web analytics

Not Yours To Sell

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 pm, July 11th, 2009 - 26 comments
Categories: privatisation, supercity - Tags: , ,

Labour MP Phil Twyford is launching a campaign around his bill to protect Auckland’s community assets.


Phil Twyford’s private members bill, the Local Government (Protection of Auckland Assets) Amendment Bill, was pulled from the ballot last week. It will force a referendum before any of Auckland’s public assets are sold off. Criticism from the right is that there are no plans to sell off assets, and if true, surely means they have no real reason not to vote for it.

On a related note, it’s fantastic to see more from Phil Twyford on Web 2.0 style campaigning, and a focus on grassroots campaigning within the community. Twyford is a real asset to the Labour Party with his experience in these areas, and it’s great to see them realise the advantages with the use of Red Alert.

One thing I have enjoyed seeing from Phil Twyford on Red Alert is that he is not scared of putting ideas out there for discussion, even when he isn’t necessarily advocating the idea as policy. A good example of that was his post on Demeny voting, the idea that parents would get to vote on behalf of their children until they are old enough to vote for themselves. Personally I would be 100% against the idea, but it was clear Twyford wasn’t advocating the idea. He was acknowledging the real issues around inter-generational theft (like stopping contributions to the superannuation fund), and advocating discussion on ideas to fix the problem.

One of the few benefits of being in opposition is that Labour should have plenty of time to build up infrastructure for when they are in government. A blog by MP’s (and hopefully in future cabinet ministers) for putting ideas out there and getting instant feedback would be a useful tool in government, and hopefully help to keep Labour listening and engaging with voters. The difficult part will be encouraging more MP’s, and more voters to use it.

26 comments on “Not Yours To Sell ”

  1. mike 1

    “and hopefully help to keep Labour listening and engaging with voters”

    Hate to break it to you rocky but labours problem is that they don’t listen to voters – thats why they got burnt last election and going by the latest poll http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2009/07/22_gap.html#comments its not getting any better. How long has goff got?

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      No mike, Labour does listen voters (maybe not as much as I’d like) but, unfortunately, the voters listened to the lies National were pedaling about Labour not listening.

      • Lew 1.1.1


        So, your argument is that the electorate turned against Labour, not because they felt like Labour didn’t listen, but because they felt Labour did listen, except That Nice Mr Key told them Labour didn’t, and he must be right because he seems nice and he grew up in a state house?

        Congratulations, you’re a True Believer.


        • felix

          If you look again, Draco never said the voters felt Labour did listen.

          So no, that’s not his argument.

          • Lew

            Felix, it’s not quite so simple because he mixed his tenses (‘Labour does listen’ in the present and ‘voters listened to the lies’ in the past) when clearly referring to the same thing.


            • ghostwhowalks

              Those cancelled tax cuts from National?

              Yeah right that was because they were listening to voters ?

            • Lew

              GWW, I’m definitely not arguing National are listening perfectly to the voters. But they are seen to be.


            • felix

              Ah I see now. And mike started it.

              And yeah, National do seem to be pretty good at being seen to be listening, although as far as I can tell, they’re not.

              Maybe they’re just not listening to the same people I am.

            • the sprout

              yeah National and Rodney are totally listening to Aucklanders about the Supershity 🙂

            • Lew

              sprout, yeah. Hide taking point on the supercity is a smart move by Key; the Chinese wall has so far enabled National to escape much of the criticism. Not that it should, but it’s harder to make the criticism stick.

              Contrast the s59 repeal, which despite being Bradford’s member’s bill, Labour was still seen to be responsible – even before it was adopted by the government. It resonated with other aspects of the Clark government agenda. That’s what’s needed for the supercity – make it resonate with the things people canonically think of when they think ‘National’. Twyford is doing well leading that charge.


        • Draco T Bastard

          That’s a rather convoluted bit of logic Lew that introduces – stuff that just isn’t there. I certainly never said anything about the electorate feeling that Labour listened. I said that the electorate turned against Labour, at least partially, because of what National was saying about Labour not because of what Labour was saying. Communication only works if it’s two-way and the electorate needed to listen to Labour to know that they were listening.

          Where was I being uncritical of Labour? In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m quite critical of Labour. Critical enough not to vote for them at least.

          • Lew

            DtB, the problem was that you argued voters abandoned Labour, not because of things Labour did, but because of things National said. That stretches credulity, and is part of a wider pattern of blame-shifting and excuse-making exhibited by lefties who just feel like Labour was cheated. It wasn’t; it was beaten fair and square.


    • Stop being a troll mike. I think if anyone’s not listening to the voters it’s the NACT coalition. Nobody wanted the Supercity yet they rammed it through anyway, nobody wanted increased spending on private schools at the expense of public schools but it looks like that will be happening too! And lets not forget Rodney Hide and his plans for local governance that if he gets his way will include the wholesale privatization of waters and libraries!

      How’s that change feeling New Zealand?

      • the sprout 1.2.1

        i didnt want the tiaras and knighthoods either, but to be fair i don’t think i was even asked.

  2. the sprout 2

    rocky, i agree with your summation of Twyford – he is an effective campaigner and is providing a much neded injection of vitality and willingness to try new media to get the message out.

    this bill is smart too, concentrating on frustrating what seems like the right’s primary reason for gutting Auckland’s democratic governance. (God knows their reason can’t be because they’ve carefully costed it, or because they know their new ‘plan’ will work, or because there was such a great demand for such a radical change).

  3. Camryn 3

    Leaving aside the issue of asset sales and focusing on the referendum bit, I think his proposed bill is a bit lopsided. If referendums are required to sell assets then shouldn’t they also be required before making investments that will lead to assets being created?

    Generally, I think I’m just not a referendum type… I think representative democracy works well enough without having to mix in direct democracy, especially when it’s half hearted anyway (e.g. applying only to some issues as in this proposal, or being non-binding and therefore nearly pointless at the national level).

    Perhaps a better solution would be requiring a supermajority vote for any “serious decisions” (including, perhaps, decisions on what decisions are serious) would be a better way? I’m sure asset sales would clearly fall into the serious category because they can’t be easily reversed.

    • The trouble with’ representative democracy’ and local body assets is that there usually isnt any.
      A lot of assets are in holding companies which have their own directors including a few councillors. Thus when an offer comes along to sell then the directors make that decision not the elected councillors.
      Public companies usually have to meet stock exchange requirements about a shareholders vote if they want to sell major assets, why not local bodies.

    • felix 3.2

      If referendums are required to sell assets then shouldn’t they also be required before making investments that will lead to assets being created?

      I think what you’re really asking here is “Should the government own assets?”

      • Ron 3.2.1

        Or maybe the discussion should be about referenda as a way of making important government decisions.
        I’m not a fan myself because I don’t think our system is good enough at completely informing voters about the issues. So, actually, too many voter decisions are made out of ignorance.
        I think our parliamentary process is well set up to deal with that fact.
        In the end I don’t believe that – for individual decisions such as assett sales – that just because more people want it then it’s the right thing to do.

        • felix

          Exactly what I was trying to hint at. These are questions of an overarching philosophy of the level of government participation in the economy, the general direction in which the government wants to take the country – questions which are usually answered at elections, not on a case by case basis. A mandate for the general direction is sought by competing parties every three years, not every time an issue pops up.

          The trouble is we now have a government who, despite having been elected under a promise of “no asset sales in the first term”, appear to be readying Auckland’s public assets for sale with no such mandate.

          This represents, on the issue of public ownership, a direction 180 degrees opposite that signaled by the voters on election day.

          You can argue about the technicalities of the wording of the promise and how it leaves plenty of room for interpretation by not defining what constitutes an “asset” (or a “sale” for that matter) and that spending your whole first term setting up the shop is technically not selling anything, but I don’t think the voters of NZ will see it that way. No asset sales means no asset sales, and “not in the first term” means we’ll talk about it later.

          In this context, is it any wonder that the concept of government by referendum seems so appealing to so many?

  4. Mark Webster 4

    The point is also that Auckland has about a third of the population. when are Aucklanders going to stand up for Auckland? Otherwise it’s all over or New Zealand. If National can totally take Auckland …

  5. NZtony 5

    While John Key goes on

    Trips to Hawaia,
    Trips to Samoa, dancing
    Selling his cast on trademe, and talking about cycle lanes:

    Here is what happens to allot of people.

    “Dozens of people are suffering really badly. They need a lot of support to get through this sorry mess because they’ve got the financial worries and the loss of security. For some people there’s no hope.”

    Gray said local authorities and lawyers who charged huge fees shouldered much of the blame.

    “The result is they don’t have enough money to fix their homes and they’re just dying a slow and miserable death in their rotten, defective homes.”

    Many were once successful businesspeople who were struggling to cope with the stigma of mental illness. “We’ve got high-profile people in executive jobs who won’t get help because of the stigma of depression – they fear how that will impact on their future and their career,” said Gray.

    He knew of one “very well-known businessman” who had been hit particularly hard. “He’s saying ‘I’m tough, but this has just brought me to my knees’.”

    Gray wants the Government to put more effort into helping homeowners fix their properties and offer help to people who aren’t eligible to go to the tribunal or can’t afford litigation.

  6. This is one of those lines of attack that works well in opposition but has flip flop written all over it if Labour gets back into Government.

    Why stop at referenda for selling local body assets? Where was Labour’s enthusiasm for “democracy” when it came to buying back Air NZ or KiwiRail? Why not have referenda on tax rates? You can’t choose to be “democratic” only when it suits.

    At least Labour seems to have learned a little from Teflon John – it was of course their intention to form a super city that kicked this off (although I do accept that Hide’s approach and changes to the original concept have caused some but not all of the angst). Still, Labour has been very quiet about what it’s actually for, apart from a referendum.

  7. Zaphod Beeblebrox 7

    Absolutely correct- people in glass houses shouldn’t through stones. labour have a chequered history with privatisations.

    If, as looks likely, the Transition Authorty appointees force the new council to sell Watercare (which will then be able use whatever charging system it likes), flog off the port and airport and load up the rating system to property value, poor people will have every reason never to trust National and ACT again. This is why Twyford is doing this.

  8. Nick C 8

    Can someone please tell me why we need referenda before the council can sell assets, but not before the council can buy assets? Or is this just an ideological bill which makes it hard for government to get smaller and easy for government to get bigger?

  9. I do agree that Twyford is perhaps opening a bit of a “can of worms” with this Bill and whether it means Labour is a big fan of referendums after all when it comes to big decisions.

    One could argue that privatisation is a special case, considering public opinion is generally against it, yet politicians have often gone ahead regardless. Perhaps a super-majority for the sale or purchase of significant assets would make sense?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago