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Pay $4K or they sell our assets overseas

Written By: - Date published: 6:29 am, June 22nd, 2011 - 134 comments
Categories: privatisation - Tags:

David Cunliffe has done the maths. National wants to sell $6.8 billion worth of assets and it says they would be bought up by ‘mums and dads’. How much would each household have to invest to keep hold of the assets we already own? Over $4,000. Have you got that kind of money lying around to buy what you already own? Me neither.

Stats says the median household income is $64,000 a year gross and falling. So $4,000 is a big slice of the family budget f0r most Kiwis, even if spread over a number of years. Fact is, most families wouldn’t be able to afford that price to keep what already belongs to us. Just like most Kiwis couldn’t afford to invest when Contact was sold. Then, most of the shares went to big investment firms overseas, and that’s what would happen again.

I’m also a bit confused about why we are meant to rush in to buy these shares in companies we already own when the Finance Minister is claiming that selling them will cost the government hardly anything in lost dividends compared to the revenue. Either they’re a great investment opportunity and the cost to the Crown of selling is large, or they’re low-return and a poor investment. I don’t see how it can be both like Key and English want us to believe.

The truth is these are very important assets that pay dividends that fund our schools and hospitals. Not to mention the fact these are strategic assets, our power generation that underpins our entire economic production. And National is now demanding we pay $4,000 per household or lose them forever.

It’s a bit like the old mafia shakedown. The gangsters have gotten hold of our valuables and now are, kindly, offering to sell them back to us. And if we can’t afford to pay? No worries. They’ll just take our assets to market and sell them to whoever will pay. And they’ll pocket the proceeds in the form of more than half a billion a year in tax cuts for the most wealthy.

The only way to avoid this, as Bill English admitted yesterday, is for us to stand up to the gangsters and take back what’s ours. We get to do that on November 26th.

134 comments on “Pay $4K or they sell our assets overseas”

  1. Lazy Susan 1

    Watching this whole thing play out it’s quite clear Blinglish, Key and the hollow men have been trying desperateley hard to find a way to sell this policy to the majority of New Zealanders. They can’t find a rationale justification, because there isn’t one, so just resort to slogans like “Mum and Dad investors” and “investment opportunities”.

    Kiwisaver changes, tax cuts for the wealthy, suspending payments to the Superannuation fund, privatising ACC are all similar examples of NAct policy that doesn’t make sense if you believe this government is working to improve the lot of most New Zealanders. However, all these policies make perfect sense if you believe this government is working for a small international wealthy and powerful elite group who have no interest in the well-being of most us. I believe they call it treason.

    • Carol 1.1

      Apart from the main issue of the negative impact of selling state assetts, the term “mum and dad investors” is really becoming a major annoyance to me. The annoyance point was escalated last week listenting to Blingish in the House constantly referring to “mums & dad”. It may be a bit of a petty personal response on my part, but as an aging childless woman, I feel totally excluded by this term used to reference average Kiwis.

      But, the main issue for most Kiwis, and the country as a whole, is…


    • johnm 1.2

      Hi Lazy Susan
      I’ve been sure its treason selling off any of our assets. And I agree 100% the current so called government is treasonous. They have bought the ideological neo-liberal rubbish the U$ has been pushing which places PROFIT before the COMMON GOOD of your own people. The former emphasis leads to the rich getting richer the latter emphasis leads to from each according to their abilities (those with greater abilities are still rewarded more than those with lesser!) to each according to their needs.

      The PROFIT above all else system has wrecked the U$ economy and has severely endangered the Euro currency as a result of a neo-liberal speculation frenzy which has fallen flat on its face and wants the people to pay! Selling public assets is ROBBERY. Now the Bansters want to seize Greek assets for their fiat shenanigans!

    • Monty 1.3

      I am a classic Mum and Dad investor, and I look forward to National winning the election and thus securing a mandate to have a partial sell off of the shares in quality NZ companies and I (and my wife) will definitely be purchasing as many shares as we are allowed and can afford.. Like the contact Energy shares we bought and have retained some years ago, I will be holding onto my shareholding for the very long term,

      When National win and thus have the mandate, will you on the left then accept the will of the people?

      • fraser 1.3.1

        both a mum and a dad monty? 🙂

        but if they win do they have a mandate even if most people are opposed?

        how can they be enacting the will of the people when the majority dont want it?

      • When National win and thus have the mandate, will you on the left then accept the will of the people?
        Or the will of some of the small minority who can afford to spend $4,000 on shares?

        • The Baron

          Come on Greg – we live in a democracy. I know you hate it because this particular democracy voted out your beloved; but more than those with $4k get to vote.
          If people hate it so much, then they can vote for Labour. Right now, that’s about 30% of people.
          Sounds like you’re on the wrong side of history on this one, friend.

          • freedom

            ‘Sounds like you’re on the wrong side of history on this one, friend.’
            Spoken like a true opponent of the people.
            Since when has history been a bastion for equality and socially  responsible government?

        • Lyall

          Anwer the question Greg “will you accept the will of the people?”. Isn’t that what democracy is? If a Party campaigns on policies and wins, surely that is a mandate to act on those policies.

          • McFlock

            I already accept democracy – and probably with more grace than national voters who “accepted democracy” when airnz and the rail system were renationalised, student loans were made more accessible, and more people found employment. At least on TS people can do math, unlike on the rare instance I’ve descended into the muck that is KB.

            Democracy allows disagreement – it is a compromise. And we can lobby to reverse idiot decisions of the nacts (i.e. almost all of them), while still being democratic.  

          • Greg Presland

            I believe that the vast majority of kiwis are AGAINST partial privatisation of our power companies.  Just have a look at the opinion polls.  Monty and others may support it but their support appears to be based on considerations of personal benefit rather than what is good for us all.
            And it is dangerous to think that voting for a particular party means support for all of its policies.

            • Blue

              Answer the question Greg you seem to be avoiding the simple matter of confirming that democratic elections matter in terms of a mandate and reflect the “will of the people” in a democracy.

              • you seem to be avoiding the simple matter of confirming that democratic elections matter in terms of a mandate and reflect the “will of the people” in a democracy.
                Well I am not but since you raised the issue …
                1.  National campaigned last time on the basis that they would NOT privatise assets in the first term.
                2.  Their budget that has been passed mean that they have to, without the benefit of a popular mandate.  If assets are not sold then our elected representatives have dug us into a $6 billion dollar hole.  Where is their mandate to do this?
                3.  And what about all of the other broken promises?  What consequence should there be for those?
                4.  It also ignores the democratic right of people to say that what their elected representatives are doing is very silly.
                5.  Finally National’s policy was really vague.  For instance the policy on National Standards was brief in the extreme but has morphed into something quite terrifying.  So agreement to a line in a policy requirement is a mandate for the eventual program no matter how it develops?

                • higherstandard

                  ” Their budget that has been passed mean that they have to, without the benefit of a popular mandate. If assets are not sold then our elected representatives have dug us into a $6 billion dollar hole. Where is their mandate to do this?”

                  So Greg you at least agree that the country is economically up the wazoo are there any govt owned properties, SOEs etc that you would be comfortable part privatising ?

                  If not where is the 6 billion going to come from….. surely not mining which is considered close to a crime against humanity by most at this site.

                  Capital Gains tax perhaps ? Neither the Nats nor Labour will go anywhere near that tainted cup. Are we going to raise taxes to a level where the government can claw back 6 billion ? I doubt it.

                  • HS

                    National’s tax cuts for the wealthy were unaffordable and should be reversed.

                    And the tax base needs to be widened.  IMHO a capital gains tax would have a number of benefits including increasing the tax take and pushing investment away from speculative areas such as buying and selling land.  The Government does not need to claw back 6 billion straight away, just enough so that it can be funded.

                    There was an expectation that the tax cuts would produce an economic boom.  Two years later there is not the slightest indication that it has worked.

          • Colonial Viper

            Democracy is not merely what happens at the ballot box on election day. Standards and systems around the judiciary and legal system, law enforcement, due process, citizens rights must be respected.

            Democracy is not about regular elections to select a three year dictatorship.

            By the way Baron/Lyall, no one voted for National to put GST increases, tax cuts singling out the wealthy and asset sell offs into law.

            • Blue

              Tax Cuts were a National policy, so not for the first time you’re getting hysterical about facts you don’t agree with. Asset sales were a policy that National said they would not pursue in their first term, which they haven’t. They now go to the polls with this as policy. If re-elected that is the mandate they seek. GST increases were not policy but of course financial circumstances change, as they did during the Labour terms and introduce new legislation that was not mandated, as Labour did.

              Standards, legal system changes, judiciary changes, law enforcement, as far as I can see these have been strengthened not weakened over this governments term. What has this government done in these areas in terms of legislation that has been against the will of the people? One of their campaign platforms was strengthening law and order and putting crims behind bars.

              • Colonial Viper

                Tax Cuts were a National policy, (1) so not for the first time you’re getting hysterical about facts you don’t agree with. Asset sales were a policy that National said they would not pursue in their first term, which they haven’t. (2) They now go to the polls with this as policy. If re-elected that is the mandate they seek. (3) GST increases were not policy but of course financial circumstances change (4)

                1) Tax cuts “north of $50” were a National policy. What they didn’t tell anyone else was that only rich pricks would be seeing that.

                2) Asset sales preparations and legislation are all go. They are setting the guillotine up to drop and already sounding out overseas interest for buyers. That’s pursuing asset sales in their first term

                3) If the NZ public wants to sell of their children’s futures I’m not going to stand in their way.

                4) Wrong. The policy was NO GST increases. National broke that promise and promised that it was going to be “fiscally neutral”. So tell me mate, what “financial circumstances changed” which required National to break an election promise but not raise any more cash?

                One of their campaign platforms was strengthening law and order and putting crims behind bars.

                You mean National’s policy on law and order was to intern more young people inside Crime University?

                Smart policy eh?

                At least Bill English is getting the idea these days that prisons are a moral AND financial failure.

                What has this government done in these areas in terms of legislation that has been against the will of the people?

                Go away.

                • Blue

                  Thanks looks like you’ve confirmed everything. Good Boy (Girl?)

                • rosy

                  At least Bill English is getting the idea these days that prisons are a moral AND financial failure.

                  Only because it seemed to be going so well in Britain. Now that Cameron has reneged on that, wait to see Bill English do the same.

              • freedom

                spending $6million in the first term sure looks to me like Asset Sales without a mandate,
                or do you only count the photo op date when ink hits paper?

          • fraser

            their mandate is to form the incoming government and to move on their policy platform through the democratic process. Democracy is meant to apply all the time – not just for 1 day every 3 years.

            also – can you guarantee that every voter agrees with every policy of the party they vote for?

            edit: ahh – i see others have got to it before me

      • johnm 1.3.3

        Hi Monty
        “When National win and thus have the mandate, will you on the left then accept the will of the people?

        Or the will of some of the small minority who can afford to spend $4,000 on shares?”

        The revenue from the Power Company SOEs can be applied for the benefit of all Kiwis rich and poor, for the common good in fact-a concept buried and forgotten conveniently by right wing profit driven Nats.
        What you are saying is you want to benefit for yourselves alone and others like you(By confiscation of an asset which benefits ALL Kiwis now and is already OWNED by ALL KIWIS NOW) who have spare cash-other kiwis already stretched will miss out can you not see how mean and selfish this is?

        These SOEs will be bought by taking out huge loans(Primarily by foreign Profiteers) which interest must be paid on and a profit levied on top and will be run for the benefit of shareholders not the consumer.
        This has been done in France and has led to large price increases just for the right of connection-This would be o.k. to you because it would give you a better return on your investment?! It’s Disgusting! Result? Gap between haves and have-nots in this betrayed Country gets wider!(Poorer pay more and lose wealth income that could be applied by their government to assist them) Further result an even less happy society-those on the short end know it and THEY DON’T LIKE IT-IT’S ALIENATING. (Forgive use of capitals emphasis not shouting!).
        Have a good day Monty.

      • ianupnorth 1.3.4

        When this happened in the UK on those who could afford to buy shares (the top 10%) did so; most then on sold their portfolios for profit at the earliest opportunity  and used this to finance that years summer holidays or the deposit for a new car.
        So where does this end – foreign ownership and cash spent overseas, and the country still in debt.
        Have a look at UK plc, it is broke because of Thatcher’s policies of the 80’s and the only ones who predicted the end result were the late John Smith and Arthur Scargill!

    • seeker 1.4

      Well said Lazy Susan, you are so right-

      Travellerev pointed to this link on OpenMike18-6-2011, it made me very angry.


      This showcases just what Key and National’s actual plan is – nothing to do with a brighter future for New Zealanders, just themselves and their business/corporate mindset buddies. New Zealand and our assets just ripe for the taking!!!
      National and Act supporters are being played as fools – unless they are in on it!?
      I am sure many of said supporters have never thought of themselves as traitors before. They should look carefully at themselves and their beloved ‘smiley’ leaders before they vote next time.

  2. The clip of the Q&A makes compelling viewing.  Cunliffe is on top of his game and deserves more publicity chances.

    David had a good day yesterday in Parliament.  He also asked a stunner of a supplementary question where he highlighted the many times that English has said that the economy was on the mend.  The question is 4:10 into the clip.

    The predictions of improvements in the economy in answers to parliamentary questions were made in:
    1.  September 2009
    2.  October 2009
    3.  March 2010
    4.  July 2010
    David finished off with the quip “or is his habit of counting his chickens before they are hatched one of the reasons why Standard and Poors have kept his Government’s credit rating on negative outlook?”

  3. Jim Nald 3

    Donkey and Double Dipton trying to pull another swindle on us!

  4. Lanthanide 4

    On the flipside, to pay back $6.8B of the government deficit, each household needs to pay up $4,000 in tax…

    • Blighty 4.1

      which has the higher interest/return rate – sovereign debt or profitable energy companies? Who would sell high return assets to pay down low interest debt?

      In fact, aren’t borrowing conditions so great that the government is borrowing more than it needs to?

      • Lanthanide 4.1.1

        I was just highlighting the fact that the debt is going to have to be paid back somehow. I don’t want to sell assets to do it either, but I think it should be kept in mind that if you aren’t going to sell assets, something else is going to have to be done.

        • Lanth – you’re missing the obvious solution. If the Nats have borrowed $6.8 billion at 5.5% and they are getting dividends from the assets at 8%, then the 2.5% margin will repay the original borrowings without the need for any further input from taxpayers, over a period of about 34 years.

          Any commercial business would make the same choice – borrowing to purchase an asset that produces 2.5% more per annum than its interest cost is a good decision, as the margin can either be banked as profit or used to repay the debt, or both.

        • Reality Bytes

          The best solution would be to try and encourage an environment to attract and retain those who provide greatest value to the economy and society.

    • There is the ongoing earnings.  For the Crown there will be $350 million or so in the first year, and the second year, and the third year and the fourth year …

    • ianupnorth 4.3

      Which I would be happy to do as it the the correct and fair way to manage the current fiscal situation.
      Shame the righties don’t see it this way.

  5. queenstfarmer 5

    Love the spin. The suggestion in the title “pay $4K or they sell our assets overseas”, is not right. The minority stakes will be floated on the NZX, not “sold overseas”. Kiwis & foreigners can buy & sell them on the open market, the same as any (most) other NZX-listed shares. That includes buying them back at any time, quite contrary to the “lost forever” line.

    “And National is now demanding we pay $4,000 per household or lose them forever”. Patently false. As the Govt retains majority ownership it (or any future Govt) is in a very easy position to even retake full ownership and de-list them, if it wants.

    • ianmac 5.1

      queenstfarmer. “Love the spin”
      Yep. Can understand that for you and NAct Spin must be addictive. Bill English is the master.

    • Lanthanide 5.2

      “Patently false. As the Govt retains majority ownership it (or any future Govt) is in a very easy position to even retake full ownership and de-list them, if it wants.”
      And look what a big stink was made over buying back KiwiRail.

      • queenstfarmer 5.2.1

        Good example. KiwiRail was a non-listed company (subsidiary). It couldn’t be bought on-market. Instead, Michael Cullen decided to pay way over the odds (for whatever reason), lost hundreds of millions of dollars, and the thing is still a disaster today. The SOE minority floats are basically the opposite.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Michael Cullen decided to pay way over the odds (for whatever reason)

          The fact that it’s an essential service that’s going to keep us viable after Peak Oil really bites seems to have passed you by. As it’s such an obvious truth I suspect all other truths have also passed you by which would explain why you’re a RWNJ that’s disconnected from reality.

        • millsy

          So you would rather the railway network be shut down then. Remember, Toll were going to do exactly that.

          • queenstfarmer

            Why do you jump to that conclusion? No-one is saying shut down the railways. Just that Cullen paid a ridiculous price for them. The Aussies couldn’t believe their luck.

            • Draco T Bastard

              The problem when you have only one buyer and one seller is that the seller sets the price. Although I suppose the last government could have said we’ll pay you $300m for the lot, accept that or we’ll just take it anyway and not pay you but then we would have had the RWNJs, such as yourself, complaining about stand-over tactics and democracy under attack.

      • Blue 5.2.2

        imple reason for the “stink” is that KiwiRail ran at a massive loss every year adding to Government debt, not retiring it. The Labour Government also paid around 40% more than it was worth as a going concern just to make a point. Thats a pretty expensive point.

        • queenstfarmer

          Exactly. It’s a point often made but a lot of the angst by those ideologically opposed to asset sales is because they see some of the former-state assets being run at a profit, and assume that had always been the case when run by the state. Usually, however, that is far from the case. SOEs often run at a horrendous loss (actual or on a ROI basis). And what they don’t see is that massive capital & mind resources are invested.

          (usual disclaimer there are exceptions, must assess on merits, etc…)

          • millsy

            SO fucking what if it ran at a loss because it PROVIDED A FUCKING SERVICE

            – The NZPO provided a phone services to 98% of the country, and its successor, Telecom, is obglicated to keep on providing it to people because of the kiwishare

            – The railways provided public transport services, etc both freight AND passenger, it also ran the ferries, otherwise we would be having to swim

            – TV1 and TV2 have 98% coverage – it took a LOT of arm twisting for 3 to get that level of coverage, as well as SKY

            – The DSIR,etc provided scientific research

            – Publicly owned bus companies provided decent public transport – at a way better level than the private companies do now

            Stick your profit up your ass mate. Its only good for flatscreen TV’s.

            • queenstfarmer

              SO fucking what if it ran at a loss because it PROVIDED A FUCKING SERVICE

              Calm down. It still does both those things.

              The point was that (a) Cullen shouldn’t have squandered hundreds of millions to fat-cat Aussies and (b) the fact something makes a profit after it is sold (if it does) doesn’t mean it retrospectively made those profits. In fact, as you rightly say it didn’t.

              • Deadly_NZ

                queenstfarmer: You really are that fucking stupid arent you ???

                Labour bought back what was left after a decade of Aussie speculators asset stripping Kiwi Rail.

                The same with Air NZ. Asset stripped as well

                So whats next??? Labour has to pay way over the odds to buy back the asset stripped power companies 10 years down the track???? that the traitors Key and English have sold off, against the countries wishes over 60% against asset sales

                Yep Key and blinglishes mates must be rubbing their hands together at the windfall that is going to be coming their way thanks to the NACT party if they win in November. Make no mistake we will ALL regret that.

                Oh yes and don’t forget that ‘free’ TV will disappear next year, your freeview box will get NO public broadcast channels and all that will be left will be the NACT owned TV3 and Tv1 and 2 will be gutted and sold as well. No public TV means NO unbiased news coverage. We could end up like most mid eastern ‘kingdoms’ who are not allowed to watch ‘subversive’ TV.

                • millsy

                  …and endless Snookie when the the newsmen are not praising Key…

                  Sorry, had to throw that in..

            • Draco T Bastard

              The NZPO provided a phone services to 98% of the country,

              And was running at a profit for that particular branch. That’s why I keep pointing to the ~$20b in profits that Telecom have taken and saying that that money could have been used to upgrade the network. Instead, we get to pay for upgrading the network as well Telecoms profits.

              @ queenstfarmer
              The ideology is that government departments can’t be run as efficiently as private companies which is a false logic. Anyone with any intelligence will realise that any company, be it government or private, can be run as efficiently as each other because they happen to be run by people.

          • Colonial Viper

            Yeah like the road transport industry could survive without billions of dollars worth of subsidised highways.

            imple reason for the “stink” is that KiwiRail ran at a massive loss every year adding to Government debt,/blockquote>

            Fraking hospitals and public schools run at a massive loss every year as well, and National is eyeing up how it can chop those back too.

            Only short termist RWNJ morons would think that this decade is a good time to destroy our rail capabilities.

  6. Portion Control 6

    There’s more money than that in kiwisaver. So maybe Cunliffe should go do the maths.

    Why is Kiwisaver investing so much money overseas? Because there aren’t enough decent companies to invest in locally.

    Is there money here locally? Of course there is. Billions of dollars were invested in finance companies. Billions were invested in residential property. Little of it very productive investment. Give a pool of decent long term infrastructure assets and the opportunity to invest in them and kiwis will.

    Eddie do you have a kiwisaver account? Because if you don’t you will be in the minority.

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      This argument just makes me laugh.

      “The private sector in NZ has been shit at building companies people want to invest in.
      The crown, OTOH, has heaps of companies that people would really want to invest in.
      We should sell those crown companies because the crown sux at business and the private sector is teh awesome at it.”

      • Jim Nald 6.1.1

        I am not sure whether to laugh or be annoyed.

        That is an argument which has jumped off the pirate ship of fools and is wanting to run rampant.

        I will laugh.

      • Portion Control 6.1.2

        I didn’t say that bookie so don’t put words into my mouth and erect straw men and then stupid arguments to shut them down.

        The government has crowded out the private sector in infrastructure. Yes there are some good kiwi companies to invest in, but not many long term low risk infrastructure assets. A good retirement portfolio has a mix of risk. Presently the government owns almost all of one category of risk, which forces retirement savings either offshore or into high risk investments, like finance companies.

        Tell the tens of thousands of investors in finance companies over the last 10 years (hmmm, seemed to pop up under the last labour government that did nothing to regulate them didn’t they) that they didn’t have money to invest in power generation assets. Then your stupid argument falls over.

        • millsy

          Oh stick your crowding out up your ass.

          The government owns most of the infrastructure because publicly owned infrastructure has a social service component to it – meaning that profits and dividends some second place to ensuring that services and infrastructiure are provided. Which will NOT happen if it was privately owned. People will come second place to profit.

          Secondly, I think that a lot of people have forgotten the concept of putting money in a BANK. The interest earned from placing ones money in a savings account rather than placing it into the casino environment of the stock market, seems to be to be basic financial common sense. Hell, we even had a network of savings banks round the country to facilitate this.

          • Portion Control

            Bullshit, there is no “social service component” to owning power generation assets and then hiking up power prices the way the last government did. Nor is there a “social service component” to owning the farms in landcorp.

            There is a social service component to building new hospitals, roads and schools, which Labour under invested in over nine years because they didn’t have the capital to do it. So the issue isn’t about whether the government should own assets, but what kind of assets should be the government’s priority. I reckon schools and hospitals are more important than power generators and farms.

            • pollywog

              …what kind of assets should be the government’s priority ? I reckon schools and hospitals are more important than power generators and farms.

              All well and good, but this gov’t seems intent on shutting schools, squeezing the life out of hospitals and making priority assets out of building more prisons and roads we don’t really need.

              there aren’t enough decent companies to invest in locally.

              so how is selling off state assets going to change that and why is it that the gov’t want ‘mums and dads’ to buy shares instead of creating decent companies from the ground up ?

              Fuck the mums and dads, why not create an incentive for the kids to start businesses with some easy to get capital venture ?

              • Blue

                “Fuck the Mums and Dads (give me it for free)” – Spoken like a true left wing lunatic.

                • Colonial Viper

                  It already belongs to all NZ mums and dads you right wing loser.

                  Now, National want to concentrate that ownership in the hands of only wealthy mums and dads and wealthy foreigners

                  Gifting those strategic assets to the plutocrats at a fraction of their true worth.

                  That makes you a socialist for the rich, you realise that?

                  • Blue

                    Its only $4000 Viper I’ll spot you some change if you’re short and its only a “gift” if you don’t pay for it, like socialist are inclined to do. Love the terminology you use, whats next? “greasing the wheels…with the blood……blah blah”. You must be the life and soul of the party when you get going, you know, boring the shit out of people who couldn’t give a fuck that you think if they can feed their kids they are somehow a rich prick. Tedious mediocrity.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Its only $4000 Viper I’ll spot you some change if you’re short

                      Filthy rich foreigners are going to end up owning our power generators and we will be renters in our own land.

                      Tedious mediocrity.

                      Meh, continue to serve your foreign money masters like a traitor, what do I care.

                    • ianupnorth

                      Would twat get me a warning?
                      You really do not have any concept of the lives many, many families are living in this country do you?

            • Draco T Bastard

              There is a social service component to building new hospitals, roads and schools, which Labour under invested in over nine years because they didn’t have the capital to do it.

              More rewriting of history by a RWNJ.

              Labour did have the capital to invest and did so. It’s Nact that have cut the investment in such things so as to afford the tax cuts to the rich that they gave themselves.

          • Colonial Viper

            Apparently portion control doesn’t think that the power generation that the entire economy and all hospitals and schools run on as well as heating our homes has a social (as well as market monopolistic) component.

            Bad narrow minded Righty.

            The Government is a better owner and manager of farms and farm land than quite a few farmers are themselves.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Secondly, I think that a lot of people have forgotten the concept of putting money in a BANK.

            Putting the money in the bank just means that the bank then uses it in the casino environment of the stock market. It’s still possible to lose your money while it’s sitting in the bank. That’s why the Labour government brought in the bank guarantees when the market started to crash in 2k8. When the banks started to lose, which they would have done, there would have been a run on the banks as people withdrew all their money to protect it causing an even sharper decline in the economy.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Here’s what you said pc: “Why is Kiwisaver investing so much money overseas? Because there aren’t enough decent companies to invest in locally”

        • Draco T Bastard

          The government has crowded out the private sector in infrastructure.

          yeah, there’s a reason for that. Infrastructure is a Natural Monopoly. Hell, I’m going to quote this bit in full so you get some idea as to why competition in infrastructure is really stupid and ends up costing far more.

          Historical example

          Such a process happened in the water industry in nineteenth century Britain. Up until the mid-nineteenth century, Parliament discouraged municipal involvement in water supply; in 1851, private companies had 60% of the market. Competition amongst the companies in larger industrial towns lowered profit margins, as companies were less able to charge a sufficient price for installation of networks in new areas. In areas with direct competition (with two sets of mains), usually at the edge of companies’ territories, profit margins were lowest of all. Such situations resulted in higher costs and lower efficiency, as two networks, neither used to capacity, were used. With a limited number of households that could afford their services, expansion of networks slowed, and many companies were barely profitable. With a lack of water and sanitation claiming thousands of lives in periodic epidemics, municipalisation proceeded rapidly after 1860, and municipalities were able to raise finance for investment, which private companies often could not. A few well-run private companies that worked together with local towns and cities (gaining legal monopolies and thereby the financial security to invest as required) did survive, providing around 20% of the population with water even today. The rest of the water industry in England and Wales was reprivatised in the form of 10 regional monopolies in 1989.

          If you’re really smart you’ll now understand why, after privatising and deregulating Telecom, we’re having to invest billions of dollars to get our telecommunications network up to speed after Telecom pulled ~$20b in profits out while not investing in the network. It’s called, in economics speak, a dead weight loss. The same will happen when NAct sell off even more of our assets.

          Natural Monopolies must be government owned for the benefit of the community.

      • KJT 6.1.3

        Well put. Can I use this elsewhere?

      • queenstfarmer 6.1.4

        That argument makes me laugh too, just as well no-one is making it.

        • Draco T Bastard

          That’s the argument made by Blinglish, the CEO of NZSX and several other RWNJs. They may not use those terms precisely but that is the argument.

          • queenstfarmer

            They don’t use those words, but it’s the same.. Sure it is.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Yep, they sure do:

              Today’s Budget reveals the Government expects the process will take three to five years, starting in 2012, and that opening ownership up to the private sector will potentially add 10% to the market capitalisation of New Zealand’s sharemarket, the NZX.

              • queenstfarmer

                So you think that posting a quote saying that floating business on the NZX will (drumroll please…..) add to NZX capitalisation, proves the strawman argument above?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  When it’s specifically about putting NZ state assets on to the NZSX – yes. The above argument isn’t a strawman and you know it. You just don’t want to admit it as you must defend your heroes and your delusional beliefs against the truth.

    • Lanthanide 6.2

      “Why is Kiwisaver investing so much money overseas? Because there aren’t enough decent companies to invest in locally.”
      Um, no. Because Kiwisaver is for New Zealanders to retire and have some money. New Zealanders who are living in New Zealand are naturally highly exposed to the New Zealand economy – they own a house, they are employed or own a bussiness, for most New Zealanders most of their assets will be in New Zealand. Therefore investing your retirement savings in New Zealand is putting all of your eggs in one basket – if New Zealand tanks, so will your New Zealand-based investments.
      It’s a way of reducing risk. Duh.

      • queenstfarmer 6.2.1

        Right, although the overseas proportion is very high and there are obvious benefits in improving the ratio to invest more money here.

    • Colonial Viper 6.3

      Why is Kiwisaver investing so much money overseas? Because there aren’t enough decent companies to invest in locally.

      Yeah over the last ten years the wealthy in this country have been dismal at building up decent private enterprises suitable for large scale investment through share offerings or similar.

      To many who hold significant capital prefer the perceived lower risk/less complicated investment strategy of buying houses any way.

      Only the Government has built up assets worth investing in.

      Seems like the public sector out does the private sector yet again.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.4

      The whole point of capitalism is that the capitalists go out and make productive assets, not whinge about there not being any and demand that the government, as the peoples representatives, sell off the ones that it’s produced for the benefit of all.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    I agree. An absolute rubbish article.

    It is easy for NZers to own the assets without them having to hand over 4k hard cash. That could be done via the Cullen fund or the various Kiwisaver funds. Easy.

    • Blighty 7.1

      the Cullen Fund is part of the government. if it buys shares, it’s just a money-go-round.

      If our Kiwisaver has to go into buying our shares in our companies, it means that money can’t go into buying stuff that we don’t already own. Opportunity cost.

      • Portion Control 7.1.1

        No, you retard. If the Cullen Fund is going to invest in SOEs, it will have to sell other investments. At the moment the Cullen Fund owns a lot of offshore investments.

        • Blighty

          If part of the government buys SOE shares another part of the government, the government is no better or worse off. It would just be a waste of time.

          • Portion Control

            Still a retard argument.

            You a bottle of fanta for sale. Nobody wants to buy your bottle of fanta. So you sell a bottle of coke overseas. You get $2 for it. You then buy the bottle of fanta that you can’t sell with the $2 you got for the coke overseas. You have $2 more in cash.

            All these retard labour party stooges saying the government is going to sell assets overseas is bullshit. Kiwisaver and the Cullen Fund will soak up whatever mum and dad investors don’t buy.

            • freedom

              I have read your fanta analogy about twenty times and you are an idiot
              a bonefida class a knuckle dragging rayon wearing moron
              from today, i for one am never going to bother even reading your comments.  you choose to do the same that is fine by me, but seriously? Where do you get $2 by buying what you already own and selling what you cannot replace?
              exasperated does not begin to express my current disbelief at the sheer nonsensical temerity of Asset sales supporters

              • Portion Control

                Because you raise cash by selling the offshore assets that you then funds your new assets, dipshit.

                • Maynard J

                  “You [have?] a bottle of fanta for sale. Nobody wants to buy your bottle of fanta. So you sell a bottle of coke overseas. You get $2 for it. You then buy the bottle of fanta that you can’t sell with the $2 you got for the coke overseas. You have $2 more in cash.”

                  This doesn’t make sense in the slightest. You have a bottle of fanta, and a bottle of coke (you’d have to have both, because you said you have fanta, and you also have a coke to sell). So you sell the coke for $2, and then buy the fanta off yourself, and end up with the fanta you already had and $2. So now you have cash, and still didn’t sell the fanta. yayy.

                  So let’s say the ‘you’ in this story is actually me, holding a coke and a fanta in your (you) interest. I sell your coke, and now I (me) have $2. You are short one bottle of coke – but thanks for the $2, sucker.

    • KJT 7.2


  8. Jim Nald 8

    That picture of a ship with the National Party flag is making me wonder.

    Is it a pirate ship or a ship of fools?

    … Oh well, let’s say it’s a pirate ship of fools!

  9. ianupnorth 9

    Better get a move on http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/christchurch-business/5175044/More-residents-cross-the-ditch
    Another 3300 people to Aussie in May, expect more in June, so it’ll be $4050 already and $4100 by the end of the month

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      32 year record high immigration to Australia, and some chances that record will be broken again shortly.

  10. sdm 10

    Why cant we have a rational discussion about this? If the proceeds for asset sales are re-invested into captial, then the taxpayers position as an investor is unchanged – s/he owns the same level of assets, but different.

    The question in my mind anyway should be the rate of return (ROI). If the government is getting a good return, keep it. If not, sell and invest in better assets.
    Hypothetically, if Quotable Value is returning 2%, why should the government continue to own the asset ahead of investing the proceeds in a better performing endeavor. The private sector can adequately perform the same role (and does). So what is the objection?

    • freedom 10.1

      to sdm and every other shortsighted memory addled money worshipping idiot that prefers the blinkers of elitism to the view of a healthy and prosperous nation.
      take a breathe, flex that big grey muscle in your head then read carefully and slowly so as not to miss it again.

      • sdm 10.1.1

        Are they the best possible assets to have your money invested in? Are you getting a good return?

    • RedLogix 10.2

      If the government is getting a good return, keep it. If not, sell and invest in better assets.

      So if the ROI is so poor why would anyone want to buy it?

      Think carefully.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    Why cant we have a rational discussion about this?

    Because RWNJs are irrational.

  12. chris73 12

    [deleted link]

    [lprent: Was there a point to go with that link? We regard links without an explanation about why people would want to click them in the commentators own words as just being link-whoring. You have to explain why someone here would want to go down the rabbit-hole. Admittedly leaving whaleoil exposed in the link should warn everyone off, but….

    BTW: I routinely kill link-whoring content. Persisting with the behavior winds up as a banning offense. ]

    • higherstandard 12.1

      If you routinely kill link whoring why do you allow ‘the poodle’ to continue to link whore ad infinitum ?

      • lprent 12.1.1

        Who? I haven’t seen either DPF or Whale doing that.

        Oh… Just clicked. Different type of dog. He has had a few warnings when he wanders too close to the edge of irrelevance by several mods but generally restricts himself either to OpenMike or a link relevant to the post. Puts a few words in that actually reflect the content of the link – so people can decide to or not to click. Conforms to something that we will live with.

        Whereas Chris only put a link in – really bad. The link whore I moderated the other day put exactly the same text and link in 3 comments across two posts and two were irrelevant to the post – completely unacceptable.

        • chris73

          I only put the link up because

          A. I didn’t have a lot of time to mess around and
          B. I thought you’d be able to work out that whaleoils blog was pertinent to this thread

  13. just saying 13


    Chris Trotter has an interesting take on how Labour could prevent asset sales and/or affordably buy them back. IF it wanted to.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      We could have got AMI for pennies on the pound and tuned it into “KiwiSure”, a public player in the market place keeping the other insurance companies honest.

      But yeah, Trotter’s idea is far more like the recipe we need 🙂

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      If the next government was doing what was good for us rather than what was good for the rentiers then what they’d do, if the assets had been sold, is taking them back without paying a cent for them.

      • higherstandard 13.2.1

        Yeah that would work brilliantly………… until the kiwi dollar tanked and we could no longer import the necessities that people have come to rely upon.

      • burt 13.2.2

        … is taking them back without paying a cent for them.

        I’m picking you wouldn’t last long with a tradme account.

  14. cowbell 14

    I felt quite depressed after reading this blog post.

    So I went out and delivered some pro MMP leaflets that had been sitting around! 😀

    Do something people! Anything!

  15. Peter 15

    This link mentions how the Greeks, with all their difficulties are reluctant to sell (lose control) of their assets “http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/05/26/uk-greece-assetsales-idUKTRE74P1T520110526

    In contrast we are being primed up to believe it is a good idea.

    • burt 15.1

      OK, so we can hold out on asset sales and be just like Greece !

      • ianupnorth 15.1.1

        No Burt, we can keep hold and continue to reap the profits they make, rather than gift the profits back to the alleged “mum and dad investors”, who will have long since sold their shares to whoever.
        In case you forgot Greece got in the shit by spending Billions hosting a fairly unsuccessful (financially) Olympics; at least we only have a small event like the RWC to bail out.

      • Peter 15.1.2

        Are we to believe that selling 6 billion of state assets is all that is required to solve our economic issues?

        • Draco T Bastard

          That’s what the RWNJs think. I’m sure the psychopathic leaders on the right want us to think that as well as they know damn well it won’t.

        • burt

          Are we to believe that selling 6 billion of state assets is all that is required to solve our economic issues?

          No, I don’t think the issue is that simple although I appreciate it’s an election year. But you do seem to be standing reasonably alone holding something Greece did up as a role model.

          • Colonial Viper

            Greece will be a role model if they tell the bankster occupation forces and the financial terrorists to frak off*

            *by unilaterally restructuring the loans that they owe.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Um, what? He’s pointing out that the Greeks, like NZers, don’t want to sell their assets and yet the politicians are trying to force them to.

            BTW, most of the Western world has already done exactly as Greece did – over borrow.

          • Peter

            What is the something that Greece did?

            • rosy

              Peter you might be interested in this commentary byAmartya Sen:

              Europe has led the world in the practice of democracy. It is therefore worrying that the dangers to democratic governance today, coming through the back door of financial priority, are not receiving the attention they should. There are profound issues to be faced about how Europe’s democratic governance could be undermined by the hugely heightened role of financial institutions and rating agencies, which now lord it freely over parts of Europe’s political terrain.

              In essence should democratic governments bow to the demands of financial institutions without discussion and oversight when economic growth will pull countries out of debt without the discourse of ‘noble’ sacrifices.

  16. burt 16

    Stats says the median household income is $64,000 a year gross and falling. So $4,000 is a big slice of the family budget f0r most Kiwi

    Indeed. The tax paid in a single income house on $64,000 is $12,220.00, total tax paid if that income is split between two people earning $32,000 is $9,240.

    There is $3K every year if we had fairer tax policies.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      Income splitting for tax purposes isn’t fairer. In fact, it’s decidedly unfair as it only benefits the well off.

      • burt 16.1.1


        Do you dispute the figures used? If not do you think the average income household is well off when one person earns the average and not well off when the same amount is earned by two people?

        You seem to be saying that once you have a single income over $14,000 or a shared tax burden on $28,000 that you are well off as that is where the first significant jump in tax threshold kicks in allowing the disparity shown with my ‘unfairly benefiting the well off’ example.

        • Draco T Bastard

          ‘Crisis’ but tax cuts for the rich keep coming

          The total cost of the measure would be over $500 million a year – and 78% of it would flow to households earning over $70,000 a year (which is roughly the median for households consisting of a couple with children). While not mentioned in the report, that benefit will skew heavily towards the top end – in other words, the usual story of giving the most to those who need it least.

          Keep up burt, it’s already been covered. It’s just another massive tax cut for the very wealthy.

          • burt

            OK Draco, them average income households are rich pricks and letting them keep circa $3K/year of their own income would be a disgrace. You are right of course, anyone who makes it out of the first income tax bracket is to be loathed and denigrated.

  17. ianupnorth 17

    Is it only me that finds it weird that the RW trolls love hanging around here? Broadens their narrow minds IMHO.

    • burt 17.1

      Yes that’s correct; it broadens our minds. It’s staggering to be reminded that there are some people who support a tax systems that denies regular wage and salary earners the same benefits the self employed have enjoyed since… since… since the concept of combined income was removed from our tax system in.. was it the 80’s ???

  18. queenstfarmer 18

    I’ve only posted here for a short time, and most times I’m called a RWNJ of some description, which I take as a compliment (as much as an anonymous poster being called names by another anonymous poster can).

    This is a great site, very well designed, good articles, lots of debate. I disagree with some of the content, but I personally find it good to hear different points of view, and occasionally chuck in my $0.02.

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      You’re welcome here mate.

    • lprent 18.2

      That is what the site is there for. The authors are left and labour movement orientated and opinionated as hell – so you kind of have to put up with what they throw up. But it is basically a place to argue robustly, disagree, and agree to disagree in comments.

      Plus of course there is always the usually pleasant moderators (and one grumpy ogre of a sysop) to ensure that the behavior doesn’t get too damn boring. They do tend to over react when someone forces them into action… But it all seems to work with people rapidly learning the code of conduct and moderating themselves

      Don’t hesitate to tell people they’re LWNJ’s or GNJ’s or terminal idiots. But just make sure that you have a point with the insults and the mods won’t particularly care….

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