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Owning our future

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, October 18th, 2010 - 139 comments
Categories: assets, labour, overseas investment - Tags:

It’s great to hear Phil Goff announce that a Labour government won’t let overseas interests to own more than 25% of monopolistic companies, like ports and airports, and farmland. In the new world economy we’re moving into, a global scramble for vital natural resources like farmland, we need to keep the foundations of our economy in Kiwi hands. This brings Labour much into line with where are Greens are.

Now, I don’t have any problem with foreign ‘investment’ in the true sense – that is, an overseas company using its money to build something of value in New Zealand, or loaning money for New Zealanders to do that. Selling our natural assets though, that’s something different. There’s no real investment there. We get some cash up front but lose the profits from the farmland, or minerals, or whatever, and we lose control over how they’re used. So, I completely agree with Goff that overseas interests wanting to buy farmland will have to show that the purchase will result in a real investment that creates new jobs and exports for New Zealand.

The argument against letting overseas owners control companies with monopoly power is obvious because we’ve been through it with the privatisation of rail and Telecom. An overseas owner has no interest in the broader economic health of New Zealand, only in maximising profits in the short-term. Time and again, foreign owners asset strip knowing the government will have to bail them out because of the broader economic damage collapse would entail.

Internationally, we’re seeing a scramble for natural assets. Led by China, the scramble is born from awareness that climate change, resource depletion, peak oil, and estimated population growth of a further 2 billion in the next forty years adds up to a world where there is not enough to go around. In this environment, New Zealand, with its big water, arable land, minerals, and (potentially) oil is a juicy target. That’s why we’re seeing a Chinese state-owned company, masquerading as ‘Natural Dairy NZ’, attempting to buy the Crafar Farms while the Canadian state-owned Pension Fund tried to buy Auckland airport. They see the need to secure natural assets and transport nodes now.

Are we really going to be so stupid enough to sell crucial assets that the rest of the world is in a race to get hold of? Are we so short-sighted that we would let ourselves become have-nots in a resource-constrained world? Not if Labour and the Greens get their way.

139 comments on “Owning our future ”

  1. Matthew Hooton 1

    You don’t seriously believe that the Canadian Pension Fund’s offer to buy a minority stake in AIAL, at above the prevailing share price, was all about some panic to “secure transport nodes now!” based on its concerns about “climate change, resource depletion, peak oil, and estimated population growth”?

    Wasn’t it more like a retirement fund, like the Cullen Fund, wanting to invest passively in long-term assets?

    If fears about climate change and peak oil were driving it’s investment decisions, wouldn’t airports be more sells rather than buys?

    And what concerns were there really about the investment? That it would take the airport away? Close it down? Increase landing charges? On charges, you’d surely support increased prices to reduce air travel? In any case, the NZ Govt through the Commerce Commission (or any other way if Parliament chose) can regulate unjustified prices.

    So just what was the concern about that investment?

    Wouldn’t it have been better to sell the airport shares in order to invest in fast rail to the airport?

    Also, in what sense is a port “monopolistic”? Most people see New Zealand as being oversupplied with ports, and they are in fierce competitition with one another.

    • comedy 1.1

      You are an evil RWNJ ergo we must ignore your questions and rant death to capitalism.

      We must never have an intelligent debate about foreign investment/ownership, instead we must yell slogans at each other.

      Time to quote D4J……….”Being on the socialist government gravy train sitting parasites excel in blue or red colours .No wonder the pissed off taxpayer view our leaders as lower than sewer rats.

      Any politician from New Zealand is the lowest of the low. Pure lying filth.”

    • Why should New Zealand sell to overseas interests an important part of its infrastructure which effectively has a monopoly. The only thing that will happen is that charges will be maximised and the profits moved offshore.

      Besides the policy is much bigger than just the Airport shares. Farmland in particular is to be protected under this policy.

      The proposal is not radical. Most countries have much more stringent controls on foreign ownership.

      Based on current trends eventually Kiwis will become tenants in their own land. Is that something that we should aspire to?

      • ZeeBop 1.2.1

        We live in a Democracy, in a democracy everyone has a say.
        A say includes asking what wealth is. Wealth is not just
        wealth for the top 10% of speculators to play with. The
        problem with the NZ right is they are a bunch of big
        government socialists, they want government only to
        operate on their need for speculative opportunities.
        As you rightly point out the right in other countries
        are not as stupid, or not able to be as stupid in
        support of whole sale sell off of national interest to
        the highest bidder. It is clear Labour, and yes also Key,
        realizes that NZ cannot continue to sell off more assets,
        Labour has the luxury that its support base has no vested
        interest in the status quo and will actually have to get
        real jobs if the money machine is redirected to the people
        of NZ and their best interest, rather than the overseas investor.

        We’ve had this debate as a country since the first European
        stepped on this land to cut up the seals population.
        Some Maori said don’t do it, some said let me help you
        there for some trinkets. Some Europeans stayed, some because
        the Maori who said no needed to be taught a lesson and some
        because Maori were nice capitalists like us. As ports grew,
        populations swelled, and the nice Europeans farmers got
        to take land off Maori who didn’t realize the potential
        of bigger farms (or were force out of the choice), we have
        move on to the era of socialism, of port unions holding
        up freight for massive kick backs. Once removed, they
        became speculators and did the same to the NZ economy as
        a whole. Now we need to deunionize the financial economy
        for the good of the farmers and other exportors again,
        before the speculator unionists, the socialistic rightwing
        decide to sell out even more of our economy to foreign
        vertically integrated control that minimizes costs in NZ
        and so taxation income for the owners of this land, the
        people of this great (yet small isolated) nation.

        Because its a fair argument, if the workers are foreign
        that are imported to run the farms, and the work is
        automated, and the farm product are sold in a foreign
        port, then we will see little of the income because the
        right will not charge them the real cost of the roads,
        of the civil society between the farm and port, will
        not charge for the police services, or the military,
        because we do not charge for capital gain.

    • M 1.3

      ‘If fears about climate change and peak oil were driving it’s investment decisions, wouldn’t airports be more sells rather than buys?

      Sadly most of the world hasn’t woken up to the impending crises we will all face and are going to get the shock of their lives, you included.

      Don’t worry your pretty little head mate, just go back to sleep – there, there, that’s better now isn’t it?

    • Marty G 1.4

      hoots – no-one’s arguing that they could take the airport away. The argument is that they would run it in their own interests, not in the interests of New Zealand. You can’t have core infrastructure of your economy being run in the interests of someone outside that economy and expect it to have optimal results for your economy.

      This is pretty basic economics son.

      There’s only one international airport in Auckland, only one in Wellington, only one in Christchurch – they are local monopolies.

      Hey, did your PR company do the PR for the Canadian Pension Fund? Tell me, how many of your clients actually win? Because your spin is too extreme, too transparent.

      • comedy 1.4.1

        Yes those damned Canadians, I hear they were thinking of voting to turn the airport into a combination ice rink and moose farm… there’s obviously far more money in that than keeping it running as an airport and acting as a passive investor.

        Of course Cullen’s decision wasn’t just a cynical attempt to buy votes……. I mean surely NZ politicians aren’t like that are they ? Phil’s 180 degree verbal about turn’s not about shoring up a voting platform that was being chipped away by Winnie and the greens.

        Oh and Phil I’ll sell my assets to whomever I fucking please not to who you deem a NZer you dogwhistler to the bigots.

        Is that better Marty ?

        • The Baron 1.4.1.1

          Gold:

          “Oh and Phil I’ll sell my assets to whomever I fucking please not to who you deem a NZer you dogwhistler to the bigots.”

          Paul Henry lost his job for that sorta zenophobia. A-OK for Phil to do though huh.

          • bbfloyd 1.4.1.1.1

            that was just silly Baron…. if you want people here to stop laughing at you, you’ve got to say something sensible.

        • bbfloyd 1.4.1.2

          C..it’s only better if you rate personal abuse as praiseworthy. which, it seems you do.. you tory twits seem to be getting more shrill by the day… having trouble handling the pressure? i wouldn’t be surprised… it takes a lot of effort to continue to defend the fabrication of reality that your beloved leaders are perpetrating on the country.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.4.2

        This is pretty basic economics son.

        Well, it is unless you subscribe to the irrational free market theory that’s taught at universities and propounded by the right.

      • insider 1.4.3

        So when I see Air New Zealand – a state owned company – constantly abusing AIAL – a mainly council owned company – in the media about its business practises, which one am I to believe is working in the interests of the country? Because they can’t both be right…

      • Nick C 1.4.4

        “The argument is that they would run it in their own interests, not in the interests of New Zealand.”

        I dont see how a New Zealand owned company would be any different in that respect. They would be profit seeking, no matter where their owners live.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.4.4.1

          Yes, it’s a problem. Profit seeking companies often don’t benefit the society in which they operate.

          • Lats 1.4.4.1.1

            You mean aside from creating jobs? And a company that chose not to run at a profit would soon go out of business. That’s no good for anyone.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.4.4.1.1.1

              Telecom is a profit seeking company. It produces massive amounts of profit. That profit has not been used to benefit the society that it is within but the shareholders back pockets. Now, due to that profit taking, we’re having to put in a few more billion dollars to get our telecommunications network back up to standard.

              As for the jobs – they’ve laid off a few and forced people to work under contract in such away that they’re worse off than they were.

              No, I can’t see any benefit from that particular profiteering company.

              • Colonial Viper

                And where does all that massive profit go? The vast majority gets shipped offshore in order to lift the standard of living of shareholders in other countries.

                And what happens when a company is directed to maximise their EPS?

                They cut corners and FUBAR things like oh, I don’t know, the roll out of a new cellular system resulting in huge costs to NZ owned businesses up and down the country.

                Again am so surprised that the Right is so business illiterate.

                • KJT

                  Same with power companies that are directed to act like profit taking business.
                  Massive price hikes for a captive market.
                  No incentive for sustainable generation or energy saving.4 Billion stolen!!

      • ZeeBop 1.4.5

        As a child there was a game they had us play. Music would stop and we’d have
        to jump on the nearest chair, the evil overlords made sure there was also on less
        chair than the number of players.

        The world economy music has stopped. The land grab is on. The kiwi elite
        never played this game, or never understood the meaning. Its woeful how imcompetent
        our media talking heads are. They must have never had childhoods.

    • gobsmacked 1.5

      To be fair to M. Hooton, he is making the alternative argument.

      Unlke John Key, who after some quick private polling, will shortly be announcing National’s bold new election policy, to restrict overseas ownership (suggested title: Ambitious for Owning Our Future).

      • Carol 1.5.1

        No, the right’s response, including that from National as on Nat Rad this morning, is that National is already doing what Labour claims they will do. They are saying Labour’s policy on this is all smoke and mirrors and nothing new.

      • Colonial Viper 1.5.2

        Have you seen how the Right is already setting Key up for eventual failure? He does anything like restricting free market activity in strategic assets and curtailing the creation of asset bubbles – debt driven asset bubbles which are a primary source of profit for bankers – and they will take their already sharpened knives and use them.

        • pollywog 1.5.2.1

          I dont think Key gives a shit about NZ and despite the rhetoric, I reckon he’s only in it for himself.

          I mean, he’s got his retirement fund and investment portfolio well sorted. So what if he doesn’t become Sir Smile and Wave ?

          Don’t know why he bothers really, when he’d much rather be sunning it up in Hawai’i. That’s probably why he puts in minimal effort and fucks off for a holiday every chance he gets.

          Imagine if he said, ‘stuff this I’m outta here’ before the next election and left everyone hanging.

          • Bored 1.5.2.1.1

            Polly, Key and the rest of the propertied / money class dont give a toss about NZ, what they care about is being able to convert their assets into hard currency of any denomination.

            I saw Falloon Jnr in the paper demanding the right to sell to anybody, his farm he said was his to sell to foreigners or locals, whoever gave him the best money. It is a hard argument to counter unless you question the independence and primacy of “property rights”. What Falloon and his ilk are saying is that their property (and associated capital) transcends any relationship he and his “property” might have with the economy and the society that surrounds it. He is in effect divorcing himself and his “worth” from his fellow citizens, removing his obligations whilst accepting any benefits of his citizenship. The question should be does he deserve to be a citizen or regarded as a “foreigner”?

            • pollywog 1.5.2.1.1.1

              I’ve experienced ownership by rich foreigners recently within my in laws family so am not really too bothered as long as they incorporate principles enshrined in the treaty and recognize that this is Pasifikan land first and foremost, no matter what English law says.

              I’m kind of of the ‘one people, one planet’ philosophy, as from space looking down, there are no borders.

              Not really feeling the ultranationalist, patriotism vibe eh, but Pasifikan cultural and physical superiority ?….Hell yeah !!!

          • ZeeBop 1.5.2.1.2

            Key is PM, he got what he wanted. He has no vision, so why would he stick around? He
            got his dream life, rich and now PM. What’s next?

    • Bored 1.6

      Matthew, your time as a hand servant of corporate capital is passed, the neo liberal experiment has come to a close due to self inflicted wounds. Retirement (dishonourable) beckons, you are “out to grass” in terms of being taken seriously (which will diminish your “market value”). You might take the opportunity to reinvent yourself as an honest realist.

    • millsy 1.7

      Do you love your country Hooten? If you do then why do are you so against new zealand control of it?

      • insider 1.7.1

        If you loved your country and fellow citizens millsy, surely you’d celebrate their freedom to choose who they can sell their own property to, and when

      • The Baron 1.7.2

        Nothing makes me wanna puke more than faux-nationalism. Christ Millsy, get your hand off it – this patriotic bullshit adds nothing to this debate.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.8

      So just what was the concern about that investment?

      We would lose because of it as we lose to all FDI. The wealth that we create goes offshore to prop up someone else’s economy. And it wasn’t even bringing in new technology or creating new jobs.

      lso, in what sense is a port “monopolistic”?

      Efficiency. If you want something in Christchurch and it’s coming by sea then it’s obviously more efficient to land it in Christchurch rather than Dunedin and then ship it north. A port, the same as a dairy (Yes, dairy’s are monopolistic in the same way), has an effective area that it can service efficiently.

      • insider 1.8.1

        “The wealth that we create goes offshore to prop up someone else’s economy”

        Doesn’t that happen every time I buy a TV or a car? Shall we ban that too?

        • Bright Red 1.8.1.1

          there’s obviously a difference between trading goods and services, and selling off our productive base.

          • insider 1.8.1.1.1

            Is there? In what way?

            And will farmers be prevented from investing their profits offshore to ensure the benefits of their productive land stay within NZ?

            • KJT 1.8.1.1.1.1

              Find me a farmer who will admit to making a profit.

            • Bright Red 1.8.1.1.1.2

              Of course it is different one is selling the product of our productive base, the other is losing control of that productive base to others.

              • insider

                Exactly what control do you or I have over that “productive base”? We don’t have a centrally planned economy so I don’t tell the farmer whether to go dairy or arable, and who to sell their product to at what price.

                Where is this control you are concerned about losing and how will that change if a Chinaman owned the piece of land?

                • Colonial Viper

                  I always thought Right Wingers were more economically literate than this but I have been proven wrong time and again.

                  • insider

                    The lack of anything more than slogans from the left tells me the illiteracy is well spread

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      If you want slogans, and uncritical belief, go to the right. From the left you actually get intelligent discussion based upon facts.

                    • insider

                      Like your ‘facts’ about McDonald’s and Telecom’s relative efficiencies? 🙂

                • Draco T Bastard

                  We don’t have democratic control which is a problem as that means that the economy isn’t being used efficiently or for the best purposes of society.

        • KJT 1.8.1.2

          We should probably think about the effects of buying a new TV or car every 5 years on both the economy and the environment.

    • Jum 1.9

      Matthew

      You don’t seriously believe that it is a good idea to get rid of valuable undeveloped land in the middle of Auckland which could be better developed and earn more dollars in NZ.

      That’s like saying we should go back to sending whole frozen lambs over to Britain where they make the money from specialised processing of the meat.

      Countries that may start off being our allies often turn out completely the opposite.

      Once in control of firms/land/Kiwi-owned infrastructure these investors operate under the radar of union oversight and have no loyalty to New Zealand’s workers (not that that would bother you) or New Zealand’s economic success (not that that would bother you).

      But then your party coalition of choice is living in the dark ages of Hayek, with JKeyll and Hide betraying New Zealanders’ children’s futures.

      The Cullen Fund and ACC have reduced NAct’s debt. Lucky Labour was in; NAct benefitted from all Labour’s good policies and have milked the spin off since. NAct beneficiaries suck off the teat of New Zealand’s humane policies but then refuse to be responsible by paying taxes. Let nobody be under the illusion that the rich pay much if any tax. This nonsense about returning tax cuts to those who paid more is just that – nonsense; a lie in fact. Just like the Phoenix team in Wellington in danger of going down because of people scamming the tickets, New Zealand is in danger of going down because of the greed of your backers Matthew. There are about 350 pages in The Hollow Men, nearly 20 of them devoted to your shadowy, misleading lobbying Matthew Hooton.

      I don’t know who is paying you to sell off New Zealand with your lobbying for reducing New Zealanders’ rights of ownership in their own country; we know who was paying you to lobby for more tobacco sales (Owen Glenn wheezes to mind) but your CV certainly shows a list of anti Kiwi extreme right business roundtable past and present members backing you.

      Back in your box Matthew. You’re obviously on this thread to steal good ideas from the intelligent left side of the political spectrum. The only reason your masters made it into government last time was by stealing Labour/Progressive/Green ideas and swallowing dead fish (lying).

      • The Baron 1.9.1

        Did you answer any of his questions here, Jum – or shall we just keep this at yelling slogans?

        • Jum 1.9.1.1

          “So just what was the concern about that investment” Read my original reply again.

          I do hope I’m not wasting my valuable time answering a stupid rightwinger. You’re not stupid are you? I never yell – the writing is in lowercase. I never speak in slogans. I write precisely what I – yes I – want to say.

          It is a rightwing slogan and political catchcry to attempt to take away other people’s democratic right of belief and the right to state it. That’s why Power is shutting down the watching brief on archive material; that’s why Power is shutting down the websites of people who are providing a limitless supply of evidence displaying the worldwide global landgrab and attacks on women and workers’ rights by the conservative right and the freemarketeers, who believe in freedom for them but serfdom for the workers, and illuminating just how much better the left is in delivering a healthy country.

          Not only are the right greedy and devoid of lateral thought, they are also fascist.

          Let’s write the script that has the rightwing all hot and sweaty in their underpants – “what do you suggest I do about the ports then Hooten, Baron and other associated ‘masks’?” asks Liza, panting breathlessly.

          “Why sell them dear Liza, dear Liza, dear Liza. Then sell them dear Liza, dear Liza, sell them.” There speaks these righties’ level of intelligence of dribbling boobies. Hollow men in government, hollow men following them.

          There is nothing worse than those who swallow theory books, yet have no idea of what constitutes the swings and outrageous fortunes of human thought and decision making. Theory fails (trickle down theory failed. Selling public good infrastructure to greedy capitalists – foreign or domestic, since they all have the same destructive virus inside them…) all failed.

          Strong inclusive government with good public good measures at the heart of them will always trump those of the grasping. You are the weakest link – goodbye.

    • KJT 1.10

      The ports are in fake competition which is costing new Zealand a lot of money in inefficiency and unnecessary duplication. Same as the fake competition between power companies which has resulted only in steeply rising power prices and domestic consumers paying more than their fair share so power companies can compete for industrial users.
      Big shipping companies are allowed to play off ports one against the other to the detriment of shippers and the country as a whole.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 1.11

      Or we could stop building useless roads that are making congestion worse. Have a drive down SH1 near Manakau centre where it joins the new SH20 extension. Now they re talking about widening SH1 even further as a result.

    • roger nome 1.12

      mathew – see the literature on “centres of global capital”. A google scholar serch should prove edifying for you. Anyhow – i’ll explain it in simple terms to make sure the message gets through to you.

      In a fairly free market – capital becomes centralised in certain countries and cities. This means that, over time, NZ’s capital – intensive assets will fall in to foriegn hands if unregulated, simply because our economy is so small. This has obvious implications for our econonic security going forward. So it’s falacious to view the issue on the micro level – it’s silly, reductionist and lacking in an appreciation of a big picture. Are you really so dense?

  2. M 3

    Phil needs to push this incessantly – it could form a trio of policies – the others being a true safety net of welfare for those in need with the accompanying inculcation that welfare is not bad for those in true need and a commitment to transport for the future for both people and goods that reduces our dependence on ever more expensive oil.

    The environment can then be promoted by the Greens as is their wont as well as their social justice agenda.

    This is an absolute gift Phil and you should work it mercilessly – this could be the proof of you having some real cojones as it would appeal to NZers and our sense of nationhood.

    • Marty G 3.1

      we’re entering a merchantialist world and NZ has to play the game. That means holding on to our strategic assets, including farmland, and buying up other strategic assets here and abroad that are vital to our international trade: ports, shipping lines etc.

      • The Baron 3.1.1

        Marty – I tend to agree. Despite all my argumentativeness, this is an interesting policy.

        Though, curious as to this statement of yours: “…and buying up other strategic assets here and abroad…”

        While I agree with that too, I make two obervations:

        1. To put up new barriers to foreign acquisition whilst also pursuing foreign acquisitons of our own seems hypocritical – particularly if those we seek to acquire in introduce measures to limit our influence. Buyers need sellers and vice versa – and if we are locking ourselves out on one side, we cannot expect better from others.

        2. Acquisition requires cash, and in our case our domestic store of capital is far too low to do any foreign buying anyway. We also have to accept that we may risk a lack of investment capital due to these ownership restrictions on our domestic assets – i.e. will we be able to raise enough money to develop these on debt plays alone, without sufficient equity options?

        Anyway, for once I see some merit in all of this. But interesting ramifications abound.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          1.) Agreed, If we mandate economic sovereignty for ourselves then we really have no choice but to leave others with their economic sovereignty as well.

          2.) We can print the money @ 0% interest. Done properly it won’t cause a massive inflationary spike and will also cause the value of the NZ$ to drop on the international markets boosting exports and allowing us to reduce, if not eliminate, the present deficit (both private and public).

          • The Baron 3.1.1.1.1

            Re 2.) you intrigue me Draco, but I still want more evidence of this theory than “its what banks do”.

            Has any nation state ever done that on their economy? If so, what were the outcomes; and if not, how come you’re the only one to stumble upon this idea?

            • nzfp 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Has any nation state ever done that on their economy?

              Many nations, the largest of which include Pre-1912 United States, modern china, modern India, but also Sweden, New Zealand and Australia, The United Kingdom and many others.

              Aside from this, the system of credit as a Public Utility was the norm for ancient Sumer and Babylonia. Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, England under the T760 year old Tally Stick system and much more.

              what were the outcomes

              The USA won the war of independence without going into Debt by using continental script – a FIAT paper currency backed by nothing. The Union of States defeated the Confederacy with the Treasury issued – zero debt, zero interest – FIAT paper Greenback US notes – the bankers at the time wanted to charge Lincoln 36% interest to borrow money – so Lincoln printed the money directly without debt to the US citizens… and much much more – look up Malaysia – her Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahatir bin Mohammed – and how they got out of the Asian Financial Crisis of the 1990’s using public credit… and so on and so on…

              how come you’re the only one to stumble upon this idea?

              He’s not,
              There is a lot of documentation on the subject. Especially in New Zealand. The Social Credit party under Bruce Betham throughout the 60s to the 80’s advocated for public credit.

              However, you should read a couple of books on the subject.

              The best that I have come across is:
              “The Lost Science of Money: The Mythology of Money – The Story of Power” by Stephen Zarlenga. This book covers the history of money from ancient Greece to modern times. It traces the various public, private, FIAT and non-FIAT money systems used throughout history including their effect on the various societies that implemented them. This book completely answers your questions. This book analyses:

              # Early Rome’s bronze money was based on law, meaning the value of bronze currency “was a legal concept, not a market one, and depended on the limitation of its issue” (p. 62). This law-based bronze money served Rome far better than the privately-controlled gold money that followed it.
              # “The ‘commoditization’ of Rome’s money system dramatically accelerated the emergence of a plutocracy – a ruling order based on wealth” (p. 65).
              # “The combined evidence on wealth concentration, the absence of mining, the normal erosion of coinage through usage and the tendency of precious metals — especially silver — to flow eastward, presents a powerful argument that an inadequate supply of circulating medium — of money — was a (the?) major factor in the continued decline of the Roman Empire.
              # “Behind that scarcity, ultimately, was a huge error in monetary theory, that some ideologies still make today — the false belief that money should be a commodity or economic good; that is, wealth, rather than a legally based abstract power” (p. 100). “Historical evidence indicates that nations and Empires did set the gold/silver ratio, based on the amounts they had, but exactly the opposite to the predictions of ‘free market’ theories. In setting the ratio, a strong nation would raise the value of the metal that was most abundant!” (p. 102)
              # Continental Currency is the key reason why the American revolution was ultimately successful. The inflationary impact it had on prices was largely the result of “massive British counterfeiting” (p. 380) — a fact that is conveniently ignored by advocates of “hard-money” (i.e., privately-controlled commodity money).
              # The debt-free Greenbacks issued during the Civil War were, on balance, “probably the best money system America has ever had” (p. 453), and would have functioned even better if they been made receivable for the payment of both import duties and interest on government bonds (gold was required instead, which is why the value of gold was artificially high relative to Greenbacks), and would have functioned better still if they had been issued for the production, rather than destruction, of public goods.
              # The hyperinflation that plagued Germany in 1923 followed “the complete privatization of the German central bank and elimination of governmental influence on it” (p. 599) — the very thing hard-money advocates insist will always protect a nation against hyperinflation.
              # “The Federal Reserve System turns over 90% of its net income to the U.S. government, from the interest it earns on money creation. However, most of the money in the system is created by the Fed’s member banks, and they keep the net interest income they get from that process” (p. 531).

              The book also suggests solutions to the monetary problem including:

              # Make government (as opposed to private banks) the sole issuer of money, and require that all money be issued free of debt — preferably for the construction of public goods that everyone can see and benefit from, such as roads and bridges.
              # End fractional reserve banking and institute in its place a 100% reserve system — a system in which banks could continue to lend money that has been deposited with them for that purpose, but (unlike now) would be prohibited from creating money out of nothing the moment a loan is made.
              # Institute “anti-deflationary programs” to offset the deflationary impact of restricting the power of banks to create money. In other words, as privately-issued debt-based money is phased out of circulation, ensure that enough government-issued debt-free money is phased into circulation to replace it — that way the transition period can proceed smoothly, without jar or shock to the economy.

              • The Baron

                Thank you for indulging me again, NZFP – appreciated. Again, it will take me time to absorb, but I appreciate the effort.

                • nzfp

                  No worries Baron – good to see you have an open mind – that’s even more important!

                  Hey to be honest – as much as the book is a great read – and it is – it is very long and very dense (in terms of information per page – 750 pages long).

                  There is a great documentary on the subject of monetary reform – a free version has been released on youtube. It summarizes the points made in Zarlenga’s book and is easy to consume in a couple of hours in a single sitting.

                  The documentary is:

                  “The Secret of Oz”

                  It was written and directed by Bill Still – the man who gave us the three and a half hour epic:

                  “The Money Masters — How International Bankers Gained Control of America”

              • The Baron

                Hold on, I also just realised that thats a link to the Democrats for Social Credit. HAH – I knew it. Funny money rides again!

                Of course, I will still read… but we’re on some pretty shaky ground here regarding established, credible economic prescriptions, aren’t we?

                • RedLogix

                  HAH – I knew it. Funny money rides again!

                  Time to get past of one of Muldoon’s nastier little sound-bites doncha think?

                  • The Baron

                    And used in that fashion too, Red. Please don’t get too hysterical.

                    Though I am sympathetic to Muldoon. If you havent read Gustafson’s biography of the man, then I recommend it. A bully, tyrant and economic disaster yes – but also a fraught figure who was actually trying to do his best for NZ too. Well worth a read if you want a critical but kind take on the man and what drove him.

                    While we are sharing links, you can indulge your consumerist side and get it here: http://amzn.com/186940243X

                • nzfp

                  HAH – I knew it. Funny money rides again!

                  heh heh… yeah the ole “Funny Money” catch cry, that’s the party.

                  Once you’ve read the book or watchted the documentary – it will become evident to you that “Real Money” can only be issued by the Government without debt. Anything else by definition is “Funny Money”.

                  When you think of “Funny Money” from now on – you will find that the description perfectly fits the situation where a private corporation prints money from nothing and then charges interest for the use of it 😀

                  Captcha:RESEARCHS

                  • The Baron

                    Excellente – thanks again. I do like to think of myself as open minded, so will come back once I can engage constructively on this.

                • Colonial Viper

                  pretty shaky ground here regarding established, credible economic prescriptions, aren’t we?

                  You must be kidding – you are aware how 95% of the money in NZ has been generated, right? Debt based interest bearing bank money created out of thin air by private banks issuing loans via fractional reserve banking. That’s funny money.

                  And the only shaky ground here is the capitalist ground which has swallowed up entire nations’ economies in the last two years and destroyed a number of the worlds’ largest investment banks in the process.

                  Give us a Government issued dollar, not created by debt, owed to no one and bearing no interest payable to anyone. Instead of our current system of private bank issued dollars backed by interest bearing debt.

              • Draco T Bastard

                # End fractional reserve banking and institute in its place a 100% reserve system

                Actually, what I think we’re looking for is a 0% reserve system.

                What we have now is that people can put their money into the bank and then withdraw it even though it’s been loaned out. This is what the reserve is for – to hide the fact that the money isn’t there.

                A 0% means that the fact that the money has been loaned out can’t be hidden. You could put your money into the bank and then when you checked the balance you’d see that there was x amount on hand (could be withdrawn) and x amount loaned out (can’t be touched until it’s paid back – if it’s paid back).

                Using 100% “reserve” actually means that the money can’t be loaned out at all as the “reserve” is what’s kept on hand and 100% is all of the money banked (silly semantics).

                • nzfp

                  Yeah I’ve seen you make this comment before – 0% vs 100%. I wondered if it was semantics for a similar concept implemented in two ways – or if it was something entirely different.

                  Either way – the point is that the Banks cannot create money – but they can loan money that they have on deposit (and only money they have on deposit) – like a Savings and Loan bank.

                  If the bank wants to make loans greater then the money they have – they must secure more money on the open market and profit from the spread of what they themselves borrow and what they loan on to their customer.

                  But I see your point.

                  If the aggregate amount of money in the bank is 100 dollars and the bank makes a loan of 50 dollars that means there is only 50 dollars remaining in the bank that can be withdrawn by the depositors – and no more – until the loan is paid back.

                  What people are afraid of is the misconception that the money supply is static. People need to realise that the point of Treasury and the RBNZ is to predict the money supply and expand and contract it as necessary by creating money and spending it on Public projects – and conversely using taxes to remove money from the system.

                  The newly created money will be banked ultimately and the banks reserves will increase making it possible for them to make new loans for industry, housing, whatever…

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      Something ordinary NZ’ers have not yet caught up with is that the huge generation of global debt has created huge mountains of US dollars and other currencies. Trillions of dollars worth of the stuff, one dollar of cash matching each dollar of debt it was created from.

      Now, the big holders of foreign reserves, like China, are getting cold feet that the mountain of cash they are sitting on isn’t actually intrinsically worth anything. You cannot eat or drink the bank notes, the electronic ledger entries full of dollar signs followed by a dozen zeroes can’t make or produce anything for your citizens. Its intrinsically valueless.

      So these powers will be more than happy to exchange shit tonnes of their intrinsically useless paper notes and electronic records for hard, productive, real assets. Farm land. Factories. Technology. Houses.

      We’d be total suckers to exchange our hard national productive and monopoly assets for bits of useless paper and electronic ledger entries.

      Labour has figured this out. NAT, the ‘party of business’ (guffaw) still has no idea about these economic realities.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        …one dollar of cash matching each dollar of debt it was created from.

        Actually, due to the banking system charging interest on the money that it created from thin air there’s more debt than cash.

        You cannot eat or drink the bank notes, the electronic ledger entries full of dollar signs followed by a dozen zeroes can’t make or produce anything for your citizens. Its intrinsically valueless.

        Bingo. It’s nice to see others finally waking up to the reality that money is not a resource.

        Labour has figured this out. NAT, the ‘party of business’ (guffaw) still has no idea about these economic realities.

        Well, Labour have gone part way – they’ll still talking about allowing foreign ownership but making it harder for them to do so. And, yeh, NACT are delusional and have NFI as to how an economy actually works.

        • nzfp 3.2.1.1

          “Bingo. It’s nice to see others finally waking up to the reality that money is not a resource.”

          Funny that – because this lump of gold in my hand isn’t very nutritious (or tasty) either!

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1

            😛

            Money is a tool to assist trade. The problem is that contemporary man seems to have forgotten that and now treats it as the Prime Resource which is actually natural world around us.

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.1.2

            At least gold can be used to make high speed electronics, pharmaceuticals, etc. That’s one reason that China is converting all their useless paper currency reserves into stockpiled megatonnes of raw materials and ores.

            China would have bought up all of Australia’s mines had they been allowed. The Aussies were smart enough to only allow the mined ore to be bought.

      • Jim MacDonald 3.2.2

        NAT = the party of business … business as usual, no change please, no change or our cronies and head office will be disadvantaged ?

  3. The Chairman 4

    Owning our future or owning the majority share in our future?

  4. Whats the deal with Maori selling off large chunks of their land to foreign interests ?

    Do they need gov’t permission ?…somehow, i doubt it.

    captcha : divided

    • Yes – the treaty require them to offer it to sale to the Government first 🙂

      • pollywog 5.1.1

        Sweet…so there should always be pieces of godzone that will forever stay in native title.

        That makes me happy.

      • Bright Red 5.1.2

        the Crown’s right of pre-emption was wavied in the 19th century.

        • pollywog 5.1.2.1

          In that case…no wonder Key doesnt want to give Te Urewera back if he thinks those Tuhoe cannibals might sell it to the Chinese.

          and WOAH if they ever got the seabed and foreshore back eh ?

          So do any of you guys got links to the laws surrounding selling of Maori land ?

          • KJT 5.1.2.1.1

            National are happy with being able to bribe the Maori Moneyocracy to let them mine the foreshore and seabed at will or cover it with commercial ventures.. They do not even need to buy it.

    • Bored 5.2

      Polly, are you a “disinheritted” party i.e dont belong to an aristocratic hereditary iwi? If so join the crew, we Europeans suffered the enclosure of common land over the last 400 years, a process that saw the creation of a landed propertied class and a dispossessed poor. When you hear tales of the Highland clearances be very certain that they were the merely the last, everybody else had already suffered this fate. I too have been disinheritted!

      Personally I dont believe anybody should “own” land per se, they should be gaurdians and pay a social rent. That includes Maori and any one else. Keeping land under an iwis gaurdianship as opposed to European style “legal title” might be more appropriate.

      • pollywog 5.2.1

        Polly, are you a “disinheritted” party i.e dont belong to an aristocratic hereditary iwi?

        My kids are Nga Puhi. I’m Samoan, and our Aiga has 3 pockets of land i’m hoping to one day go back home to develop ‘cos one of them is prime beachfront.

        It’s pretty much under family guardianship but by bloodties i can just go over and settle on it.

        …though rumours are, the dodgy Samoan gov’t is looking to appropriate chunks of disputed land and sell it off to the likes of Key and English.

        • nzfp 5.2.1.1

          Sounds like the dodgy Key and English as well as Labour Government that likes to legislate (Foreshore and Seabed) that private ownership applies to all New Zealanders unless you are Maori – then you don’t have the same private ownership rights as the rest of your fellow citizens.

          That means you pollwog have more rights in New Zealand – as you are Samoan – then your children do!

          Great eh!

          It’s a shame we (Maori) can’t do the things you do with your Ainga to our own Papa Kainga. But I guess that’s what progess (colonialism and racist legislation) is all about!

          Captcha:residents

  5. Draco T Bastard 6

    It’s great hear Phil Goff announce that a Labour government won’t let overseas interests to own more than 25% of monopolistic companies,

    It needs to be 0%. In fact, all monopolies should be state owned and not run for a profit as profits are a dead weight loss to the economy. Monopolies also tend to be ubiquitous within the economy and essential to the efficient running of society, Rail and Telecommunications are good examples of this, and so having private ownership of them leaves the society open to ransom as the government cannot let them fail.

    Now, I don’t have any problem with foreign ‘investment’ in the true sense – that is, an overseas company using its money to build something of value in New Zealand, or loaning money for New Zealanders to do that.

    Neither truly benefits NZ as we’re left losing wealth and sovereignty to another economy in perpetuity. If we need knowledge or technology from overseas then the government either buys it out right or a leases it and then lets our entrepreneurs (and I don’t mean capitalists) play with it. This would bring benefit to NZ by developing our economy while also maintaining our independence.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      There may be benefits in a 25% limit Draco, e.g. access to foreign expertise, business partner networks and other ‘soft’ resources. A lot of the ‘soft resources/technologies’ e.g. management and systems approaches aren’t necessarily going to be available for outright sale, but they could be made available for a NZ based partner organisation. Same with having secondments of overseas expertise from a multinational company to their partly owned NZ operations and vice versa.

      My understanding is that the policy is to ensure that NZ retains economic sovereignty, not towards a path of being insular and exclusive.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        e.g. access to foreign expertise, business partner networks and other ‘soft’ resources.

        We could have such partnerships without foreign ownership. Maintaining full ownership doesn’t mean that we have to become insular as there’s this thing called “trade”.

    • Nick C 6.2

      “Profits are a dead weight loss to the economy”

      No they arent, profits are the price we pay for efficiency. Your incentive to minimise costs and maximise the value of your product to customers (and thus what price you can charge) is directly tied to how much profit you make.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        Firstly, Draco was talking about monopoly infrastructure, Nick C.

        I believe you mean profits are a corporates’ incentive to minimise what they provide to consumers, cut corners as far as possible and take value out of their offerings, while charging as much as the market will possibly bear “is directly tied to how much profit you make”.

        Real life example – the US health insurance industry. Charge huge premiums and deny treatment as often as possible using any reason practical under the sun. So very very profitable for shareholders. Sucks to be anyone else.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.2

        Telecom’s not particularly efficient, neither is McDonalds or Telstra. This would indicate that “profit” being the price we pay for efficiency isn’t working as we just aren’t getting it.

        • Nick C 6.2.2.1

          “I believe you mean profits are a corporates’ incentive to minimise what they provide to consumers”

          No because then they dont buy your product. Some companies choose to cut costs in order to lower their prices, others sell high end products; neither business plan is right or wrong.

          Also cutting costs is a good thing. It means that resources can be used to produce other things.

          “charging as much as the market will possibly bear “is directly tied to how much profit you make””

          Not in competitive markets. I know some markets are more competitive than others, but I think the competitiveness of many markets tends to be underestimated.

          Draco just naming three companies which in your opinion are not efficient is poor inductive reasoning, esspecially with no evidence that they are not efficient.

          • Colonial Viper 6.2.2.1.1

            I see you subscribe to the idealistic concept of markets and competition, as opposed to what actually happens in *real life*.

            Eg. my example of the US private health insurance industry. Oil is another example.

            • Nick C 6.2.2.1.1.1

              Two examples do not make an argument. Esspecially when you provide no evidence that your assertions around those examples are true.

            • insider 6.2.2.1.1.2

              The vast majority of production is owned by state companies. In what other way is oil not competitive in real life? It has huge levels of competition and transparency, locally and globally.

          • Colonial Viper 6.2.2.1.2

            Draco just naming three companies which in your opinion are not efficient is poor inductive reasoning, esspecially with no evidence that they are not efficient.

            For a Right Winger you don’t keep up with the business press particularly well do you? Surely you have seen the Government, customer and shareholder opprobrium that Telecom has been on the receiving end of?

            As for the companies named, uh, they are amongst the 3 largest operations in Australasia, Draco didn’t choose corner dairies as his examples.

            • Nick C 6.2.2.1.2.1

              Yes a lot of people are angry at telecom. That does not prove it is inefficient. You would need to do a proper study and look at their long term profit and expenses compared to other companies to dicern that.

              I have seen nothing in the press to indicate that McDonalds is inefficient.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Lack of information on your part doesn’t prove your beliefs. It does prove your irrationality though.

                You and the Baron are assuming that they’re efficient because they’re making a profit. I’m saying that they’re inefficient because they’re not doing the best for the community.

            • Draco T Bastard 6.2.2.1.2.2

              They also happen to be companies that I’ve worked at.

        • The Baron 6.2.2.2

          Ah, McDonalds is ruthlessly efficient in the way they use all their resources. Its the profit maximising way of doing things. And every telco in the world is on efficiency drives right now as their revenues stagnate and competiton from new techs cuts their lunch.

          Draco, the big problem I have with you is that you make these blanket declarations with usually little to no evidence. Would you please assume that not everyone has your vast knowledge of all things economic, and explain this for us? Because on the face of it, this statement is completely wrong.

          • nzfp 6.2.2.2.1

            Hey Baron,

            Because on the face of it, this statement is completely wrong.

            Actually,
            Draco is right, not only is he right but Draco’s statements are the crux of the economic theories of all of the classical economists from David Ricardo, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mills right through to the last two classical economicsts Karl Marx and Henry George.

            I have elaborated on Draco’s statement (actually I made the comments in parallel) in easy to understand layman’s language. It should be noted that economics – despite what the Chicago School of economics would have you believe – is not rocket science!

            HERE

            and

            HERE

            I know I’ve written a bit to read – but you’ll be right 😀

    • Nick C 6.3

      I guess that makes Marty G an RWNJ?

  6. nzfp 7

    Hey mickysavage,

    Why should New Zealand sell to overseas interests an important part of its infrastructure which effectively has a monopoly?

    Yes that is a good question – the obvious answer is that it shouldn’t. However, it’s not what Goff said that is an issue – it is what Goff didn’t say!

    Yes it is great rhetoric to hear a potential leader say that they will not sell natural monopolies to foreign investors. However it is disturbing when the leader of the opposition does not explicitly say that they will not sell those natural monopolies at all.

    Instead of a Chinese firm owning NZ monopolies, NZ based billionaires will have the pleasure of a protected market place to own NZ natural monopolies.

    This is an example of criminalization. the leader of the opposition is suggesting the protection of NZ monopolies for NZ based business interests only.

    This may “sound” like a good idea but in essence it is no different to allowing foreign ownership – because the privatisation of NZ natural monopolies – regardless of whether the billionaire is aTodd (NZ) or a Li (China) – is still privatisation – which is still a free lunch of parasitical economic rent on the rest of the population.

    The point of classical economics and classical captialism was to remove as many “Natural Monopolies” from the market place so as to reduce the cost of labour and make labour and industry competitive and productive.

    By allowing the privatisation of Natural Monopolies, the private interests are able to extract rent in the form of a toll booth economy – such as rent on the use of a road, rent on the use of water, rent on the use of money (interest).

    The rent added to the use of all of these natural monopolies increases the cost of production of any widget developed in the economy.

    The result is a squeeze on labour to recover costs (wage freeze, or low wages) as well as an increase in the cost of production.

    All of this is the obvious, predictable and probable consequence of privatisation of our monopolies.

    The statement that Goff DIDN’T make was:

    Why should New Zealand sell an important part of its infrastructure which effectively has a monopoly?

    REGARDLESS of whether or not the investor is NZ based or foreign. Goff didn’t say this which means Goff has no interest in the wiser New zealand economy!

    • The Baron 7.1

      Do you know how to reply to a specific comment? Clue – you’re doing it wrong

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Actually, he did say that Labour wouldn’t be selling any more of our assets. Unfortunately, he didn’t say that he’d be bringing the already sold monopolies back into state ownership.

      • nzfp 7.2.1

        Good!
        I must have heard an abridged news report – all I saw on the news was that he wouldn’t sell to foreign interests.

        Still the comment still stands – as you say “he didn’t say that he’d be bringing the already sold monopolies back into state ownership” which means that Goff is still supporting a parasitical rentier economy.

  7. rosy 8

    “Renewing the Labour Dream’ And an effective renouncing neo-liberalism. Excellent. It appears the Labour brains trust has been listening.

  8. nzfp 9

    Hey Nick C,

    “Profits are a dead weight loss to the economy”

    Yes profits on natural monopolies are a dead weight to society. The point of state owned natural monopolies is to reduce the cost to society for the use of these monopolies – not to extract an economic rent.

    For example, if the Government charged the public for the use of a road, then the cost of all goods transported on the road would increase to account for the cost of using the road.

    The Government is supposed to reduce costs, consequently the use of the road should be zero cost. That goes for all natural monopolies.

    For example, if Telecom was a state owned enterprise, the Government could provide telco infrastructure (internet, telephony etc…) for zero or very low cost. The result would be that all goods that have a production cycle that interacts with telecommunications at some point would reduce in cost – the NZ market would then become even more competitive then overseas markets. Another result would be the increase in Web based businesses in NZ as the cost of doing business on the web would be reduced.

    The best example is healthcare. The US has no public healthcare – consequently US businesses must incorporate healthcare into their labour costs – as a result US car workers – although the most productive in the world – are the most expensive in the world becuase of healthcare costs. Ford and GM are described as healthcare companies that manufacture cars as a side business.

    Conversely Japan has public healthcare – a natural monopoly that is controlled by the state for the purpose of ensuring a healthy public and labour market. Consequently Toyota etc… do not need to include healthcare costs into their labour costs – as a result, Japanese car companies are far more competitive because the labour production costs are much lower.

    When you examine an economy with the view of reducing production costs by removing natural monopolies – it becomes immediately evident why the US labour and industrial market has far far higher costs then any other market in the world.

    Every natural monopoly that is not controlled by the state results in a toll-booth and an economic rent to the public and industry which results in increased costs of production and a decrease in competitiveness.

    If Phil Goff was genuinely interested in the New Zealand economy – he would have issued statements that reflect the intention to prevent the privatisation of our monopolies – by both foreign and domestic private interests – and consequently the “dead weight loss to the economy” of the resulting toll-booths.

  9. SHG 10

    Phil Goff warning of the evils of foreign investment is like Chris Carter warning of the evils of overseas holidays.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      You must have missed the bit on Q&A where Goff said yes, they’d done some of it wrong in the past, but guess what, when you’re chucked out of Government you listen to the people, learn, and come back renewed with different perspectives.

      Perspectives and solutions which are going to nail the right wing neo-cons to the wall.

  10. Kleefer 11

    “Profits are a deadweight loss to the economy.”

    Thanks for the laugh. This is the stupidest comment I’ve read all month.

    • nzfp 11.1

      Heh heh – yes it does sound funny if you read it like that.

      Did you read the context of the comment though?

      Try reading the rest of my comment above (here) and then let me know what you think.

    • Bored 11.2

      Kleefer, thats the stupidest bit of selective reading I have seen all month! It actually says, “Profits ON NATURAL MONOPOLIES are a deadweight loss to the economy.” Do you think you are up to arguing with Adam Smith and a long line of “classical” economists wrote extensive criticisms on the rent taking nature of natural monopolies?

  11. nzfp 12

    Hey Bored,
    I agree with you 100%. But you have to admit – if you only read that one line – it is pretty funny.

  12. Small point: Phil Goff’s prediction may be completely wrong.

    Sure, he thinks that:

    Instead of the overwhelming majority of farm sales being approved, the overwhelming majority will be declined.

    But there’s an easy way for any would-be foreign investor to avoid being turned down:

    They would be rejected unless the overseas buyer of farm or forestry land also invested in significant further processing of primary products and brought new technology into New Zealand.

    “They’re not going to just cut down trees and ship them offshore,” he said.

    So, all a foreign investor need do to gain approval is to actually invest in infrastructure and in jobs (and generate more revenue for themselves on-shore and thus pay more tax to NZ). Not that great a hurdle, really.

    In other words, if a foreign purchaser wants to treat NZ fairly and abide by the wishes of a significant majority of the citizens in whose country they wish to invest, they’re more than welcome.

    Since most of their countries of origin have been imposing such restrictions on foreigners (including us) for as long as anyone can recall, I doubt they’ll have trouble understanding the requirements, or the reasons for them.

    And if they want to comply then I, and many others who’ve taken a strong stance against the exploitation of this country and its people, will be standing on the shore to shake their hand as they arrive.

  13. clandestino 14

    This is ridiculous. Labour are looking to buy votes by pandering to the rednecks and the wishful left.
    What happens when people start losing jobs because business (yes modern industrial farming is a business) in NZ doesn’t have the capital to expand operations/keep them going/sell at a price that’ll cover their debts??? Will we bail them out with the current account surplus we don’t have, or the savings with which the business would draw on for finance (that we don’t collectively have), or will the government print us into Zimbabwaen oblivion?
    The Chinese may very well want to secure their food supply by owning the production chain, but the land isn’t going anywhere! the jobs will be ours. They can take the profits sure, but those are profits (taxable income/jobs/infrastructure/capital assets) that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
    An economist on Nat Radio made a very good point. These farms people go on about are no more yours (unless you own one personally) or mine than any other residential property is. Let the owners do with their land as they wish. We will not benefit as a collective by locking out people because of Paul-Henry-like xenophobia or misplaced protectionism.

    • What happens when people start losing jobs because business (yes modern industrial farming is a business) in NZ doesn’t have the capital to expand operations/keep them going/sell at a price that’ll cover their debts???

      Well the government could wake up and use the tax system to make investing in business startups and growth more attractive than investing in residential property and renting it at usurious rates to the poorest of your fellow citizens. Instead it has always run round helplessly flapping its arms waiting for the RBNZ to “control inflation” by racking up interest rates yet again, hitting working families hardest and providing handy cover for rising bank profits.

      The Chinese may very well want to secure their food supply by owning the production chain, but the land isn’t going anywhere! the jobs will be ours.

      And what about the food? They grow it, they own the land on which it’s grown, they have the absolute right to ship it offshore then sell the end product back to us at almost unaffordable prices (as they currently do with products made from Australian iron ore and other minerals). And as food to feed the teeming billions grows ever more scarce what are we to do then… forcibly take back the land when we’re unable to pay the prices demanded for products grown over the fence?

      As for the jobs… unskilled harvesting and farm labouring? Okay fine, but why not also manufacturing? If it’s grown here why can’t it be processed here, canned here, packaged here, distributed from here?

      What’s wrong, in other words, not in saying “No, just because you’re foreign”, but in saying to any business which wants to buy finite resources in NZ (land, minerals etc) “okay”, but here’s our conditions, primary amongst them being that the majority of processing is done here”?

      That’s not Xenophobia. I don’t care where the business is from, or even if it’s 100% NZ owned – the rule should still apply.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      These farms people go on about are no more yours (unless you own one personally) or mine than any other residential property is.

      This is actually wrong. As land cannot be removed from the commons (what is done on it affects everyone else) then we do have a say in how it’s run.

    • Pascal's bookie 14.3

      Paul-Henry-like xenophobia

      Paul Henry said that some New Zealanders don’t look like New Zealanders. This is not anything like that.

      Quick question, do you think that the Chinese govt, for example, is particularly committed to setting up an international level playing field? Or do you think that they are quite nationalistic?

      • clandestino 14.3.1

        Rex, I agree with everything you’ve said there. Of course there should be regulation surrounding the ownership of our productive assets, but ALL of them, from foreign owned to locally owned. For me this is where it smacks of racism. FFS I’m watching an English immigrant wank on about his bloody winery right now! Where’s the outrage? For the base(s), I think it’s simply because he looks like us, yes.
        Write the restrictions we want into the title, force them to employ locally, whatever. All I’m saying is we shouldn’t turn our nose up at FDI (and apply arbitrary ownership limits) because we don’t ‘trust’ the Chinese and their motives and have an overinflated view of the amounts involved. From what I’ve read, the Chinese were keen to build production facilities here, in NZ, presumably looking to employ Kiwis in the manufacturing process. Is this not a good thing?
        As for the government optimising tax incentives to encourage productive investments? Pigs might fly.

        • Colonial Viper 14.3.1.1

          Labour is addressing all your points.

          FDI is useless unless it adds new productive technologies and capabilities to the NZ industrial ecosystem.

          In your example if the Chinese were to build new plants with new tech in NZ, they would very much be welcomed.

          What happens when people start losing jobs because business (yes modern industrial farming is a business) in NZ doesn’t have the capital to expand operations/keep them going/sell at a price that’ll cover their debts???

          For the return on investment that you get, farming is a very poor use of investment capital.

          That’s why many dairy farmers are over leveraged and relying on land prices rises to secure their financial future – not what they can sell their monthly production for.

          • Pascal's bookie 14.3.1.1.1

            It is kind of weird that the cost of land is somehow separated out from the other costs of farming and considered to be ‘the higher the better’, somehow. It’s weird. Speculating in land is detrimental to the industry’s profits, surely?

  14. clandestino 15

    Oh, and if it ever came to a single country owning that much land and shipping the food away that we couldn’t feed ourselves (in the remotest realm of possibility I’ll grant), I’ll be damned if the government’s gonna stop me jumping the fence.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Yeah good for you but just think about how the 1.5 million people in AKL are going to manage to “jump the fence” mate? Or are they just going to die off due to starvation? Plus you do know that the Chinese are the largest manufacturers of anti-personnel land mines in the world, don’t you.

      We already have a situation where despite all the dairy and meat we produce, many NZ families cannot afford to eat dairy and meat every day.

    • KJT 15.2

      Going by past history in most places if you jumped the fence the owners would send in the troops.

      That is why some of us are more worried about ownership by some countries rather than others.

      If you think it is the remote realm of possibility, ask the Guatemalans.

  15. clandestino 16

    See this is why no one can take this wacky stuff seriously. Guatamala? Are you kidding me?? Chinese planting landmines around their farms?! This is out and out 9/11 truther levels of delusion. And as for not eating meat everyday – I don’t either, your point? The producers are selling on an international market, the price we pay is the market price. Maybe it’ll come to subsidies if there are serious food shortages sure, but we make a lot more than we eat currently, and no one in NZ should be starving (unless through poor choices). The taxed money made from such exports goes towards all the services we value. It is part of what allows us to enjoy our high standard of living.
    The message this sends is a dangerous one.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      Guatamala
      Iran

      Wacky? Delusion? Nope, it’s what has happened and we can seriously expect it to happen again.

    • KJT 16.2

      Wacky delusion. The UK did exactly that all through the 19t century and the US are still doing it to ensure they get access to resources. I do not think the Chinese will be any different in their century.

      Ask anyone from a third world country whose land has been pinched to grow coffee , soybeans or banana’s.

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