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Nats on HNZ dividend – Yes! No! Maybe!

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, July 12th, 2016 - 62 comments
Categories: housing, national, Steven Joyce, useless - Tags: , , , , , ,

On Friday Steven Joyce was lecturing us on the necessity of HNZ paying its regular “dividend” to the government (as per the May Budget projections).

Over the weekend Labour released its genuinely comprehensive housing policy, and Steven Joyce went in to meltdown on Twitter. Among his confused and contradictory rants, he suddenly stated that HNZ would not be required to deliver a dividend for the next 2 years:

joyce hnz panic tweet

So – dividends, yes as per budget, or no as per tweet? We the people waited for an answer. And waited. And waited. For a while it seemed like Joyce was going to have to put his money where his tweet was. Vernon Small:

Government’s $92m dividend snafu raises more questions than ministers will answer

Maybe it will go down in history as the $92 million tweet.

…somewhere in the social media hurly-burly about housing policy he managed to announce state provider Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC) would not be paying a dividend for the next two years.

Given the Government’s attacks on similar calls from the Greens and Labour – that dividends were a useful financial discipline – it was an extraordinary revelation, especially to be done so casually.

Now even in my bleaker moments I don’t imagine Joyce made the policy up on the hoof – though I stand to be corrected.

But there are some remaining questions. When exactly did the Government accept and approve a nil dividend? And why is it being fudged? … Before the Budget day proper? When the transfer of state houses in Invercargill fell over – revealed the day after the May 26 Budget?

When homelessness became a headline issue?

When housing affordability worsened as Auckland prices renewed their climb?

When Opposition parties said they would forgo dividends?

When the media pointed to big motel bills for people in urgent need of shelter?

Or was it really at Monday’s Cabinet meeting to square away Joyce cock-up?

So the Nats are winging it, but at least we have an answer. Dividends are out, right! Or – are they? Later that day:

Bill English denies U-turn after Steven Joyce reveals Housing NZ won’t pay dividend

Housing New Zealand will not pay $100 million in dividends to the Government over the next two years, following pressure from Labour and the Greens to stop treating it as a “cash cow”.

The decision has not been finalised, but Finance Minister Bill English has signalled it is almost inevitable – while denying the move is a U-turn. …

Citizens, “the decision has not been finalised”. Like Schrodinger’s cat, the dividends exist in a state of quantum indeterminacy, both required and not required, until such time as the Nats stop tweeting, and start thinking, and try to find a clue between them about how to run a country. I suggest that you don’t hold your breath.


It’s a target-rich environment on Twitter these days:

62 comments on “Nats on HNZ dividend – Yes! No! Maybe! ”

  1. Greg 1

    Hmm, havnt I heard the last four words somewhere 😉

    “The finance minister has been forced to make one of National’s biggest-ever U-turns… this is panicked and desperate policy on the hoof.”

    https://nz.news.yahoo.com/top-stories/a/32033355/the-government-panicked-labour-says/#page1

  2. Open mike 2

    In recent weeks the senior Government ministers are apeing what they have been accusing opposition members of for so long – namely, just repudiation, no constructive criticism. Stephen Joyce is inevitably the first to front, perhaps vainly grooming himself to take over the role of the PM as the master of the glib inaccuracy, inevitably forgotten. Bill English can no longer be the master of numbers after his historic veto based on confusion between 1 and 4 years. Not quite in a downward spiral but this Government looks to be on the run, and rattled.

  3. Nck 3

    Horrendous mismanagement of the country by national.

    • gsays 3.1

      Be fair nck, it’s hard to answer major policy decisions when you don’t have access to latest polling figures.

      Really curia need to be available 24hrs a day.

  4. mary_a 4

    Re the HNZ dividend issue … yes, no, whatever …

    I urge anyone who wasn’t tuned in to RNZ’s Guyon Espiner interviewing Bill English at approximately 8.20 am this morning, to listen to the interview, when it’s posted up on the site.

    Espiner’s interviewing skills openly exposed Steven Joyce and English as being desperate liars and cheats! The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing it seems! And to think this lot of incompetents has been charged with running this country!

    God it’s looking better all the time for a Labour/Green government next year!

    • Clare 4.1

      YES!

    • Fustercluck 4.3

      That interview made my morning drive a joy.

    • Heather Grimwood 4.4

      Heartily agree mary_a at 4 !!! Too icy to go swimming this morning and so heard that unbelievable evasiveness by English on Radio NZ. Obviously the Nat hierarchy in shambolic distress and therefore this public disarray.
      Marvellous theatre! Roll on election 2017 !

    • Heather Grimwood 4.5

      Heartily agree mary_a at 4 !!! Too icy to go swimming this morning and so heard that unbelievable evasiveness by English on Radio NZ. Obviously the Nat hierarchy in shambolic distress and therefore this public disarray.
      Marvellous theatre! Roll on election 2017 !

    • Michelle 4.6

      I heard English being interviewed last week by Guyon and he was terrible everything he said and didn’t say. The way he spoke for an educated man was shocking he was mumbling and muttering I suppose when your telling porkies and making up policy as you go along this is what happens

    • Pat 4.7

      LMAO…government sans wheels…..plumbing new depths of farce

    • jcuknz 4.8

      Awhile back I questioned what was available as an alternative to National …today I don’t think they could be worse.

    • gsays 4.9

      Hi Mary, this is what happens when the liar-in-chief is away overseas.

      • leftie 4.9.1

        “liar-in-chief ” rofl, like that !! Perfect description of John the Con.

      • seeker 4.9.2

        @gsays 1.14pm

        Well he’s back to reassure us all, on the online politics page of the N Z H at least, with ‘John Key says’ an apparent revamped version of “Simple Simon says”

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/headlines.cfm?c_id=280

        What an antidote to the ‘twitter and burble’ disease Joyce and English have acquired.

        • Greg 4.9.2.1

          Simple Simon is perfect description, Key takes on the persona when he is delivering a Crosby Textor prepared speech,

          • North 4.9.2.1.1

            Notice how Key and various of the scum around him have taken to prefacing much of what they say with “I reckon……”

            More of the sham Everyman. It’s not working though except to expose and emphasise the sham.

            Bennett interviewed by Campbell last night. Bloody disgraceful. This from the party of ‘personal responsibility’.

    • leftie 4.10

      Yes Mary_a !!

  5. vto 5

    This is a classic case of the leadership of an organisation seeping down through its culture…..

    Key lies, deceives and makes shit up as he goes

    and so does every other Nat now

  6. ianmac 6

    A brilliant interview from Guyon with Bill English this morning. If any one doubted that politicians are capable of twisting and misleading and lying this will be a benchmark. Great work Guyon!
    Odd. That interview was at about 8:15 but has not been posted on replay, but later interviews have been.
    Has Radio NZ had an Editorial interference? Watch this space!

    Update. The Key interview is now up but not the intense interview with English which followed.

    • Ffloyd 7.1

      Lol. “That was ALWAYS our plan, been working on it since Sunday” said Bill clutching his Rosary beads tightly. Bet he needed a double whisky “don’t show it the tap” after that interview. Finally a genuine one!!!

    • gsays 7.2

      Thanks ianmac for the link.

      The other comment to make following the interview is;
      We are supposed to believe that there is no need for a dividend because there is a big capital investment needed, however hnz has paid a dividend to the government during the last few years during the chch rebuild!

      After all, that was just replacing a few broken windows… (sarc)

  7. Enough is Enough 8

    Although they are looking very shabby at the moment, the Nat’s message will be tightened up over the coming weeks.

    The danger is they have no problem swallowing dead rats and will do so again to negate Labour’s policy (that policy which is actually a carbon copy of the Greens).

    Expect the majority of the weekend announcements to be National policy by this time next year.

    Another reason to keep our powder dry for 12 months. We should continue to highlight the issues. But don’t give those wankers the answers until it is too late in the electoral cycle.

    • Michelle 8.1

      Are you trying to say they have no integrity

    • Jones 8.2

      Indeed… they just pretend they didn’t swallow a rat or that no rat existed in the first place. Truly Orwellian.

      • Enough is Enough 8.2.1

        Yep – Think interest free student loans, working for families, paid parental leave.

        Those polices run against everything they believe in. But in a desperate bid for power they held their nose and adopted them all.

        They do whatever it takes. And they are doing it again.

        There is no debate if both sides have the same policy. Easiest way to neutralise Labour.

    • Ch-ch Chiquita 8.3

      Well, according to National’s Facebook page -“Under National’s comprehensive housing plan 100,000 houses are on track to be built over the next three and a half years.”
      Didn’t they say Labour’s plan to build 100,000 over 10 years was not achievable? Wasn’t Labour questioned ‘and who will build?’ – one of the comments on Facebook asked what took you so long and the reply was not enough builders!

    • The thing is, that actually fixing the problems with housing are too large of a dead rat to swallow. (The same way National would never have endorsed a wage subsidy like WFF if Labour hadn’t already passed one)

      National will grab small things in their enthusiasm to eat dead rats that look like they’ll poll well, like not taking a dividend from HNZC, but the Greens and Labour can still beat them over the head for being slow about it, for saying they wouldn’t right up until they did, and for not doing the dozens of other things that need to be done to really have an impact, because the reality is that the housing crisis is a good thing for National’s core constituency, and like opposing the TPPA, it’s something they won’t oppose while still being the party they are today. They’ll just try to distract from it as much as possible.

  8. Adrian Thornton 9

    I agree, great interview on RNZ this morning, I would urge readers of this site to email RNZ morning report with positive feedback, it is very important we give them the courage and support to question our politicians without fear.
    National has obviously been actively building a culture of fear in NZ media, so great to see that project slowly start to come apart.
    [email protected]

    • ianmac 9.1

      Yep Adrian. Had already done that to applaud English being properly questioned. And sent a follow up re the non-publication of the English interview. Was it Editorial interference considering that the later interviews were posted? Received a reply that no interference – just short staffed.

    • mary_a 9.2

      @ Adrian Thornton (9) … can we expect some funding cuts to RNZ as a result of Espiner’s sharp, cutting interviews with English last week and now again today, exposing the chicanery of this government?

      He has certainly chewed Billy boy up and spat him out in pieces!

  9. ianmac 10

    You may be right Enough re the Nats adopting Labour Green plans. The hope however is that National may not get away with it as easily now that some journalists are questioning the Government u-turns, evasions and lies.

    The Labour Greens might delay policy release to avoid National attempts to trump, but courage is needed to build up a perception of being idea-rich.

  10. Sabine 11

    they are showing that they don’t care about running the country in any meaningful way, caring about the people in any meaningful way.
    It is now just about scoring points, and a desperate grap and hold on to the loot while they run for the exit.

    the shame in all of this is that HNZ via the National Party led Government is extorting money from our most vulnerable people to shore up its ghost surplus in a mockery of a budget.
    For shame National Party, for shame National Supporter. Your free market mantra is only hogwash, you love the government tit so much you milk the cow until she falls dead.

  11. AB 12

    The “fiscal discipline” argument is a piece of pontificating neoliberal cant in any case. We’ve had this tripe rammed down our throats for 30 plus years. It provides a pseudo-intellectual cover for privatizing or running down public services and thereby lowering the tax burden on the wealthy.

  12. Pat 13

    Will Joyce have his salary garnished to recoup some of the 92 million he has just removed from the governments projected revenue?

  13. Paul 14

    The government’s housing policies in meltdown.
    News?
    The Herald doesn’t think so. Pokemon Go is more important.
    The mainstream media is a big part of the problem; they create by design a distracted and ill-informed populace.
    New laws about the media must be enacted.

    • mosa 14.1

      Yeah on cue One News just had too run a negative report on Labours housing policy and interview someone with an axe too grind last night re the cost of a new home being in the 500-600.000 price range in Auckland of all places.
      Guyon and RNZ is one thing but it does not the get cut through that is needed.
      The Nasty Natz still control the media and that will be Labours biggest challenge to break through , that and the resources to compete against the John Key machine.
      Billboards may be the answer to get the message out after all the iwi kiwi campaign worked a treat.
      When Labour does manage to dislodge the current concrete rock one of their priorities must be a fairer media platform and a new set of standards for public broadcasters that have too be met , having a forum for broadcasting complaints as we have now is not good enough as it has no teeth.
      Labour wont get fair coverage now or in a years time going into the campagin, Key and Joyce will be at their worst and CROSBY/TEXTOR will be helping them to that John Key legacy fourth term.

  14. Brendon Harre 16

    National party housing policy is a complete shemozzle. They have been exposed by Little and Twyford as been doing too little for too long and there attempts to catch up are not working.

  15. Brendon Harre 17

    National party housing policy is a complete shemozzle. They have been exposed by Little and Twyford as been doing too little for too long and there attempts to catch up are not working.

  16. Brendon Harre 18

    National party housing policy is a complete shemozzle. They have been exposed by Little and Twyford as been doing too little for too long and there attempts to catch up are not working.

  17. mary_a 19

    This HNZ issue, exposing National and it’s senior dimwit shit for brains ministers, is emerging as the entertainment of the year 🙂

    Makes me wonder now if the slimy, gutless Key had some idea what was about to come up, so absented himself quickly overseas!

    I hope RNZ pursues this topic, keeping Joyce and English running around chasing their tails.

  18. peterh 20

    Where are all national trolls on this issue hope they done Pauls test

  19. adam 21

    Repeat,

    This is a failed government. With a collection of incompetent Ministers. Who, if we had a media worth their salt would strip the backs of these slackers and nincompoops on a daily basis.

    This is not a government, it’s a bunch of school boys playing at grown ups. Joyce is just one bully amongst a gaggle second raters. This is a government out of ideas, out of skill and lying in the gutter of history.

  20. adam 22

    Repeat,

    This is a failed government. With a collection of incompetent Ministers. Who, if we had a media worth their salt would strip the backs off these slackers and nincompoops on a daily basis.

    This is not a government, it’s a bunch of school boys playing at grown ups. Joyce is just one bully amongst a gaggle second raters. This is a government out of ideas, out of skill and lying in the gutter of history.

  21. The New Student 23

    Pokemon Go servers are down so time to rejoin the real world.

    Still the same old shite under this incompetent Government *sigh*

  22. leftie 24

    Govt blames outdated Budget figures for Housing NZ dividend U-turn

    <a href="https://nz.finance.yahoo.com/news/govt-blames-outdated-budget-figures-060700249.html

    • Sabine 24.1

      We really have the most incompetent Finance Minister ever, first he can’t math, now he can’t math again (and the Minister of Housing NZ is equally incompetent if she can not get her staff at the ministry to provide the Finance Minister with the ‘correct’ set of data.

      so National has just admitted that two of their highest ranking officials are incompetent at their jobs.

      from your link: The government no longer expects to receive dividends from Housing New Zealand, despite forecasts just six weeks ago of $38 million and $54 million over the next two years.
      Finance Minister Bill English’s office released a statement on request from media saying the figures in the May 26 Budget “appear to be based on older HNZ numbers dating from almost a year ago”.
      The disclosure came after Labour Party MPs accused the government of making housing policy “on the hoof” when Associate Finance Minister Steven Joyce revealed that dividends were no longer expected from the government-owned housing developer and landlord.”

      on can not make up this shit any longer.

      • Sabine 24.1.1

        and the next thing

        is this the only instance where the National Party led Government needs to back paddle due to ‘older (insert what ever department) numbers dating from almost a year ago?:”

      • dv 24.1.2

        I must try that “old numbers’ with my tax returns.

        AND what other data from a year back are they using to make decisions?

  23. Keith 25

    National Party default position 101 when slammed dunked. LIE and lie big!

    Joyce is a disgrace, who the fuck would believe this bunch of crooks?

    • mosa 25.1

      47% of kiwis according to the MSM political polls ,no change for the Nasty Natz for 8 years.
      I predict that it wont change in the next 18 months convincing the public how popular they still are and Crosby / Textor will have a strategy for manipulation for a fourth term and Labours numbers will still fall short for government.
      The herald campaign has already started, they wont talk about Labours housing policy but will devote room for an attack on how Little is not ready to be PM.
      Same strategy as the last 3 campaigns but no big German this time to upset the conservative arrogant well off business white classes who rallied to the cause when Mr Key was attacked and would never condone as PM the dirty tricks campaign run out of his office, he is not responsible for what his staff does and had no idea Mr Slater was cordinating it all even if he and Slater were in contact via text message on a daily basis.

  24. Ffloyd 26

    So, going on present form, if Labour says that they will be bringing in 26week PPL National would trundle out Joyce who would then announce that they would be rescinding English’s tragic veto immediately. But they had been planning to do so for some time anyway. So there!

  25. dave 27

    Does anyoe get the feeling this government is incompetent?????????????hahahahahhahahaahahahaha

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    1 week ago
  • Government supports local innovation in homelessness prevention
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  • Government delivers ACC change to support 28,000 parents
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  • Further cuts for East Coast tarakihi limits to rebuild numbers faster
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  • New Ambassador to Colombia announced
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  • 3000 more RSE workers to ease workforce pressures
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  • Sanctions on more of the Russian political elite
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