Nats preparing to sell assets, despite promises

Written By: - Date published: 4:18 pm, May 21st, 2010 - 109 comments
Categories: assets, capitalism, Economy, economy, privatisation - Tags: ,

In 2008, Bill English was sprung secretly telling National members that he and Key would sell Kiwibank “‘eventually but not now“. After being caught out, English and Key categorically ruled out asset sales in the first term of a National government and said they would seek a mandate to make any sales in a second term.

That clear and unequivocal promises was vital to arresting the slide in National’s support following the secret tapes. National made a solemn promise not to sell assets in the first term.

Well, it’s another broken promise.

The keen eared would have noted some strange talk from English in his Budget speech yesterday where he, for no clear reason, made a point of distinguishing between ‘social assets’ the Crown owns like schools and roads, and ‘commerical assets’ like SOEs. Now, we know what he was on about. Stuff reports:

“Finance Minister Bill English has signalled the Government is again considering partial state asset sales – including Kiwibank.At a post-Budget lunch in Christchurch today, English told business leaders that National would “get to grips” with its position on state asset sales in the next eight months. “

Looks like ‘eventually’ has arrived.

There is no economic logic in selling off assets that make us money and perform important market roles like providing valuable transport networks  (Air NZ, Kiwirail) and injecting competition into the banking sector.

Don’t get taken in by any of this ‘kiwi mum and dad investors’ nonsense. We know what happens when states assets are sold, they are bought up by foreigners who take the profits overseas and under-invest, usually to the point where the government has to step in to do the needed investment (Air NZ, Telecom, Kiwibank, Kiwirail – in each case the government has had to invest in a sector after a failed privatisation).

Kiwi mums and dads already have their share in public assets as taxpayers. The dividends from those companies pay for our public services. We put the money in, we get the rewards. Now, English wants to sell them off for a few quick bucks and let the profits go offshore forever.

Yesterday, Bill English made us borrow a billion dollars to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. Today, he says we need to ‘free up capital’ by selling off assets to the rich. This isn’t coincidence, it’s an ideology of tearing up the public wealth and handing it out to the rich.

109 comments on “Nats preparing to sell assets, despite promises ”

  1. marsman 1

    The Hollow Men taking care of Roger Douglas’s ‘Unfinished Bullshit’

  2. Rob A 2

    “English and Key categorically ruled out asset sales in the first term of a National government and said they would seek a mandate to make any sales in a second term.” and

    “English told business leaders that National would “get to grips’ with its position on state asset sales in the next eight months.”

    Sorry Marty but I fail to see the broken promise here. 8 months gets us close enough to the next election to think its going to be an issue for that, hence “they would seek a mandate to make any sales in a second term.”

    • Fisiani 2.1

      Typical Standard distortion of reality to call this a broken promise. Just sour grapes after the best budget in living memory.

    • jcuknz 2.2

      I agree that there are no broken promises except in the minds of the gullible leftwingers who believe anything and those stirrers. It is logical that National should consider these moves at this point in time to be ready to put the proposition to the voters in 2011. Mind you they won’t get my support for it despite ecconomic arguments below but there is no harm in them getting ready to bloody their noses 🙂

  3. Jagilby 3

    “no economic logic in selling off assets that make us money”

    How about the logic that the Government is the only entity that can sell an asset and still get revenue from it???

    An asset that is valued and would be sold on its expectations of future cash flow?

    • Jagilby 3.1

      The question isn’t if they make “money” either – it’s whether they make a risk adjusted RETURN (i.e. return greater than their cost of capital).

      An asset may be ‘making’ the government $1m for instance but if that is a return of 1% on a $100m electricity generating asset then it is well below the return commensurate for the risk involved in that investment (approx 8-9%) – the government may as well sell and invest in ‘risk-free’ US treasuries.

      Even floating 20% of a current SOE would subject it to market discipline and force these entities to operate more efficiently.

      • George D 3.1.1

        the government may as well sell and invest in ‘risk-free’ US treasuries.

        Hahahahaha. That was a joke, right?

        • jagilby

          Ah, ha, no it wasn’t – look up any universally-accepted economic theory you can find.

          As much as you may dispise the US you can’t escape the fact that US treasuries are as close as you can get to a proxy for a default-free security. Even in this environment.

          If you think (as much weight as I’m sure your opinion holds) it’s possible that the US Government will default on its debt anytime soon then the world is a lot further up shit creek than I thought – perhaps you could enlighten us as to why you think this might happen???

          • jagilby

            [cue extreme contagion effect / collapse of capitalism speel]

            Please do enlighten us Chicken Little – I’m sure the world’s capital markets would love to know all about the impending US sovereign risk crisis – not least of all S&P, I’m sure your opinions will be instrumental in the forthwith downgrading of the US from their current AAA rating.

          • BLiP

            Ah, ha, no it wasn’t look up any universally-accepted economic theory you can find.

            Name just one “universally-accepted” economic theory.

            • jagilby

              Well it’s a finance model but the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) uses the Government treasuries as a proxy for the risk-free rate and given the US has the highest sovereign credit rating available I think it’s fair to say it’s as good a proxy as any for a “risk-free” investment.

              I’d chance to say that CAPM is as close as you’d get to a universally accepted theory. Do you have an alternative superior pricing model to CAPM? – If you do I’m sure the world’s investment community would love to hear from you!

              Of all the points you could argue from my post,seriously, you are on the weakest ground with this one. US treasuries FFS – you simply can’t argue than something else has less default-risk. You don’t have a leg to stand on.

      • Frank Macskasy 3.1.2

        “Even floating 20% of a current SOE would subject it to market discipline and force these entities to operate more efficiently.”

        How do you know they’re not operating “efficiently”?

        In fact, Air New Zealand and NZ Rail didn’t fare terribly well when they were under private ownership, did they? One collapsed, and the other required constant subsidies from central government and Regional Councils to stay afloat.

        So much for “efficiency”.

        On the other hand, Kiwibank, Genesis Power, and a re-nationalised Air New Zealand are all returning good profits to the State.

        So… you were saying?

      • Sam 3.1.3

        I love your blanket assumption that SOEs are not operating ‘efficiently’.

        Mind you, try asking an economist to verify any claim they make and watch their head explode.

  4. We can only hope you are right. Privatisation results from around the world look good.

    • Bright Red 4.1

      Yeah. Telecom, NZ Rail, BNZ.. the list of successful privatisations is so long.

      Hey, Paul. How do you feel about broken promises? OK to break them as long as it delviers the outcome you favour?

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Privatisation around the world has resulted in under investment and the taxpayers being worse off. Of course, the people who the state assets were sold to were much better off so I suppose, if you look at it from that point only, then it does look good.

      • Nick C 4.2.1

        Define underinvestment

        Or rather, in your opinion what is an ideal level of investment?

  5. frustrated 5

    I know the blog is openly partisan but sometimes telling the whole story and getting some debate going would be more interesting.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.1

      That link is in the post, what’s your point?

      • frustrated 5.1.1

        See the comment from Andrew below – I think that’s the information worth discussing.

        • Pascal's bookie

          No one’s stopping you.

          But for the record, they don’t have a mandate for partial asset sales either, and he is very careful not to say whether or not they will be doing one before the election.

          This quote:

          ‘So one option would be to go to the market and raise capital. So keep crown ownership, majority crown ownership and raise the rest of the capital from the market. So who’d buy into that.’

          Could imply that he thinks they can do a partial float and as long as the crown holds 50.1 percent, they haven’t broken their promise. Good luck selling that to both the public in general, and kiwibank customers in particular.

          • burt

            This didn’t raise much complaint.

            New Zealand State-Owned Kiwibank Says Hybrid Issue Oversubscribed : 7 April 2010

            WELLINGTON -(Dow Jones)- State-owned Kiwibank said Wednesday its offer for a NZ$150 million hybrid retail issue was oversubscribed in a book-build process, with the securities largely issued to financial intermediaries and institutions.

            • lprent

              This is for a subsidiary self-funded entity? Exactly how much of a voting rights do those offered shares have? Pretty close to zero? Reads like a bond issue…

            • Pascal's bookie

              Gee burt.

            • burt

              lprent you should have read what I was responding too.

              This quote:

              ‘So one option would be to go to the market and raise capital. So keep crown ownership, majority crown ownership and raise the rest of the capital from the market. So who’d buy into that.’

              Followed by; Good luck selling that to both the public in general, and kiwibank customers in particular.

              Pascal’s bookie

              Can you elaborate? Did a “bond offer” not qualify under your description of; Could imply that he thinks they can do a partial float and as long as the crown holds 50.1 percent and you were clearly wrong (due to over subscription) with your good luck selling that.

              • Pascal's bookie

                ‘Ownership’ of kiwibank is what we are talking about. Hybrid securities don’t necessarily give the holder equity in the company as far as I understand them. These look like debt instruments.

                Perhaps you could help me out, and tell me what percentage of kiwibank is currently owned by the govt?

                Perhaps we are reading English’s quote diffrently, I see the bold as a correction of the italics, how do you read it?

                So keep crown ownership, majority crown ownership and raise the rest of the capital from the market. So who’d buy into that.’

              • Pascal's bookie

                And just for honesty’s sake, the ‘that’ in this…

                Good luck selling that to both the public in general, and kiwibank customers in particular.

                clearly referred to this…

                he thinks they can do a partial float and as long as the crown holds 50.1 percent, they haven’t broken their promise

            • burt

              From that link about the “bond issue”;

              The shares, designed to strengthen and diversify the bank’s capital base, will have a minimum dividend rate of 8.13% p.a. for the first five years and will have tax credits attached, Kiwibank said in a statement.

              The actual dividend rate for the first five years will be set on May 3 and will be set at a margin of 2.90% per year over the five-year swap rate.

              The proceeds of the issue will be used as tier-one capital for the bank, which is owned through New Zealand Post Limited.

              Sounds a lot like going to the market for capital to me.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Does offering an interest payment for a fixed term loan sound like going to the market for capital to you?

                Does to me.

    • lprent 5.2

      That is what the comments section is for. You just have to be able to argue your point (and stay within the very loose policy guidelines).

      The authors on the site pretty much write the opinion that they wish to – that is the whole point of this blog. We seldom agree fully with each other, and you’ll sometimes get dissenting opinions offered by authors in back to back posts.

      But I’ve only had to interfere with authors post content very few times over the last two and a half years for various reasons (although I’ve fixed a few spelling, syntax, and layout errors fairly frequently).

      The mix is pretty effective and why the site keeps growing despite my periodic hair-tearing technical glitches that have taken the site down at various times.

      However if you want to determine policy and the content for a blog, then I’d suggest you start your own. Read this section of the about. It takes a lot of time, work and effort to make a blog site reasonably successful. But if you start now then you may be capable of attracting an audience before the next election.

      That is the polite way of saying “Get stuffed”. My fellow authors are always trying to get me to tone it down a bit *sigh*

      And I view ‘editorial’ questions as simply being diversionary trolling for which I’d be happy to drop you back on the spam list (despite your recent better behaviour).

  6. Andrew 6

    “But we have made undertakings to the public and we certainly won’t move anywhere without getting a mandate to do so,” English said in answer to a question about asset sales.

    ”So one option would be to go to the market and raise capital. So keep crown ownership, majority crown ownership and raise the rest of the capital from the market. So who’d buy into that.”

    So, umm, lets see if i have this right. Get public mandate, keep majority crown ownership, nope, nothing to see here. Picking out bits of an article to make sensationalist claims eh marty?

    Surly not.

    • Bright Red 6.1

      Selling half an asset is still an asset sale.

      And he’s talking about doing this before the election. He’s not saying ‘we’ll wait until after the election’ he’s refering to some kind of vague mandate.. maybe the same one Brownlee claims for mining.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      But there’s no need to go to the “market” for capital on a state owned enterprise. All that’s needed, if extra capital is required, is a rise in taxes. The SOE gets the capital and we get the benefits of an improved service.

  7. bobo 7

    Was he slightly drunk after this luncheon speech still on the highs after the MSM lovein with his latest budget,its like Helen said, its all going up in a bonfire. Looks like a Kiwibank share float might be on the cards in the same way they privatized the power boards..

  8. Joe Blog 8

    Marty it seems that you may have missed part of the article which says: “Asked later was he softening up for asset sales in the future English said ”No no, we are just outlining the position.””

    • Bright Red 8.1

      Well, Joe, as long as the guy who’s softening us up for asset sales says he’s not softening us up for asset sales, that’s alright. And you might have spotted that the position he is outlining is privatisation.

      ‘hey, man, are you backing me down this alley and reaching for your knife because you want to rob me?’

      ‘nah, man, I just want to outline my position on possibliy robbing you in the future’

  9. Lanthanide 9

    I wouldn’t mind privitisation of these assets, if the government kept >51%, and only verified NZ citizens or well-known 100% kiwi-owned investment funds could buy the shares. Eg only NZ citizens, or kiwisaver portfolios, or the Superannuation Fund.

    I wouldn’t expect National would put such restrictions in place, however.

    • bobo 9.1

      Look at how quick the public flicked the power shares for whiteware appliances back in the late 90s , its just a short term high that the public pay back x10 over down the road. Westpac / ANZ would love to buy Kiwibank and slowly absorb it away. Interesting how English refers to Kiwirail as Nostalgia as if it has no place modern infrastructure, the guy is a buffoon..

      • insider 9.1.1

        I’m not sure they would want Kiwibank. It doesn’t make a lot of money comparatively and it provides a sink for low value customers that take a lot of time and hassle to service.

        So when was the last time you took a train between cities or shipped your freight on it? It doesn’t have no role, it’s just nostalgia that people will choose to use it in preference to more direct and quicker modes if only we poured more money into it.

        • Bright Red

          We own Kiwibank because it breaks up the banking oligarchy. It has brought down fees and rates. And as a side benefit it makes us a profit. Great stuff.

          Even you must be able to see that the banking system was not a functioning competitive market before kiwibank, which has improved competition dramatically by being a low-profit honest broker.

          • insider

            There were plenty of low cost alternatives in the market whether they be PSIS/credit unions or building societies. It’s hardly been a dramatic change. Indeed two of the major banks got merged in that time – far more dramatic than KB. There were also online banks through insurance companies and foreign banks. On entry KB charged fees and rates remarkably similar to other banks.

            is low profit another name for subsidised or uncompetitive?

            • Draco T Bastard

              On entry KB charged fees and rates remarkably similar to other banks.

              My on call ASB account at the time charged 25c per transaction. My Kiwibank on call account charged zero.

              “remarkably similar”: Yeah, right

            • nzfp

              Also to continue with Draco’s comments, the Kiwibank profits are recycled back into the economy as compared with the 3Billion NZD in profits sucked out of the NZ economy each year by the Australian banks like ASB. Every dollar within the NZ economy is a dollar less of foreign borrowing or tax required by our Government (not exactly but you get the picture).

          • Frank Macskasy

            Absolutely spot-on, ‘Bright Red’!

  10. insider 10

    You’re being contradictory. You say we shouldn’t sell assets that make money like Air NZ, but then say ANZ needed a govt bail out (presumably because it wasn’t making money). So which is it?

    If the busienss makes money then where is the rationale for state support? If it can’t make money then should the state really be in that area if others can do it without subsidy?

    Isn’t there a good case to take the money locked up in a business that doesn’t require state support (like Air NZ which you said makes money) and apply it elsewhere in the economy that needs it more? But first you’d have to accept that there is a limited ability for govt to raise cash and I;m not sure a lot of people think that.

    • Bright Red 10.1

      “You say we shouldn\’t sell assets that make money like Air NZ, but then say ANZ needed a govt bail out (presumably because it wasn\’t making money). So which is it?”

      wow, that’s pretty dumb even by your standards, insider.

      The private owners stuffed it up. They were going to have to sell off to Singapore Air and close the regional routes.

      Now it’s making a profit. Simple.

      It’s not a question of money being ‘locked up’ in Air NZ. If we sold it again, the private owners would asset strip it into the ground again and we would lose a transport network that is far more valuable than the mere profits made by the company.

      • insider 10.1.1

        So they “stuffed it up”. By that I assume you mean they got the numbers wrong and didn’t make money. Lots of airlines have had that problem. They are notorious for failing – even state owned ones.

        It’s simple to make a profit if your shareholder doesn’t demand a return and you are buffered by the taxpayer. But is that profit enough to keep it going and be competitive. It’s worth over $1b but made about $50m. You’d get more return putting that in kiwibank.

        Have you not noticed recent reports saying Air NZ is not making a profit on key routes with competition? Or consumers complaining about the fares on their monopoly domestic routes? Or that they have cut staff by 5% over the last two years?

  11. Tom 11

    Only a fool would buy shares in a company they already own? It’s a bit like borrowing money to give yourself a pay rise (or tax cut).

    • insider 11.1

      So I own all or part of a company but I need to raise cash to expand and the cheapest way to do that is issue shares. Are you saying I’d be a fool to buy any of them?

      • Bright Red 11.1.1

        If the government needs more capital for these businesses the cheapest way to raise it is by borrowing at sovereign rates (an extra billion doesn’t make a difference, just ask Bill, he borrowed a billion for your tax cut). Selling off your future proftt stream when you don’t need to is bad business.

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.2

        For a state the cheapest way is to raise taxes.

        • nzfp

          “For a state the cheapest way is to raise taxes.”

          No the cheapest way is to raise capital is to issue credit directly. In the case of a soverign state, they can do it by law. Our Government already does this, every note and coin in circulation was issued free of debt and interest by the RBNZ on behalf of the Government. However, the NZ Government has chosen to privatise the creation of credit to foreign owned Australian Banks (ANZ/National, BNZ, ASB, Westpac).

          There is absolutley no credit crisis any where in the world as every nation state can issue it’s own credit, if they don’t it’s because their government chooses not to. Consequently there is a political crisis not a credit crisis.

          • Draco T Bastard

            No the cheapest way is to raise capital is to issue credit directly. In the case of a soverign state, they can do it by law.

            Well, yes but then you would need to raise taxes to remove excess liquidity. Money is not a resource and too much of it representing the limited amount of real resources available leads to economic bubbles. This is the major problem with the world ATM – there’s about a trillion dollars in the real economy and about quadrillion in derivatives (read debt).

            There is absolutley no credit crisis any where in the world as every nation state can issue it’s own credit, if they don’t it’s because their government chooses not to. Consequently there is a political crisis not a credit crisis.

            Pretty much.

    • Frank Macskasy 11.2

      Tom, I wonder how long it’ll take before New Zealanders wake up to that little fact…

      • Most likely never Frank.! I have come to the conclusion that the majority of NZ public are complete dim wits when it comes to political discussion. I have no doubt you have read ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist “.The marjority of the NZ public are reminicent of the workers poor old Owen worked with.
        As a very active LP member I have been amazed !No gobstruck! at the reasons working people have voted for Conservative (Nat) governments.
        Of course one must take into account that my canvassing is in the Waikato
        so I expect one has to make allowences for a huge number of Red Necked cow cockies.
        By the way as a regular “Letters to the Editor” I always enjoy your letters

  12. Joshua 12

    What it looks like Marty is that he is paving the way for a 2011 election manifesto including a partial float of certain SOE’s – probably around 20 – 25%. In no way is this a broken promise. It would be if they were going to sell some before the election, but the timeframe indicates that this is not what is on the cards. Further, there is every indication that such shares will be made available to kiwi investors. I do love how you reference Air New Zealand – as you know it is not a SOE, nor is it fully owned by the Government. The Government has a majority shareholding, and private interests are still able to buy into the company – a company which, by pretty much every measure is performing exceptionally well.

    Honestly, instead of your hysterical rant how about you actually engage with the policy?

  13. ‘Eight months’ is interesting. I’d say that squarely puts the election in March or April. I wonder if Bill has just had another Dipton moment and accidently confirmed a snappie?

  14. toad 14

    Marty, this is exactly the same strategy that Douglas and Richardson used in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

    They reduce Government revenue through financially unsustainable tax policy, pretend they are speculating on forecasting an increase in economic growth to an extent that just isn’t going to happen, and then when it all turns to brown stinky stuff, tell us that there is no alternative but asset sales to balance the books.

    It is all ideological bullshit – asset sales are the objective, not the consequence. Everything in this Budget is setting up a fire-sale to the Nats’ wealthy mates. Hey, we could even see Michael Fay and David Richwhite back on the scene again – the guys who gave consultancy advice to Government to sell the railways – to themselves!

    We’re still paying for that one.

    • insider 14.1

      We were paying for all those wonderful examples of government investments like synfuels, and the refinery expansion, and a few others for a couple of decades. No doubt we will be paying for that bargain of the decade called Kiwi rail that Cullen chose to ‘invest’ in for a long time coming too.

      • Bright Red 14.1.1

        insider. You might have missed it but Kiwirail is making a profit -$3.5 billion over the next decade, which the govt is reinvesting in rail.

        And don’t forget the value of the rail network to the economy far exceeds its value as a business, just like the state highways.

    • wtl 14.2

      No only have the tax cuts made asset sales necessary, but they have also put a lot of extra cash in the hands of the rich to buy up these assets that are suddenly being put on the market.

    • john 14.3

      Yes toad it’s totally corrupt. The Rogernomics gang should be in prison for treason against the New Zealand people.

  15. Brett 15

    I think you need to keep repeating how evil rich people are,the peasants are beginning to rise up.
    Start a class war – Kill the Capitalist running-dog !!!
    Me and you in the trenches aye comrade.

  16. sk 16

    This is a loaded topic, given the long list of disasters from the late 1980’s – Telecom (and the start of gross mismanagement under Bell South), BNZ sold for book value or below, NZ Print (which got Graeme Hart started when he paid 25% of book for it). Privatisation in NZ was not too far removed from Russian style oligarchisation – which is why a former Treasury guy like Stephen Jennings could thrive in Russia.

    But that is now the past. On the hand Marty you say NZ should save more but not in property, and on the other you say absolutely no privatisation. NZ’ers do need alternatives to invest in, and to be able to invest in Kiwibank for example, is a hell of a lot better than giving your money to Hotchin and Co.

    Finally, look at Jim Anderton with his shares in CBA – very sensible. Why should we not be able to have the similar in NZ? Who knows, the gov’t could use the proceeds of privatisation to buy back the BNZ.

    • rainman 16.1

      So why sell off the public assets rather than just invest in growing existing private business? What stops us investing in existing businesses here and elsewhere?

  17. big bruv 17

    Let’s just clear one thing up, I hope nobody is dumb enough to class Kiwirail as an asset?

    • RedLogix 17.1

      Well Dr Cullen could have always just passed regulation and nationalised the rail system for $1. Would that have made you happy?

  18. sk 18

    the issue with Kiwirail is the price Cullen paid for it. If he had screwed Toll down on price, yes, it would have been a great asset. If Buffet thinks railroads are great assets, I am not going to argue with him

    • Anita 18.1

      How does that amount we paid for an asset alter whether or not is a great asset? It might make it a bad purchase, but it doesn’t alter the actual asset.

      • sk 18.1.1

        because what Cullen gave Toll could have been injected into the business on day 1 as new capital. When you over-pay for a business, it severely limits your options later on. $600m for Kiwirail was a huge mistake, particularly in light of the global crisis that followed.

    • Rich 18.2

      Cullen should have just levied a one off 100% asset tax on NZ railway companies.

  19. Nick C 19

    “We know what happens when states assets are sold, they are bought up by foreigners who take the profits overseas and under-invest”

    Define underinvestment. In my book the ideal amount of investment is the profit maximising level of investment because it maximises efficiency in the use of limited resourse.

    Thats also the level of investment that any businessman -foreign or local- will put in as they are interested in maximising profits. Its when politicians run businesses according to polls and focus groups that the economy doesnt opperate well.

    • Draco T Bastard 19.1

      Define underinvestment. In my book the ideal amount of investment is the profit maximising level of investment because it maximises efficiency in the use of limited resourse.

      Well, that’s what Telecom did and now the network has been so thoroughly downgraded the government is having to pump billions of tax payer dollars into it to bring it back up to par. That, quite simply, was a massive transfer of wealth from the taxpayers of NZ to the shareholders of Telecom with no accountability.

      Generally speaking, I’d say that your definition is delusional.

      • jagilby 19.1.1

        “That, quite simply, was a massive transfer of wealth from the taxpayers of NZ to the shareholders of Telecom”

        I’m sure the shareholders who purchased at $6 now sitting on $2 are eternally thankful for that “transfer of wealth” from the Government.

        • Draco T Bastard

          How much profit did they take out first?

        • Pascal's bookie

          jaggy, seeing it was the new private owners that listed it in 91, what are talking about?

    • burt 19.2

      If NZ Railways hadn’t been severly under invested in when it was sold (having been publicly owned it’s entire existence till that point) then you could indeed blame the private owners for it’s poor state of repair. Then, like now, we have a state owned under capitalised organisation with insufficient reserves to replace end of life rolling stock. Tell me again what’s so good about public ownership?

      The only change I see if we sold it for market value and paid more than market value to get it back, that was one hell of a profit shift overseas.

      • Lanthanide 19.2.1

        Or, alternatively, if the private owners had been doing a proper job, we wouldn’t have needed to buy it back!

  20. Nick C 20

    Also you say that the ‘profits’ will be taken overseas. Are these supernormal profits or normal profits? If the profits are normal then the government/taxpayer is equally well off selling the asset and investing the money somewhere else.

    • Draco T Bastard 20.1

      Which is another delusion of the RWNJ and economists. The profits going overseas decreases available capital for reinvestment here and so decreasing our ability to move into a higher value products and wages economy. Of course, NACT don’t want higher wages – as Jonkey said, they want wages to lower.

      • Nick C 20.1.1

        Draco its quite obvious that you have never understood basic economics. In fact i would be surprised if you ever got school certificate.

        For simplicy sake lets assume that everyone makes normal profits. Lets say that the government sells an asset with a value of $1,000,000, and that the average return on that asset was 5% pa ($50,000). The government sells the asset to a foreigner (theres no evidence that is what National plans to do, but anyway) who pays $1,000,000 and takes $50,000 in profit out of the country every year. We’re worse off right? Wrong. The $1,000,000 can used to pay of debt which might save us $50,000 a year on interest. It could be invested in the export sector where (again assuming normal profits) it might increase the value of exports by $50,000 per year.

        So in reality we’re no worse of in that regard.

        • prism

          But you are balancing an actual return of $50,000 while in government ownership with just a possible return of the same from other sources. One is assured and the other is only possible.

          And also the $50,000 return must come from the export sector to replace the profit drawn off. Mightn’t our exchange rate affect that? Because we are price takers when our currency exchange rate is struck, changing at any moment, and also often for our commodities, then there is no assurance that we can match with earnings the drain of profit repatriated to the foreign company.

          • jagilby

            “But you are balancing an actual return of $50,000 while in government ownership with just a possible return of the same from other sources. One is assured and the other is only possible.”

            What are you talking about? No returns from any asset are ever “assured”.

            Nick C is absolutely right – If an asset has expected future cash flows of $50,000 per year then the purchase price would reflect the present value of those expected cash flows. If an asset is highly profitable then the sale price would reflect that. Thing is that the Government can sell that asset for the present value of expected cash flows and in addition can take 30% (will be 28% from next year) of all returns by right – no other entity can do this and effectively means that a government can realise more through the sale of an asset than it would otherwise through full ownership.

            Any government has limited resource – if there is an asset that could be sold and funds redirected into more profitable investments then that is clearly the most responsible use of those funds. If an asset is incurring a loss, resulting in a misappropriation of those limited resources then they should be sold – if a private sector operator can leverage synergies from that asset then all power to them, the Government will realise those synergies to an extent through higher tax revenues anyway.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Nick C is absolutely right If an asset has expected future cash flows of $50,000 per year then the purchase price would reflect the present value of those expected cash flows. If an asset is highly profitable then the sale price would reflect that. Thing is that the Government can sell that asset for the present value of expected cash flows and in addition can take 30% (will be 28% from next year) of all returns by right no other entity can do this and effectively means that a government can realise more through the sale of an asset than it would otherwise through full ownership.

              So why would anyone buy it at that price?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Well, for starters, government SOEs tend to be monopolies with super-profits available. Please note, I said available not that they were taking super-profits. Privatisation will immediately lead to profit maximisation , ie, the taking of super-profits. It will also lead to under investment (less than what is needed to maintain and improve the SoE) which will decrease the service eventually leading to the government having to step in fix it. Then we have to ask if the asset was sold for what it was worth. This is a valid question because all state asset sales so far have been far below what they were actually worth.

          So, what we’ve got is a loss of capital that isn’t replaced by the money from the sale, loss of profits which aren’t replaced the “savings” that the money may bring in because the normal profits have been pushed into super-profits and then the fact that we’re going to have to pay to bring the service back up to the standard it was in before the sale and then improve it from there. So, basically, the sale of state assets costs us a hell of a lot and makes a few people very very rich at our expense.

          BTW, the reason the state built those assets up in the first place is because private enterprise never will as it’s far too expensive and takes too long to get any sort of return. They’re quite happy to buy it once it’s been built because they’ll get it for pennies on the dollar and they’ll get those super-profits.

        • Frank Macskasy

          Except, Nick, you forgot a few things…

          1. As foreign owners of our ex-state assets demand a return on investment capital, profits will eventually flow out of the country that EXCEED the original purchase price. At that point, our Balance of Payments goes further into the red, creating a higher deficit.

          This impacts on other capital we borrow, pushing up interest rates for business and home mortgage-holder, alike.

          2. We are still seeing jobs exported to low-wage societies like China, India, Philippines, etc. We then have to pay resulting unemployed welfare. So the tax-payer picks up the tab for overseas owners making New Zealanders redundant, so they can maximise the return on their investment.

          What part of that do you see as desirable?

          3. Private ownership of state assets does not guarantee better performance. Air New Zealand and NZ Rail are proof of that.

          But the advent of Kiwibank DID create competition, and banks had to reduce their charges or face massive loss of clients. (My old bank, ANZ, made a very interesting offer to me before I switched to KB.)

          Privatising Kiwibank will most likely reduce competition and hike up bank charges again.

  21. Jum 21


    Global Financial Intelligence Since 1926
    Former prime minister Jim Bolger on the promise of Kiwibank
    By Michelle Price | Published: 01 February, 2010
    Privatisation of state-owned assets will be inevitable, he continues, but it is critical that the governments in question use the funds raised to service the budget deficit, he argues – not to shore up politically popular spending programmes or run day-to-day government.
    “When my government privatised assets, we put it all to repay debt in order to try to get our costs of servicing the debt down,” he recalls. “But most countries have been privatising assets for the past two decades and most assets that are easy to privatise have been privatised,” he adds.”

    On so many levels that comment shows how lacking NActional people are in really caring about their country. But the real question is: what country? These wealth transients don’t have a country they have a duty to; that’s why it is so easy to betray any country. Key and Ashcroft have no loyalty. They are running our country. Frightening.

    I didn’t see a single mention of Jim Anderton as being the political catalyst for Kiwibank, the New Zealanders’ bank. This government just does not get the importance of this loyalty-driven bank. Let’s make sure they do if they try to sell it off.

    Nick C
    Sigh… tax cuts are where that money goes and it’s always to the wealth. Or to paying off the borrowed money for this lot of tax cuts. Unbelievable. How can that ever help ordinary New Zealanders, unless they’re waitressing in Bali!

    The first thing a budgeter tells a client wanting to buy something is if you have to borrow the deposit, you cannot afford the item. This government are so cleverly stupid, on behalf of rich dxcks.

  22. prism 22

    If Kiwibank shares were sold to private investors in NZ I don’t know if there is any way to stop them being onsold to overseas investors. Then the profits flow out of the country. There is a religious zeal that the nation shouldn’t own any of its assets. There is some economic text these zealots address us from. Let’s not be led by the nose into believing this anti-government stuff.

    National doesn’t want the country to have any government assets apparently. The government exists for them as a seedbed to grow infrastructure and when it matures, it gets sold off and we lose strategic control of it. As for preparing for the future, on ACC we must have all future liabilities in hand today. For superannucation, well it can be left until the numbers are dire, and then somehow turned back on the Opposition’s shoulders. Some excuse being thought up right now probably to be presented in five years time.

    • jagilby 22.1

      The only religious zeal is shown by the xenophobes who have a problem with other people owning our assets but encourage New Zealand entities to own foreign assets.

      Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

      Also, the whole argument about foreigners “taking our profits” (insert nasal South Park “took-our-jobs” voice) is completely fallacious, because as I’ve said future profits are reflected in the purchase price paid to the Government – any asset valuation is based on FUTURE profit. The purchaser, in buying shares, is effectively paying for the rights to those future profits. So the seller (i.e. the NZ Government, i.e. the NZ taxpayer) has been compensated to the value of discounted expected future earnings in any case.

      Floating a portion of an SOE imposes market discipline on these entities too. Even as small a share as 20% would be enough to do this. Market discipline cannot be under-estimated in terms of making these entities more accountable for their decisions. This is exactly the recommendation from the Capital Markets Taskforce – there has to be some zealotry going on here to believe there is some sort of mass conspiracy by these esteemed minds to defraud the country when these recommendations are grounded in sound thinking.

      • ak 22.1.1

        Oh, sound as a bell Gilly. No argument here – please keep arguing for asset sales, it’s a real winner. I mean, we did so well out of the last lot. You go son, and all power to Mr Key.

      • Frank Macskasy 22.1.2

        I’ve not read that anywhere, Jagilby.

        But two things I do know; (1) foreign owned assets put our Balance of Payments further into deficit and (2) foreign owned companies shift their workforce to offshore, low-wage societies.

        I don’t think you’d be so happy if it was your job exported to China or India.

  23. SPC 23

    It’s a colonial mentality, whereby participation in a greater empire is actively sought – the tradition of knighthoods, flag and Crown on the one hand and being owned by (the rising world power – American or anyone else who now owns their Greenback debt) international capital on the other.

    The aspiration of Tories is to extract landlord rent on behalf of the superior power in the world.

  24. Zaphod Beeblebrox 24

    Why would anyone want shares in Kiwibank- it barely makes a profit. Thats the whole idea of it- a customer focused bank. If you had other owners you’d have to run it for the shareholders rather than the customers, then it wouldn’t be Kiwibank and there would be no point it existing.

  25. Adrian 25

    The 8 months mention is interesting, they obviously know that they’ve got to get the election out of the way before councils set their rates, because boy are they going to be doozies, extra GST of 4.25% ( 1.75% clawback from this year) plus inflation. Nothing fucks people off more than rates rises, not to mention the Auckland fiasco. Cunning bastards.

  26. ak 26

    By George, Nick C, I salute you sir, and admire the cut of your jib. Yes! How in the dickens could we all have missed it! By the fiendishly simple process of selling off every saleable asset available and reaping the rewards as you so convincingly describe, our status as the Switzerland of the South Pacific and ultimate victory over Australia will be ours at last!
    I implore you, dear man and fellow patriot, to immediately initiate a campaign to convince the National Government and our dear Mr Keys to adopt this course as an election promise forthwith. (kindly forward your domicile address and I promise, good sir, a hefty campaign contribution is in transit)

  27. ianmac 27

    Having a mandate bothers me. Everyone votes in an election for a multitude of different reasons. For any Government to claim a mandate (or a womandate) because their party won the election gets used I think wrongly. Anne Tolley – mandate for National Standards. In time Bill English – mandate for selling Kiwibank. Maori Party – accepting Nacts mandate to raise GST. Big issues need a better way of canvassing.

    • The Chairman 27.1

      Voting on a specific issue rather than a specific political party is far more clear-cut in determining the public mandate.

      Most would agree there are certain issues/policies within the party they last voted for that they don’t fully support.

      The current system is a poor representation of the public mandate. We can and must do better.

      The most effective way to determine the public mandate is to let us have our say on the issue.

      How do commentators here feel about ‘Direct Democracy’?

      New Zealand First wants to form a practical partnership with the New Zealand people by the judicious use of direct public referenda (note: see more at NZ First under policies).

      This is the kind of policy that Labour should consider adopting.

  28. Frank Macskasy 28

    Interesting thing about “mandates”, Ianmac (not that I’ve ever been on one) is that right-wingers accept them when it suits them.

    But the Republicans sure as hell didn’t accept that Obama had a mandate to carry out his policies…

  29. john 29

    Also in borrowing a billion dollars it’s a further impoverishment of the public sector because interest must be paid to the rich on top of the principal. I don’t know but to speculate by the time it’s paid back 1.3 billion might be down the drain. All this so the rich here can pay less tax, Nact want to completely dismantle Publicly owned wealth in NZ,this will result a feudalistic system in NZ Where the rich will be our Barons.

  30. randal 30

    so what are the odds on them selling it to themselves or their mates?

    • Frank Macskasy 30.1

      Oh, surely not, Randal!! *mock horror*

      As Anthony said, of Caesar’s assasins, “… So are they all, all honorable men…”

  31. coolas 31

    Privatisation in the form of PPP’s is obviously the agenda. Last year Weldon from the stock exchange started instructing CEO’s of the SOE’s how to prepare for Private Public Partnerships:

    The economic model of partnership between government and business has its modern roots in the fascist regimes of Germany and Italy, most especially the latter, where Mussolini declared, “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

    Curious how we honour all those who died in WW2 fighting fascism but now we’re letting it in the backdoor with PPP’s.

    And if this article is credible the grand architects of this latest fad in PPP’s are the same rouges who created the sub prime mortgage racket.

  32. Kleefer 32

    I agree with the sentiment expressed in one comment (can’t remember who said it) that governments use asset sales to paper over the deficits left by fundamentally unsustainable tax cuts that aren’t matched by cuts in government spending. However the tone of the comment suggested it is the tax cuts that are the problem rather than the lack of spending cuts.

    National needs to get rid of Working for Families, get rid of interest-free student loans and take the axe to superannuation. Really, can all you socialists support millionaires getting National Super? It needs to balance the budget first then sell the state “assets” and maybe give one-off dividends from the proceeds of the sales rather than doing what governments are often tempted to do and use it to fund dopey and unsustainable spend-ups.

    • Pascal's bookie 32.1

      Thanks Kleef. All them things you hate and think the government has no business doing, are things the government can’t just stop doing and stay in power. The people like them. They really really do.

      Hence the subterfuge. If you hate those things, the only way to get rid of them is to bankrupt the government first. That gives you an argument the people might accept. Fundamentally dishonest and undemocratic, but there you go.

      I’d love for right wing parties to be more honest about it, as you are to your enormous credit. Then we could have a proper debate at the party level about the fundamental things we want our government to do.

      But it’s easy for me to say that, because it’s an argument the centre left damn near always wins 🙂

  33. Frank Macskasy 33

    Who in their right mind would pay for something they already own? Because that is exactly what the Minister of Finance, Bill English, is saying when he suggests that “mum and dad” investors would want to buy shares in state assets like Kiwibank, Genesis Power, etc. We already own these assets. Why would we want to part with our hard-earned cash to buy that which is already ours?

    Not that these valuable assets would actually end in in the hands of ordinary :”mum and dad” investors. More likely they will end up owned, yet again, by Australian banks, or other trans-national corporations. Which would eventually result in less competition; reduced services; higher prices; and more jobs exported to India, China, Philippines, etc.

    It seems that this government has not learned a single lesson from the lunatic economic ideas of the late 1980s and 1990s. It all sounds depressingly familiar.

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    Open access notables Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course, van Westen et al., Science Advances: Here, we show results of the first tipping event in the Community Earth System Model, including the large climate impacts of the collapse. Using these results, we develop a physics-based and ...
    5 days ago
  • A rejection of the rule of law
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Shrugging-Off The Atlas Network.
    Upholding The Status-Quo: The Left’s election defeat is not the work of the Atlas Network. It is not even the work of David Seymour and Act. It is the work of ordinary citizens who liked the Right’s stories better than they liked the Left’s. If the Right’s stories were made ...
    5 days ago
  • BARRIE SAUNDERS: Treaty Principles – all rather problematic
    Barrie Saunders writes – When ACT’s leader said they wanted legislation to state what the Treaty principles mean, my first thought was this will be controversial and divisive.  Clearly it is. The first reference to the principles of the Treaty were contained in the 1975 Act establishing the Treaty of ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    5 days ago
  • Luxon Rejects The “Rejection Election” At His Peril.
    Fitting Right In: National retailed a reactionary manifesto of right-wing, racially-charged policies to the electorate throughout 2023. No talk back then of ignoring the overwhelming political preferences of the voting public and making a strong stand on principle. If Luxon’s pollsters and focus-groups were telling him that the public was ...
    5 days ago
  • Valentine’s Day went unnoticed on the Beehive website – but it is not “baa, humbug” to celeb...
    Buzz from the Beehive None of our ministers – a quick check with the Beehive website suggests – found cause to mention, let along celebrate, Valentine’s Day. But two ministers – Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson – ensured that National Lamb Day did not pass ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    5 days ago
  • Are You A Leftist?
    Nothing To Lose But Our Chains: The emancipatory movement which the Left, understood correctly, has always been, cannot accommodate those who are only able to celebrate one group’s freedom by taking it from another. The expectation, always, among leftists, is that liberty enlarges us. That striking-off a person’s shackles not ...
    5 days ago
  • An unlawful directive
    An interesting question in the Parliamentary written questions feed today, from Jan Tinetti to the Minister of Education: Has she or her Office directed the Ministry of Education to not release Official Information Act material prior to the full twenty working days, if so, why? Given that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • I’ve been doing this all wrong
    Here are six words that are not easy to say but god it can feel good when you finally say them:I’ve been doing this all wrongFive years ago today I said to myself:What if I'm doing this all wrong?Five years ago today I said to Karren: I think I’m going to ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • New study suggests the Atlantic overturning circulation AMOC “is on tipping course”
    This is a re-post from RealClimate by Stefan Rahmstorf A new paper was published in Science Advances today. Its title says what it is about: “Physics-based early warning signal shows that AMOC is on tipping course.” The study follows one by Danish colleagues which made headlines last July, likewise looking for early warning signals ...
    5 days ago
  • Valentines from ACT.
    Some of us make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. We’ll buy the flowers, eye watering though the price spike might be. Say the things we should be saying anyway, although diminished by being scheduled for delivery. Some of us will even write long free-form newsletters with declarations of ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Tax cuts paid for by 13k more kids in poverty
    MSD advised the government that the indexation change it passed under urgency last night is likely to put around 7,000 extra children (and potentially up to 13,000) into poverty. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The Government has reverted indexation for main beneficiaries to price inflation from wage inflation under ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Fuel Tax Fight and Rail Fail update
    The two stories we covered at the start of the week continue to be in the headlines so it’s worth looking at the latest for each of them. Regional Fuel Tax Mayor Wayne Brown promised some ‘argy-bargy’ over the government’s decision to cancel the Regional Fuel Tax and he’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Arsonists
    Today, a major fire broke out on the Port Hills in Ōtutahi. Like its 2017 predecessors, it is almost certainly exacerbated by climate change. And it is still burning. The present government did not start the fire. But they piled the tinder high last time they were in power, gutting ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • I don’t know! 7 examples And who actually makes the decisions? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know. America is a complex country, conservative on the one hand, rapidly changing on the other. It’s not easy for us to sort it all out.   Tucker Carlson: Do you think Zelensky has the freedom to negotiate the settlement to this conflict? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know the details, of course it’s difficult for me to judge, but ...
    6 days ago
  • Fresh thinkers
    Fresh thinking will always give you hope.It might be the kind that makes you smite your brow, exclaiming: Why didn't we think of that! It's obvious!It might be the kind that makes you go: Dude you’re a genius.Sometimes it will simply be Wayne Brown handing Simeon Brown his weasel ass ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • It is not about age, it is about team.
    Much attention has been directed at Joe Biden’s mental lapses and physical frailty. Less attention has been spent on Donald Trump’s cognitive difficulties and physical limitations, with most focus being devoted to his insults and exaggerated claims (as if they … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • ROBERT MacCULLOCH: Fletcher Building – it is time to break up NZ’s most useless company.
    Robert MacCulloch writes –  Gosh, the CEO of Fletcher Building, Ross Taylor, says today’s announcement of a half-year loss of $120 million for the company is “disappointing” and was “heavily impacted” by the Convention Centre losses. He must be crying all the way to the bank (to quote Las ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage rates seen high for even longer
    Government and borrower hopes for early mortgage cost relief look likely to be thwarted. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Stronger-than-expected US inflation data out overnight is expected to delay the first US Federal Reserve rate cut into the second half of 2024, which in turn would hold mortgage rates ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, the first of the new Parliament. And to start the Parliament off, there's a bunch of first readings. A bunch of other bills have been postponed, so first up is Duncan Webb's District Court (Protecting Judgment Debtors on Main Benefit) Amendment Bill, followed by Katie ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Three Waters go down the legislative gurgler – but what should we make of Local Water Done Well?
    Buzz from the Beehive Local Government Minister Simeon Brown – it seems fair to suppose – was flushed with success after the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation. As he explained, repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing his government’s Local Water Done Well ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on five of Luxon’s Gaza absurdities
    Earlier this week, PM Christopher Luxon met with 48 public service CEOs to make sure they were on board with his plans to cut spending on public services so that National can proceed to give the revenue away to those New Zealanders least in need. This wasn’t the only absurdity ...
    6 days ago
  • Love and the Fairer Sex.
    This morning I woke early with many thoughts in my head of things said, events of the week, things that matter. I’m afraid none of them involved Seymour, Willis, or Luxon so if you’re looking for something political maybe take the day off and come back tomorrow. You won’t find ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • He stood up to Muldoon and Lange and the Fji army
    Gerald Hensley, who died aged 88 on Saturday, was the key official who presided over the tumultuous events that followed the election of the Lange Labour Government in 1984. He was also instrumental in helping a key Fijian official escape the country during one of the 1987 coups. A diplomat ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • At a glance – Has Arctic sea ice returned to normal?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Halo dunia!
    Selamt datang di WordPress. Ini adalah pos pertama Anda. Sunting atau hapus, kemudian mulai menulis! ...
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • ELE LUDEMANN: Trusting locals
    Ele Ludemann writes- A government-knows-best and predilection for central control was another unfortunate feature of the 2017-2023 Labour governments. One of the worst polices as a result of that was what started as Three Waters and became several more. The National-led government is much more trusting of locals ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 week ago
  • Legislation to flush away Three Waters has become a certainty – but we must wait for details on th...
    Buzz from the Beehive A  three-day information drought was broken, just after Point of Order published yesterday’s Buzz from the Beehive, and two significant ministerial announcements were made. First, the Budget will be delivered on 30 May, telling us which genuine savings have been made by eliminating waste and which ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 week ago
  • Rise of the Lobbyists.
    An unpopular opinion, I love Auckland.Not so much the transport or the house prices - those are pretty dire. But there’s a lot to like. We’ve a vibrant, multicultural city in a beautiful location with, mostly, friendly locals. From the native bush of the Waitakeres to the Gulf islands, it’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The holes in National’s water reform pipes
    Young renters just have to watch on as pipes keep failing and the Government and councils point fingers at each other, because all the incentives are for ratepayers to block rates increases, water meters, water charges and the creation of new entities. File Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: The National-ACT-NZ First coalition ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago

  • Greater support for social workers
    The Coalition Government is enhancing the professionalism of the social work sector and supporting the vulnerable people who rely on them, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.  The Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. It amends the Social Workers Registration Legislation ...
    4 hours ago
  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    12 hours ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    1 day ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
    2 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    4 days ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    5 days ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
    5 days ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
    5 days ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    5 days ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    6 days ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    6 days ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    7 days ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    1 week ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    1 week ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    1 week ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    1 week ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    1 week ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced five new diplomatic appointments.  "Strong and effective diplomacy to protect and advance our interests in the world is needed now more than ever," Mr Peters says.  “We are delighted to appoint senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to these ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
    Changes to fishing rules and a significant science programme are being undertaken to address kina barrens, says Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Shane Jones. “There has been tremendous interest from iwi, communities and recreational fishers who had raised concerns about such kina infestations being a major threat to Northland’s marine ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greater focus on getting people into work
    The coalition government will refocus employment efforts and the welfare system so that supporting people who can work into jobs is the number one priority, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Of concern in the labour market statistics released by Stats NZ today was the number of youth not ...
    2 weeks ago
  • One year on, NZ appeals for release of Phillip Mehrtens
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appealed to those holding New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens in remote Papua, Indonesia, to release him immediately.  Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage a year ago on 7 February in Paro, Papua, while providing vital air links and supplies to remote communities. “We strongly urge those holding ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministers reaffirm Pacific connections this week
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Health Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti are reaffirming the importance of New Zealand’s connections to the Pacific by visiting Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa this week.  “New Zealand enjoys strong and long-standing relationships with our Pacific partners - especially in Polynesia, where we ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rt Hon Christopher Luxon – Waitangi speech
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, rau rangatira ma. Tēnā koutou katoa. He tino mihi ki te mana whenua o tēnei rohe.  Mihi mai, mihi mai, mihi mai. Te whare e tū nei, tēnā koe.                               He-wāhi whakahirahira tēnei mō Aotearoa. Ka huri nga whakaaro, ki nga mate. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government awards primary sector scholarships to students
    Six university students studying agriculture and science have been awarded scholarships as part of the coalition Government’s efforts to boost on-the-ground support for farmers and growers. “The coalition Government is committed to improving support and operating conditions for farmers and growers,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. “We’re backing a range ...
    2 weeks ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996. From 1996 to 1999 he worked as a solicitor in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand provides further humanitarian support to Gaza and the West Bank
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that New Zealand is providing a further $5 million to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank.  “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling,” Mr Peters says.  “That is why New Zealand has contributed $15 ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government consults on expanding COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to enable public input into expanding the scope of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, says Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden. “As committed to in both the ACT-National and NZ First-National coalition agreements, the public will be given the opportunity ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Tai Tokerau Water Boost
    A further $5 million loan has been advanced to the Tai Tokerau Water Trust for Te Waihekeora Reservoir, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says.  “Water is a precious resource, Kānoa – Regional Development and Investment Unit at the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment have done amazing work in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Fast track consenting in the fast lane
    The Government is progressing changes to resource management laws as part of its 100 Day Action Plan, with the first steps taken to establish a new fast-track consenting one-stop shop regime. “This new regime, which forms part of National’s coalition agreement with New Zealand First, will improve the speed and ...
    3 weeks ago
    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence the Hon Richard Marles MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong hosted New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters MP and Minister of Defence Hon Judith Collins KC MP on 1 February ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minimum wage set for cautious increase
    The adult minimum wage rate will increase by 2 per cent to $23.15 an hour from 1 April 2024, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden announced today. “This Government is committed to striking the right balance between protecting the incomes of our lowest paid workers and maintaining labour ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Increased security improves ED safety over summer
    Increasing the number of security staff in emergency departments (EDs) over the busy Christmas and New Year period improved the safety of both staff and patients, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says. 200 additional security staff (93 FTEs) were provided to 32 EDs in response to concerns raised by ED ...
    3 weeks ago

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