approve and want change, is a limp-wristed response to the problem of the embedded government making long-term legal agreements that cannot be overturned. I find that democracy is not the defence against bad government that I have always believed.

      • Chris 3.2.1

        I’m with you prism on this. I too no longer trust the governing cohort, and increasingly, it is rather obvious that democracy is no defense against bad and corrupt government.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1

          Democracy is no defense against bad government when the democratic representatives on both sides of the political divide are owned by the capitalists.

  4. Armchair Critic 4

    “”Water will be’ privatised. That’s news to me, how about you?”
    Sorry Marty, it’s not news to me. The process of privatising water started in 1989 with the reorganisation of local government back then, and picked up with a whole range of reforms brough in by National thorrugh the 1990s. The drop-off in discussion of the subject ove the last ten years or so, and the small steps that Labour took to reverse the changes of the 1990s mean that the government are expecting little or no resistance to privatising water.
    It’s been pretty obvious what the agenda has been since National were re-elected. The set up of the CCOs in Auckland has, as a part of its design, been undertake to facilitate an easy sale to one of the big international water companies, from the selection of the ATA to the writing of the legislation and the hurried legislative process. The only question is how transparently the sale will be undertaken, i.e. whether it will pas through the hands of National’s backers or go directly to its next owners.
    And the seizure of water in Canterbury was undertaken with such desperate haste that the government took everything else too. Given the wide range of powers the government has under the Local Government Act, their actions in Canterbury lead inexorably to the conclusion that water is to be privatised.
    Is Hide pushing a privatisation agenda? There is no need for “It looks like”. He is.

  5. RedLogix 5

    I might add that recent legislative changes also allow for Councils to enter into contracts up to 35years in duration.

    Essentially a contract to ‘contract out’ the operation and management of all of Auckland’s water supply/distribution/treatment for 35 years…is just one CCO Board meeting and one Council meeting that rubber stamps it… away from happening.

    No public consultation, no democratic input… just given away. Of course the electorate might toss the Council out next election, but it would be a meaningless geusture as the damage is done. Buying out a 35 yr contract would be more or less impossible. Look at the hell’s own trouble Cullen had buying back Kiwirail.

    And of course the key ex-Councilors and CEO’s involved would likely find themselves happily cycled back into cushy, lucrative numbers somewhere in the private system.

    • Sam 5.1

      Can someone please tell me where the increased accountability that allegedly comes from privatisation is in a contract that lasts 35 years? Or is this yet another hypocrisy in right wing ideology?

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        There isn’t any which the privateers love because it means that they can shaft the ratepayers even more. Privatisation of state assets has nothing to do with accountability but about the rich forcing NZers to become renters in their own land.

  6. Chris 6

    Labour could nulify the contract, but one should also be aware that Labour signed Free Trade Agreements that essentially said that governmental actions could not harm private interests, and if they did, private sector interests could sue government.

    Labour created a monkey for its back.

  7. tc 7

    This is hide’s job, privatise akl and figure out how we can do it across the entire local gov’t sector while you’re tweaking all the relevant legislation.

    Wodney can slag off whoever he likes as long as he completes his assigned task……the values of what’s at stake too large to let his self serving/foolish behaviour derail it and sideshow couldn’t care less what’s said about him……he’s a currency dealer with skin as thick as Hide’s skull.

  8. Red Rosa 8

    Water privatization in the UK under Thatcher delivered precisely the results envisaged above. Consumers got more or less the same service, though they paid more, and a bunch of government cronies got lucrative sinecures.

    There are plenty of examples of ‘public/private partnerships’ from recent experience in the UK and Australia to show how taxpayers lose both ways. They carry the risk and miss out on any profits.

    It is obvious why Hide and ACT are keen on these ideas. Why anyone else should even consider them is another question.

  9. RedLogix 9

    Here’s another curious thing.

    An examination of Water Care Services annual accounts reveals an interesting line item:

    Deferred Taxes: (345,000)

    ie $345 million of unpaid tax!!!

    (I’ve got a hard copy of the Annual Report, but I’m sitting on a crap wireless connection, if anyone cares to google and find the link I’d appreciate it.)

    It’a a little known fact that since it’s creation Water Care Services was not a proper LATE but was always a taxable corporate, but to avoid political runctions IRD has until now exempted it from actually paying tax. But the liability remains on the books. All it takes is for the Minister of Finance to instruct IRD to demand payment and all of a sudden Water Care is insolvent.

    And has to be sold.

    • Armchair Critic 9.1

      I saw that, too. When it was suggested that the CCO structure would increase the tax bill in Auckland I decided to read the financial statements of Watercare, Metrowater and Manukau Water.
      http://www.watercare.co.nz/watercare/annual-report-2009/financial-report/financial-report_home.cfm
      Didn’t take much notice of the deferred tax sections, except to note that the final figures for 2009 at Watercare were massive.
      Perhaps now is the time to be asking if it is sensible to have essential services structured so they can put themselves in a position where they are liable for so much tax. Maybe some questions for the respective Boards of Directors.

  10. coolas 11

    what staggering audacity … ‘water will be .. privatisation.’ Followed by other Council assets ie: ports, sewage plants, sporting & cultural facilities.

    All makes sense of Hide’s push for Local Authority amalgamation, starting with the biggest prize for private investors: Auckland.

    What with the ECan coup d’etat to serve the dairy industry, mining on sec4 land, National Standards as step 1 to brokers, providers, and bonuses in education, this Government is preparing a fire sale of the countries assets and services.

    The lunatics are running the asylum: Key, Hide, Brownlee, Tolley, Smith, Collins, McCully, Bennett, Ryall all appear unhinged to me. Would love to see a psych report on them, which I’m sure would uncover a myriad of psychoses from outright psychopath through delusions of grandure, extreme narcissism, et all …. scary bunch of power freaks this lot!

  11. tc 12

    “Would love to see a psych report on them, which I’m sure would uncover a myriad of psychoses from outright psychopath through delusions of grandure, extreme narcissism…”

    No you don’t want to read them as that’s why they have the jobs it’d probably depress you……to quote blackadder ” your going to be an MP Baldrick you’ll need at least fraud and sexual deviancy…”

    A recent legacy of big business paying astronomical bucks has left the nat’s with the likes of the Bennetts as the ‘rising stars’ as their preferred talent makes so much more dosh for no scrutiny in business so why enter politics…..the lib’s in Oz face the same issue.

    Best of both worlds when you can have mates like Wyatt Creech write an ‘independant’ report or two for you and yet again (RNZ aside) the msm simply appluad it as ‘strong and decisive’…..sigh.

  12. Irascible 13

    The agenda reads exactly like the sort of manifesto written by Roger Nosferatu Douglas in the Lange years but, thankfully, not allowed to be moved past his favourite trick of flying private kites to gauge who would support him from the business community.
    This is the meeting of the somali pirates dressed in NZ business suits. It looks like a series of protests outside the venue is called for.

  13. john 14

    SIEG HEIL MEIN FUHRER HIDE / / / /

    [lprent: Unwarranted and SHOUTING. Do that on the blogs where it is the norm. This isn’t one of them. ]

  14. Marty, thanks for pointing out the conference…

    7 April 2010 Media Statement Hide’s push for privatisation

    “Rodney Hide needs to come clean about his push to privatise Auckland assets’ says Labour Spokesperson on Auckland Issues, Phil Twyford

    Mr. Hide will be the keynote speaker at the Local Government Asset Management Conference. The main event on the agenda is a panel discussion around the implications of privatisation of local government assets in New Zealand.

    “Mr. Hide is already on record supporting the privatisation of Auckland ports, that and the fact that his third super city bill repeals the requirement for a referendum to take place before ports shares are sold shows a clear push for privatisation,’ Phil Twyford said.

    What is more, under the Government’s third super city bill most of the city’s assets are transferred to council-owned companies that are exempt from the provisions of the Local Government Act which require public consultation before strategic assets can be sold. This could see, after the two-year moratorium, the ports or the airport shares sold off without any consultation with Aucklanders.

    “The conference agenda also suggests that ‘Privatisation is a contentious issue due to amendments in the Local Government Act 2002. Water will be the first area of local government which will move towards privatisation but what about the rest of local government controlled functions’.

    “Water will be privatised? Rodney Hide’s proposed amendments to the Local Government Act would allow private ownership of water infrastructure for up to 35 years, and yet in Parliament Mr Hide denies this is privatisation.

    “Aucklanders are being kept in the dark about the future of their cities assets. Mr. Hide needs to come clean about his intention to push the privatisation agenda around Auckland ports and water,’ says Phil Twyford.

  15. Mace Lupe 16

    Bring back Winston Peters, he will sort them out and I will this time vote him and his party.
    What a mess this little man in the yellow jacket has done, and the current government is too busy kissing up to the Maori Party to stay in power, while the Labour has somehow gone asleep in the beehive.
    Mace

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