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Nats to slam through asset sales

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 am, June 8th, 2012 - 59 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, democratic participation, privatisation - Tags:

After hearing 150 oral submissions and receiving thousands more written ones, National’s members of the Finance and Select Committee shut down the Committee’s consideration of the evidence they had heard on the asset sales bill after just 1 hour. And why not? They had had Treasury write the Committee’s report before the submitters were even heard. Now, the legislation goes back to the House 6 weeks early to be slammed through its final stages.

Expect the Opposition to put up a fight with a mountain of amendments to both highlight the deficiencies in the policy and to slow things down, for several days at least. Filibustering is a valid, democratic tool for an opposition to draw public attention to the actions of the government.

Speaking of which, does the Keep Our Assets coalition have an overall estimate of how many signatures it has collected? Apparently, they’re something like 15%-20% of the way there only a month after the campaign launch.

59 comments on “Nats to slam through asset sales ”

  1. vto 1

    If this sort of action was conducted in the private sector there would be allegations of fraud (dishonest presentation of information) and demands for judicial review (failure to follow due process).

    This is a dictatorship. Why bother with Parliament?

    Once again the New Zealand government holds itself to the lowest standards in the country

  2. Dv 2

    wasn’t that the same outfit that got the class sizes wrong

  3. Wellington Young Labour are doing a sterling job and have collected over 4,000 in that electorate alone.
    I am convinced that the number is achievable and this is obviously why the Government is slamming the legislation through.
    What a disgrace.  Their justifications do not stand up to argument or analysis so they are smashing it through as quickly as possible.
    The cynic in me thinks that Parata’s back down was an orchestrated “see we can listen” while they ram through the policy that will really affect the country for decades to come.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      It will only affect the country for decades to come if the opposition don’t promise to reverse the sales without compensation as soon as they get power in 2014. As soon as they do that, the assets won’t sell as it would be a guaranteed loss for the buyers.

      • Murray Olsen 3.1.1

        We need an opposition like that, not one that bases itself on trying to convince capitalism to be nice but ends up doing the same things as the Tories because they are wedded to the same system.

  4. Where is the opposition that will stand up and say all privatised assets will be re-nationalised without compensation?

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 4.1


      We should also seize unrelated assets in compensation for lost revenue, and as a punitive measure, pour discourager les autres.

      The National Party is hostile to New Zealand – and two can play at that game.

    • Te Reo Putake 4.2

      It’s probably just you, me and muzza, Dave. John A Lee would probably back it, but he’s not likely to be re-elected. Mana might be able to put it in their platform without much grief, but the perceived unfairness of confiscation without compensation would doom any larger party foolish enough to stand on that basis.
      I think the best we could realistically hope for would be re-nationalisation immediately, compensation drip fed over 20 years or something similar.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 4.2.1

        Sometimes it takes a few years for good ideas to become sufficiently mainstream. There is an established pattern in NZ: Labour led governments (with one shameful exception) build the country’s strength and resources, National Party governments destroy and undermine.

        They’re like a junkie cousin, constantly looking for things that aren’t nailed down.

      • lprent 4.2.2

        John A Lee would probably back it, but he’s not likely to be re-elected.

        It would bring new meaning to the phrase “voting the graveyard”

        • Kotahi Tane Huna

          If you can think of a better way to stop New Zealand assets being sold in the future, I’m all ears. The certainty of 100% loss of investment would immediately sabotage any share offer, in the national interest.

          You build a successful business in the private sector – fine good luck to you, how can we help? But this constant hand in the cookie jar crap has to stop.

          • David H

            So you find out what power companies are the first on the block, ring them up, and move your power usage away, making them less attractive, if you can get enough people to pitch in, and tell them we want our assets to stay in NZ. Surely that would make them stand up and take notice.

            Hell it’s only an idea. But if enough people do it, then the sudden dent in the books should make them look.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.3

        …but the perceived unfairness of confiscation without compensation would doom any larger party foolish enough to stand on that basis.

        There wouldn’t be any unfairness though. As I point out above, they just wouldn’t sell meaning that even if NACT put the legislation in place there wouldn’t be anything to renationalise.

      • dave brownz 4.2.4

        Well you may be right Putake, but maybe not.
        On the issue of ‘confiscation’. That’s the point of making a public promise to renationalise. Voters who might have scruples about disrespecting private property rights could be won over in the big public stoush that would follow. They could be persuaded that advance warning would drive down the asset values so that any idiot selfish enough to take the risk of buying would deservedly be punished. Unlike those who get routinely bailed out for ripping us off.

    • Macro 4.3

      A united opposition and united front opposed to this greedy action is absolutely essential. The greedy “buyers” must be told that there is going to be no profit in it for them!

  5. Peter 5

    National – the party that cons the majority so that it can pursue its special-interest minority agendas!

    Key must be the best con-artist we have ever seen.

    • muzza 5.1

      “Key must be the best con-artist we have ever seen”

      — We should not flatter Key, who is frankly one of the worst liers (he can’t hide it), ive seen,

      Its more the fact that democracy no longer exists in NZ that we have this situation!

      VTO was right, why bother with the sham of parliament, it would be more honest to call it, exactly what IT is!

      • Peter 5.1.1

        If he is the worst liar it says something that most people still fall for it

        • tc

          The NZ electorate has a short memory , high apathy levels and many voters who base their opinion on granny/TV/ZB/RadioLive and haven’t been in NZ long enough to remember what Shipley and co got up to let alone what Muldoon was about.

  6. Stop Asset Sales 6

    If you haven’t sent one off this week, or worse have not sent one at all
    don’t forget to pressure the only man who actually has a chance of stopping the Asset Sales

    • yeshe 6.1

      When I heard about the damage to the puppets in the Backbenches pub, (both Dunne and Sharples were singed to a crisp, but no-one else), perversely I admit, but I took it as a sign of great promise !!!!





    (National only has 59 out of 121 MPs. NO MAJORITY – NO MANDATE!

    Do YOU want to OPPOSE state asset sales or STOP state asset sales?

    Help force the RESIGNATION of DODGY John Banks to help STOP state asset sales!

    If National don’t have the numbers – they can’t pass the Mixed Ownership Model Bill!

    Will be getting the banners out on the streets of Epsom TODAY from 4pm – 6pm outside 60 Epsom Ave (Auckland Uni) Gate 4, Mt Eden!

    Who can help?
    Come along and help ‘hold John Bank’s feet to the fire’!

    • “National only has 59 out of 121 MPs. NO MAJORITY – NO MANDATE!”
      FYI Penny – A political mandate is dictated by the winning of an election based on the policies you campaign on.
      Having a minority number of seats does not effect the mandate and there are plenty of legitimate examples of minority governments existing.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        If they have such a strong mandate, lets spend $10M to get an asset sale referendum underway to prove it.

        It could save over $120M in bankers and PR fees – a great return on investment.

        Or are the NATs chicken of real democracy?

      • Pascal's bookie 7.1.2

        A political mandate is dictated by the winning of an election based on the policies you campaign on.
        Having a minority number of seats does not effect the mandate and there are plenty of legitimate examples of minority governments existing.

        Faaark. That could use some work.

        Post grad PolSci you say?

        • TheContrarian

          what part of it is incorrect?

          • Pascal's bookie

            It just needs a lot of work. It’s simplistic.

            But the wrongest part is the idea that being a minority govt has no effect on having a mandate to do what you campaigned on. That’s just daft. The fact that you have a minority govt means the govt relies on other parties for C&S, that intra parliamentary negotiation is where their mandate comes from.

            • TheContrarian

              Of course it’s simplistic, this is the comments section for a blog posting, not an essay space or a wikipedia article.

              And yes I understand C&S etc which means penny’s ““National only has 59 out of 121 MPs. NO MAJORITY – NO MANDATE!” is incorrect

              • Pascal's bookie

                No less wrong than your statement that “Having a minority number of seats does not effect the mandate”.

                The fact is that mandate is a slippery political concept. It’s almost always up for negotiation. Democracy, as they say, doesn’t stop at the ballot box.

                It’s best just to say that a government has a mandate to govern, and leave specific policies out of it.

                • ““Having a minority number of seats does not effect the mandate”
                  But it isn’t wrong – National has a minority number of seats yet still has a mandate. Not incorrect. Brief yes but I didn’t expect to have to write an entire essay.


                  • McFlock

                    No – you’re conflating a mandate (i.e. a specific authorisation to act on behalf of the voters) with the simple acquisition of power (oh look, two rotten boroughs to distort the proportionality of representation, so screw you guys I can do what I want).
                    So imo Penny was correct, there’s no “mandate” (as in the representatives of a minority of the vote are able to impose significant change in a political system designed to ensure that the power balance in parliament reflects the votes cast).
                    It’s simply using loopholes in the system to gain power – like Putin having a holiday from the presidency by simply swapping jobs with his prime minister, thus satisfying the constitutional requirement for 2-term limits on the presidency. Legal, but not in keeping with the spirit of a constitutional requirement that was obviously intended to prevent demagoguery. 

                    • “So imo Penny was correct, there’s no “mandate” (as in the representatives of a minority of the vote are able to impose significant change in a political system designed to ensure that the power balance in parliament reflects the votes cast).”

                      By that logic there hasn’t been a government with a clear mandate since 1996.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Which is why i think it makes a lot more sense to just say that a government has a mandate to govern, and leave specific policies out of it. They’ll be judged on those, and change how they go according to how the polis reacts, day by day, as we have seen just this week.

                      It’s a dinimic environment, this mandate business.

                    • McFlock

                      By that logic there hasn’t been a government with a clear mandate since 1996..

                      Not true.
                      In fact, given that the Maori Party were against asset sales (thus nixing the idea of them having a mandate to support the sales), I think that this might be the first case of government policy being enabled by a minority of the vote since 1996.
                      There might be some random issue since 96 that snuck through on the back of The Bouffant or Jim Il Sung, but a quick look through the election results seems to indicate that most if not all the governments actually had a “mandate”, as in their coalition parties were well over the 50% representative threshold before the rotten boroughs came into play.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    I think it’s pretty reasonable to claim that a minority government can have their mandate for particular policies questioned. It’s all in the game. they can spend their political capital as they see fit, and their opponents can extract as high a price as they can.

                    That’s all this is about.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    “National has a minority number of seats yet still has a mandate.”

                    And that is not the same thing as saying that a minority government’s mandate is exactly the same as a majority government’s mandate. Which was your original claim.

                    • ” Which was your original claim.”

                      Yeah, what the fuck? No it wasn’t

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      A political mandate is dictated by the winning of an election based on the policies you campaign on.
                      Having a minority number of seats does not effect the mandate and there are plenty of legitimate examples of minority governments existing.

                      That was the argument you made. It’s a general one. That’s the one I said could use some work.

                    • Yes, nothing about minority vs. majority govt. and everything about how being minority doesn’t mean no mandate.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      “Having a minority number of seats does not effect(sic) the mandate”

                      So is there a difference between the mandates of a minority government and a majority government, or not?

                    • If you want to discuss the differences between majority and minority start another thread.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      That might be what you thought you were pointing out, but it’s not what you actually said.

                    • For the second time what I said had nothing about minority vs. majority govt. and everything about how being minority doesn’t mean no mandate.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Well I’m obviously confused about what you meant by this then:

                      “Having a minority number of seats does not effect(sic) the mandate”

                      I thought you were saying that that being a minority government doesn’t change the nature of the mandate in comparison to a majority government. But maybe you were comparing them to bananas. Though I’m not sure that makes more sense.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Er, doesn’t the second half of this sentence disprove the first?
                      “For the second time what I said had nothing about minority vs. majority govt. and everything about how being minority doesn’t mean no mandate.”
                      I’ve been vainly trying to remember which Kiwi Governments have ever had a mandate to enact a specific policy. Muldoon tried to get one in ’84 and failed badly. Key tried to get one last year and also failed, going from having coalition partners just for fun in ’08 to desperately needing coalition partners to survive in 2011.

                    • McFlock

                      MMP referendum?

          • bbfloyd

            All of you fool….contra boy…i’ve seen saucers with more depth than this specious drivel..

    • handle 7.2

      YELL LOUDER, Penny. We can’t HEAR you.

    • mike e 7.3

      penny and the rest the way the world stock market is going Conmankey will not be able to sell mighty river power for any where near its true valuation so will they sell it below value to spite the opposition of 80% against these sales.
      As with the education cuts I predict National with its one vote majority will not be prpared to swallow another dead rat.Like the eduction cuts they will do another UTURN.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    A little on topic humour: John Key pickup line

    • David H 8.1

      UUGGG to early for that smarmy pricks photo.. And that pics got extra smarm!!

  9. Nick 9

    Just emailed Peter Dunne and he said that I’m the only person for Ohariu and only the fourth person today to contact him about asset sales.

    Apathy won National the election and apathy will see the assets sold off.

    • MrSmith 9.1

      Go on people flick him an email.

      ‘Sorry to here about your Puppet going up in smoke Pete, maybe you should see this as a sign of your chances in the next election, well if you continue to support Asset sales anyway, stand up man and show the country you are not just a Mr Keys Puppet.’

  10. hellonearthis 10

    Has the government fixed that bill that cost nz millions due to the Rena sinking? Should that be done under urgency?

  11. Even John Key is against asset sales.
    So why is the Government still trying to sell our assets if it’s not in our best interests?

    • True Freedom is Self-Governance 11.1

      I hope this goes viral like the last one about class sizes. It was amusing, if not slightly sickening, to watch Nats and their supporters trying to justify their ‘one rule for us’ policies. I cant help but feel though, that the backdown on class sizes was to placate people in the short term and distract them from the asset sale issue, which is less easily reversed if they manage to go through with it.

    • bbfloyd 11.2

      thanks for that glen…. have posted pic on my page…..

  12. Photo of the banners out again in the streets of Epsom – Friday 8 June 2012.

    In my opinion – it’s REALLY important to crank up the pressure to help force the resignation of DODGY John Banks (as some of us have been doing).

    If the Police decide to lay charges against Banks for alleged electoral fraud – how will John Key be able to continue to politically protect him?

    Is this why National are panicking and attempting to railroad thorough the Mixed Ownership Model Bill?

    Because this MINORITY National Government has only 59 out of 121 MPs, and cannot pass the Mixed Ownership Model Bill without the pivotal votes of both John Banks and Peter Dunne?

    If it’s not a matter of ‘ethics’ but a matter of ‘law’ in order to maintain the confidence of Prime Minister John Key – what LAW did former National Party MP Richard Worth break before he was (mysteriously) DUMPED from public office?

    What LAW did former National Party MP Pansy Wong break before she was DUMPED from public office?

    Of course – it’s probably a bit much to expect a strong lead from shonky John Key when it comes to ‘ethics’ – given his ‘insider trader’ /arguably corrupt behaviour over failing to disclose his pecuniary interest in Tranz Rail, and his attempt to flush out commercially sensitive information while he had an undisclosed pecuniary interest in Tranz Rail, while it was an ‘item of business’ before the House?

    Having now been involved in eight street protests in the wilds of Epsom, I can tell you that there are many folk who are NOT happy with DODGY John Banks, and are NOT happy with SHONKY John Key continuing to ‘defend the indefensible’.

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’


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