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Open mike 22/06/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, June 22nd, 2012 - 215 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

215 comments on “Open mike 22/06/2012 ”

  1. If anyone has serious questions for Peter Dunne I’ll see if he will respond. I’ll put all questions to him that are posted on this thread. I’m sure he’ll consider them but I can’t guarantee he’ll answer. Concise, genuine, reasonable and civil will more likely get attention.

    • How much does he spend a year on haircuts?

    • Te Reo Putake 1.2

      Why don’t you resign for misleading your electorate? Why didn’t you put your backing for asset sales in your party literature? Why didn’t you mention your support for asset sales in the TV debates? Do you find Pete George as ballsachingly boring as the rest of us do?
      Looking forward to the answers, Pete, thx.

      • Pete George 1.2.1

        [Peter Dunne] UF’s position on asset sales was made clear in TV campaign launch, the TVNZ Leaders’ Debate, our campaign literature and at every electorate meeting I attended pre-election. It is exactly the same position today as it was then.

        • Ed

          Thanks but I would rather hear Dunne’s answer – isn’t that what you promised to deliver?

          • Pete George

            That is his answer.

            • McFlock

              follow-up: then does he plan on studying how to express himself more clearly, because a number of people seemed to think that “keeping the government in check” involved opposing asset sales?

              • Well, they should actually take notice of what is said and published and broadcast and not jumpt to false assumptions after the fact.

                Many people wrote Dunne off last election, including media, so they didn’t bother to take any notice of what he campaigned on. Then once they found out he was in a position of influence they claim to know all about it, but are clearly off target.

                • Petey I have a serious question for you.

                  This is unashamedly a left wing blog.  Many of us tune in first thing to get intellectual stimulation and hear what is happening in the world.

                  Do you think your campaign today has changed the views of one person?

                  Dunne’s responses have been monosyllabic and have attracted quite a bit of derision.

                  Do you think this is actually working? 

                • Colonial Viper

                  Many people wrote Dunne off last election, including media

                  Link please, to any major (or even minor) media outlet which stated that Dunne was good as gone from Parliament.

                • felix

                  “Well, they should actually take notice of what is said and published and broadcast and not jumpt to false assumptions after the fact.”

                  I think what you meant was ‘They should take a very specific, narrow literal interpretation of his words, one of several possible, and ignore the overall impression which the wording was quite obviously crafted to convey.’

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Nah you guys are just being mean.

                    Dunne is a man of integrity, not about ideas or policy or anything so gauche, but about people. About relationships. About reaching out his hand with an open minded manner and seeing if an agreement can be reached. About sticking to the deal in the name of democracy, as the representative of his good constituents, no matter how many of them catch the bus in the morning impeding his timely passage.

                    So just give it up.

                    Here’s a link which I think shows the moment where Dunne sees the inherent benefits of the MOM policy and commits himself philosophically to its passing.


            • felix

              Looking at Peter Dunne’s responses here it seems to me he’s using the question time definition of the word “answer” which is not quite the same as the one we use in real life.

              Either that or he just has a condescending, arrogant, entitled attitude to being questioned.

              I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he’s been in parliament too long and has forgotten what “answering a question” means in real life, but either way I don’t think he’s the sort of person you want to align yourself with for your new way of doing politics, Pete.

              • I put him on the spot a bit with this. I emailed a few of the questions to him after they were posted here, until then he wasn’t aware I was trying this experiment. Give him some credit for having a genuine go – but obviously he isn’t used to thrashing things out on a blog, that’s not what he does, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the answers seem more of a parliamentary style.

                I was pleasantly surprised at the genuine questions asked here (apart from the usual suspects).

                I don’t think we can expect much more than the occasional engagements between party leaders, ministers and senior MPs in social media, they are busy and this is time consuming to do it adequately. You can see this on Red Alert where it’s common for MPs to post and run, or only return for rudimentary engagement. That’s simply a reflection on their workloads.

                Blogging is a culture. Parliament is a very different culture. MPs shouldn’t have the time to live the blog culture – or more accurately, a widely varied bunch of cultures. Some staffers seem to dabble but they don’t have a lot of time to spend on just one of many bubbles of political activity – and one that’s fairly low down the chain.

                Even one large blog like this has a number of separate, overlapping and intermingling cultures. It’s actually quite a complex community. And there’s also the great mystery, the silent cultures we have no idea about.

                Twitter and Facebook seem to be better ways for MPs to engage a bit, they are more fleeting, flitting environments where people are used occasional dabbles.

                As you know I spend quite a bit of time here but still I can’t do justice to the many engagements that can occur. I don’t always have the time to fully research, post a comment with reference links, then respond to all the ensuing hue and cry. It can be hard keeping up with one conversation, let alone several at once, on several blogs.

                I think any of us here on the outside would have trouble just walking in to parliament for the first time and setting the house on fire, like here that’s a culture that has to be learned.

                And even something like this blog that I’m fairly familiar with now is a continual learning experience.

                • felix

                  Substitute “blog culture” for “talking to people” and you might begin to see the depth of the problem.

                  • I don’t get your point.

                    I’ve found Peter Dunne very easy and good to communicate with – I email with him most weeks, I’ve heard him talk at conferences and meetings, I’ve been in confference calls with hims and others, I’ve been on Vote Chat with him, I’ve been at a media interview with him, I’ve visited people with him, and in all cases he was a good communicator. And a number of people have told me they respect what he does.

                    I suspect if you went into unfamiliar territory you might sound a bit out of place. I’ve been there, done that quite often.

                    • vto

                      Pete, good effort on your part but Dunne’s answers, or lack of, just cement a particular view of him.

                      I asked “what are the benefits to the taxpayer in selling the electricity companies?” An entirely perfectly pertinent question. Some would say the most relevant question of the lot. But Dunne didn’t answer it. Why didn’t he answer it PG?

                      Put that together with his answer to P’s b “What are downsides to selling the electricity companies?”, which was, “there are no downsides”…

                      … and you just get bogus shit.

                      If Dunne can’t outline simply what the benefits and downsides are to the taxpayer in selling the electricity companies then he should not be in Parliament representing people, and he especially should not be voting on selling the electricity companies if he doesn’t know the upsides and the downsides.

                      Don’t you think PG? I’m biting my tongue here, hoping I have missed something and that Dunne really isn’t a ……

                    • He did respond but it was hard to show that with the thread structure here so I’ll show you here:

                      [Peter Dunne] It is worth noting that the total amount of assets up for sale represent about 35 of the Crown’s balance sheet. The controls own shareholding and ownership we have negotiated will ensure they remain in Crown control, without competing ownership objectives.

                      vto 1.4
                      22 June 2012 at 7:54 am
                      I know my style is a bit rough for you at times Pete but I would appreciate it if you could ask for a written answer to this one. Don’t need to be long…jus a list. But no wiffly waffle generalisms – short, concise and accurate points of reality.

                      What are the benefits to the taxpayer in selling the electricity companies?

                      Thanks. Good on ya

                      [Peter Dunne] See above.

                      That doesn’t really address your question. I know what you want (and I’d like to see a case made too) but I think it’s a question that would be better put to National.

                      John Key’s email has never replied so far. Bill English has but it took a couple of weeks, I’ll try some other National MPs.

                    • vto

                      Ok, cheers.

                      But the resulting conclusion remains the same. Peter Dunne holds the crucial vote on the sale of these electricity companies, which most people don’t want, yet he won’t outline the positives and negatives of the sales.

                      That is a farce, is it not?

                      If he doesn’t know what the positives and negatives to the taxpayer are then he simply should not be voting on the matter.

                      If he does know but wont say then similarly he is unworthy of holding office and the voting position.

                      Why doesn’t Dunne know? Why won;t he say?

                      Unworthy is the conclusion.

                    • This is the most comprehensive statement I’ve seen from National on the pros – they call it win-win.

                      The rationale is fairly simple – mixed ownership is a win-win for New Zealand.

                      Firstly, the Government gets to free up $5 to $7 billion – less than 3 per cent of its total assets – to invest in other public assets like schools and hospitals, without having to borrow in volatile overseas markets.

                      Secondly, New Zealanders get an opportunity to invest in big Kiwi companies at a time when they are looking to diversify their growing savings away from property and finance companies.

                      Thirdly, it’s good for the companies themselves. Greater transparency and oversight from being listed on the stock exchange will improve their performance and the companies won’t have to depend entirely on a cash-strapped government for new capital to grow.

                      We already have a living, breathing example of the mixed ownership model – Air New Zealand, which is 75 per cent owned by the Government and 25 per cent by private shareholders.

                      Air New Zealand has been a creative and innovative company, a model corporate citizen, and has twice won Airline of the Year awards.


                      And then he goes on in more detail.

                      There are also videos of John Key and Tony Ryall talking on it here:

                    • vto

                      So there we go… After 3 days of asking what the benefits are in selling the electricity companies we have the following;

                      1. immediate short term cashflow.
                      2. less political interference in the electricity market.
                      3. more investment opportunities in the privately owned NZX.
                      4. more transperancy for the companies by being on the NZX.


                    • KJT

                      “”Firstly, the Government gets to free up $5 to $7 billion – less than 3 per cent of its total assets – to invest in other public assets like schools and hospitals, without having to borrow in volatile overseas markets””.

                      This is like a builder selling his van and tools to pay this weeks grocery bills.

                      “”Secondly, New Zealanders get an opportunity to invest in big Kiwi companies at a time when they are looking to diversify their growing savings away from property and finance companies.””

                      We have a deficit because of interest on private borrowing and off-shoreing profits.. So the government proposes that we should make the situation worse.

                      There is no benefit from switching investment between one form of speculation in existing assets to another.

                      “Thirdly, it’s good for the companies themselves. Greater transparency and oversight from being listed on the stock exchange will improve their performance and the companies won’t have to depend entirely on a cash-strapped government for new capital to grow.””

                      LOL. That is why they want to remove them from the OIA?

                      The Government is cash strapped as a result of their own stupidity in refusing to make those who benefit the most from our society, pay their fair share.

                      Investing in sustainable infrastructure for future generations is an entirely legitimate use of taxation and borrowing. Unlike borrowing for tax cuts to pay for Hawaii holidays.

                      This is simply because of their stupid ideology that private always performs better.

                      “”We already have a living, breathing example of the mixed ownership model – Air New Zealand, which is 75 per cent owned by the Government and 25 per cent by private shareholders.””

                      Which had to be bought back under Government control because it was failing under private ownership. It is a living breathing example of why essential infrastructure should never be under private ownership.

                      We also have the more than 14 billion a year lost offshore from previous privatizations and asset sales to go by. Proven failures for NZ. Why do you think these will be different?

                      I will ask again. What are the benefits to the tax payer from partial privatisation?

        • Te Reo Putake

          Bullshit, Pete. As usual. You failed spectacularly when you claimed the other day that UF campaigned for asset sales, now you are claiming to be Peter Dunne. Are you on medication? If not, why not?

          • mike e

            trp he could “regain” some credibility

          • Pete George

            You’re getting more pathetic and desperate.

            Give me en email address and I’ll send you proof of the obvious (posting it here won’t be accepted as proof from you because you refuse to accept anything here). If you are not up to that nominate someone you trust and I’ll email them proof (not MS because I tried that with him and he seems to be still considering whether to say anything here about it).

            • Te Reo Putake

              Will you include proof you have Labour’s endorsement for your super site?

              And, if you want to quote somebody, use quotation marks. That makes it look less like you are psychotic.

    • tc 1.3

      Why is he selling out assets worth more to the nation than their sale proceeds will generate and putting at risk an essential service, electricity, by having competing ownership objectives ?

      It’s in the private owners interests to have limited and expensive power to maximise profits and also iwi interests have not been clearly defined and agreed so where does NZ become a better place with this sale.

      Our capital markets are weak and poorly regulated so the argument of strengthening them is a hollow one as they are fundamentally flawed, ask any international fund manager.

      • Pete George 1.3.1

        [Peter Dunne] It is worth noting that the total amount of assets up for sale represent about 3% of the Crown’s balance sheet. The controls own shareholding and ownership we have negotiated will ensure they remain in Crown control, without competing ownership objectives.

        • mike e

          pompus git they represent about 30% of income earning assets you naive gormless git.
          poodle groveller.You’ve said many times before that your no ones poodle so how come you have to copy and paste Nationals propaganda lines.
          Poodle Garnish-er.

        • mickysavage

          Yep they have not figured out how to sell the roads yet.  But given a chance they will do so.

          • the pink postman

            Bloody Hell Micky dont put such ideas in these bastards heads . I have no doubt they have thought of this, so they do not need anything to jab their futile brains.

            On a personal note if you ever come to the Lions Street Market Cambridge call on the LP stall I would like to meet you.

    • vto 1.4

      I know my style is a bit rough for you at times Pete but I would appreciate it if you could ask for a written answer to this one. Don’t need to be long…jus a list. But no wiffly waffle generalisms – short, concise and accurate points of reality.

      What are the benefits to the taxpayer in selling the electricity companies?

      Thanks. Good on ya

      • Pascal's bookie 1.4.1

        Good question.

        And all snark aside, I’d like that question to be complimented by asking:

        “What are the downsides that you can see from the sale of the electricity companies?”

        I don’t want to know if he thinks the benefits outweigh the costs, we know that already.

        I don’t even want to know why he thinks they outweigh the costs.

        All I want to know is if he can actually see any downsides, and what they are. What are the benefits and costs that he is weighing up.

        • Pete George

          [Peter Dunne] I do not see any downsides, for the reasons given above.

          • Pascal's bookie


            Just, wow.

            Can’t see any downsides.


            • vto

              Kinda says it all don’t it P’s b.

              • Pascal's bookie

                Reminds me of arguments with people about invading Iraq.

                “But Saddam is a bad guy, he does this and that and he’s awful. If we can get rid of him, we should”

                “Yes, but invading a country has costs, and it’s risky. You have to analyse both sides of the question. A cost/benefit approach is always worth doing. You can’t just do a benefit analysis, that can only give you one answer”

                “Saddam lover”

                • Reminds me of some of the conversations people have here. To put it briefly:

                  “National is bad because x” 

                  “Yes but x is not actually what National proposed”
                  “You don’t know what you are talking about, you stupid tory” 

                  • Te Reo Putake

                    I don’t want to ruin our burgeoning comradery, TC, but I’ve never seen a conversation like that here. Occasionally Tories get identified as such, particularly ones who waffle on about coming from the middle ground when they are consistantly articulating right wing positions. You know which toady I’m referring to there, obviously.
                    Occasionally the positions people take on individual issues are identified as right wing, but that isn’t always an indicator that the person is right wing per se. cf Chris Trotter for the most prominent and regular example of that kind of thing.
                    If you have an example that fits the formulation you claim, I’d like to see it. I haven’t forgotten, by the way, that on KB you made a similar sweeping generalisation about commentors here which pretty closely fits your formula, but with left substituted for right.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Yeah well, I’ll take your word on that being what you percieve TC*, but the thing is, folks are just citizens riffing.

                    Dunne is a minister of the crown.

                    *style tip: the argument would have more force without the use of the variable, which makes it look like you are forcing what actually happens into your pre-concieved idea of how people here behave. Ironic eh?

                  • Oh surely you can take a little general ribbing…yes I have seem very similar conversations here but I am not trying to make a serious point, just a little playful fun.

                • Vicky32

                  “Saddam lover”

                  Oh exactly! It was a brilliant distraction at the time, I well remember the time wasted having to try to convince someone who didn’t want to know, that we didn’t hold a brief for Saddam!

          • Dv

            Lets see
            Off the top of my head.

      • vto 1.4.2

        Hey, don’t forget an answer for me too PG.

        What are the benefits to the taxpayer in selling the electricity companies?

        specific, concise, no wiffle waffle.

        • fender

          No answer = no benefit to taxpayer vto

          Your question is in his too hard basket

          • vto

            Too right fender. Pete George, your master has failed you. Why didn’t he answer my question “What are the benefits to the taxpayer in selling the electricity companies?”

            Is there a more pertinent question? Is there a more simple question?

            Peter Dunne you are useless. Why don’t you answer my question? You answered everyone else.

            Best you answer or I will pursue Pete George to the ends of The Standard.


            BLOODY USELESS

    • ianmac 1.5

      They are promising to spend the money from Asset Sales on schools and hospitals. Just exactly what does this mean?

    • Draco T Bastard 1.6

      When all the evidence tells us that selling these assets will be bad for NZ why his he still in support of selling them?

    • Why did he not make his position on National’s asset sales clear during the campaign if he intended to support them, rather than opposing a policy nobody was backing?

      I presume that’s sufficiently concise, genuine, and reasonable.

    • fender 1.8

      If we “promise” to party vote UF next election, can P Dunne vote against selling our power companies?

      I want to charge my electric car without extending my mortgage!

    • vto 1.9

      I think you have failed on this Pete George.

      But by all means try again

    • Murray Olsen 1.10

      How does Peter Dunne contribute more to parliament than a remote controled Ken doll that said “I agree with the Right Honourable Prime Minister” every time it was activated?

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Before the 2005 election I said to some mates that National intended to privatise our education system. I got laughed at.

      Now I get agreed with.

      • muzza 2.1.1

        Red, indeed this sort of thing was obvious to those paying attention in some way, I wonder what your friends are thinking these days!

        The same can be said of there being an underlying agenda which sits beneath the surface, of what is reported on with the desire to “privatise”.

        People make fun of posts by people such as Ev, and some of the things I allude to, but there is simply no difference between what you state you were laughed at for understanding, and much of what Ev researches.

        The variance is just the layer at which all the deception sits within.

        When all industries etc have been consolidated, rolled up, merged or whatever it is to be labelled, what do we have at that point..


      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        National intends to privatise everything – that way they and their few rich mates can live up large on the backs of everyone else. Just like it was under feudalism which does seem to be their preferred governance model.

        • prism

          The NACTs know that things are going to get tougher and want to build up their reserves of good things and wines and beers in their cellars on their various properties before things get really tough. Makes sense to grab it now and not miss out. Simple really.

    • ianmac 2.2

      Decentralisation of Education was the core belief, the reason for Boards of Trustees, hiring and firing, property management and school policy on curriculum policies.
      But now the National Government is keen to Centralise the running of Education. National Standards. League Tables. Curriculum decisions. Class sizes. Privatisation. And now property management.
      Wonder why they didn’t inform the voters before the election?

      • Dv 2.2.1

        Ian you missed truancy officers. They are also being ‘centralized

        From Stuff
        At the end of this year, the 153 truancy officers employed by 76 local schools and not-for-profit organisations will no longer be contracted, as the ministry moves to disestablish New Zealand’s two truancy providers.

        The District Truancy Service and Non-Enrolled Truancy Service, run from local schools and the ministry respectively, will be replaced by a countrywide Attendance Service next year.

        Porirua College principal Susanne Jungerson said the school was home to two truancy officers who served 33 schools in the Porirua area.

        The new Attendance Service would cover Porirua, Wellington, Hutt Valley, and the Kapiti Coast. “We know that what works is school-based people who build networks in the local community – so somebody based in Wellington is really not going to do much up here. I’m hoping the people who get the contract will look to local solutions.”


    • vto 2.3

      Oh, in the same way that Wyatt Creech wrote the review of Ecan?

      makes my blood boil

  2. vto 3

    Over the last two days I have asked what the benefits are to selling the electricity companies. There have been 4 suggestions, all weak.

    1. Immediate cashflow to the government’s daily spending.
    2. (this one outlined the benefits to a purchaser – doh).
    3. Less political interference in the electricity sector (by gosman, who refused to defend questions about this).
    4. Helps the NZX (by gosman, who refused to explain why the privately owned NZX should ask for welfare from teh taxpayer).

    So, there we go. Anymore out there?

    • It would add to meagre pool of investment opportunities in NZX.

      Labour talk about needing to divert investment from property to business – for this to work we need a thriving share market.

      (Good to see you exploring this side of the argument).

      • mickysavage 3.1.1

        It is funny that the pinnacle of the local capitalist system, the stock exchange, should need state assistance through the injection of communally owned assets to make it work better.

        Says a lot about the quality of the local capitalists.

        And it is not going to spur investment in capital markets.  It is going to suck up investments and produce not one more power station or job.

        I agree that this is a totally spurious justification. 

      • KJT 3.1.2

        We need, NEW, business, PG. Not more speculation in existing assets.

        • Colonial Viper

          The capitalist investors in our society want a sure thing and a quick ROI, not the risk and hard work of building up a new enterprise and jobs from scratch.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Yep, and that’s why capitalism will always fail. The capitalists look for guaranteed returns rather than risk.

      • mike e 3.1.3

        puerile grovellar.
        New Zealanders already own these assets.
        This is not going to rescue the NZX.
        This is not a new business.

    • lprent 3.2

      Personally I can only see downsides. The NZX argument is spurious. We need investment going to businesses who are too small to be on it. When they get big enough they will usually list where their markets are – offshore. Best idea would be to shut the NZX as being useless to the NZ economy rather than subsidize the local broking industry.

      • vto 3.2.1

        Exactly. The NZX argument is hogwash. The NZX is privately owned (be interesting to see their increased revenue as a result of these sales and listings??). The NZX has been around for decades and a century and yet still it wallows. It is the high-point of capitalism and the great captains of private enterprise. It is their crowning glory. Yet they need and continue to ask for welfare. They need a hand up and out from the taxpayer.

        The NZX should get off its arse and do its own work. Ask its owners why it needs assistance. In fact they should do it themselves. If they need power companies to invest in then they should start them up and sell them themselves. After all, they are the masters at profit and business and enterprise, so they claim. So come on NZX, do the job yourself and stop being useless bludgers sucking on the taxpayer tit.

        I see a small case for deeper capital markets in NZ but it has been proved time and time again that the privately owned NZX is shithouse at providing investment opportunities. They need the taxpayer – proved. Again.

        So as a benefit for selling the electricity companies it is shithouse. Like saying that the benefit to selling your house and renting is that you don’t need to mow the lawns anymore. The case has not been made.

        • KJT

          New Zealand’s private sector is so crap at business they have to constantly steal ours.

          It is funny how the “free market” types are so keen on getting their hands on tax payer dollars.

          If it was really more effective than the State sector why don’t they start their own power companies, schools, banks etc. oop’s they did. The private schools are being bailed out by tax payers right now.

          • vto

            KJT, I think the real problem is that the pure business capitalists genuinely believe all the rhetoric around free markets and private enterprise (in other words, they believe their own bullshit). What this issue should highlight to them is that the two worlds, public and private, each work better when they work together. Neither can perform adequately without the other. Neither. If one side is weak, so too is the other.

            It’s like two kids in the sandpit throwing all the sand at each other until there is no sand left in the pit. Dumb.

            And from what I see it is the right wing who need to do this little bit of learning.

            • RedLogix

              It’s like two kids in the sandpit throwing all the sand at each other until there is no sand left in the pit. Dumb.

              Analogy Prize of the Month.

              Pity most righties are too mind damaged to get it…

            • KJT

              VTO. I think you are being way to generous in your assessment.

              Apart from true believing fools like Pete and Brash, and maybe even Key, capitalists know very well that it is bullshit. It is just spin to keep the masses in compliance.

              True believers would not be trying to steal tax payer funded monopolies to keep their business model going.

              Real business managers know that the first rule of a successful business is to make sure you short circuit market competition. Use branding, a monopoly position or get the rules changed in your favour to avoid competition, get cheaper labour etc.
              That is the main thing they teach you in management studies.

              • Bored

                Thanks VTO / KJT: As somebody who has always worked in commerce, runs companies etc everything you say is demonstrable. It clashes with every theory the economists paid by the Right are trying to force upon people like myself who do real business, real transactions, real production.

                As a rule business votes National: National let small to medium business down big time. My biggest real and hidden costs are the predatory practices of corporates and finance who “own” National. Included in these are SOEs overcharging because they work under “commercial rules”. In effect the aforementioned organisations and corporates are parasites on real production and wealth generation. They are a tax on my businesses as much as the IRD.

        • vto

          Here is something else to throw into the mix…

          Businesses I know, of a scale to easily list on the NZX, do not want to so list. It is not worth it. Circles have taken me to a few many of them at times and this exact issue is discussed. The outcome is “no thanks”. There are reasons for that which are immaterial to the materiality which is that the NZX fails. Businesses should want to list. But they don’t.

          Oh, and neither do investors want to go to the NZX. Less as time goes on.

          And I think when that piece of reality gets thrown into the asset sales mixer too all it does is make the brew worse…

          don’t know about you but i seriously cannot see any decent benefits to selling the electricity companies.

      • prism 3.2.2

        I think it’s a matter of pride for businesspeople here in having our own exchange. The alternative is to go to Australia, which we seem to be doing on so many fronts so why bother about maintaining an exchange when there is so little venture capital available anyway for those who need it.

    • higherstandard 3.3

      In the meantime perhaps you should list the benefits of keeping the public shareholding in the utilities and more importantly alternative options in raising the funds elsewhere such as increased taxation, pilfering from other consolidated funds etc.

      • mickysavage 3.3.1

        Or just retaining the dividend flow.  That will more than pay for retention of the assets.

        • higherstandard

          The dividend flow is of course driven by the prices charged to the taxpayer.

          Also you ignore that the dividend flow is a small fraction on an annual basis of the projected funds that will be raised by selling down the public shareholding, which why I thought it would be useful to raise alternative options for raising those projected funds from elsewhere.

          • Steve Withers

            The most obvious benefit of public ownership is the ability to decide things need to be done…and doing them…without short term profit being the overriding consideration. In almost every case where the market fails is it BECAUSE the market is apparently incapable of looking forward and seeing the world ahead in a wider context. A good government can do that very well.

            A National government is, almost by definition, not a good government (since Bolger was rolled) because it is dominated by the unfounded faith systems of the business community and their collective inability to look at the optimum future of the whole nation in the longer term. This is why we have the present government pushing down wages and reducing working conditions thus forcing young people to leave the country…..(after promising to do precisely the opposite).

            • higherstandard

              I don’t disagree with that as a benefit of public ownership Steve, I was under the impression that’s why 51% shareholding was remaining government controlled.

              • Colonial Viper

                51% shareholding of a good thing is 49% suckier than owning all of that good thing, higherstandard.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Unfortunately, that 51% shareholding doesn’t give control as any actions by that 51% to do long term investment can be challenged by the small holders if they view it as decreasing their short term profits.

          • KJT

            Of course there is also the option, in public ownership, to reduce the dividend to give NZ a competitive advantage or allow for less state spending in other areas, such as subsidies/benefits to consumers so they can afford power.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Single entity public ownership should have charges that cover operating costs and small investment (upgrades of existing equipment). Major investment (building new power stations) should actually come from taxes. It is, after all, NZers investing in NZ.

      • vto 3.3.2

        You can ask that question if you like hs, but your statement here “more importantly alternative options in raising the funds elsewhere ” reveals weak thinking.

        The proceeds from these sales are being used as cashflow.

        So then hs, what is this government going to do when it needs the next dollop of $5billion in its wallet? Which asset will it sell next? And what will they do when ther are no assets left to sell? Where will the $5billion come from then?

        • KJT

          Have a look at Don Brash’s strategic deficit.

          Deliberately cause a deficit and then cry TINA to further sales and privatisation.

          Or Naomi Klein on disaster capitalism. If one does not exist, then cause one.

          NACT is taking another leaf out of the Brash/Douglas book. Hit them hard and fast before public opposition can build.

        • higherstandard

          Isn’t that the point VTO, as I have been saying on this blog since 1997, NZ has been living beyond its means and continues to do so, if we weren’t the asset sell down would not be deemed necessary.

          What is needed soon and into the future is an economic plan that is both frugal and capable of bringing in sustainable income.

          • RedLogix

            NZ has been living beyond its means and continues to do so,

            Actually no.

            If you examine the Current Account Deficit the vast majority of it consists of “Negative Investment Income”… in other words overseas owners exporting their profits. In terms of trade balance in goods and services we are often in a modest surplus.

            In a broader sense what exactly are you thinking of by “living beyond our means”? Because demonstrably all the means are there. All the goods and services exist, all the materials, resources, labour and institutions to create them exist and have provided them. The “means” always were there.

            What has been happening is that that with wages a miserable 45% of GDP, ordinary workers have not had sufficient income to purchase the ‘means’ they were creating….

            • higherstandard

              Actually Yes.

              Perhaps you should have a look at the projected costs of an aging society in terms of Health costs and the pension.

              In the simplest terms reducing the current account deficit is down to decreasing imports or increasing exports. Borrowing ‘cheap’ cash from the banks either in the public or private setting is continuing to drive the country down a hole and whether the economy locally and globally will pick up to allow us to climb out is debatable.

              As for your comment “Because demonstrably all the means are there. All the goods and services exist, all the materials, resources, labour and institutions to create them exist and have provided them. The “means” always were there.”

              Well from the health sector point of view this is demonstrably untrue, apart from manpower which could be argued that the means is there we still have upkeep of existing facilities and population growth to account for and the majority of consumables such as medicines, devices, implants etc etc etc that we import. I expect this is replicated in other sectors as well.

              • Draco T Bastard

                In the simplest terms reducing the current account deficit is down to decreasing imports or increasing exports.

                Decreasing imports is easy – ish. Increase tariffs.

                Borrowing ‘cheap’ cash from the banks either in the public or private setting is continuing to drive the country down a hole and whether the economy locally and globally will pick up to allow us to climb out is debatable.

                So make borrowing harder.

                Well from the health sector point of view this is demonstrably untrue,

                In what way? We’ve been producing drugs and top line medical equipment in NZ for decades. So, no, we don’t have to import there either.

                Where we fall down on production is in high-tech computing and I’m pretty sure we could do that too – all we need to do is build the factories and processing of local resources. We already do the software.

                • “all we need to do is build the factories and processing of local resources.”
                  So you’d be happy with increased mining for lithium and the other bits and pieces we’d need to create our computers?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Yes, just so long as it was done as environmentally and as sustainably as possible, and that it was done to only cater to NZ’s needs. Basically, so long as it’s not done in the present manner where it’s all ripped out ASAP to enrich a few leaving the country with no resources and huge amounts of abject poverty.

                    • But we can’t mine everything we need here Draco and New Zealand has very small amounts of some materials (lithium is one) and almost none of others (like radioactive material).

                      Where do you suppose getting tritium from? 

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I suggest you go have a look at what’s actually available. I’ve got a comment on here a few weeks ago that lists them. I’m pretty sure that we have enough for NZ’s needs especially once we engage in serious recycling. As for the tritium, well, I already said that I support NZ having a small research reactor for which we would have to import the fuel (although we do have uranium as well so we may not need to do that either).

                      I’m not against trade, I just think we should minimise it. Going back to the Roman Empire we see that there was a huge amount of trade mostly going from some central area out to the boon-docks such as Britain. When the empire fell Britain backslid to the point that, 400 years later, the quality and quantity of equivalent goods (we’re talking pottery here) had seriously declined. What paupers wouldn’t have used in Roman times, Kings used to grace their tables.

                      I see the same thing happening to NZ when the present global empire (and it is an empire) collapses unless we build up our own local industry but it must be within the hard physical limits set by our environment and availability of resources.

                • higherstandard

                  DTB we’ve had this debate before – we have never and will never be able to locally produce all the various medications and medical equipment we currently need.

                  Yes increasing tariffs will decrease imports to an extent it may also have the effect of causing similar tariffs to be applied by trading partners and decreasing exports, it may also be difficulty under current trading deals we have in place.

                  I have no problem with making borrowing harder although I expect you’ll get push back from those who do the borrowing.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    …we have never and will never be able to locally produce all the various medications and medical equipment we currently need.

                    That’s a long bow you draw.

                    Yes, we actually could produce them all here (especially the medical equipment) but it would probably be better to do a little trading. We produce as much as we can and then trade for what we don’t. This is significantly different from what we do now which is that we produce a lot of a small range of products and then trade for a large range of products. This is actually uneconomical as we end up working longer and harder and using up more of our limited resources to produce cheap products to pay for the expensive products we have to import.

                    The present agreements are a problem but, then, they do seem to be getting in the way of what’s best for NZ and so the obvious solution is to drop them. Before you ask, yes, that means dropping out of the WTO.

                    • higherstandard

                      “That’s a long bow you draw.”

                      No it isn’t.

                      “Yes, we actually could produce them all here (especially the medical equipment) ”

                      Um no we could not, below are links to just some of the medicines we use in NZ, not vaccines, not medical equipment or medical consumables just medicines.


                      If you care to look there are several hundred – most with complex production, requiring of various intermediates, raw materials and various manufacturing processes and different plants depending on the type of dosage form, to suggest we could produce them all locally is delusional.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      If you care to look there are several hundred – most with complex production, requiring of various intermediates, raw materials and various manufacturing processes and different plants depending on the type of dosage form, to suggest we could produce them all locally is delusional.

                      No it’s not – that just means that we need to set up the necessary manufacturing plant and source the resources from local stock. The delusion is thinking that we can’t do that.

                    • higherstandard

                      Tell you what next time you go up to the university pop into the chemistry department and ask if we can produce all the medicines we need locally and what it would require for us to be able to do so.

                      Perhaps you will believe them.

                  • Don’t forget you need to make radioactive isotopes like technetium-99!

          • vto

            True that. And imo and in one quick sentence – that position would come around one hell of a lot quicker if we retained ownership of as much of the capital items in NZ as possible. We have no capital base because we let foreigners own the shit and what we do have we sell off.

            Retain and own. Build the strong foundation. Earnings flow from ownership.

            It is a basic and proven method in all economies, be they individual household economies or a sme economy or an entire nationwide economy.

            Retain and own.

            • higherstandard

              Yes, I don’t disagree, however, what is also self evident is that we cannot continue borrowing and infinitum either in the public or the private setting.

          • KJT

            Who has been living beyound their means?
            Most ordinary people have had 40% pay cuts since 1985.

            The ones who have had 17% annual wealth rises since?

            The real economy has always been in surplus. The deficit is due to interest and profits going offshore. Since both Muldoon borrowing from private banks/IMF and asset sales/privatisation.

        • RedLogix

          Wait until Councils start being told to sell parks, pools, water systems and the likes in order to keep rate rises under inflation.

          (And I’m not being facetious.. you heard it hear first.)

  3. Carol 4

    So not only evidence of a disentitlement culture in ACC, with Collins admitting that some of ACC case workers performance pay relates to getting long term payments of the books. It’s also evidence of the dangers of performance pay – only as good as the people making the decisions about what counts.

    So this abuse of the performance pay system has been going on for 3 years.


    Cabinet minister Judith Collins has admitted that ACC staff get higher pay for kicking long-term claimants off the corporation’s books but defends the strategy as “a good thing” because it gets the clients back to work.

    The financial incentives are just one of a number of tactics – including handpicking medical assessors – that ACC has adopted to improve its bottom line, Green Party MP Kevin Hague alleges.

    ACC documents obtained by Mr Hague yesterday showed case managers’ pay was bumped up when they exceeded management targets, including reducing the number of long-term claimants being paid weekly compensation.

    Their pay was reduced if they failed to meet those targets.

    But, as Kevin Hague is just saying on RNZ, this performance pay doesn’t take account the cost of people challenging and overturning of the ACC decisions. Also the article charges that ACC clinical assessors are hand-picked to get ones that will make the decisions ACC wants.

    This meets with my experience also. I also agree with Hague that there are some very good people working for ACC (that includes my case manager), and another person I dealt with their recently. Others seem like insensitive bullies.

    I am watching this closely because it is possible I may need more surgery in the future – it’s not certain at present that the repairs from the first surgery will hold over the medium term. And it seems it’s long term claimants that have been targeted, and some surgery related to them.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Also the article charges that ACC clinical assessors are hand-picked to get ones that will make the decisions ACC wants.

      ACC should not have their own assessors as it’s to open to abuse. Any doctor should do – that’s why they have those expensive degrees. Sure, get a second opinion as that’s proper behaviour but having it so that people can only go to pre-selected doctors is just wrong.

  4. Steve Withers 5

    Subject: ACC staff financially incented to kick people off benefits.

    The coverage I have seen on this so far has not mentioned two things:

    1. This is the model US health insurance companies operate on. Staff get bonuses for rejecting claims and reducing payouts.

    2. This change happened after National took power in 2008.

    To me, these were the two most obvious features of the situations as described. Yet no one seems prepared to say it out loud.

    The front page story in the Herald today obliquely mentions the policy change began 3 years ago….but is careful not to join any dots. Admittedly, I gave up reading the article in disgust about half way through.

    What’s going on here? Are NZ media simply ignorant? Or are they avoiding pointing out the obvious for some reason I’m not aware of?

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Or are they avoiding pointing out the obvious for some reason I’m not aware of?

      NZ Herald and Fearfax = National Party Newsletters (although they do try and pretend not to make it too obvious… that would defeat their purpose.)

  5. The Green party has been criticised for spending tens of thousands of dollars collecting petition signatures.

    Greens know the referendum will be too late.
    They now it will probably be ignored (as they have done in the past).
    Why are they spending so much?

    Are they investing in something bigger? Like planning on using $millions of taxpayers dollars on their 2014 election campaign?

    Green abuse of CIR could be more…

    • dd 6.1

      It’s 71k. As a Green supporter I am happy with the use of money.

      There’s a lot more money being wasted by National and United future on you know what.

      • Steve Withers 6.1.1


      • Pete George 6.1.2

        What do you think they are trying to realistically achieve with that investment?

        • dd

          Public pressure resulted in a ‘change of heart’ from your National buddies. Perhaps it will do that.

          Also if Dunne is as concerned about doing what the people want like you say he. Then surely if a referendum came back heavily apposed to asset sales would that not make Dunne re think his stance.

          • Pete George

            If the referendum actually happens it will be far too late.

            Would Greens rethink their smacking stance?

            • dd

              Try stay on topic please.

              So your saying Dunne isn’t interested in what the majority of the public want? Your saying he has made up his mind?

              • Dunne has to have made up his mind, the bill is to be finalised next week.

                Your turn to answer the question I asked you now. It’s very relevant.

                • felix

                  He has to have made up his mind as long as he intends to carry on doing exactly what National tells him to do and when.

                  He’s perfectly at liberty to start listening to what the people are telling him instead.

                • dd

                  Well it’s sad for you and Dunne that you will be remembered as those that sold a big chunk of NZ and gave us higher electricity prices.

                  I really don’t think it is relevant. It’s a hypothetical discussion which isn’t the same as what is happening right now.

                  But just for you.

                  As you well know Pete the Greens are a very different party to united future in that the clearly state their position on nearly every topic. This is what gets them their votes. And therefore people in parliament.

                  United Future attempt to be the party that reflects the opinions of common day people. Or have I got that wrong?

                  Therefore, from the Greens perspective so long as their voters are happy with the cause I don’t see an issue. However, I would still like to think that if, in the case of the smacking bill, the numbers are in strong opposition to the policy that the Greens might try and compromise or delay the passing of legislation to give time for more conversation.

            • Dv

              There are 3 other power companies to be sold.
              This is NOT over when Mighty River is floated.

              Say they get the referendum that will about when the next float occurs.

              There is a lot more water to go over the dam.

    • RedLogix 6.2

      It’s money allocated to the Party leadership to spend for Party purposes.

      None of your business Pete.

    • Steve Withers 6.3

      The Greens are a fiercely democratic party…and this is poorly understood by people like Pete George. It is particularly poorly understood by National Party supporters who appear to be quite happy to have party HQ dictating everything with little input from members.

      This is why the Greens want a referendum on assets sales. National party supporters don’t really get the democracy thing….or they couldn’t be National Party supporters. I call it a blind spot….and no amount of explaining ever seems to help.

      • Pete George 6.3.1

        The Greens are a fiercely democratic party…

        Within the party, I agree, other parties could them on that. But I don’t see the same fierce democratic applicatin beyond the party – Greens have their internals well sussed, but have a long way to go on their externals.

        • RedLogix

          Bullshit Pete.

          Let’s hear all about UF’s ‘fiercely democratic processes’ and responsiveness to ‘externals’ before you start casting stones about.

          • Pete George

            The Green Party is now a medium sized party, in a different category to all the small parties – but unlike all the other parties except Mana they have yet to be a part of a coalition government.

            Having great internal democratic ideals is one thing. Putting democracy into practice on a wider scale is another.

            Greens seem to believe their own hype about democratic purity which seems to blind them to overstepping outside their own comfortable bubble.

            There’s plenty of work to do in UF on democratic processes, but that’s recognised and accepted.

        • dd

          The Greens are using their allocated money to do what their voters want. What does that have to do with external parties?

          As for external dealings with other parties the Greens have even worked with National. In fact the installation scheme is one of the only remotely decent things this National party has anything to do with.

          You know I actually feel a bit sorry for Dunne if he goes through with supporting these asset sales it will be him and Key who will be vilified for generations to come. And rightly so.

          • felix

            “What does that have to do with external parties?”

            Well it does make Dunne look a bit shit.

        • Draco T Bastard

          But I don’t see the same fierce democratic applicatin beyond the party…

          That’s what the referendum’s for PG. You know, that piece of democracy that you have been dissing ever since it became obvious that it was going to go ahead.

      • KJT 6.3.2

        Pete George has already shown he has NFI about democracy. A blindness he shares with politicians in National, Labour and ACT.

    • Carol 6.4

      And how much of tax payer money is the NActUF government using to promote their asset sales policy? If you’re unhappy with this party political use of funds, I’m sure you’ll be equally as critical (post on it every day etc) of the governments use of funds.

      • Pete George 6.4.1

        I’ll be critical of use of government funds that I think deserves criticism, but this example is a nonsensical criticism.

        It costs money to sell things, so it will cost some money upfront to part float the assets. The critical thing is how well that money is spent – if spent wisely it should enhance the sale price so will be returned, and more. Or it could be wasted.

        If they spent half as much do you think that would make any difference to the sale price? Twice as much? Or do you not know and are jumping on the bandwagon of ignorance.

        • Carol

          It looks like they have to pay people to get them to buy shares, and to promote the sales that probably aren’t that beneficial to taxpayers, or the buyers, without extra tax payer funding. Money well spent?


          On a $6 billion sales programme, a 1 for 15 share bonus would cost the Government up to $400m. This would be on top of the $120m that the Government has indicated it expects to spend on middleman such as investment bankers and advertising companies, and the $100m annual increase to the Government’s deficit due to foregone profits.

          “It is ludicrous that the Government is just a couple of months away from selling the first of our energy companies yet it still won’t tell the public how much it would cost”, said Dr Norman

          “Either they are trying to hide the truth from New Zealanders or, just as worryingly, they don’t know themselves.

          “It is becoming clear that there are huge undisclosed costs that further undercut the economic case for asset sales.

          “A loyalty scheme could cost as much as $400m, on top of sales costs that the Government conservatively estimates at $120m. That’s half a billion dollars spent on selling assets that Kiwis want to keep!

          “Additionally, Budget 2012 shows the net loss of profits cutting a $100m a year hole in the Government’s books.

        • Lanthanide

          “It costs money to sell things, so it will cost some money upfront to part float the assets. The critical thing is how well that money is spent – if spent wisely it should enhance the sale price so will be returned, and more. Or it could be wasted.”

          At what point do you say “is it worth spending $$$ to sell something worth $$$$$$$?”

          What if it cost $$$$$$ to sell something worth $$$$?

          You just seem to blindly accept that it costs money to sell something, but haven’t actually analysed whether the amount being spent is warranted for the amount of revenue that will be returned. I submit, that in this case, it is not.

          • Pete George

            I’d be surprised if anyone would seriously claim that ~$6b of shares could be sold incurring no costs.

            No, I haven’t analysed “whether the amount being spent is warranted for the amount of revenue that will be returned” – and I presume neither have you or Carol. I’m not blindly saying “I submit, that in this case, it is not”.

            This is what has beensaid publicly:

            The Government expects to pay contractors about $120 million to help sell its controversial asset sales plan message.

            Finance Minister Bill English confirmed the spend would total “around 2 per cent” of the proceeds from the partial sale of selected state assets – up to $7 billion.

            The costs were for advertising, PR, legal, banking, call centres and other administrative charges.

            English, responding to a written parliamentary question from Greens co-leader Russel Norman, said the cost was “low by market standards”.

            But that doesn’t answer the question of it it is good value for money, we can only guess more after the sales prices are known.

            • Lanthanide

              The 2%/$120m isn’t including the $400m ‘loyalty scheme’. It also assumes they go for $7b, when $5b is a more reasonably achievable target.

              $520m/$5b is 10%. That’s quite high.

    • Hayden 6.5

      How many new 7-series BMWs does that buy?

    • mike e 6.6

      Pathetic grovelar so getting ministerial pay is the price for the hairpiece to stop doing the best thing for the average kiwi is no different.

    • Vicky32 6.7

      Are they investing in something bigger? Like planning on using $millions of taxpayers dollars on their 2014 election campaign?

      Do you know how weird and paranoid you sound?

  6. just saying 7

    Research by Hazel Armstrong et al* has shown that the majority of long-term ACC recipients are not “rehabilitated” when they are exited from the scheme, and it is wilful deception to describe disentitlement of the disabled in this way. In fact most end up on WINZ, or working part-time in low paid jobs.

    Long-term claimants are the most seriously injured, and most are permanently disabled. Protecting catastrophically injured workers from having themselves and their dependant families effectively beggared by their accidents, as happened in the past, was one of the most important reasons ACC was set up.

    But using an actuarial business model they are expensive liabilities, and around an average of $500,000 in lifetime costs is immediately erased from the debit side of the ledger when such a claimant is “rehabilitated” onto a WINZ benefit. Experience from insurance companies around the world, including those prosecuted for such practices, shows that highly vulnerable injured people are often in no position to fight the rich and powerful company legal teams and those that hang on for grim life through the initial efforts to disentitle them can be worn down financially and psychologically, by repeated assessments by “hit-man’ in-house medical assessors, and harrassment via well-worn insurance industry “gaslighting” techniques**.

    *I’ll look it out and link it if anyone is actually interested in reading the material.
    **For details of many of these kinds of methods used by ACC, see Pullar’s 50-odd point list of grievances.

  7. Ideology and asset sales (Or how I stopped worrying and learned to oppose the sale of SOE’s)


    • …link well worth reading.

    • Dv 8.2

      That was a good analysis.

    • Te Reo Putake 8.3

      Good post, TC. You’ve certainly laid out your position clearly and while you are clearly pretty confused about where you fit politically, I respect the fact that you take the time to analyse policies before you vote. A large percentage of Kiwis make up their mind in the booth and a similar number don’t even bother.
      From what I’ve read of your posts and comments, I’d guess you are a small l liberal, inclined toward the right, but capable of moving left on issues (such as asset sales). In other words, part of the fabled swinging voter middle ground that most modern elections are pitched at. What that means for your moniker, I’m too polite to say, but you’ve probably already worked it out for yourself.
      I look forward to you voting Labour next election, because I think you are going to find yourself agreeing that they will be the best option for a thinking person such as yourself. You might even consider attending a party meeting or two, and seeing what’s on offer. You may be surprised at how close to your thinking many members are, and what influence you can have on the next Government.
      Anyhoo, good work, well done.

      • “you are clearly pretty confused about where you fit politically”
        I’m not confused about where I fit because I don’t feel the need to fit anywhere. That is fine by me.

        “I look forward to you voting Labour next election”
        Haven’t decided on who I’ll vote for yet.  

        Thanks for your supportive comments though 🙂

      • Pete George 8.3.2

        you are clearly pretty confused about where you fit politically

        I don’t think it’s confusion at all, just an ongoing open-mindedness.

        I’d guess you are a small l liberal, inclined toward the right, but capable of moving left on issues

        I’d guess he’s capable of evaluating each issue on it’s apparent merits and doesn’t care about pigeonholing. Those who are stuck in their own political pigeon holes seem to have trouble understanding that not everyone is mentally that narrowly confined.

        • Te Reo Putake

          Ha, Pete. The only straight jacketed mentalist round these parts is yourself (and Burt on a good day). You are so rigidly Tory, you may well be the bloke Ray Davies was talking about in this song, with his frilly nylon panties pulled right up tight.

          • TheContrarian

            Hey TRP,

            “You are so rigidly Tory”

            This is the type of comment I was referring to:
            “You disagree with me therefore you’re a tory!” 


            • Te Reo Putake

              Nah, that’s not me. I make my political conclusions based on what people say and do. If they are left, they are left. If they are right, like Pete, then they are right. You may have noticed me having some differences here with people to my left, politically. I don’t call them Tories. Sparts, maybe, but not Tories. All of us have the capacity to hold conflicting viewpoints, while being generally left or right. I might take a contrarian viewpoint on some issues, I might be 100% convinced of the correctness of others.
              I have had the benefit of an excellent Marxist education and most of my political judgements still come from the ‘qui bono’ perspective. There is a left, which represents the interests of the majority of us, and a right, which represents the interests of a tiny minority. I like my left to be class based, but we live in a bourgeois western ‘democracy’, so I work for the best outcomes I can within that restriction.
              At the end of the day, Pete is a Tory, You, on the other hand, I have hopes for!

              • I’ll never be a dyed in wool leftie – been there, done that.

                I’ll always remain pragmatic and always try to remain “outside” of ideology. Operative word here is ‘try’ but every time I think about ideology I remind myself of the clusterfuck that is the USA.
                Hyper-partisan and handcuffed by ideologues. 

                • Pascal's bookie

                  The US is undeniably hyperpartisan.

                  I’m not sure what you mean by the ideologues part though. Part of the hyperpratisanship is driven by the fact that the political elites in America are so very similar ideologically, resulting in partisanship becoming the battlefield.

                  What would you call the ideologies at war in the US?

                  • “What would you call the ideologies at war in the US?”

                    Less about the middle (because middle of the road Republicans are pretty similar to middle of the road democrats) and more about their bases they reach out to which taps into the greater culture war.

                    Pro-choice vs.  No abortion
                    Pro gun vs. gun control
                    Evolution vs. Intelligent design
                    Anarcho Capitalism vs.  regulated capitalism 

                    While these may not political ideologies they have become intertwined into the political psyche.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Thanks, I think I see what are getting at.

                      Where I’m cautious is in saying that these disputes have handcuffed people in.

                      They are, to me, issues that the citizens of the US have very different opinions on. I see no reason not to believe that those opinions are not genuinely held.

                      It is, to me, just as ‘bad’ a form of partisanship to dismiss people’s arguments on the basis that they are informed by ideology, than it is for an ideologue top dismiss a different flavour of ideologue on the same basis.

                      It seems to me, to be making the very same mistake. Just as you weigh things up and decide upon a position, I see no reason to doubt that ideologues have done the same thing.

                      The rejection of ideology, is just as much a trap as ideology itself, if you like.

                      Though I’d phrase it as saying that ideology isn’t actually a trap.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      jesus, rattled that off without a quick re-read.

                      I have no reason to believe that the opinions of US citizens are not genuinely held and rationaly thought out, is what I was trying to say. Too many negatives by far.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    1) Big government vs small government
                    2) Pro choice vs pro life
                    3) Right to bear arms vs gun control
                    4) Religion in schools vs secular schools (intelligent design, school prayer, …)
                    5) Corporatist banker led free market all the way (both parties support)
                    6) Moneyed corporate speech drowning out everyone else (both parties support)
                    7) Unlimited soft and hard campaigning money from corporates or via corporates.
                    8) Gay rights and gay marriage vs ‘traditional family values’
                    9) State power vs Federal power
                    10) Goes on and on until my head hurts

                    As you may have noticed, the agreement amongst the top 0.1% about stuff which actually matters to them (getting their hands on corporate money) is interestingly completely bi-partisan.

              • TC has nailed you there TRP.

                You decided “100% convinced of the correctness” of not liking me me so you call me a Tory, when you’re not calling me other things. It’s common political arrogance.

                And it says more about you than about me. And it’s particularly funny when you refuse to see it (or can’t).

                • Te Reo Putake

                  You’re a Tory, Pete. And a liar. Move on.

                  • You’re repeatedly 100% wrong. And you can’t help yourself – or see yourself. If you get off on stalking that’s your business.

                    As far I’m concerned this discussion is closed – and I’m aware you’ll probably use that as an opening to continue egging your own face unopposed.

                    • felix

                      Perhaps you should ask one of the mods to switch comments off then.

                    • dd

                      If you had to choose a side of the spectrum though Pete you’d say right wouldn’t you?

                      How do you have some much time available to post?

                    • @dd

                      No, like Contrarian I don’t choose sides of spectrums, I try to evaluate any issue from the middle (doesn’t mean I’ll always stay with a mid opinion).
                      I’ve definitely voted more leftish but from National to Greens.
                      I was near the Green Party on the Political Compass last time I tried it.
                      I have what are probably considered quite leftish ideas on some things, consumerism, sustainability and ponzi growth.

                      I make time available to do what I want to do. I currently get up about 5am and start online but I’m off doing other things more than I’m on. I have flexibility with time. I don’t have major family commitments and I have a supportive and understanding wife (most of the time).

              • higherstandard

                “There is a left, which represents the interests of the majority of us, and a right, which represents the interests of a tiny minority.”

                From an NZ perspective who is this left and right that represent the majority/minority ?

              • Vicky32

                There is a left, which represents the interests of the majority of us, and a right, which represents the interests of a tiny minority

                And yet, and yet, so often you find yourself on the right of an argument! I wonder why that is?

        • Jim in Tokyo

          Honest question for the purported pragmatists – how on earth do you ‘evaluate’ the ‘merits’ of a policy without recourse to ideology?

          Pragmatism is a specific elaboration on the scientific method which favors ‘practice’ (observation of experimental results) over ‘deduction’ from reified theories. So we might argue that a ‘pragmatic’ approach to political policy can more accurately predict the outcome of a proposed policy than an ‘idealistic’ one.

          So, for example, through an examination of historical instances of the privatization of state assets, we might observe that this policy usually leads to an empirically measurable transfer of wealth from A to B. This might contradict an idealist analysis which says that theoretically the privatization of state assets should lead to a transfer of wealth from B to A.

          A pragmatist would say that, given two contradictory predictions, the prediction based on observable past results beats the prediction based on a particular set of economic theories which make claims to scientific truth. So far so good, I’m a pragmatist too!

          So now we now have a better prediction of the consequences of the policy. But is the transfer of wealth from A to B a desirable outcome? Or an undesirable one? The moment you ‘evaluate’ the policy, as TheContrarian demonstrates on his blog, then you are employing ideology. You are testing the predicted outcome against how you think society SHOULD work. Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, you are employing a system of ideals; i.e an ideology.

          Claiming to be ‘outside ideology’ is absurd and only serves to make rational political debate impossible. Unless of course you’d rather ‘feel’ politics rather than ‘think’ it, which seems to me to be the problem in the US right now.

          • TheContrarian

            Maybe a term such as “adaptable ideology” might be better as opposed to “rigid ideology”?

            Also, it isn’t that ideology shouldn’t exist but the one should be able to ignore/contain it when the best approach is outside of ones ideological beliefs

          • Pete George

            Honest question for the purported pragmatists – how on earth do you ‘evaluate’ the ‘merits’ of a policy without recourse to ideology?

            And an interesting question without a simple answer, because we are all a mixture of things anyway.

            I can only guess at the way lefties and righties think – the ones who seem to start every evaluation with “I’m a lefty/socilialist so state ownership must be the best option, lets find reasons to support that” or I’m a righty/capitalist so private ownership must be the best option, lets find reasons to support that”

            And the seem to fix a view early and defend that stance forever.

            I never think of myself as supporting state or business, left or right or whatever. I don’t feel any loyalty to a particular direction of viewpoint.

            When I first look at an issue I think “what makes sense to me” – and obviously that is based on a mix of accumulated “ideologies”. But I often have a soft view open to persuasion – some here mistakenly call that sitting on the fence. And then I look for more information, and prod and listen for other people’s views.

            And as information grows I firm up a position – if it’s important enough for me to do that. But it is rarely a fixed position, new information or circumstances can adjust it, a major revelation or time can lead to a major change of position.

            That probably sounds a bit vague. So I’ll try another way.

            If a political issue comes up I don’t care who the party is (much), I’ll support whatever makes sense to me. So I could back Act on something, or Mana, or something in between. And at the same time I could criticise them for something else.

            It just seems normal to me but seems to cause some here a problem, so I presume some people must think differently.

            Yesterday I criticised an aspect of CIR that I didn’t agree with, but was accused of being anti democracy. That’s just nonsense.

            Asset sales is an interesting one – I can see pros and cons, neither way strongly enough to get upset either way. But I don’t think MOM is my argument to make or break, it’s National’s policy. I support their right to put forward majoe policies, and I support UF in keeping to their C&S agreement and the principles of being in a coalition.

            If I strongly opposed any type of asset sale it’s hard to know how I’d feel about the UF position and how I’d deal with it, but the soft MOM option doesn’t bother me so it’s not an issue.

            • Jim in Tokyo

              If ‘rigid ideology’ means employing method X in pursuit of goal A while steadfastly ignoring the evidence which shows that result B is most likely, then I think we can all agree that “rigid ideology” is bad. A pragmatist should always be testing their assumptions and adapting their working model of the world (ideology) in light of new information.

              The problem with saying “adaptable ideology” though is that it too easily becomes shorthand for “unable to articulate a coherent position without recourse to vagaries like ‘reasonableness’ ‘common sense’ or ‘truthiness'”, at which point further debate becomes impossible.

              By suggesting that ‘the best approach is outside of ones ideological beliefs’ aren’t you are simply saying that your decision making is made on instinct rather than systematic thought? How can I debate you on what constitutes the ‘best approach’ if you are not able to articulate the basis in which you made your evaluation?

              I see Pete is in before me, and he has said essentially the same thing in his own way – he ‘feels’ politics rather than ‘thinks’ it.

              • “By suggesting that ‘the best approach is outside of ones ideological beliefs’ aren’t you are simply saying that your decision making is made on instinct rather than systematic thought? How can I debate you on what constitutes the ‘best approach’ if you are not able to articulate the basis in which you made your evaluation?”

                No I am not suggesting ‘the best approach is outside of ones ideological beliefs’ but the best approach may indeed be outside ones ideological bent.
                For example (and this may not be a good one, let me know what you think and I’ll try again) I do not like war and would, in a perfect world not wish to wage it, however that is not a realistic option in some cases so despite my wish not to have war waged sometime that must be swallowed and hard decisions be made.

                Do you see what I mean?

                • Jim in Tokyo

                  No, war is a perfectly valid example – I can see that you are against dogmatism, i.e a strict adherence to a preconceived ideology in the face of challenges and evidence. I’m happy to join with you in condemning ‘blind ideology’ of all stripes.

                  Dogmatists are often to be found chewing up the comment threads on blogs, and I find them frustrating too. A pragmatist might say that in order to maintain the overall goal of a peaceful society, war might be necessary evil. That decision still involves a rational evaluation of the options, weighed up against an appeal to the ‘ideal’ of a peaceful society though. It’s still ideological.

                  Your example also sheds in interesting light on Pete’s logic – ‘side A wants a big war and side B wants no war therefore common sense tells us a middle sized war will do nicely’. That’s just as absurd, if not more so, than dogmatism.

                  If we turn back to asset sales for a moment though, I think we can both see dogmatics in play on both sides. I sense we’d both be happier for both sides to drop the rhetoric and take a look at the evidence. Your blog astutely points out a gap between the Nat’s purported goals and their methods, and this contradiction hints at dogmatism, ‘sell at all cost’.

                  But for you and I to discuss the MOM, we have to be able to engage. To do that, we have to drop this ‘I speak from common sense while my opponent speaks from ideology’ line and be a bit more aware of the fact that we all speak from ideological positions.

                  For in example, in your blog post you say that in order to help reduce the national debt, and to avoid ‘sell at all cost’, you might support a 1-2c raise in the top tax rate, but not more – you say that 40c would be too high, as would a return to the previous rate of 39c. That is an ideological position, and I might want to ask how you arrived at that conclusion.

                  If you told me that 39c ‘feels too high’ or ‘it’s just common sense’, then I’d probably politely close the PC and return to my homework. If you argued that the 39c rate is too high because will act as a disincentive to growth, then I might be tempted to debate that with you.

                  • “side A wants a big war and side B wants no war therefore common sense tells us a middle sized war will do nicely’.”

                    I agree that isn’t a valid position.

                    “you say that 40c would be too high, as would a return to the previous rate of 39c. That is an ideological position, and I might want to ask how you arrived at that conclusion.”

                    I came to that position because I feel that by doing an increase such as that I think we could offset having to sell assets. If the situation were much dear then further sacrifices may be necessary but the point I am trying to make is that there a small sacrifices to ones dogmatic beliefs that could, even though outside of what one believes or wants, be an answer and a necessary compromise to make for this particular circumstance (the circumstance of needing to sell assets).
                    Does that make sense?

                    “To do that, we have to drop this ‘I speak from common sense while my opponent speaks from ideology’ line and be a bit more aware of the fact that we all speak from ideological positions. ”

                    Yes agree we need to speak from a position of what we believe to be true and/or correct but aware that what we believe may not be true and correct and that our opponent, from a completely different stripe, makes a valid point which must be considered.

                    • Jim in Tokyo

                      “Yes agree we need to speak from a position of what we believe to be true and/or correct but aware that what we believe may not be true and correct and that our opponent, from a completely different stripe, makes a valid point which must be considered.”

                      Amen to that. Enjoy the weekend and lets talk taxes another day.

            • mike e

              perpetual grovelar

    • Lanthanide 8.4

      “Others complain that power prices will soar but – given that power prices have been shooting up for the past decade – this argument rings rather hollow to my ears, particularly when places like the US have much cheaper power and almost no publically-owned power supply.”

      Comparing NZ to the US when it comes to the electricity market is spurious, because their market is many thousands of times larger than the NZ one, in terms of geography, population and electricity used.

      Comparing to the banking system is fairly illustrative: in NZ we have one primary eftpos network that all of the banks belong to – you can use any ATM to access your money. In the US this isn’t the case, it’s a big mesh of private bank’s ATM networks, many of which have joined together to inter-operate, but not all. So it’s common in the US to come across ATMs that won’t accept your eftpos card.

      The point is that electricity in NZ is pretty much a natural monopoly, determined by the capital cost of the infrastructure involved and the population to be served. Breaking it up to create artificial competition doesn’t achieve anything except drive prices up: how exactly do TV ads with newsboy drooling over windmills, rambunctious pukekos or people filled with “good energy” reduce power prices? The answer is they don’t. All evidence to date shows that private providers charge more money than the SOE companies do. To stick your hands in your ears and say “lalala, doesn’t happen in the US” makes you look like a fool.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.5

      You know, reading that it appears that you’re where I was politically in the early 2000s. If you’re as self-honest as you paint yourself and actually do look at the facts then I look forward to welcoming you to the radical left (otherwise known as reality) in another few years.

      • “I look forward to welcoming you to the radical left”

        Been there, done that. Reality is subjective and I disagree with many of your ideas DTB.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Been there, done that. Reality is subjective…

          Nope, reality is very definitely objective. A person really does need x number of good food per day, they really do need a place to live, clothes to wear and something to do* and it’s societies responsibility to ensure that they have them. If it wasn’t the there’d be no reason to belong to the society and you’d probably get higher crime rates and other negative indicators as those who were thus in poverty disassociated themselves.

          * meaning something socially useful and appreciated

          …I disagree with many of your ideas DTB.

          Fine, just so long as the reason you disagree is due based upon fact. If it is, you should be able to persuade me to your PoV.

  8. ianmac 9

    A May 18 to June 8 Horizon Research poll of 3,177 adult New Zealanders commissioned by the FSC finds:
    74% think New Zealand should, over time, introduce a retirement savings scheme in which contributions by both employees and employers are compulsory. Only 16% oppose. Even 73% of those who voted National support this.

    • Dv 9.1

      Super needs to be taken out of the Political arena (That was not a pig I saw flying past)

      Maybe a royal commission reporting back in 2014

      The royal commission to investigate the current situation and explore ways to ensure that super is sustainable and fair.

      • Lanthanide 9.1.1

        We don’t need a royal commission. We know what needs to be done. The only point of a royal commission or otherwise would be to act as a fig leaf for National to back down on the issue and act rationally for a change.

        • Dv

          You are right Lanth. But the fig leaf iS why we need the commission.

          WE need cross party consensus.

        • Draco T Bastard

          We know what needs to be done.

          No, we know what the capitalists want done. There are many other options and all of them affordable. Even the present system is affordable without the Cullen Fund by the simple expedient of raising taxes (which is what we’ll end up doing anyway as monetary savings will prove to be the delusion that they are).

  9. Adrian 10

    Tourism industry report this morning that the industry over the last few years has “slipped off the radar” internationally. Now who’s the Minister of that again? Another fail. Time to go.

  10. Te Reo Putake 11

    Who says Kiwi businessmen lack a sense of perspective? Not this guy; on being told he’s likely to be going to jail for 3 years for ripping off investors, he asks if its OK if he can take a holiday to Fiji first. That’s the kind of boundless optimism that has made this country average.

  11. prism 12

    Clarke and Dawe – the European Crisis see on youtube. John \’s the conomist and Dawe is the interviewer feeding the lines, both great.
    John Carke’s approach to being announced as an economist – Well one is innocent till proven guilty I thought.
    Asked his comments on the European question – I can’t answer that it’s really a religious matter.

    Interviewed on Radionz this morning – referring to book The clash of generations
    Laurence Kotlikoff, Boston University professor and author of ‘The Clash of Generations’. He is in New Zealand as the 2012 Professorial Fellow in Monetary and Financial Economics at The Reserve Bank and Victoria University. (14′41″)

    I’m waiting in anticipation for the USA to announce the cessation of its various hostilities around the world, with a promise that it will only enter fights that it can fund from its surpluses. This, after hearing US economist expound on how they/we can’t afford all the old people they/we have and pay them a pension. Well obviously with the US Defence budget and the US Pensions budget being similar in total, the oldies will win and the defence budget will be slashed and there will be world peace for a while until some other country’s leaders suffering from the disease of cupiditas gaza imperium will arise.

    Also heard on the media – an extensive search for two male Australians about 60 years, cast on an island somewhere because their yacht broke down. Then a boatload of 200 mixed ages and genders from Sri Lanka about 120 miles from Indonesia contact Australia on Tuesday and are told to turn round and go back to Indonesia. After a day or so a search is set up to see who can still be found standing on the hull (all males) and find in the water those with life jackets (males?) and to pick up the bodies of the rest while still floating.
    Quite a contrast in response I think. Of course we couldn’t cope with keeping one teenage Sri Lankan girl here, such a terrible precedent, and took her to the plane in a wheelchair. Polly Lianne Dalziel presided over that decision.

  12. Te Reo Putake 13

    Julian Assange has just done a self serving interview with the ABC. There are also some interesting options for him suggested here. And one of his biggest supporters suggests he goes to Sweden and defends himself.
    Interesting tidbit about about Sweden and extradition to the the US. Swedish law prevents extradition if the death penalty is a potential outcome.

    • prism 13.1

      US is quite likely to apply through a non-death penalty state, it they are wanting Assange. There still are some that don’t have it there, though they are moving towards China on that level.

      • Te Reo Putake 13.1.1

        I don’t think that would work, prism. Extraditions are country to country, so it would be the US Federal Government making the application. Of course, they could agree with Sweden, the UK, Ecuador or wherever Assange is that they will not press for the death penalty. But as there is no actual proposal at the moment, it’s all moot anyway.

  13. Kevin 14

    The outcome of any report conducted into superannuation will focus on eligibility and will more than likely involve means testing. The Australians means test their superannuiants and it is likely New Zealand will follow suit:

  14. prism 15

    I have a feeling that a large part of National support comes from oldies who would be affected by a means test, or surtax which would be Unpopular.. A large portion also vote for Winston. The rest are old diehards who still stick to a Labour despite that it now believes in changers – money-changers that is.

  15. deuto 16

    The John Key is still for sale!

    This wonderfully funny Trade Me auction is back up for anyone interested.


    Unfortunately the first auction yesterday was taken down inadvertently (apparently)* which is a shame as the Q and A thread was a classic, but the new auction is also very funny.

    *Seller Comment: Sadly, the original auction disappeared as swiftly as a cabinet member in a scandal – it had been live for fewer than 24 hours with 45000+ hits and more than 145 questions. After several discussions with Trade Me, I have been told that the deletion of the auction was “accidental” and couldn’t be undone. Bit of a shame really, because our John Key for sale and various delivery/pickup options had been extensively described. However, Trade Me phoned this morning with an apology.

  16. randal 17

    Things are getting grim folks.
    By the time “they” have ripped fonterra off the farmers and ripped the the guts out of the education system then we will all be peasants with farmers becoming no better than day labourers and the lower decile schools holding pens for the lower socio economic strata.
    “they will be well pleased with their efforts at 21st century financial colonialism.

    • prism 17.1

      You may be interested in an interview with Brian Roper on Radionz.
      NIGHTS host Bryan Crump spoke with political historian Brian Roper about ‘what is the working class’ on Monday 18 June. Here’s the link to the audio to listen to and/or share:

      Talking about being peasants, Brian R says that objectively 70% of NZ are working class and the rest I think, 25% are land owning farmers and then there is a higher land owning class of about 5%. He says that many people don’t see themselves as working class, and to get the gains that the early working class did required commitment, a vision, solidarity etc. Which has gone and is slowly getting adopted again.

  17. Tom Gould 18

    Peter has likely gone home by now, but if he’s still around, can you ask him why he uses Crown limos at vast cost to the taxpayer when preaching restraint in spending those very same taxpayers’ dollars? They are billed back, so he will know the actual cost. Or is the leather just too enticing?

  18. Draco T Bastard 19

    This weeks Archdruid Report is well worth the read.

    More specifically, something other than a paralysis of the money system has happened to the mechanisms of economic growth. That’s the unlearned lesson of the last decade. In the wake of the 2001 tech stock crash, and then again in the aftermath of 2008’s even larger financial panic, the Fed flooded the American economy with quantities of cheap credit so immense that any viable project for producing goods and services ought to have been able to find ample capital to get off the ground. Instead of an entrepreneurial boom, though, both periods saw money pile up in the financial industry, because there was a spectacular shortage of viable projects outside it. Outside of manipulating money and gaming the system, there simply isn’t much that makes a profit any more.

  19. Te Reo Putake 20

    Huntly miners are calling for the immediate return of check inspectors. Given the regular methane scares at the Huntly East site, that can’t come too soon.

  20. This is funny (and good to see a genuine happy face):

    I read to the children at Owairaka Primary School in my electorate, and this was the book the teachers had chosen! pic.twitter.com/qeNTsEL2

  21. Jackal 22

    Asset sales pollute the future

    This really is a lose lose situation for everybody except rich investors and farmers…

  22. joe90 23

    Re mining. From the MED library I’m surprised at the breath of the resource in Northland alone revealed in this mineral assessment .

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