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National to increase foreign ownership

Written By: - Date published: 12:55 pm, March 14th, 2009 - 38 comments
Categories: assets, national/act government, same old national - Tags: , , ,

Newstalk ZB reports:

The Prime Minister is keen to open the door to foreign investors.

In a speech to the Act Party conference today, John Key said a review of the Overseas Investment Act will be announced by Finance Minister Bill English next week.

The review aims to create an overseas investment screening regime that encourages investment into New Zealand while protecting sensitive land, assets and resources.

New Zealand’s restrictions on foreign capital are already a joke. As it stands foreign owners take $15.4 billion (8% of our GDP) in profits from the work of New Zealanders every year, most of it dividends from former public assets that were sold off too cheaply in the 1980s and ’90s.

Any relaxation on overseas investment is a recipe for more foreign ownership of New Zealand and even more of our national wealth being sucked out of the country in the form of dividends for overseas shareholders.

This really is the same old National Party.

38 comments on “National to increase foreign ownership”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    They haven’t learned anything from the last two decades have they?

    Hint to NACT: FOREIGN OWNERSHIP MAKES US POORER.

  2. RedLogix 2

    The mask slipped; then fell away altogether. But it mattered little, the crowd continued to see what they so greatly wanted to.

  3. IrishBill 3

    And there go the last vestiges of our economic sovereignty.

  4. rave 4

    Tane I suppose you meant by “our” wealth, that of the workers, not the bosses?
    Workers in NZ have so far put up little fight to loss of jobs, and most of that is begging the bosses to be true “kiwis” and when they spurn the workers and go overseas like F&P they suddenly become traitors.

    There is a danger of opposing foreign investment. It doesnt mean any less exploitation of workers, but it drives workers behind their respective bosses into protectionism, including job protection, like the recent British jobs for British workers fiasco. Workers end up going to war against each other to protect their bosses property.

    I don’t mind foreign ownership of companies just as long as when it comes to socialising them we don’t give kiwi firms any let off. Like we should socialise Sealords and that includes Aotearoa Fisheries which has proven itself to be just another exploiting boss in the name of “The Maori People”. In fact to socialise Sealords it would by useful to have the support of the many thousands of workers globally who work for the Japanese multinational partner Nissui that owns 50% of Sealords and is very much the big brother to Aotearoa Fisheries.

    • IrishBill 4.1

      Rave, assuming the unthinkable and unlikely situation in which we don’t seize the means of production next week, I would rather we had a situation i which our government (which has some democratic accountability) was able to exercise control over the nation’s economy.

      Of course you may be one of those “worse the better” types who think that if the country is run by Coca Cola the revolution will only come faster. If so I have one word for you: Brazil.

      Which is not to say I disagree with your outlook but rather that I am less optimistic about it actualising and in the meantime I am keen to mitigate the pain suffered by workers. Even if it means selling out into a social democratic proposition.

      • rave 4.1.1

        IB what makes you think that Social Democracy lessens the pain for workers? Compared to National? The problem is that as long as workers trust SD types they get Rogernomics. They wernt prepared the first time when they got Rogered by Labour. That was worse the better, and we didint even ask for it. Rogered One hasnt been undone. Nor are they prepared for Rogering No 2. Why because they expect SD to protect their jobs and the credit bubble kept them consuming.
        Well while they spending up large the silver was sold, and what’s left to privatise will soon follow, ACC., SOEs, etc.
        Tell my why workers should trust the SDs rewind this scenario in 3 years time. Better to spend the time organising for workers sitins and occupations and fight for the jobs and control of resources, Even if we go down in a glorious heap it better than getting Rogered lying down.
        Brazil is a case study in praying for an SD cargo cult and getting shat on instead. Lula stood for the workers vote then sold out by forming a popular front with Alencar who represents Brazil’s ruling class.
        Tons of workers in Brazil are not conned by Lula anymore and are organising independently of the Workers Party.

  5. vinsin 5

    Good point Rave, big ups to yourself.

  6. r0b 6

    “Economic sovereignty” – what a quaint idea IB. The whole idea of “countries” is so last millennium — the world is just a market. Money must be free to flow unimpeded into the coffers of the rich. After all, you only have to look around you to see how successful unregulated markets are…

    • Quoth the Raven 6.1

      I wish the whole idea of countries was so last millennium, but then again I’m a lefty not some social democrat.
      Imagine there’s no countries
      It isn’t hard to do
      Nothing to kill or die for
      And no religion too
      Imagine all the people
      Living life in peace…

      You may say I’m a dreamer
      But I’m not the only one
      I hope someday you’ll join us
      And the world will be as one

      • r0b 6.1.1

        I wish the whole idea of countries was so last millennium, but then again I’m a lefty not some social democrat.

        Countries are wonderful things, they are communities, they have a reason to “act local”, they are incubators of diversity and culture and colour. What a poor bland homogenised world it would be without countries.

        Countries do not inevitably imply war and aggression, the issues highlighted by John Lennon in “Imagine”. Most of the countries in the world live in peace. Would that they all could.

        Our country will be the poorer if we repeat the known and proven mistakes of surrendering control of our own infrastructure and resources.

        • Quoth the Raven 6.1.1.1

          Communities are communities not countries. You’re just arguing my form of centralisation is better than your form of centralisation. I say decentralisation.

          • RedLogix 6.1.1.1.1

            The challenges we face as a species are almost all global in nature, and demand solutions that are generated and implemented at that level. Inevitably humanity will be compelled to cede some of the sovereignty nations that nations still jealously guard, to a global body that will represent the final stage of our planetary evolution.

            A village does not deny the family, the city not the town, nor the nation all the myriad communities that are as it’s cells and sinews. Equally this global federation does not spell the end of our national, cultural, our personal identities.

            All of human social history can be seen through this paradigm of an increasing scope of collective action and unity. Each step in the process has taken us from scattered bands of isolated hunter-gathers, to citizens of large complex nations. Yet along the way, we never lost the family unit, it still remains vital to most of us.

            Equally the transition point of each stage has been characterised by a dramatic tension between the embrionic new form struggling to attain legitimacy, and the institutions of the previous stage resisting change they perceive as threatening. (In our own era this struggle is most clearly exampled by the refusal of the major nations, USA, Russia, China, etc, to relinquish their power of veto in the UN. )

            At some point we will look back on this period of history with the same incomprehension as we now look back on events like the Hundred Years War… and wonder just why it took us all so LONG to see the obvious.

  7. There is no doubt Key and his rightwing zealots are going full steam ahead to privatise evefrything they cab get away with. This beggars the question as to why
    Lord Michael Ashcroft made his overnight visit to Key. Chair of the Democratic Pacific Union ( as is Key ) of overseas companies,
    The NZ public seem to have forgotten that the National Party joined this group of RighwIingers , Dominated by the USA Republican Party , Whose philosophy is world wide privatization. Lets have more information on this group.“““`

  8. sweeetdisorder 8

    Postman, calm down. Does the hospital know you have stopped taking your meds?

  9. Rex Widerstrom 9

    Oh come on. Both National and Labour have lounged on the international street corner, skirts round their waists, flogging our birthright for as long as many can remember. It’s gotten progressively worse year upon year no matter who’s in power.

    Only one party – NZ First – ever talked of calling a halt and both National and Labour stood arm in arm and derided it as rascist (when it was no such thing). Then Winston decided to sell himself on a more personal level and the rest, as they say, is history.

    No wonder that National are considering taking our teeth out to try and attract the last few punters to whom we haven’t been able to sell ourselves… their predecessors were such accomplished pimps.

    • IrishBill 9.1

      Don’t think for a millisecond that I, or any of my fellow posters, would support Labour’s record on foreign investment. And don’t try to use their shameful record as some kind of strawman to undermine our argument against the further pimping of our country’s economic sovereignty.

      • Rex Widerstrom 9.1.1

        Undermine your argument?! You seriously think I’m here defending foreign “investment”? I wholeheartedly support the post right up to the last line.

        “This really is the same old National Party” disingenuously overlooks, or at least minimises, Labour’s role in very situation Tane rightedly berates, so in he interests of accurately recording history, I pointed this out.

        As you can probably tell, the things that were said about NZ First, and me personally when I was out front promoting restrictions on foreign investment (which was, incidentally, the only reason behind our call for tightening immigration) by people in National, Labour and the media still rankle.

        Crying “racist” when someone objects to selling the very soil on which we stand, along with our productive capacity and our jobs, is a pretty low tactic.

        • Tane 9.1.1.1

          I’m criticising the Nats because they’re relaxing the rules on foreign investment. If it were Labour I’d say the same thing.

        • Quoth the Raven 9.1.1.2

          As you can probably tell, the things that were said about NZ First, and me personally when I was out front promoting restrictions on foreign investment (which was, incidentally, the only reason behind our call for tightening immigration) by people in National, Labour and the media still rankle.

          The only reason ba – Tell that to Peter Brown and co with their asian invasion rhetoric asian crims running riot &c. You expect us to believe that none of that bullshit from NZ fist was racist.

  10. Daveski 10

    The issue which has been completely ignored is the pathetic level of savings in NZ which mean we need overseas capital to invest in NZ businesses.

    Take your pick. Jobs or overseas investment.

    Funny that, I thought you guys wanted more jobs?

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      There’s a difference between overseas investment and overseas ownership. We don’t need either BTW.

  11. Jum 11

    Please, will someone tell me why?

  12. Jum 12

    Daveski

    Either you’ve swallowed too much water Dave or the ice has entered your brain.

    Recessions/depressions have an end. What happens then? We continue slogging away for crap owners overseas? Are you that stupid or are you one of them?

    And as for savings – guess who reduced the savings quota in Kiwisaver – your beloved Kleptomaniac Key.

    Rex Widerstrom
    How dare you use a ‘skirts around the waist’ description of selling this country’s assets overseas. Women would have done a far better job of running this country. Oh yes Helen Clark did. Not much went the way of private ownership (that wasn’t already under private ownership) under her watch.

    While you righties whore our assets overseas, remember one thing. The NZ public on the whole is too stupid to realise it. I learnt that when NAct were voted in. You already knew NZers were stupid tho’ didn’t you, Rex. That’s why you used outright lies, misinformation, the NZ BusinessRoundtable owned and Tui breweries, the misogynists, the religious zealots and the rednecks to sell us out.

    • Rex Widerstrom 12.1

      Excuse me? I’ve used BRT, fundamentalists, misogynists and a beer company to sell “us” out? Who’s “us”? What lies? When? I resigned from politics rather than lie to the public so I’d very much like to know where you get off accuse me of having done so.

      As for Clark’s performance, I’ll take the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa’s information over your irrational deification of a flawed (as they all are) politician. It was CAFCA’s information I used (along with my own research) when I was involved in the issue, by the way.

      According to CAFCA, in Clark’s last year in office (2008) 87 applications were approved by the Overseas Investment Commission (which covers only land, fishing, and other things worth over $50 million). It refused just two.

      That’s “not much going the way of foreign ownership” is it?

      As for your objection to the actual terminology, I’d imagine it’s more insulting to characterise Jim Bolger as having his skirts round his waist than Helen Clark, but then that’s just me. But they both did, as did Shipley, Palmer, Moore and Lange.

    • Rex Widerstrom 12.2

      I’ve never “whored an asset overseas” and have opposed the sale of every public asset that’s been put on the block both by National and by your beloved Helen Clark (in the last year of the reign of the PM you’d deify if you had the chance, the OIC gave the nod to 87 foreign takeovers and refused just two). When I worked for Radio Pacific I personally organised a large scale campaign against the sale of Waikato’s power company, which directly led to my entry into politics for the one party that opposed asset sales.

      FYI the number of approved vs rejected OIC applications (and remember they deal only with applications involving land, fishing, or worth over $50 million) under Clark are:

      2007 155/4
      2006 173/3
      2005 197/3
      2004 182/11
      2003 213/8
      2002 261/9
      2001 250/2
      2000 241/13

      Those figures are from the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) who’ve long campaigned on the issue and who are the only organisation on whom I relied for assistance on the topic when involved in politics. Not the BRT and certainly not a brewery!

      So having established that you’re wrong about Clark – she sat by and watched our nation sold off just as Bolger, Shipley, Palmer, Moore and Lange (for a while) did before her – perhaps we can move to having you justify your assertion that I used “outright lies” from the BRT, fundamentalists (that’d be odd, considering I’m an atheist), and a brewery to somehow “sell us out”?

      Who’s “us”? When did this supposedly occur? Considering I resigned from politics rather than be forced to lie to the public, I’d very much like to know where you get off accusing me of having done just that.

      • George Darroch 12.2.1

        Rex is completely right. Plenty was sold off overseas under the last Labour Government. Just another thing I had to intensely dislike Labour for.

        As others note, these companies never seem to get investment in productivity. Profit-taking, certainly. Considering the negative effect on the balance of trade, monetary policy, and interest rates, it’s not a good gamble. Far better for New Zealand companies to have lower interest rates with which to raise capital themselves.

  13. daveski 13

    Jum

    The ideal position is that we own our own assets. However, until we save enough to ensure that we can invest in our own productivity we will be reliant on external funds (either borrowing or capital investment).

    Kiwisaver is not 100% invested in NZ either – KS is a long term savings mechanism not a short term investment strategy.

    I come back to my point, You can run a partisan line on this or accept that it could contribute to job growth in the short term.

    • RedLogix 13.1

      You can run a partisan line on this or accept that it could contribute to job growth in the short term.

      Perhaps, if and only if the investment was in the form of new greenfield, productive assets. But that almost never happens; mostly it’s just a case of flogging off existing assets for short-term cash. No NEW jobs get created, but as Tane correctly identifies, what IS created is a future liability when the new owners expatriate their profits overseas… which directly worsens our already critically bad Current Account Deficit.

      Nothing partisan about that simple economic reality.

      • Daveski 13.1.1

        It’s a reasonable point. Likewise, it’s not the time to complain about any investment given the short term challenges we face.

    • DeeDub 13.2

      Yeah, like it did in Peru and Argentina, eh Daveski?

      • daveski 13.2.1

        Let’s keep it simple. In the short term, do you want investment from overseas (jobs) or not. If not, that’s fine but accept that as a short term consequence there will be fewer jobs. Likewise, accept that if we don’t up our saving to fund investment, the situation will never change regardless of the grand statements above.

  14. RedLogix 14

    Let’s keep it simple. In the short term, do you want investment from overseas (jobs) or not.

    Let me answer you simply… No.

    1. The cost is too high in terms of long-term profit expatriation.

    2. Experience over the last few decades shows that such investment does not create any NEW jobs for New Zealanders anyhow.

  15. Good job by national, we need overseas investment in our country.

    • BLiP 15.1

      Yes – but not without oversight or state control. Key’s letting slip the dogs of global greed.

  16. rave 16

    More on Brazil and us.
    “The Crisis will be profound and prolonged”
    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/stedile130309.html

  17. vto 17

    haven’t read the above, but bad foreign investment rules equal NZ becoming more of a tenant community.

    Tenant communities equal weak communites. And everything that follows from that.

    NZ’s foreign investment rules were weak. Labour pretended to strengthen them but only opened the way for lawyers to line their pockets a little more, no more.

    Maori-Nats will do nought to strengthen NZ’s position here.

    just anova 2c…

  18. insider 18

    SO what you are saying is that if I was the owner of Trade Me, that I would be unable to sell it to Australians for $750m just because they are Australians, and would instead have to sell it to locals only offering $250m (which I believe was the case) all becasue you don’t like Australians or whatever. Where is the sense in that?

  19. Draco T Bastard 19

    Gah, was supposed to be a reply

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