Key shoots back(wards)

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, February 26th, 2013 - 82 comments
Categories: john key - Tags:

John Key is under real pressure over the Solid Energy debacle. Smile and wave doesn’t cut it any more – so he’s got out his six-shooter. He dug out a speech by Trevor Mallard to try to blame Labour for Solid Energy’s woes. Trouble is he’s shot himself: in 2011 this is what he said:

Speaking in Invercargill yesterday, Mr Key said he supported Solid Energy’s plan to dig up lignite and turn it into briquettes, saying the Government wanted companies such as Solid Energy, which is Government-owned, to expand.

“At the moment companies like Solid Energy are growth companies and we want them to expand in areas like lignite conversion,” Mr Key said.

Russel Norman and Clayton Cosgrove shot back – much more effectively. No wonder Key wants to talk about his trip to Mexico.

 

 

82 comments on “Key shoots back(wards)”

  1. Gosman 1

    Solid Energy should be sold so that private investors can take the risk on these gambles not taxpayers.

    • Pete 1.1

      Solid Energy should not be sould because the mineral wealth of the nation belongs to the Crown and a properly run state-owned mining company should give a better return to the public purse than the few cents on the dollar in royalties from a private concern.

      • Pete 1.1.1

        *sould=sold

        For some reason the edit comment feature isn’t loading my comment to edit.

      • Gosman 1.1.2

        If the reason the company should be owned is related to the fact it is involved in mineral extraction then I presume you believe all mining companies should also be State owned as well, is that correct?

        • SpaceMonkey 1.1.2.1

          Yes

          • Gosman 1.1.2.1.1

            Why just mining? Why not other primary industries as well like forestry and even farming?

            • SpaceMonkey 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Sure… why not?

              • Gosman

                And that is why the hard left will be unlikely to ever be in any position of real power in NZ.

                • Rob

                  Yep , point proven completely.

                  As well as proving why the majority of NZ’s will never vote for them.

                • felixviper

                  Yeah, much better to let our strategic assets and major productive industries be bought by corporations and international banks which will in turn be bought, merged or otherwise consolidated into an effective monopoly or duopoly which has so much control over prices and wages and culture that it effectively represents a new kind of state that happens to own everything of consequence.

                  Yay freedom.

            • North 1.1.2.1.1.2

              The problem Pete @ 1.1.2.2 above is this – who says what’s fair compensation ?

              Had we the temerity to argue with the gnomes’ definition of fair compensation we’d soon find ourselves threatened and blackmailed into submission.

              Easy, especially with a government like Key’s which is committed more to extreme foreign wealth than to the 99% of us.

              Example – the slippery slope of Jackson and Warners. “Change your laws or we’ll sabotage……”.

            • North 1.1.2.1.1.3

              “Why not primary industries as well………..?” asks Gosman.

              Another idiocy on a par with “minimum wage $13.50………why not $113.50 then ?

            • millsy 1.1.2.1.1.4

              We have Crown Forestry and Landcorp

              Plenty of governments around the world own things like oil companies and mining conserns and they seem to do OK.

        • Pete 1.1.2.2

          Either that or a royalties regime that provides fair compensation to the nation at large.

          • Gosman 1.1.2.2.1

            I have no problem with the concept of royalties. Why could this not be applied to Coal mining and Solid energy sold off?

            • vto 1.1.2.2.1.1

              Because the nations natural resources are the nations natural resources, not one persons. They need managing for the benefit of current and future people of New Zealand. Private enterprise does not work to this end. Simple. Comprehendez?

            • aerobubble 1.1.2.2.1.2

              The reason why we need some government ownership is because our nation does better by it. When markets rise and fall companies (like homeowners) can lose the shirts off their back, so government has this ability to save money. As Key will now do by underwriting the loses. So the question of selling a coal mine is a different question to why Key allowed a going concern to be use as a fund for speculative investments.

              We’re not Australia, we can’t just move sand and open cast a billion dollar mine.And we know what happens if private companies attempt to mine coal, 28 died. We know
              what happens when government fails to regulate and a she’ll be right attitude permeates
              a culture, CCTV (it got built, it was not checked and it was fully rented out after the
              first earthquake instead of being declared unsafe). We need better discourse, what Key has
              done is wrong, what Key did not replacing the mine inspector positions was wrong, what Key did in respect to pokies and Skycity is wrong, Key represents the very worse end of the era of greed, stupid in stupid out.

              • vto

                ,
                ” Key represents the very worse end of the era of greed,”

                this

              • Gosman

                The evidence suggests SOE’s aren’t better run than private companies and in many cases are much worse.

                How many SOE’s are in the top flight of the world’s list of profitable companies?

                • muzza

                  The dead weight of profit, and why it no use in a debate…

                  Gosman, have you been subbed out by someone else, that comment is weak even for you!

                  • Gosman

                    Use revenue then or do you have another measure to determine the success if a commercial enterprise?

                    • vto

                      “…to determine the success of a commercial enterprise?”

                      and therein lies your problem. Spot it? It applies to pretty much everything the current unthinking right wing dogma breathes over…

                    • muzza

                      LOL – VTO, indeed Gosman has just painted himself into the tightest or corners!

                      Commercial Enterprise, measure of success..

                      People living in a respectable, tolerant, understanding way, supported by the systems which support human life, the essentials needs provided for, by not for profit entities.

                      People first Gosman, that is where the measure of success come into the equation, if you must use such terminology!

                    • felixviper

                      Exactly vto and muzza, when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.

                      (Or in Gosman’s case when all you have is a dunny brush…)

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Society isn’t a commercial enterprise – no matter how much the right-wing want it to be.

                      The correct measures of success for society is that:
                      1.) There’s nobody living in poverty and
                      2.) It’s living within the environmental limits

                • tracey

                  like Mainzeal? Or SCF? Or OR OR

                  • Gosman

                    Private companies go bust. It is a necessary and indeed vital part of the capitalist system. It is not evidence of it’s failure.

                    • vto

                      It may not be evidence of capitalisms failure but it is most definitely evidence of capitalisms inappropriateness for many many components of human life.

                      Like electricity to keep old people warm at night.

                      Or health care.

                      gosman, surely you can see that capitalism is only really appropriate for undies manufacturers and the like. You know, the easy things and trivialities. Leave the important stuff to the grown-ups next time will ya …

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Private companies go bust. It is a necessary and indeed vital part of the capitalist system.

                      Well, it would be if the taxpayers didn’t keep bailing them out.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      DTB, I do believe that’s called corporate socialism, DTB, and its something that Gosman is fine with.

                    • Bunji

                      So Gosman:
                      private company goes bust = proof capitalism works!
                      public company goes bust = proof public ownership doesn’t work!

                      Do you see any inconsistency in your argument here?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  The evidence suggests SOE’s aren’t better run than private companies and in many cases are much worse.

                  Actually, there’s no evidence at all of that. In fact, what’s coming out recently seems to show that private companies are far worse managed than the public sector.

                • Colonial Viper

                  How many SOE’s are in the top flight of the world’s list of profitable companies?

                  What, a list full of luminaries like Enron, Merill Lynch, AOL, AIG and Compaq

                  What a sad joke Gosman.

              • Rogue Trooper

                yes

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2.2.2

            Actually, if we’re going to use private business then I think it should be that the government hires the private corporation for a fixed amount with the minerals still belonging to the government.

            It would still be cheaper to use government employees to do the job as well as there would be no dead weight loss of profit involved.

            • Wayne 1.1.2.2.2.1

              On that basis why wouldn’t the govt employ everyone. Hang on, that has been tried before, in the USSR.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Actually, the state does it’s just that that employment is hidden behind the privately owned banks that do the money printing. Take that ability off the private banks and put it back where it belongs with the government and it will become very obvious that it’s the state that does all the employing even if only indirectly*.

                * The money printed by the government would be spent into the economy through the public sector. Those wages would then be spent into the private sector.

      • muzza 1.1.3

        mineral wealth of the nation belongs to the Crown

        ,

        Yes quite, and privatizing the companies, thus using that mechanisim to get their hands on the minerals etc, is exactly what *The Crown* is all about!

        For those still labouring under the false premise that *The Crown* is the NZ government/parliament, no, its really not!

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Russell Norman was on the radio this morning, saying that the reason Solid Energy’s diversification failed is because the government got rid of coal pricing, as well as the requirements around biofuel in all petrol. Both of these directly scuppered Solid Energy’s plans, and both are directly the cause of the government, not Labour. He also mentioned that John Key was encouraging the investments.

    An email sent in that was read out made the point that Trevor Mallard could see the way coal was heading in our carbon future, and sensibly suggested diversification. It’s not his fault that Solid Energy then chose to go with lignite.

    • Rogue Trooper 2.1

      Lanth. P.M, SOE Minister/s, and CoMU all supported Solid Energy investment direction (which ended up being downwards)

    • Fortran 2.2

      Norman is a fool, with stupid comments.
      Solid Energy problem is quite simple.
      Following the world economic slowdown led by US, Europe and China, nobody wants to buy coal, even from New Zealand, irrespective of the price.
      Therefore why dig up coal that nobody wants and you cannot sell.

  3. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 3

    Still think it’s a good idea for the government to own, control and manage all parts of the economy?

    • vto 3.1

      Bit it doesn’t and Solid Energy is a classic example of letting free market solely commercial gimps own, control and manage the economy. So too is Pike River = dead men. So too are finance companies = dead retirement savings.

      It should be abundantly clear that the free market has considerable limitations. So too does full govt control. Get it gormless?

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        Why is Solid Energy “a classic example of letting free market solely commercial gimps own, control and manage the economy”?

        • vto 3.1.1.1

          Oh gosman, you always wind yourself up in knots with teency tiny questions of dubious and usually solely technical intent without being able to see the bigger picture. This thread and the nature of your posts to minute indicate so …

    • Gosman 3.2

      What this does show is how silly some of the arguments against the sell down in the State’s stake in SOE’s are.

      People argue that the State shouldn’t sell off assets that make a profit but when they make a loss they don’t think they should be sold either.

      The amount of money a SOE makes,( or doesn’t) is irrelevant to the privatisation discussion.

      • Pascal's bookie 3.2.1

        It does if, like the government, you are arguing that you need to sell some of it because OMG Deficit.

        I know that you are arguing for full privatisation, but ACT gets, well we’re not sure axactly how much support they get due to the expense of getting a poll sample large enough for their support to fall outside the margin or error. But safe to say it’s fuck all.

        So your point isn’t really ‘relevant’ to any discussion about actually likely-to-happen policy at all. Let alone this post.

      • bad12 3.2.2

        Fool, if the State has a widely based portfolio of State Owned Assets then it matters not if one of these assets trades at a loss, especially when the loss has transpired because of international prices of the commodity, (in this case coal), falling,

        As a portfolio of share ownership the Government looks across the whole range of such assets to make a profit,

        The fact that neither you or the Slippery National Government can see this norm of market expectation doesn’t surprise me…

        • Gosman 3.2.2.1

          The trouble is any person following a diversified investment strategy that you are essentially advocating would not generally hold on to underperforming assets for very long. The asset mix is constantly changing to take into account the changes in the wider economy. This doesn’t happen much at all with SOE’s.

          • Pete 3.2.2.1.1

            Not for the likes of Warren Buffett, who is a strong and successful advocate of a buy and hold strategy.

            And when you have the ongoing “lifespan” of a nation-state, as opposed to the lifespan of individual investors, this allows for planning, 50, 75, even 100 years in advance. This allows for more robust infrastructure to meet the long-term needs of the nation.

            • Rogue Trooper 3.2.2.1.1.1

              yes

              • Colonial Viper

                Buy and hold works in an era of global resource and energy fuelled growth. However it is an absolute failure of a strategy in a time of vast financial speculation and fraud.

                The energy SOEs are powerful investments though because energy is not going out of business, in fact it is the feedstock of all business.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.3

        State assets shouldn’t be run for a profit but for the good of the country. In other words, they should be run as services paid for through taxes.

        And, yes, that includes mining, the farming needed to ensure that everyone in the country is fed, building houses and dozens of other essential services.

        The private sector can have what’s left: McDs and hair cutting.

    • millsy 3.3

      I dont recall the government owning supermarkets at any time during our history.

  4. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 4

    Russel Norman was good on radio this morning. As Lanthanide says, he gave some good facts and information. In contrast, listening to Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove, he was mainly rebutting Jokeyhen and defending Trevor Mallard. We want more information than that. The Labour opposition’s comment was about positioning themselves and answering false criticisms from Jokeyhen than bringing us up to date with the facts which Russel did.

    bad12 at 12.1 25/2 on Open Mike gave factual information. I wanted to know more so listened to Morning Report this a.m. when in a discussion on the subject Green Co-Leader Rusel Norman gave more detail.

    On Radionz Morning Report today – http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport
    08:09
    Greens say Government failed Solid Energy oversight
    The Green Party says the Government failed in its duty to oversee Solid Energy and its investments. (5′56″)
    Download: Ogg Vorbis MP3 | Embed

    Notes I took – e&oe
    * Jokeyhen said on 3/6/11 he supported the project turning lignite to brickets (briquettes?)
    the government wanted to expand.
    * Jokeyhen visited Invercargill and was vocal on Solid Energy.
    * The Crown Monitoring Unit which oversees government investments and the Shareholding Minister should have insisted on viewing a business case but never received one, and it is unknown if one was asked for.

    It appears that National have been indecisive about how to cope with energy and environment problems and that has caused problems to Solid Energy.
    * The move by Solid Energy into wood pellets for pellet burners some to be used domestically as a result of decreasing air pollution, was made unprofitable when National removed the measures that were to create a healthy price on carbon trading.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10842724
    * At one stage there was a requirement for part biofuel with a minimum content, then National decided to subsidise this, but later this was cancelled.

    Russel also made a point about the criticism that has been thrown at green energy investments that have been costly while the coal sector involved much larger costs.

    • bad12 4.1

      I believe the requirement for a bio-fuel content in diesel fuel was 5% and Solid Energy owned the company which turns large amounts of cooking oil used in New Zealand into bio-fuel,

      First the Slippery National Government scrapped the 5% bio-fuel requirement and replaced this with a subsidy which would have amounted to 45 cents a liter for anyone producing the 5% biofuel/diesel mix, 2 years later this subsidy was cancelled,

      As Solid Energy had built the lignite to diesel plan around being able to up it’s production of bio-fuels so as to have enough bio-fuels produced to attract the 45 cent subsidy to the 90 million liters of diesel it planned to produce from lignite coal in Southland the cancellation of the subsidy made the extraction of this lignite and it’s manufacture into diesel/bio-diesel uneconomic,

      Given the open support that Slippery the Prime Minister and Bill from Dipton,(who’s electorate all this infrastructure was being built within),repeatedly gave to Solid Energy’s plans to expand into bio and other fuels it then becomes easy to speculate that the big oil producers have used their clout to yank the Prime Ministers chain calling for a halt to such independent fuel production by this country…

  5. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 5

    Here’s a link to the Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit
    http://www.comu.govt.nz/publications/information-releases/valuation-reports/2011/

    The Solid Energy board looks solid and experienced.
    http://solidenergy.co.nz/index.cfm/1,139,0,0/Board-of-Directors.html

    Last September Ernst and Young praised Solid Energy’s position. Ernst & Young seem to specialise in energy business. It could be that Solid Energy and the government relied on their expertise and presentation.
    Some google info on Ernst and Young which I can’t bring up on PDF – a lack of expertise on my part. But these are headings that come up for Solid energy ernst young report (second one has new zealand added after solid energy
    [PDF]
    SOE Economic Profit Analysis – Prepared by Ernst & Young Rep
    [PDF] take Quick View and it offers HTML which merges columns together.
    Renewable energy country attractiveness indices – Ernst & Young

    Comment from scientists? who aren’t exact enough to include the year of their comment:
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/hot-topic/tag/solid-energy/

    A view from Australasian broking house JB Were –
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/solid-energy/news/article.cfm?o_id=362&objectid=10834685

  6. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 6

    Some interesting comments from the JB Were report linked above.

    Bernard Doyle, head of strategy in New Zealand, also argues the RBNZ should intervene to drop the value of the kiwi dollar.
    Prime Minister John Key dismissed concerns about an unstable financial system as “nonsense”, but Doyle’s comments come at a time of growing concern about the high value of the New Zealand dollar.

    “The RBNZ is one of the few central banks running relatively orthodox monetary policy,” said Doyle in a research note. It was a “rarity in the global economy,” with positive interest rates and no policy to print money.
    “Unfortunately, in a world where the major central banks are breaking all the rules, this is not an advantage,” he said.

    While intervention “should feel unnatural to government…passive government in the post-GFC world is equally dangerous.”

    In New Zealand, current monetary policy settings were “importing other people’s problems.”
    Doyle says the RBNZ should cut the benchmark official cash rate to below its current historic low point of 2.5 per cent, use new tools to lean against the potential for lower rates to create an unwanted housing boom, and put “soft caps” on the New Zealand dollar.
    Doyle suggests the RBNZ should accumulate New Zealand dollars at various price points, from 82.5 US cents through to 90 cents, at a time when the local unit has been consistently trading in recent days above 82.5 cents, and stood at 82.80 cents late today.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    National party is just so good at business and stuff, I’m sure Treasury stuffed up the OIA or something:

    http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/govt-encouraged-solid-energy-s-expansion-never-required-business-case

    • vto 7.1

      Does that mean that Key was yet again just making shit up and forgetting where the lies and truth meet?

      Fucking hell, who would buy a car off this man…

      • Arfamo 7.1.1

        Who would buy a car off Jonkey? I might. If it was a ministerial limo, the way he does business it’d probably only cost me a couple of bucks.

  8. tracey 8

    Nice diversion by gosman etc… this thread is really about Mr key’s leadership, or lack thereof. The man whose background as a currency dealer so many thought would make him great, especially around things like businesses.

  9. felixviper 9

    Funny how the right-wingers always bang on about how govt can’t run anything properly, and as soon as they get in power they prove it.

  10. bad12 10

    We have to remember tho that all this was occurring after 2007-2008, when the Western Worlds economic out-looks all changed for the worst,

    Looking at the actions of both Slippery the Prime Minister and His Finance Minister, in who’s electorate the coal to bio-diesel plans of Solid Energy were centered, Bill from Dipton we would all have to wonder if they are not constantly over-dosing on Prozac or some other happy happy drug,

    As ‘Nose Viper’ has pointed out in the various links above, at the time when the price of coal on the international market was dropping from it’s historical highs as the international market shrunk it’s demand caused by the Bankers ‘derivative scam’ and various other international frauds being perpetrated by the Banking sector the price of the New Zealand Dollar continued to rise,

    The third leg in this triple whammy for the NZ coal industry was the introduction of of a large supply of shale gas replacing coal as the means of electricity generation in the USA which has created a huge over-supply of available coal on the international market and prices in 4 years have fallen by as much as 40% for a tonne of coal,

    So prices for coal have fallen 40%, the NZ$ is over-valued by 10-15 cents and there is a gross over-supply of coal on world markets,

    While all this is occurring Slippery the Prime Minister and His Finance Minister are gleefully extolling the virtue of Solid Energy’s alternative fuels strategy while at the same time ensuring this alternative fuel strategy becomes uneconomic by first scrapping the 5% bio-fuels requirement for diesel and then canning the , (up to 45 cents a liter), direct Government subsidy that they replaced the original 5% bio-fuel/diesel requirement,

    All the while of course claiming that they, (the National Government), can do nothing to intervene in the prospects of Solid Energy,

    What has occurred here is a total FAILURE of the SOE model, where Government has allowed Solid Energy to invest heavily by using borrowing as the means of expansion while every year, (except recently), taking as dividends large payments from Solid Energy,

    The electricity sector may have ‘got away’ with using the borrowing model for many years simply by dint of having us as the end users of the product trapped paying for that sectors expansion of it’s generation and the renewal of it’s infrastructure but sadly for Solid Energy it has no such demand within this country which would use the amount of coal it could supply,

    Could the States coal miner Solid Energy have avoided it’s $400 million dollar ‘debt baby’, in a word Yes, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand need only have been tasked with the creation of that debt with which the States miner is now choking upon and the international price of coal along with the high international value of the NZ$ could have been largely ignored as mined coal can be stock-piled until demand lifts internationally along with prices for such coal…

  11. bad12 11

    Slippery’s national Government looking for a scape-goat for the FAILURE of the SOE model have blamed the Labour Government circa 2003 for it,

    Removing the 5% requirement for diesel to have as a mixture of bio-fuel wouldn’t have anything to do with such a failure would it???,

    Later scrapping a direct subsidy of up to 45 cents a liter for diesel to contain up to 5% of bio-fuels also wouldn’t have sunk Solid Energy’s business case for production of diesel from coal either according to this Government…

    • millsy 11.1

      If Labour were serious about bio fuels they would have directed the CRI’s, Solid Energy, and others to create a viable biofuel mixture.

  12. Treetop 12

    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot and then trying to blame Labour who have not had the control of Solid Energy since November 2008.

    Roll on budget 2013 and listen for the excuses.

    I can only conclude that Solid Energy did what the government does, (borrow, borrow and borrow), without keeping a close eye on what the market, high dollar was doing and the assets the company has.

    Muldoon would be proud of Key as Key was chasing a “little think big” and it is going to cost the tax payer.

    • vto 12.1

      “Muldoon would be proud of Key as Key was chasing a “little think big” and it is going to cost the tax payer.”

      Yeah, well the best thing that could happen is have the / a government let companies like this go bust and let the bank risk on its loan materialise.

      That way banks would no longer lend to the state and that would be fucking great. Fuck the banks. And fuck corporate incompetence, And double fuck corporate incompetence in bed with political deception and rort.

      The alternative is fuck the taxpayer. About time the tables were turned. They need us more than we need them.

  13. bad12 13

    The Prime Minister in the House today answering questions from Green Party leader Russell Norman claiming that He had no problem with Solid Energy’s plans to turn lignite coal into diesel as the coal prices remained high,

    At the least that’s misleading the House, another large piece of Bullshit emanating from the mouth of Slippery the Prime Minister,

    September 2008 International coal price = $150 US
    October 2008 International coal price = $111.50 US
    October 2010 international coal price = $71.25 US

    i have to wonder what exactly the shareholding Minister, Bill from Dipton, was doing while the bottom was dropping out of the international coal prices,

    Going on yet another drunken bender, getting over the constant hangover perhaps, New Zealand is foolish to vote for these people to run a country, i wouldn’t entrust them to run the corner dairy…

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    2 weeks ago
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    2 weeks ago
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    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to tackle Hutt housing crisis
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    2 weeks ago
  • Farewell to John Clarke
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  • Valedictory Speech
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    3 weeks ago
  • Buck stops with Gerry Brownlee
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    3 weeks ago
  • Teachers deserve a democratic Education Council
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    3 weeks ago
  • Labour’s modern approach to monetary policy
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    3 weeks ago
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    3 weeks ago