Liberalism Uber Alles

Written By: - Date published: 11:29 am, June 13th, 2018 - 32 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, infrastructure, liberalism, Privatisation - Tags: ,

I’m hazy on all the shenanigans around NZ Post over the years, but it looks like things are coming to an end, and that the functions of NZ Post will be wholly carried out by private business concerns in the near future. Think Oamaru – where post is delivered by a taxi company.

Dunedin is about to lose four Kiwi Bank/NZ Post branches. The Kilbirnie branch in Wellington is also closing meaning the loss of some post office services in the local area.

It’s looking very much like the final chapter in the same old sad story of liberalism. Take a service. Remove it’s monopoly status and strip it of its assets. Allow private concerns to “cherry pick” the more profitable aspects of the business (the Oamaru example), and keep the vicious downward spiral of gouging and stripping going until there is “unfortunately” no option besides termination of the publicly owned and run service – or the residues of what once was a publicly owned and run service.

In a few years, the state will (as tends to happen) have to step in and pick up some of the pieces that private businesses will have let ‘drop to rot’ on the basis of unprofitability.

This demise of NZ Post was guided by (Sir) Michael Cullen in his previous role as NZ Post board chair between 2009 and 2016 (He was preceded by Jim “neo-liberalism has failed” Bolger who was chair from 2001).

In 2009, the NZ Post group posted a net profit of $71.8 million.  $89 million in the last six months of 2016 off the back of asset stripping (or “downsizing” and “rationalising” if you prefer) that was accompanied by a $14 million profit in the area of “mail, parcels and logistics“. And whatever was left by last year (it gets murky) returned a profit of $6 million that the board released in a press statement proclaiming a $13 million loss – go figure.

Actually, it’s fairly easy to figure. There is an ideological imperative at work, and the ideology will bend reality to provide justification for continuing down the route determined by ideology.

Jim Bolger said liberalism was a failed experiment or some such. Jacinda Ardern made noises about how liberalism had failed. But when judged on what is done rather than on what is said, it would seem that NZ’s political classes are as wedded to the liberal or neo-liberal project as ever.

So next year, if you don’t have internet or your own transport, phone a taxi using the same privatised infrastructure that provides internet access, and jump in the back seat of a cab with sacks of letters and small parcels, to ride across town to wherever it might be you can still pay bills at the counter. Because this is the best that the 21C has to offer (in NZ).

 

32 comments on “Liberalism Uber Alles”

  1. adam 1

    Before people jump in and start talking about volume of mail. I’d like to point out that the ‘gig economy’ relies on many more packages being sent, and whilst this may not be traditional letter, a package was still core business of post.

    So in the area of volume, the argument can be made that post is not diminishing.

    So we are back to ideological purity ,and wrecking being a core component of that ideology. Any muppet can prove the state has failed, all you have to do is destroy that part of the state from inside government. The last national government is a classic example. Along with what is happening right across the Western democracies.

    And of course NZ post is a very good example of that process. My guess is some apologist will say why not pay bills online, but can everyone do that? The simple answer, as proven by the last census, is no.

    Just jumping in Bill, like the post by the way.

    • Hooch 1.1

      You’re right. If anything postal/package volumes should be increasing with the rise of online shopping.

      I find it bizarre that these closures happen, whenever I visit a post shop there is usually a long queue. They provide a multitude of services other than ‘posting letters’ and then the added business of a kiwibank branch.

      And it’s shameful that Cullen has presided over this sort of neo liberal nonsense. Appointed by national and accepting their honour of a knighthood after they were abolished during his time in government as well. I can only assume he’s part of the right wing Labour Party.

      With all these closures do they still need a massive office space on the waterfront in Wellington?

  2. Exactly.

    Heres an idea from Bernie back in 2015..combine Banking and postal…especially handy for our Brave New World of low wages and the so called gig economy

    “In fact, Sanders’s idea is quite sensible. “Postal banking”—which just means that post offices run savings accounts, cash checks, and perform other basic financial services—is common in most of Asia and Europe, and only about 7 percent of the world’s national postal systems don’t offer some bank-like services. Postal banking is a really good way to reach people who haven’t had access to standard savings accounts. One estimate figures that more than 1 billion people have used post offices for making deposits.”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/bernie-sanders-lets-turn-post-offices-into-banks/411589/

    More recently he floated the idea of suggesting the Post Office could expand into digital services and “offer a non-commercial version of Gmail.”.

    https://www.thenation.com/article/bernie-sanders-commonsense-plan-save-postal-service/

  3. Gosman 3

    Why should the State have a monopoly on services that could be provided by private businesses? What benefit does that provide the country?

    • andrew murray 3.1

      it provides an ease and a certainty of access for all the people that make up a society.

      The importance of these types of socially cohesive services really shouldn’t need explaining.

      • Gosman 3.1.1

        If you want people to access a social service provided by a business then by all means subsidise that service. If you want rural deliveries in areas not currently covered by a business then pay for rural deliveries. However enforcing a monopoly just to ensure certainty of access is not a good idea. It is like using a sledge hammer to crack an egg in an egg carton. Sure the egg will be cracked but so will all the other eggs along with it.

        • andrew murray 3.1.1.1

          I’m sorry but that’s a nonsense analogy… and to one of your other assertions, why is ‘enforcing a monopoly just to ensure certainty of access [is], not a good idea’.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2

      Why should the State have a monopoly on services that could be provided by private businesses? What benefit does that provide the country?

      Continuity and universality of service. Private companies can and do fail, as they should. There are certain services – education, communication, supply of electricity, policing, etc. that are “too big to fail”. That doesn’t mean that state has a monopoly, it means that the state has a duty to provide.

  4. Tamati Tautuhi 4

    Gossie don’t tell me you are an expert on the Banking Industry as well, they are basically parasitic worms ?

    • Gosman 4.1

      How are they parasitic worms exactly?

      Note no political party in Parliament has stated anything like that so your views are very much in the minority.

      [So this is day… three, four or five?…of you warbling nonsense on posts that you may or may not have read. Take a couple of days off. Come back on Friday evening or Saturday morning and don’t be an idiot who just picks up where they left off] – Bill

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        quoting Why we can’t afford the rich” by Andrew Sayer, Richard Wilkinson

        Like rent, interest is asset-based unearned income that accrues without any effort. There may be some administration costs in providing a loan, but these tend to be low and can be charged to the borrower. Like rent, interest presupposes that those who produce goods and services for their income produce a surplus that the lenders can buy with their unearned income. Like rent, therefore, interest is parasitic on producers. As Michael Hudson puts it, it is a ‘deadweight cost’ on the economy.42 It is not merely a transfer, a zero-sum game (where gains equal losses), but a negative-sum game – that is, one that, other things being equal, leaves the economy worse off.

        Sums it up pretty well.

        The banking sector is a drain on society. Otherwise known as parasitical.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 4.1.2

        Goss are really that stupid ?

  5. andrew murray 5

    I’m sorry but that’s a nonsense analogy… and to one of your other assertions, why is ‘enforcing a monopoly just to ensure certainty of access [is], not a good idea’.

  6. Antoine 6

    I think this is all a bit dramatic. I really don’t see a big problem with providing post services out of a shop rather than a Government owned post office. Is the service so much worse?

    A.

    • Bill 6.1

      The full gamut of service isn’t available through all “shop” locations.

      Taxi companies (and whatever others) delivering letters and parcels are not providing or maintaining the basic service infrastructure that made their business possible.

      And how is it a “bit dramatic” to comment on the ideological drives behind decisions that lead to the privatisation of what some would argue to be core public services?

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    The problem with NZ post is that very few people send letters any more. Because of this it simply doesn’t have the scale to keep the postal service going. With text and email available that sends instantly across the world there’s no need to keep the postal service going either.

    There’s only couriers left but having that as a state monopoly would save millions per year and probably allow for new services such as free delivery from the local super-market which would save us even more.

    So next year, if you don’t have internet or your own transport, phone a taxi using the same privatised infrastructure that provides internet access, and jump in the back seat of a cab with sacks of letters and small parcels, to ride across town to wherever it might be you can still pay bills at the counter.

    Sorry Bill but the world is moving away from retail stores. I disagree with the privatisation as it’s simply a way to steal from everyone else but paying at the counter is going the way of the dodo. I’m truly amazed that people are still building retail stores as if things are going to continue on as they did last century.

  8. opium 8

    Sadly NZ post has become a joke lately.Letters & parcels are now a 3-5 working day service from Auckland to Whangarei,which I found out when I complained about a parcel that arrived at Auckland airport ,Sunday lunch time but wasn’t delivered till Friday.They are giving away their parcel work due to to understaffing & a can’t do atitude & they will be stuck with the unprofitable rural deliveries for decades yet probably.Parcels are the future but NZ Post just can’t be bothered to up their game & compete with the couriers.Sad really.Such is the reality of NZ today.

  9. SPC 9

    The future is universal access to internet (requirement for rentals …) and secure banking/payments on-line.

    NZ Post has always used private contractors to provide services such as carriage of mail between cities (air, train and truck/van), urban parcel delivery and rural mail delivery. And this was long before the arrival of courier services where they had private sector competition.

    That, with the decline in mail volumes, they have begun to use use other transport services within the urban area to deliver mail is unsurprising (an alternative to the cost of buying up a fleet of vehicles – replacing bikes because the delivery runs are so much larger and they now include smaller parcels).

  10. AsleepWhileWalking 10

    NZ Post could have pivoted out of the obviously dying practice of letter conveyance long ago.

    To some extent they responded to the trend of online overseas purchases but their service is expensive compared to say Ship2U.

    There is a company called Shiply (UK) in which you load in what you want shipped, and companies bid for the job so you can choose the price/delivery time. Think they are well positioned to create something similar with shipping to NZ.

    Another idea would be a service where instead of posting a letter you wrote/printed/posted, NZPost could take your email and turn it into a physical letter on your behalf. Handy for stuff that must be posted like Work and Income letters, property inspections etc.

    Another idea would be to become a mail forwarding office (handy if you live overseas and need a NZ address). There is a Jville company that does exactly that.

  11. Ad 11

    “…(I)f you don’t have internet or your own transport…”

    … you are suffering a massive disability on par with not being able to read.
    In which case you have problems on a scale that will already need MSD to assist you.

    Your nearest library will have internet, and you really will need to learn.

    If you have no library within walking or cycling distance, and no internet, you will need a whole bunch of public services similar to that of real isolated rural poverty.

    That’s not an argument against NZPost, it’s an argument against poverty and deprivation itself.

    • Pat 11.1

      I suspect you are under 40 with that line of reasoning…there is a sizeable cohort out in the real world who have no ability (even if access) when it comes to online operations…and they are not going to learn (or avail MSD or anyone else) at this late stage whatever you may think.

  12. Venezia 12

    In the last week I have discovered that a post box which for years had been sited in my local mall at the Paper Plus shop, has gone along with the closure of Paper Plus shop. On that occasion I had ” return to sender” mail which had arrived at my place for other (unknown) people. I have been told by the mall that NZ Post refused to site the Postbox anywhere else in the mall, although there were several shops willing to host it. I have in the past used it for posting lots of items, plus the purchasing the limited range of postal supplies stocked by PP. Especially in the CHC winter weather, it is very convenient, as I do other shopping in the mall, and often noticed elderly people doing the same. There is a post shop further down the village, but crossing a very busy road to get there, plus the 10 continuous days of cold, raining weather we are not yet out of, is a real disincentive. So to me this says that NZ Post does not care about providing a service any more. They can go to hell.

  13. L0L ! , – neo liberalism ,… the grab bag of assorted crumb peckers at the bottom fervently believing that if they keep their heads down, ingratiate themselves to some bastard who determines if they continue to have a contract or not , and not raise any objections if the boss roots their wives ,… they will continue to survive yet another day to repeat the same old degrading lifestyle they have coweringly come to accept…

    Bloody hell.

    The Aussies are laughing at us.

    Just look at their 90% ownage of our former NZ banks !

    Kiwi suckers !!!

    Yet most of em are like THIS :

    The Featherbrain Championship – YouTube
    Video for front bar featherbrained kevin bloody wilson▶ 4:20

  14. NZJester 14

    The bringing in of private companies to the post business was meant to add competition to bring costs down. It did the opposite with costs going up instead of down for the average kiwi as the private companies lured away all the big fish leaving NZPost with all of the unprofitable parts and a lot of the profitable bits stripped away meaning they had no choice but to put the price of postage up.
    To post something a few years back I only had a short walk down the road to the nearest post box by the local Dairy. They removed to one up our street by our dairy meaning a 5 min walk there and 5 min back stretched to a 30 min walk there and 30 min back to the nearest post box. The reason they gave was that our post box was hardly used, but I was posting DVDs back nearly every other day to a postal renal service and would often meet others posting letters. One time a few months before they removed it I got there just before the pickup van and I saw him open it up to pull out a half-full sack. So saying it was underused was a lie as it was not a small bag. Even the dairy owner commented to me that he used to sell a lot of stamps every day while it was out the front of his shop and the sale of those stamps dried up after they removed the box.

    • There’s another ‘primitive’ aspect to all of this… snail mail is pretty immune to all the hacking , crashing and convenient excuses of the modern day now privatized former SOE’s… and hence their political masters…

      Its pretty foolproof in a very rudimentary fashion.

      And guess what , – not only did it furnish a service for those elderly who are not and don’t care to be ‘computer literate’…. but it also furnished jobs for those involved in the industry. And the discretionary part of those wages often went towards supporting other local businesses.

      So now we have a WINZ who DEMANDS everyone is computer literate , a smaller earning workforce , more unemployed and major inconvenience to those who simply prefer to use snail mail to reply to those businesses in a leisurely fashion for those un-pressing matters.

      But the real reason is the takeover of NZ Post and dismantling of KiwiBank by foreign banking interests.

      Particularly Australian banking groups.

      AND THAT ,… is at the very heart of the attack on first NZ Post,… and then KiwiBank.

  15. Tamati Tautuhi 15

    Global Banking Cartels, should be some work there for the Commerce Commission ?

  16. opium 16

    I am currently tracking a parcel that arrived in NZ on 8/6/2018 13:10 but it still hasn’t been delivered.

  17. jcuknz 17

    I do not believe that ‘old folk’ are computer illiterate since I am 86 and have been using them since I came across a ZX80 and shared it with seven others back in 1983 or ’84.
    Instead of belly-aching at the changes do something about it.
    If a shop gives you bad service then do not patronise it …. simple!
    If you know somebody who doesn’t have a computer then offer to help them if they trust you.
    Personally I had a term deposit with Kiwibank and have cancelled it since it was shortly up for renewal. If the closure of the Post Office I occasionally use does not occur I will reconsider the matter in a few months.
    If you believe in supporting NZ there are a lot of outfits other than the Aussies, why I went to Kiwibank in the first place. Credit Unions, Southland Building Society Bank and similar.
    I have a cheque book but it gets used once every three months or so to pay my rates and I really do not need it for that.
    Most bills big or small get paid by credit card or auto payment from my cheque account.
    Fees for old folk when your pension is paid into a bank are mostly very reasonable or not at all.
    Treat your credit card as a monthly account and it costs you very little.
    Live within your means and do not use it to buy nice things you cannot really afford.
    Once I was hammered by the rat race but with self-discipline I have got over that horrible state of affairs.

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