Nats back down from ACC privatisation why not asset sales?

Written By: - Date published: 10:56 am, March 16th, 2012 - 16 comments
Categories: ACC, national, privatisation - Tags:

National has backed down from privatising ACC’s work account. To make it work, they were going to have to pump up ACC levies and make it pay a dividend to the Crown to make prices high enough for the private sector to compete. It’s a sign of how weak the government is that they couldn’t push this through. Problem is, the same logic applies to asset sales.

ACC works because – thanks to the fact it doesn’t operate for a profit and that it is ultimately backed by the Crown whose cost of capital is only 4% – it can undercut any private provider and still provide comprehensive coverage. National was going to have to artifically inflate ACC levies to let the private sector compete, costing all of us. And the Nats realised we wouldn’t like that:

“The political bottom line is it wasn’t going to be possible to introduce competition on a basis that was level playing field between private sector and public without substantial increases in premiums or levies, particularly for small and medium employers,” a well-placed source told the Herald.

Likewise, the Crown can make a profit on owning energy companies at lower prices than private investors can. Contact Energy’s CEO says private investors shouldn’t put money in energy companies – they’re returning 6% while the cost of private borrowing is 8%. He says prices need to go up to make it worthwhile for private players. But the Crown’s cost of capital is 4%. It’s making a profit now. Even Key used to admit that. And those profits stay in NZ and pay for our schools and hospitals.

So, asset sales, like privatising ACC, will mean prices have to go up so private investors can make a profit.

If it’s politically untenable for ACC, it’s untenable for power companies.

Word is, a lot of National MPs are saying that too. MPs who know that if National keeps hemorrhaging votes over asset sales, they’ll be looking for new job in less than 3 years.

Their problem and, more importantly, the problem for the country is that National’s leadership has wed itself completely to asset sales. They know it will cost them the election but they can’t let go. It’s not even about needing the sales money to keep up 30% of GDP net debt or that initial sugar rush to, barely, make it back into surplus in 2014/15.

The stupidity of ACC privatisation is the same as the stupidity of asset sales. But ACC privatisation, they can drop that in a pinch – it’s only really Aussie insurers who would get to feast off that. But there’s big money in snapping up our power companies for the domestic elites who back National. They can’t give that up, no matter the political cost. This is what winning power was all about – getting their hands on the assets so they could sell them to their elite class.

16 comments on “Nats back down from ACC privatisation why not asset sales?”

  1. Bill 1

    The two are not the same thing. If ACC had been privatised, private entities simply couldn’t have made money. And that’s not the case with asset sales.

  2. vto 2

    ha ha, the case for privatising acc had not been made.

    The case for selling these assets has not been made.

    The case for selling land to foreigners has not been made.

    The nats are bleeding left, right and centre.

    I guess that is what happens when your arguments simply don’t stack up, or rather, you have no brains.

    • Matt 2.1

      “I guess that is what happens when your arguments simply don’t stack up, or rather, you have no brains.”

      And don’t forget no soul.

  3. Roger 3

    “If it’s politically untenable for ACC, it’s untenable for power companies.”

    Economically untenable also if prices will go up in both cases. Strange considering that the private sector is supposed to be more efficient and the free market plus competition is supposed to bring the best outcomes. I’m feeling glad that atleast these tories seem to have some semblance of intelligence or conscience.

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    NBR has a wrinkle on the ACC story today, saying that Judith Collins is ‘livid’ with Nick Smith for lowering ACC levies before the election.

    Not because the levies are now too low of course, but because if he hadn’t lowered them then it might have been possible to make their damn fool scheme work.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Yes, that was my feeling on the face of it, too. Why announce you’re dropping levies if you might have to raise them back up again to allow competition?

      The 2.04% rate probably wouldn’t have been too far off what was required; maybe just a bump up to 2.30% or so. But now that it’s back down at 1.70%, it’d be too transparent to be tenable.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    The current ACC earner’s rate of 2.04% is dropping down to 1.70% on April 1st. This isn’t on the IRD website but I managed to find it buried in a PDF on the ACC website. This is a 17% drop if you want to easily see how much extra you’ll have in your pocket from April.

    The pdf had an interesting graph, showing the rate. It was pretty flat until 2009/2010 when it went up a bit, and then went up to the current 2-2.04% in 2010/2011 and 2011/2012. “Coincidentally” the same time that National got elected.

  6. Matt 6

    Good, fuck these kooks and their crackpot schemes to undermine Kiwi institutions that actually work pretty well. Whether it was an epiphany or simply a realization that it wasn’t going to happen without the pitchforks coming out, I’ll take it. Now, on to asset sales.

  7. mikesh 7

    Contact’s CEO says that the cost of borrowing is 8% for privately owned power companies. However, would companies with 51% government ownership still have to pay 8%, or would they be able to obtain funds at 4% like a fully government owned company

  8. Rosemary 8

    Relieved to see the covertly toxic Pete George seems to have finally slung his hook and skunked back to be near others of his ilk. Could always tell his attempts to come across on this site as a moderate were disingenuous. It’s always the dishonest who’re the most dangerous. Get a glimpse of his true colours here:

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2012/03/hipkins-rate-the-leaders-speeches/

    • I still don’t understand how anyone who claims to be centrist could even wade into that despicable blog. Kiwiblog comments are bad enough as is, and I rarely visit, but Slater’s blog is lightweight and full of personal attacks.

      • Rosemary 8.1.1

        It’s worse than that. You could call almost all of what Slater says is misinformation, manufactured from nothing, lies, hypocritical (accepting of course most of it is created by others and handed to him to as the mouthpiece because it’d be too controversial coming from the Nactoids directly, but that’s another story). But when you stand back, perhaps putting all of these things together, it’s clearly sinister, perhaps close to evil because it’s creating hatred in people towards others. You only need to have a quick look at some of the comments there to see how hateful people are, and it’s all in honour and great deference to the mighty “Cam”. His following is scarily cult-like, which he calls his “army”. His followers are scared to disagree with him and those who may wish to from time-to-time, barring of course the one or two regular dissenters, apologise in advance for doing so. This happens on Odgers’ site, too. It’s of course sickening to see, but it’s also incredibly dangerous. Slater, and Odgers also, promote as okay people displaying deep disdain for others that contributes to the increasingly uncaring society we’ve become. Indeed, Slater and Odgers are products of that society, but they also help to perpetuate it. It wouldn’t be hard, given some of the comments on either of their sites but especially Slater’s, to imagine someone taking what they say so literally that they go out and do something really silly. Then, of course, the two pure, blameless holier than thou hatred generating tag-team would sit back and say “it wasn’t our fault”. It’d be interesting to know what unfortunate events in the lives made them like this.

        • felix 8.1.1.1

          “You only need to have a quick look at some of the comments there to see how hateful people are, and it’s all in honour and great deference to the mighty “Cam”. His following is scarily cult-like, which he calls his “army”. “

          Yeah, you get that when you’re a deluded narcissist and you write 90% of the comments yourself.

  9. burt 9

    Nats back down from ACC privatisation.

    So would I if I were in their sensitive client files.

  10. Privatisation off the agenda because the ‘financial elite’ cant make lots of untaxed profit,in the
    meantime acc has been turning down worthwhile credible cases by jumping on degenerative
    changes in the body,a rort of the acc system by the nats,acc used to work so well,until the nats got control of it.
    Just come to light the ‘release of sensitive files’ remember the media release this bad,bad
    person ‘demanded’ 2yrs of benefit for acc files to be handed back and not go to the media,
    turns out that was all a big ‘con’ for the public,the herald on sunday released the womans
    name and the ‘true’ facts, Boag, the nat go to along with the woman,had a meeting with acc,and it was the acc who was bribing the person with the files, can anything that the nats tell us be believed, not on your nelly,this is a great example of how the nats try to ‘hoodwink’ the people
    of nz.spin,spin,lies and more lies,credibility,my dear people, ‘i dont give a damn’ (nat party.)

  11. Rosemary 11

    ACC were making nasty decisions to kick people of while we had a Labour government, also. Labour is not a friend of the poor any longer. We must not forget that. When they become the government again, whenever that might be, we cannot ease up simply because they’re not the Nactoids, like we did between 1999 and 2008 in the misguided belief that they were our friends. They’re not, and we cannot pretend that they are, ever again.

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    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago

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