Kiwibank partial sell-off

Written By: - Date published: 11:36 am, April 6th, 2016 - 149 comments
Categories: business, Privatisation - Tags: , ,

This morning Michael Cullen announced plans to sell 45% of Kiwibank:

NZ Post looks to sell 45% of Kiwibank

New Zealand Post plans to sell 45 percent of Kiwibank’s holding company to the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and Super Fund, chairman Michael Cullen has announced.

If the sale went ahead, NZ Post would receive $495 million. It would retain 55 percent of Kiwi Group, while the New Zealand Super Fund holds 25 percent and ACC holds 20 percent.

“When NZ Post’s chair Sir Michael Cullen approached ministers with the proposal, he explained it could give Kiwibank access to extra sources of capital for future growth and broaden its exposure to commercial expertise,” Mr McClay said. He said some of the money gained from the sale would be used to pay off debt. The sale is indicative and is subject to due diligence.

“Kiwibank will remain 100 percent government-owned – that is a bottom-line,” Finance Minister Bill English said. …

149 comments on “Kiwibank partial sell-off”

  1. Chooky 1

    the Greens are on to a winner with their support of KiwiBank

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/300604/greens'-kiwibank-idea-'poor-policy'-key

    …”The Greens want to bolster KiwiBank so that it can take on the Australian-owned banks operating in New Zealand.

    In policy announced yesterday, the Greens said it would give KiwiBank $100 million to bolster its operational funds, and give it a clear mandate to pass on interest rate cuts to its customers.

    The $100m injection would allow KiwiBank to switch from being a retail banker to a full commercial bank, the Greens said.”

    ( …and if Jonkey doesnt like it , it must be good! “But Prime Minister John Key said the Greens’ policy to drive KiwiBank to cut lending rates would be dangerous….)

    The Greens may yet get all my votes

    Where is Labour on this and NZF?

    • roy cartland 1.1

      Don’t you love it: ‘poor policy’. Why not just say, how is benefiting the country going to make ME richer?

    • Reddelusion 1.2

      Really a 100m in a market that’s valued at billions is going to make a scrap of difference

      • DH 1.2.1

        “Really a 100m in a market that’s valued at billions is going to make a scrap of difference”

        $100m could make quite a large difference. Bank lending is restricted by capital adequacy rules. In simple terms the maximum amount an NZ bank can lend is a ratio of its capital. Kiwibank was crippled by National starving it of the capital it needed to increase lending and grow further.

        Shareholder capital is tier 1 and the ratio on that is 4.5-6% so a capital injection of $100 million should permit Kiwibank to lend another $billion or two and make the extra profits that come with it.

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          Thanks for that explanation. Does that mean that Kiwibank could increase its customers (by being able to lend more) as well as lower costs to customers and thus bring interest rates down?

          • DH 1.2.1.1.1

            Pretty much, yes. Interest rates are a distraction though, it’s the Reserve Bank who largely set those. The trading banks are really about the margins they make; the difference between their cost of borrowing and their lending. Kiwibank adds more competition which does put the squeeze on margins but it’s not a lot in the context of actual interest rates.

            IMO Kiwibank’s main economic benefit is retaining profits in NZ. The big banks expatriated profits likely make up a good third of our annual current account deficit.

            Something Labour & Greens might want to start asking is what point there is to this sale. It doesn’t achieve anything for either NZ Post or Kiwibank. Kiwibank will receive none of the sale proceeds and having a bit more cash in the bank won’t turn NZ Post profitable or address any of its problems.

            • weka 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Ok so the value isn’t in making kiwi bank competitive enough to affect banking inNZ?

              • DH

                I’d ask how you define competitive weka. Kiwibank seems to be highly competitive to me, it has a huge competitive advantage insofar as most Kiwis prefer to keep things in the family.

                In terms of cost I’d think it less competitive, its carrying a lot of the less profitable small depositors who were effectively dumped by the other banks. As a state bank it could be seen as providing a service there and yet it can still make a reasonable profit.

                If National had properly funded Kiwibank I have no doubt it would be slugging it out toe to toe with the big banks by now.

                • Chooky

                  +100 …”Kiwibank seems to be highly competitive to me”…New Zealanders switch from the Australian owned banks to KiwiBank on the basis of its competitiveness…apart from anything else it gives you better deals

                • weka

                  I wasn’t meaning that it’s not competitive already, I was just trying to understand the point of the GP policy.

                  • DH

                    I’m not fully up with the play weka but i think a lot of that has to do with the source of funding. Because of capital constraints Kiwibank is having to fund a lot of its lending from deposits whereas the big banks are funding more from borrowing.

                    My understanding is the big banks funding sources are lower cost which makes it harder for Kiwibank to compete on an equal footing. The average bank lending margin has slowly crept up pretty much since the Nats came to power and Kiwibank’s competitiveness diminished, which does suggest Kiwibank was having an effect on keeping margins down prior to that.

                    I assume the Greens comments on that are aimed at seeing Kiwibank has the same access to funding as the other banks, which I expect would make it even more competitive.

          • Amanda Atkinson 1.2.1.1.2

            DH hasn’t got a clue, see my explanation below,

        • Amanda Atkinson 1.2.1.2

          That’s called fractional reserve lending, lending out 10 or 20 times more money than what it actually there in the vaults, in other words, a ponzi scheme, and its a major reason houses are so damn expensive. When will some pollies grow a pair and end this madness. Cheap money, and entering money into the system that is created out of thin air, the way you just described, is why houses are so expensive in NZ. Instead of putting money in the bank to earn high interest, everyone buys 2 or 3 friggin houses because the loans are virtually free. It is utter madness. Cheap money causes asset bubbles. If interest rates were realistic, houses would not be so expensive. If interest rate where high, house prices would be low, people would have more money, they would be enouraged to put money in the bank to earn interest, and they would buy stuff with that interest earned. What’s better, people borrowing to buy stuff because interes rate are low, or people saving to buy stuff because interest rates are high. Is it better to have the banks pay us to buy things, (interest on our savings), or us to pay the banks to buy stuff (interest on our loans). Buying stuff with savings and interest paid TO us, brings money down from the 1 percenters. Buying stuff with loans and interest paid BY us, sends money up to the 1 percenters.

          • weka 1.2.1.2.1

            Don’t really know what you are in about there or how it relates to wha DH said.

            If money isn’t created out of thin air where does it come from?

          • DH 1.2.1.2.2

            Ahem. I think you need to do some research there Amanda. New Zealand doesn’t use a fractional reserve for its banking system, it instead employs tools such as capital adequacy to regulate bank lending.

          • Nic the NZer 1.2.1.2.3

            Amanda Atkinson’s comment is nonsense. It’s also miss-leading in countries which operate a fixed reserve ratio (NZ does not have a reserve requirement). I would not be surprised if DH is involved in banking his comment’s are clear and correct.

            The reason reserve ratio’s are not a constraint (even where they are fixed) is because there is always a central bank willing to lend reserves at the going cash rate (in NZ its called the OCR). So even if banks fail to meet their reserve ratio’s and can’t borrow reserves from other banks then they can borrow them from the central bank. Even so reserves are required to settle with other banks (to make immediate payments) so they are not required at all if the payee for a new loan to a new borrower is with the same bank already, and don’t have much influence on the banks balance sheet after settlement. Central banks don’t have much choice about supplying reserves to the system to facilitate payments between banks, because the alternative is not to supply enough bank reserves and allow payments between banks to fail precipitating an un-wanted (and otherwise unnecessary) financial crisis.

            Capital adequacy requirements are more of a constraint on lending, but additional capital can be purchased at a cost. As long as the cost of capital can be passed onto a new borrower (who is credit worthy) then additional loans can still be made profitably.

            Ultimately the constraint on bank lending is how credit worthy the borrowers applying are, and what costs the bank can afford to pay in interest payments. Of course additional loans create additional bank deposits which are a form of money.

          • David 1.2.1.2.4

            “Cheap money causes asset bubbles. If interest rates were realistic, houses would not be so expensive”

            Yes, cheap money causes asset bubbles, but how do you define expensive? Expensive because of the price tag, or expensive in terms of how much it costs to borrow? Higher interest rates would mean houses at lower prices, but if your borrowing to buy them they won’t be any cheaper.

            The bigger issue is low interest rates drive investors into housing for any return they can find.

    • The Chairman 1.3

      Cullen has largely taken the Green’s thunder on this one.

      The other day Little ran the Green’s Kiwibank policy down, going as far to say it could exacerbate the problem. Therefore, it will be interesting to see where he stands on this one.

      Cullen said he approached Key about the possible sale in 2014. Therefore, it’s fair to assume Labour had wind of it. Which may explain why Little ran down the Green’s policy.

    • gsays 1.4

      i am of the opinion that the state does all its banking with kiwi bank.
      give westpac 1 year notice then change.
      no tenders, no lobbying, just make a decision that is in the best interests of the citizens.

      anyone with complaints that it is anti competitive or..communist! can call themselves a wahmbulance.

      • Nic the NZer 1.4.1

        The government’s account is fully separated from the Westpac accounts anyway. It would be a material improvement if the government had an account with the central bank for making payments *and didn’t borrow the deficit* but simply had an interest free overdraft on its central bank account. This would make it clear to people how government payments actually work.

        The reason (and cost) for having an account with a commercial bank is about the cost of having an IT department to integrate the government and its departments with the commercial banking payment system in NZ. Westpac probably gets a bit of credit card interest for credit cards operated by departments as well. But it would not be very significant if Kiwibank was doing the same thing.

        • gsays 1.4.1.1

          cheers nic,
          clearly you have a bit more knowledge than me on this.

          it just seems that a big commercial contract like this would be best kept ‘in house’.

    • The Chairman 1.5

      Here are Labour’s comments thus far

      Labour leader Andrew Little said it was important Kiwibank stayed in public ownership.

      “And this does that, there are some good conditions around it,” he said.

      “This provides a way to get extra capital from these sovereign wealth funds, and hopefully for NZ Post to use the funds that they raise from the sale, to put more capital into Kiwibank.

      Meanwhile, Labour Party state-owned enterprise spokesman David Parker said Cullen should be congratulated on the idea.

      “Michael Cullen should be congratulated for securing a route to expand KiwiBank and keep it in public ownership, given the refusal of National to provide more capital for NZ Post or KiwiBank.

      “Michael Cullen’s solution only works to ensure the bank will remain in public ownership if National promises that if ACC or the Super Fund sells its shares, then the government of the day would exercise its first right of refusal and buy them back.”

      Parker said Labour would commit to buying the shares back if required.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/78621768/govt-guarantees-it-would-buy-back-kiwibank-shares-if-necessary

      • Colonial Viper 1.5.1

        lolololololololololololol

        Two ticks Labour! Two ticks Labour!

        • DH 1.5.1.1

          If Little & Parker really did say that it’s just mind boggling.

          Nothing in this deal has so far suggested that any extra capital will be going to Kiwibank or that Kiwibank will even gain anything at all from it.

          Surely they can see that selling 45% will effectively prevent NZ Post from injecting more capital into Kiwibank.

  2. Aaron 2

    So now we know what ACC’s ridiculous surplus was all about.

  3. mickysavage 3

    Interesting to see how this is treated in the Government’s books. And it is hard to work out the rational apart from an effort to separate Kiwibank from NZ Post.

    • left for dead 3.1

      Good point MS, why would we put our faith in political hacks looking after the mere people.
      It appears the people are being duped again.

      • mickysavage 3.1.1

        The Keep Kiwibank Bill (http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/member/2015/0057/latest/DLM6560314.html) just reported back to the house may be the reason particularly section 6 …

        “Despite any other enactment or rule of law, no sale or other disposal of ownership or control of all or any of New Zealand Post Ltd’s interest in Kiwibank may proceed unless a proposal to do so, including a proposal contained in a clause in a Bill,—
        (a)
        is agreed to by a 75% majority of all members of the House of Representatives; or
        (b)
        has been carried by a majority of the valid votes cast at a poll of the electors of the general and Māori electoral districts.”

    • The Chairman 3.2

      The E tu Union believe this move may lead to opening the door for NZPost being sold.

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1604/S00065/kiwibank-may-be-safe-but-is-nz-post-up-for-sale-next.htm

    • The Chairman 3.3

      As for the Governments books, no doubt the special dividend touted will boost the Governments coffers. Further enabling their desire to give tax cuts.

    • Reddelusion 3.4

      It makes sense if the funds nzp receives from its sell down is reinvested back into kiwi bank, The twin benefit been KWB can expand (Greens and labours desire)and two if successful a good ROI for Acc and Superfund ( tax payer) as they got it cheap ( as per Culken statement) via a closed deal. Glass half empty tax payer funds could be invested more wisely than propping up a state owned bank

  4. Rosie 4

    Re this bit, also discussed in tweets above:

    “The two organisations will be required to hold their stakes in the bank for at least five years.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/78607205/nz-post-chairman-sir-michael-cullen-signals-major-announcement.

    Suggestions that the govt could buy back shares after that. Really? What’s to stop them selling off the foreign investors after five years?

    • Chooky 4.1

      +100 Rosie

      …I would like to know what Jim Anderton has to say about all this…maybe a Guest Post would be interesting?

      …in the meantime this is taking the heat off jonkey nactional and the Panama Papers

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        …in the meantime this is taking the heat off jonkey nactional and the Panama Papers

        If our MSM were doing their job it’d be increasing it as this, along with the secretive trust laws and Laws For Sale to Warner Bros, is obviously part of National’s Big NZ Sell Off.

      • mary_a 4.1.2

        “…in the meantime this is taking the heat off jonkey nactional and the Panama Papers”

        You know Chooky (4.1) I was thinking exactly the same thing. Refocusing or diverting Kiwis’ attention from anything which holds FJK and his co conspirators to account, is what NatzKEY does best.

        And also the partial Kiwibank sell off helps take the focus off the “prominent NZer” case as well.

      • Rosie 4.1.3

        Yes, look over there!! Yesterday he had his endorsement of Helen Clark for UN Secretary General to hide behind, today it’s KB. What’s tomorrows story du jour?

        In the meantime the Icelandic PM had to resign over his wife’s dealings in some dodgy trust ala Panama Papers, while Key carries on defending NZ’s tax law – at odds with the way the rest of the world is reacting.

        A comment from Jim Anderton would be welcome. I remember listening to him talk about the need for a government owned and I always thought, when that bank opens, I’m going to leave my overseas owned bank and join, which is exactly what I did all those years ago.

    • The Chairman 4.2

      It was possible under the current legislation that NZ Post could sell the entire bank. However, the commitment of the Crown to buy back the shares if ACC or the super fund sold increased the guarantee.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/78607205/nz-post-chairman-sir-michael-cullen-signals-major-announcement

      • Chooky 4.2.1

        they wouldnt dare sell the entire KiwiBank though all in one hit

        ( especially as jonkey has pledged he wouldnt sell it off)

        …too obvious and too much resistance from New Zealanders

        …they want to do it incrementally and subdivide

        … and maybe bleed it out

        • The Chairman 4.2.1.1

          “They wouldn’t dare sell the entire KiwiBank though all in one hit”

          Nevertheless, this move doesn’t really change that (Key’s pledge). Any private sale would still require the Governments OK.

          “And maybe bleed it out”

          Well there is a special dividend being touted from the proceeds of the sale.

      • Rosie 4.2.2

        Yes, that’s from the link I posted above.

        We couldn’t possibly trust this government with future aspirations for Kiwibank. Best it’s still not here in five years time.

        • Chooky 4.2.2.1

          it should be a BIG ELECTION issue…so where is Labour and NZF?

          …New Zealand needs to have at least one major government owned and guaranteed bank KiwiBank … to counter the other foreign owned banks taking all the profits out of New Zealand.

          • Rosie 4.2.2.1.1

            PS. Just heard Blinglish say on RNZ that when (Notice he didn’t say “if”) NZ super fund and ACC decide to sell their shares in KB the government has the first right of refusal and if they were the government of the day they would buy them back………..

            Righto…… like “we won’t raise GST”………….

            Simply. Can’t. Trust.

            • Murray Simmonds 4.2.2.1.1.1

              That’s exactly it, Rosie.

              “First right of refusal . . . ”

              As i understand it, if the Government of the day refuses to buy back the shares then they end up on the open market.

              1. The Key/English government will not be the government of the day five years from now.

              2. Five years from now, NZ and the world will probably be still in the midst of GFC2 , and therefore too cash-strapped to buy back the shares.

              I see the whole thing as Key hedging on GF2 being just around the corner and gambling on a flog-off of Kiwibank to private shareholders being highly likely if not inevitable. (And as a recently-retired PM he will be in a position to buy it up if he so desires. . . ???)

              • Rosie

                “I see the whole thing as Key hedging on GF2 being just around the corner and gambling on a flog-off of Kiwibank to private shareholders being highly likely if not inevitable. (And as a recently-retired PM he will be in a position to buy it up if he so desires. . . ???)”

                Interesting scenario……….

                Listened to Grant Robertson on Radio Active this a.m btw. Not feeling reassured by his response, which seemed more designed to calm people by saying KB still remains in public hands. The future is what I’m worried about. He gave no assurances about that.

  5. Bill 5

    So, the government is going all ‘rip, shit and bust’ to fulfill their destiny of being the bestest of slavish ideologues to free market fundamentalism.

    Helen Clark did say something about the ‘right’ throwing NZ on a bonfire after Labour’s election defeat.

    The Nats have been quietly stacking the pile. Looks like they’re finally getting around to the petrol and the matches. That would be the brighter future they’ve always spoken about. How long til the next election?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      +1

    • weka 5.2

      I’m guessing the more it looks likely or even possible that they will lose the election the faster stuff like this will be rolled out.

      592 days max. (sounds far too long).

      • Puckish Rogue 5.2.1

        Keep dreaming, Labour won’t win until 2020…probably but not definately

        • weka 5.2.1.1

          Fuck off and grow an MMP brain

          • Reddelusion 5.2.1.1.1

            I think been fair to PR he has more than once rationally explained the number under MMP weka

            • weka 5.2.1.1.1.1

              What number?

              I seem to remember him being one of the worst offenders for FPP talk, and framing whatever it was he was saying as Labour winning is just another example.

            • Macro 5.2.1.1.1.2

              I think you will find that Winston is none too keen on selling off K B either – so as it stacks up at the moment – National – you loose. It’s called MMP.

  6. DH 6

    IMO this bit here say’s what it’s largely about….

    “None of the proceeds of the sale would go to Kiwibank, with the cash used to pay a special dividend, reduce debt and increase its own capital.”

    The sale of assets is not operating income for the Crown so they can’t be counted in OBEGAL. All that extra cash and poor English can’t use it to make his deficit look smaller.

    Dividends from SOEs, however, are operating income so they get creative with the accounting and use SOE asset sales to generate ‘special’ dividends to the Crown which help reduce the operating deficit. IMO it’s a rort, an accounting scam.

    I’ll predict we’ll also see some more ‘special dividends’ from Housing NZ after the Nats have looted the housing estate.

    • s y d 6.1

      thats the money shot alright DH – the special dividend.
      Just a way to generate a fake surplus, and then transfer that wealth via tax cuts.

      A sick joke.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      IMO it’s a rort, an accounting scam.

      QFT

    • Nic the NZer 6.3

      The dividend income fiddle is pretty straight forward for most SOE’s. Just need to find one with room to borrow a bit more, get them to borrow and then pay a dividend. No asset sales required. Just went a bit wrong with SolidEnergy of course.

    • TC 6.4

      Youre onto it, more flogging assets to make bills books look less sick.

  7. Ad 7

    Infinitely have preferred the government to have simply given them the capital that they needed to expand and compete, rather than go to NZSuperfund and ACC.

    I would also have preferred Kiwibank to have got most of the Government’s accounts when they re-tendered – precisely to make them stronger against the Australian banks.

    I see 2% to NZF on this.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Infinitely have preferred the government to have simply given them the capital that they needed to expand and compete, rather than go to NZSuperfund and ACC.

      And that’s not even getting Kiwibank any capital to expand. But NZPost will be giving the government a bigger dividend.

      • Ad 7.1.1

        Just fucking hate this all round.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          Did you see all the Labour big hitters come out and say, hey this Kiwi Bank thing is a pretty good deal all round!

          This kind of shit, Chinese last names, we’ll stick with the TPP, let’s vote for more spying legislation etc, and there will be more of the same to come, is why I left this fucking sad has-been capitalist collaborators excuse for a social democratic party.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    “Kiwibank will remain 100 percent government-owned – that is a bottom-line,” Finance Minister Bill English said. …

    And it would have set precedent to sell the rest of it never mind that fact that both ACC and the Super Fund could sell it to pretty much anybody.

    Quoting

    While there would be no fresh cash for Kiwibank, Cullen said money could be raised through later sales of shares to the investors. There was no “bottom line” below which NZ Post would go, raising the prospect of a complete sale.

    Yeah, what a surprise. No additional funding to Kiwibank despite it being sold and the promise of later sales to ‘investors’.

    This is pure underhanded BS from Cullen and National.

    • Chooky 8.1

      +100…Orwellian double talk

      where is Labour and NZF?…we know where the Greens are on this…they want to strengthen KiwiBank not fragment it and weaken it and make it subject to outside parties… and possibly sell it off in five years

      ( into hidden trust accounts and offshore Panamanian trusts ?)

      • Puckish Rogue 8.1.1

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/73474402/ANZ-posts-record-profit-as-home-and-business-lending-surges

        “The country’s biggest bank reported a $1.77 billion net profit for the year to September 30, up 4 per cent.”

        What would 100 million do exactly for Kiwibank against that?

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1

          Quite a bit. Most notably it would allow them to expand their capabilities to take on the government’s banking and that of large firms. In other words, they’d be able to compete.

          • Puckish Rogue 8.1.1.1.1

            100 millions too small, all the banks would have to do is drop the mortgage rates and run them at a loss for a month or so and Kiwibank wouldn’t be able to compete

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Wrong. It’s one of those amazing things – the private sector can’t compete with government. Never has been able to. That’s why the private sector is always attacking government and telling lies about how efficient government is.

              A proper plan at set up would have had Kiwibank already surpassing the offshore banks. I assume that this wasn’t done because Labour didn’t want to upset the rentier capitalists.

              • The lost sheep

                the private sector can’t compete with government. Never has been able to.
                You mean like the Communist era Soviet Bloc Govt. run industries wiped the floor with their Western bloc Private enterprise competitors?

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.2

          What would 100 million do exactly for Kiwibank against that?

          It would allow Kiwi Bank to extend at least another $2B worth of loans into the market place.

          • Puckish Rogue 8.1.1.2.1

            If the sale went ahead, NZ Post would receive $495 million

            Then imagine what they can do with nearly 5 times the amount, you must be stoked and its still in the governments hands

            Win-win all round I’d say

  9. Richard Christie 9

    schedued privatisation, 5 year delayed fuse.

    • Puckish Rogue 9.1

      Lets see…National will win the 2020 election, Labour the 2023 (probably) so National back in power 2029 (Labour gets two terms)

      Could well be ripe for a partial sell down

  10. Puckish Rogue 10

    Smart play by John Key, once again he shows why he’ll get a fourth term

    When you lefties wonder how he got another term you just need to think back to announcements like this

    • Puddleglum 10.1

      You mean an announcement that, in the short term, looks like something not too radical and so will be acceptable to commentators and, therefore, the general public but which, in reality, disguises a longer term agenda that the public, currently, would reject?

      Are you applauding a clever way to deceive the public? (In asking that question I’ve assumed your comment was not a criticism of Key.)

      • Puckish Rogue 10.1.1

        Yes

        Its smart politics all of it, getting Sir Michael Cullen to announce it, more capital for Kiwibank, re-election for John Key

        • vto 10.1.1.1

          Is why people such as yourself are despised… You celebrate the deceiving of ordinary people and think it is “smart”.

          • Puckish Rogue 10.1.1.1.1

            I’m sorry I can’t hear you over the sound of John Keys re-election night victory

            But seriously I think this is a good thing, partial sell downs have done will for the energy companies (none of the doom and gloom as predicted by the left I might add)

            I’d rather have seen a partial sell down to the public but political realities being what they are this is the next best thing

            • vto 10.1.1.1.1.1

              You didn’t answer the point

              how surprising from a snake-oil snake

              • Puckish Rogue

                They’re not deceiving anyone, you’ve just decided the people of NZ are too dumb to see whats happening which is indicative of the snobbery that has infected the left and is one of the reasons people are voting right

                • vto

                  No. Re-read above.

                • weka

                  I can barely follow what they are doing and I’m a political nerd relative to most people I know. I think it’s entirely fair to say that most people won’t understand what is going on here unless they educate themselves.

                  What you are talking about is whether people accept/believe that spin, but that’s an entirely different thing than vto is talking about.

                  “which is indicative of the snobbery that has infected the left and is one of the reasons people are voting right”

                  Spin on. A third voted right, A third voted left, and a third didn’t vote at all. Only proto-fascists like yourself consider that to be a mandate.

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    Ahh the ol’ National doesn’t have a mandate lie. National have a mandate because they managed to form a government.

                    You don’t like well too bad

                    • weka

                      They have the right to govern. They can’t claim a mandate to do whatever the hell they like when so many people aren’t on board, unless they engage in proto-fascism.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      No democratic system gives a small party a mandate to act as they will. A democratic system would have major policy decisions made by the people.

                      But, then, we don’t live in a democracy – we live in an elected dictatorship.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Key won’t be here in 2017 if he features in the Panama papers. The Gnats can tell us all about their mandate on the way to the scaffold.

            • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.1.2

              But seriously I think this is a good thing, partial sell downs have done will for the energy companies (none of the doom and gloom as predicted by the left I might add)

              Bollocks:

              People install the panels to reduce their power bills. But Unison fears this will reduce its income and make its assets hard to maintain, so it is bumping up its charges to make up the difference.

              The only way we can get a rational electricity grid is through state ownership.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  So, your point was that commercial decisions ruin good businesses and thus require government to step and rescue them?

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    Not sure what you’ve been smoking but it might healthier for you to put it down and get a job instead

                    “The Crown will receive total dividends of $440 million from the three electricity generators for the year to June, when they are all 51 per cent owned by the Government, compared with $485.8 million two years ago when they were all 100 per cent tax-payer-owned.”

                    “Thus the Crown has received $4308 million from the partial sale of these companies yet its dividend income has fallen by only $45.8 million. This is a remarkably positive outcome for taxpayers.”

                    That’s good business any way you look at it

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      And where has that doubling of dividends come from?

                      Oh, that’s right, the extra that the power companies now charge for retail. What that increased profit shows is a highly regressive taxation.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      If anything my power bills have gone down so I don’t know what you’re going on about

        • Incognito 10.1.1.2

          Sir Michael Cullen announced it because it is his brainchild.

  11. mac1 11

    Of this government’s asset sales, which were all meant to have gone to ‘NZ mum and dad’ investors, how much still remains in NZ hands?

    Genuine question. Have no idea of answer. It would lead towards idea of how trustworthy this ‘five year’ deal would be in terms of retention of our assets in our hands.

  12. vto 12

    I’ve got it !

    Let’s sell the entire country to China.

    We could repay the debt and pay every person a wee dividend.

    Make it illegal for a New Zealander to own any asset in New Zealand too, just to be sure.

  13. Colonial Viper 13

    Very politically smart to have Sir Michael Cullen make this announcement.

    A good man totally fitting the modern Labour Party.

    • Puckish Rogue 13.1

      People don’t have to like or admire John Key but he’s underestimated at their peril, the right didn’t learn the lesson with Helen Clark and now the lefts repeating it with John Key

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        Key and National are clearing the decks between now and the end of calendar Q3, getting unpopular stuff out of the way.

        Then they will be moving into full gear electioneering.

        • Puckish Rogue 13.1.1.1

          The thing is though none of what National are doing is earth-shattering in its complexity yet Labour, especially, always seemed to have a catch up, stunned mullet look to them

          Imagine if Winston Peters was leading Labour

  14. greywarshark 14

    Ooh we might buy it back again. And ACC could not sell it for five years. Carrots to sweeten the dismaying sight of the last few good things we have being undercut. Watch out Labour that you fell this tree the right way or it might fall on you. Better to leave it standing – our financial Tane Mahuta.

    • Kiwiri 14.1

      The thing with gNats is that, given a chance, they will just chop of your legs, no beating around the bush.

      With the kind of Cullen Labour whizz, you have a choice of how long the anaesthetic will last, when you choose to get it going, the dessert (jelly or ice cream?) you get afterwards, etc.

      • greywarshark 14.1.1

        @Kiwiri (just on the other hand, looking at it from a different perspective.)
        It could be said that Michael Cullen is making financial magic out of the current maze of NZ SEOs and departments. He is getting the increased capital for Kiwibank that the Gnats have denied it, and done it in such a way that it all stays in Kiwi hands, I hope, and that neat accounting shuffle might result in a more stable NZ.

  15. weka 15

    Government for Dummies question of the day, but can someone please tell me what the point is of having a govt department be an SOE and then selling part of it to other govt departments? Aren’t they just shuffling money around but not doing anything actualy useful as in creating something? If NZPost/Kiwibank were still just a govt department would any of this make sense? Or am I missing something here?

    • Rosie 15.1

      I have the same question.

    • s y d 15.2

      Weka, see DH’s comment at 6.0

      • weka 15.2.1

        I saw that, thanks s y d. I had more of a bigger picture question about the point of SOEs in the first place if this is the kind of thing they end up doing. I don’t get it. Apart from the idea that SOEs can try and function like a business in ways that govt departments can’t, and look how that’s working out for NZPost, which now appears to believe that its customers’ needs are an annoyance. All of it looks like a rort to me.

        • Chooky 15.2.1.1

          you don’t get it …because you are NOT supposed to get it

        • Colonial Viper 15.2.1.2

          I saw that, thanks s y d. I had more of a bigger picture question about the point of SOEs in the first place if this is the kind of thing they end up doing. I don’t get it.

          SOEs are designed to reduce the power of government by cutting off its operational arms in communities.

          They transform large parts of society from operating on the basis of the “public good” to operating on the basis of commercial profit.

          This also has the effect of making people feel more distant and disconnected from the government, the public sector and the public service ethos in general.

          The structure also helps shield the responsible Minister and the Govt in general from responsibility and accountability.

          And if the SOE makes good profits, it is very easy to sell off and privatise.

          Is that clearer now.

          • Nic the NZer 15.2.1.2.1

            +1.

            This is the real harm in (partial) privatization of power companies. It’s nothing to do with the sale price vs income stuff. Its everything to do with not being able to operate these entities in the public interest (e.g by electing to do (likely) less profitable but sustainable power generation or subsidize power costs or invest in power generation).

          • millsy 15.2.1.2.2

            ..and if an SOE is *not* making good profits, it can be wound up and the assets sold, like Learning Media, Solid Energy, Terralink and soon to be KiwiRail and NZ Post.

    • NZJester 15.3

      Someone was saying that the selloff will create a dividend that can be paid to the government.
      So it sounds like a sneaky way they can suck some money out of the budgets of the SOE’s involved while claiming they have increased Kiwibanks operating capital without many in New Zealand knowing they have done so.

  16. Ad 16

    If anyone wants to see what a politician successfully holding a banker to account looks like, try a bit of Elizabeth Warren from yesterday:

    http://www.salon.com/2016/04/05/were_your_eyes_stitched_closed_elizabeth_warren_skewers_federal_reserve_regulator_who_played_pivotal_role_in_2008_financial_crisis/

    If we had a Reserve Bank, or Banking Ombudsman, or indeed an opposition politician, who could do a regulators’ job like this, New Zealand’s financial system would not be in such a fragile, parlous state within this disgraceful FIRE economy.

  17. Colonial Viper 17

    I bet you that Goldman Sachs and company are developing a whole bunch of complex off-the-books derivatives based on Kiwi Bank shares. For whom, and for what purpose, who knows.

    But its the only way to explain why this otherwise totally unnecessary transaction is being undertaken.

    • Kiwiri 17.1

      Welcome to New Ελλάς-land !

    • Chooky 17.2

      +100 CV…and Sir Michael Cullen is fronting it…another betrayal by Labour

      • Rodel 17.2.1

        When ‘Sir’ Cullen who didn’t want Kiwibank in the first place, agrees with English
        there is jiggerypokery afoot. We have to be suspicious. Pandas anyone?
        Can’t wait for Jim Anderton’s response to this.
        By the way China only rents it’s Pandas out for a million a year.

    • Nic the NZer 17.3

      I suspect that Michael Cullen came up with this himself actually. It smack’s of Cullen all over. Of course its ultimately an internal balance sheet operation across the wider govt accounts and largely meaning-less in terms of effects on the economy, but its operating as fantastic political theatre none the less.

      No doubt you will start to see the comments lauding Cullen’s wisdom to strengthen Kiwibank finances just as you see regular comments lauding his wisdom in creating the Cullen fund (or decrying failures to invest in it).

      Of course neither of these things is actually to say that Kiwibank could not continue to lend or that NZ could not continue to pay super, but whose to say what would happen if the govt accounts were not fiddled with in the appropriate way?

      • Colonial Viper 17.3.1

        It’s heart warming to see how the recent Labour Deputy PM and Finance Minister, the current Labour caucus, and the National Government, can pretty much see eye to eye on such a big deal involving Kiwi Bank.

        It’s quite lovely to see all this inter-party co-operation for the good of the country ahead of election year.

  18. Whispering Kate 18

    What with the Panama files, climate change and then wading all through these comments, for what it is worth – I am glad I don’t have grandchildren, what a fucked up world we live in – nothing nice about it at all, where has decency gone – completely out the window. A terrible legacy to leave small children today.

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      I think climate change will be severe by 2030/2040. Around the same time that petrol and diesel will become strictly rationed.

      Which means that todays high school kids will have to deal with these severe consequences in their 40’s. And they’ll be in time to curse their ignorant, apathetic parents of today.

  19. NZJester 19

    Strange this comes just a short while after a bunch of so called opinion pieces about if Kiwi Bank and NZ post should be sold got published in the MSM.
    How ever did those people know what was about to happen?
    There is no way someone in National would leaked the information to them is there?
    (I can’t go on with more of my comment as my sarcasm meter is on overload and I need to let it settle down before it explodes!)

  20. The Chairman 20

    Interestingly enough, it seems Labour are more supportive of this than they were of the Green’s Kiwibank policy.

    What a surprise (sarc).

  21. Incognito 21

    My suggestion would be for the Government to re-invest the special dividend directly back into Kiwibank. I read somewhere it could be as much as $250 million. That way it cannot be used to make Bill’s books look better than they are.

    How, if any, would this ‘move’ affect the influence of politicians on and over Kiwibank? My gut feeling is that they will get more influence.

  22. millsy 22

    Dont be suprised if we see more deals like this.

    I would wager that that local body leaders in Christchurch and Auckland may see deal similar to this is an elegant solution to the risky politics behind changing one’s asset mix.

    The age of privatization may be over. We are now in the age of privatization with New Zealand characteristics.

  23. Graeme 23

    The primary beneficiary of this “transfer” is NZ Post. They have sold a 45% share of their asset (Kiwi Bank) to two other Crown entities. So it’s NZ Post that’s getting the $495 million cash injection. This is going to be used to pay down debt, and maybe some amorphous “special dividend” to Bill’s slush fund.

    The sale / transfer has nothing to do with injecting capital into Kiwi Bank, it just gives it two shareholders with a bit of cash and an eye for potentially profitable businesses.

    The thing we should be talking about is why does NZ Post need a $495 million cash injection.

    Have we got another Solid Energy ??????

  24. Corvidae 24

    Typically we’ve all been told to look at the privatisation aspect of this. This is not the issue or indeed the purpose here. It’s a red herring set up to be easily rebuffed. What are we being told not to look at?

    The government needs to balance the books for the next election, and there are these big lumps of money sitting in the superfund and the ACC fund just earning interest for all us people who simply aren’t smart enough to be ‘ruch’. Now NZ Post sells off a portion of Kiwibank to pay it’s own debt and develop somewhat … AND a dividend to the government … of (apparently) several hundred million (!!).

    Of course Kiwibank could sell a smaller percentage or sell for a lower price (it’s all a zero sum game anyway as (apparently) it’s all staying in government ownership …), and NZPost could reduce the same debt and develop. The funds themselves then retain more of their capital.

    But we’re all told to focus on the privatisation. This is easily defended in this instance, as the masses will all follow the ‘staying in government ownership’ line and that both funds have exchanged money for assets and the election is such a long way away. Meanwhile money that has been put aside for all of us pays for the tax cuts.

  25. SPC 25

    If it was a listed company Cullen would end up in court for selling assets below market value.

    As for giving $300M of the proceeds of the sale price back to the shareholder (government) rather than invested back into the profitable Kiwibank to enable it to grow to 10-15% of the banking sector – is the shareholder dumb?

    The consequences for NZ Post – from $120M profit in Kiwibank to half that. The $200M it gains (sans 300M to the government shareholder) only covers 4-5 years of the lower share of the Kiwibank profit (paying down debt when the cost is cheap is not a great benefit, just a survival in decline strategy). It’s longer term future starts to look like NZ Coal. It does not even mention any business development purpose to raising funds.

    Kiwibank is not helped being owned by an even weaker NZ Post and the world markets being informed that the government would rather take $300M from NZ Post than have it (or new owners it controls) putting new capital into Kiwibank. It’s credit rating will fall and this will hamper any growth.

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      goldman Sachs or whoever the advisors are have alkready figured all this out and will have positioned themselves to profit off their dumbass Kiwi client.

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