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The face of asset sales

Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, December 12th, 2011 - 152 comments
Categories: assets - Tags:

Now the Maori Party are off the hook for voting for asset sales, John Key’s government needs Peter Dunne if it is to sell out assets.

As the Greens point out, Dunne has no mandate for asset sales as he did not campaign on the issue.

If he had, I suspect he’d have lost Ohariu. It’s likely he’ll go down in history as the man that sold our assets.

One thing’s for sure though – his role in this fiasco means he’ll not be back next term.

152 comments on “The face of asset sales ”

  1. lprent 1

    Yep, the theme of the billboard campaign for Ohariu is going to be pretty straight forward to select. It isn’t even going to be a confidence vote, so he will be clearly supporting something he didn’t campaign for.

    • kriswgtn 1.1

      I remember Dunne saying UF were against Asset sales on leaders debate

      Following day jokeyhen was on tv saying Dunne would do as hes told basically

      and sure enough its all in the wording eh

      • Tom Gould 1.1.1

        I seem to recall Dunne campaigning against asset sales too. Or maybe he was against asset sales up until election night, when he became in favour of them and certain baubles?

        • Colonial Viper

          I suggest a renewed anti-asset sales campaign in Dunne’s electorate. Nothing like a couple of hundred letters from annoyed constituents to change an elected representative’s mind.

          Yes, Dunne now has the power to leave a lasting legacy of good in NZ.

      • Hilary 1.1.2

        I remember that clearly, and also in local meetings. He probably had his fingers crossed when he said that on the TV debate- or had some little unspoken brackets in his head (unless John Key tells me to).

    • mikesh 1.2

      I remember him saying on TV that the only asset sales he was opposed to were water and Kiwibank.He didn’t seem to be opposed to selling power companies.

  2. Count down for the appearance of Petey George.  Counting 3, 2, 1 ,,,

    • Dunne has been consistent on asset sales – United Future had no policies to sell assets but made the point that the most supported party had a right to progress it’s key policies.

      UF made it clear what it’s bottom lines were on asset sales, and it was also clear that it wasn’t strongly opposed to partial sales of some assets. I’ve got no problem with the party position on this.

      Personally I’ve also got no problem if we do part sell some assets (nor do I mimd if we don’t). I’d be quite happy if my Kiwisaver fund invested in power companies.

      I recall a Herald poll on asset sales that gave a number of options – and partial sales of some assets was the best supported. I think while in general the public is against ASSET SALES it’s not strongly opposed to, or mildly accepts, some part sales of a few assets.

      • kriswgtn 2.1.1

        Dunne said on TV on the minor parties leaders debate

        THAT UF WERE OPPOSED to any asset sales


        • Pete George

          Can you prove that? I don’t think that’s what he said.

          • kriswgtn

            Can you prove he didnt>>/? I know what I saw fool

            • Frida

              I recall him saying that too Kris, on the TVNZ minor leaders’ debate. Surely someone can find a link?

            • Pete George

              I think you’re only fooling yourself.

              Dunne says we need a conversation that is more detailed rather than just saying yes or no on the sales.

              “We need a conversation that is more detailed and drills down into what New Zealanders really think are acceptable bottom lines,” he said.


              Peter Dunne has been consistent with that approach to asset sales. It should and will be debated more over the next year or two, hopefully to more than a superficial ideological level.

              • The Voice of Reason

                Er, what does any of Dunne’s vacuous shite mean, Pete? The bottom line is that we Kiwis are opposed to asset sales by a clear majority and Dunne has just tried to have a bob each way in public, while stitching us all up in private.

                The post is dead right; Peter Dunne is the true face of asset sales. He’s like the kid in the crowd watching a schoolyard fight; ‘I tried to make them stop, but they wouldn’t, and they’re much bigger than me, so I thought the next best thing was to film it and put it on youtube. Don’t blame me, I’m just the innocent bystander’

              • So, is Dunne insisting that that “conversation” be had before he supports the sell-off of power SOE shares? Is it part of the agreement with National? 

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.2

        What a load of quisling bullshit. “The most supported party had a right to progress…” Only treachery, or intravenous injections of stupid can explain this shite.

      • Half Crown Millionare 2.1.3

        I would say that is having a bob each way.
        Lets face it, the prick would agree with anything by any party providing he got his arse on a cabinet seat. United should be renamed ” I agree with anything by any party providing I have got my arse on a cabinet seat Dung” party.

      • Lanthanide 2.1.4

        “I’d be quite happy if my Kiwisaver fund invested in power companies.”

        Of course, that same dividend revenue would have been going into the government pot to pay for superannuation now, and in the future by making contributions to the superannuation fund.

        Now instead it’s going to go into some people’s kiwisavers accounts. Too bad if you don’t have one.

  3. burt 3

    Isn’t this where National say: We won you lost – eat that….

    • Galeandra 3.1

      Isn’t this where National say: We won you lost – eat that…

      Not quite.

      Try: Isn’t this where National say: We won NZ lost – eat that….

    • seeker 3.2

      burt- shouldn’t you be saying to the poor and vulnerable of the country: national won you lost,eat that. – now how does that feel you big ‘national’ man you?

  4. Gosman 4

    The disdain for the democratic process by members of the left is a wonder to behold. You just can’t accept that more people voted for the National party than the left. It is quite simple. Peter Dunne made clear that he would support a National led government after the election and National made clear that partial asset sales was the thecornerstone of their policy for the next term.

    • ropata 4.1

      i agree, democracy is not about freedom of speech it is about obedience to john key

      it was very unpatriotic of fifty thousand people to walk down queen st protesting against mining national parks

      never mind numerous polls that show 70-80% opposition to asset sales

      we all know jkey has a mandate to do whatever the fuck he wants

      • Gosman 4.1.1

        “we all know jkey has a mandate to do whatever the fuck he wants”

        A more moronic statement by a lefty would be hard to find even on this site.

        The National party only campaigned on a few key policies during the last election but the main one was the partial sale of equity in certain SOE’s. They won the election and have been able to form a Government. Labour, which campaigned strongly against National’s proposal lost quite badly. That is a democratic mandate.

        • Colonial Viper

          Oh as a champion of democracy, you would support a democratic referendum on asset sales then! Excellent!

          • Gosman

            We did. It was called the election. The National party got enough support to form the government and push through it’s policies it campaigned on.

            Would you prefer a situation where Governments are elected and then have to subject key policies they wish to promote to referendum? Interesting concept. I wonder if the Labour Party would agree to doing that with such policies as raising the age of eligibility for Superannuation or extending working for families credit to non-working families if they win the right to form the government at the next election.

            • RedLogix

              You have the wrong thread Gosman. This one is not about the policies National campaigned on, it is about the United Future campaign policy where it said they were opposed to asset sales.

              Now UF may well be a vanity party comprising one MP, but that doesn’t make them exempt from holding them to account for saying one thing before the election, and doing pretty much the exact opposite afterwards.

            • Reality Bytes

              I don’t think it’s possible to decide all the mandates for major issues based on a single election once every 3 years… it would be a shame to simplify it all down to a single democratic event to represent us on all the major issues.
              Let’s be realistic, most kiwis don’t support Nat’s ‘Asset sales will save us all plan’, including a lot of Nat voters, but that wasn’t enough to sway them.
              I do not know a single Nat supporter that supports asset sales, and yet I know plenty of Nat supporters. The Asset sales were the biggest threat to the Nats losing the the election.

              We had a referendum on the anti-smacking laws, which was ignored. So why can’t we have a referendum regarding asset sales?

              I’m more than happy for a hundred million or so to be earmarked for enhancing democracy and allowing for a few referendums (in reality it should be way cheaper because of the Internet).

              Why should any party with the best intentions not support that even if they oppose the results. They can explain why they think their way is better and take their chances come next election, or they can respond and adapt to the will of the people. But either way in the meantime we get a realistic view on how we feel as a nation about important issues, and not how some low-brow half-baked biased tiny-sample media story guesses how we should feel.

        • mikesh

          There are only sixty seats out of 121 favouring asset sales if you exclude Peter Dunne, who appears to be neutral and is only supportive for the sake of his coalition agreement. Hardly a mandate.

          • Sweetd

            mandate. shamdate. Nats el al are in govt, left is not. You want to do something about it, get more people to vote for you next time.

            • Gosman

              Apparently it isn’t a mandate because the lefties disagree with the Government. It is only a mandate if they agree with the policies and they are implemented by a left leaning Government.

              • RedLogix

                When Labour was in power until 2008 you were all over this blog attacking things that they were doing. Arrogance some?

                • Gosman

                  That statement is completely without merit.

                  • RedLogix

                    Then so is your whining about the left attacking policies of a National government.

                    • Gosman

                      I only had a couple of issues with the last Labour led government. Much of their economic policies were quite sensible and middle of the road. The issues that I had with them had nothing to do with what they were elected on in 2005 beyond pointing out that they increased the size of the state quite significantly.

          • In Vino Veritas

            In the words of Labours revered ex Minister of Finance: “We won, you lost, eat it”. And eat it you shall mike.

            • mac1

              I must say the current bill of fare is greasy, distasteful and not nutritious, IVV, but then we who have been around for an election or fifteen know that just desserts taste pretty good, especially when washed down with a good wine. Now, there’s a truth in that!

        • ropata

          not particularly left gos, i just favour democracy over dictatorship. voted jk last time around.

          funny thing happens when tories stay in power, they think they have the right to sell stuff that isn’t theirs

          NAT/UF were elected to govern responsibly, instead they throw the nation to the “free” market

          and we all know how great that’s been working out around the world lately

          rogernomics fucked up this country, please stop.

          • Gosman

            Yo do realise that National is a party of the right of the political spectrum and that this usually involves supporting free market policies don’t you? So when you voted for the National party you were expecting what exactly? Perhaps you expected John Key to nationalise all the means of production did you? What right leaning policies do you support then if you actually did vote for John Key?

            • Colonial Viper

              that this usually involves supporting the wealthy don’t you?

              Come on we know what “the right wing of politics” really means these days buddy.

            • ropata

              short memory huh gos?

              nat’s 2008 campaign promise was no asset sales

              when i voted that way last time i was hoping for, ya know, governance

              not 3 years of shitty policies favouring the wealthy and endless photo ops

              silly me, won’t do that again

              • Gosman

                Governance without policy is not politics but just administration. You may as well do away with elections and just allow the civil service to run things if that is all you were looking for,

                What specific differences did you expect a National led government would have over the previous Labour led one i.e. what was it about National that attracted you to them over the other parties in 2008?

                • ropata

                  back then jkey seemed like something he wasn’t, turned out to be a professional bullcrapper

                  • Gosman

                    See below for the questions I have asked you on this, specifically the one about which National party policies did you support in 2008.

                    • Frida

                      Gosman for the first time ever and probably the last time (smile) I totally agree with you here. People like ropata made me SO angry in 2008 and they have made me SO angry this time. What the HELL did they think they were voting for by voting National? If they didn’t take the time to read National policy and only voted for John Key’s supposedly nice face they have no right to complain now. The only people who have a right to moan now are those like myself who knew full well what voting for National meant and therefore refrained from doing so!!!!

                    • rosy

                      Back then people were voting National for a different face. Key refused to drop Labour social policies, or put interest back on student loans. Anything Labour said Key said ‘me too!’ and he refused to sell assets in the first term of government. he did not campaign on any right-wing policies – said he was centrist and all the right-wingers called him ‘Labour-Lite’. Short memory Gosman.

                    • ropata

                      Frida, yes it is frustrating but i am a hell of a lot more interested than 90% of the population who don’t even know this blog exists, and don’t even read the news. also i am getting sick of this stupid diversion into my personal voting habits.. that is actually private information. but just fyi, I voted labour in 1987 1999 2002 2005 2011 so you can get off your high horse now

    • RedLogix 4.2

      The disdain for the democratic process by members of the left is a wonder to behold. You just can’t accept that more people voted for the National party than the left.

      What is astounding is your disdain for the very basics of how our Parliament works. A government is formed when a party or coalition of parties can demonstrate to the GG that is has a majority of seats in the House. Not the “most votes”… that’s obsolete FPP thinking.

      National did not win this last election. It was however in a position to form a coalition government with UF, ACT and MP to form a government.

      If for example an election had the following not implausible result:

      National: 45%
      Labour: 33%
      Greens: 22%

      and for simplicity I’ll assume no other Party had any seats… then the government would clearly be formed by a coalition of Labour and Greens, despite the fact that “National won the most votes”. That has been the reality of multi-party politics since the introduction of MMP almost 20 years ago. Try and keep up Gosman.

      • Gosman 4.2.1

        Okay let’s take your fantasy leand scenario through to a logical conclusion.

        Labour campaigned on raising the age of eligibility to supperannuation to 67 (a great idea in my mind). The Green party did not have this policy but did say it prefered to go into government with Labour than National.

        So, following the logic of some here, if Labour formed the Government in conjunction with the Greens they would have be obliged to subject this key election policy to a referendum and not come to some arrangement with the Green’s on the topic.

        Good luck with pushing that model of government.

        • RedLogix

          Okay let’s take your fantasy leand scenario through to a logical conclusion.

          For a start it’s not a fantasy. I agree I’ve simplified by leaving out the smaller parties, esp NZ1… but overall this last election only needed a 3% swing to the centre-left and it would have been Phil Goff forming the government… even though National received the most party votes.

          Everyone who looks only at the gap between National and Labour, or which party has the “most votes” is simply guilty of irrelevant and obsolete FPP thinking.

          As for the rest of your comment. IF in your scenario the Green leadership had clearly indicated that that “in principle we would keep the retirement age at 65” during the campaign, then I would fully expect the Opposition to point up the inconsistency if they then subsequently formed a government with Labour and supported an increase to 67.

          What the hell else would you expect?

          • Gosman

            You kind of miss the point of coalition forming under MMP. There are bottom line policies that I would expect parties to stick to. For example I wouldn’t expect the Green’s to forego their committment to increasing investment in Green energy solutions and a strengthened ETS, (or at least some other form of Carbon reduction), in any coalition agreement in the scenario you describe. But all parties have to accept that there has to be policy compromises. The Green’s haven’t stated that raising the age of entitlement is a bottom line policy and I wouldn’t expect it to be so. Hence I am sure there could be some arrangement where they got more influence in one other area of policy by giving up their opposition in this less important area. That is standard negotiation techniques and it is incredibly naiive to suggest that it shouldn’t happen.

            • RedLogix

              Yah… so we can agree that UF has probably done a policy ‘compromise’ over asset sales. (Which given the profile this issue had in this election is no small beer.)

              Now can you understand that it is exactly this sort of policy ‘compromise’ that it is the job of the opposition to point out and to make life uncomfortable for the ‘compromisees’ as it where?

              It’s incredibly naiive to suggest that there should be no price to pay for this sort of ‘negotiation trade-off’.

              • Gosman

                I wouldn’t expect anything else but there is a huge leap from attacking Peter Dunne to trying to claim that National doesn’t have a mandate to carry out a key element of their policy programme based on Peter Dunne holding a rather non-commital position on the topic. Mike Williams is on RNZ at the moment and he has no problem accepting National has a mandate to carry out the programme they promoted in the election. I think it would be far more mature to accept this fact and try and defeat the National party at the next election rather than try to call into question the democratic legitimacy. When you do this you therefore run the risk that you call into question the entire system. This might be fine when the other side is in power but it goes both ways remember.

                • RedLogix

                  I wouldn’t expect anything else but there is a huge leap from attacking Peter Dunne to trying to claim that National doesn’t have a mandate to carry out a key element of their policy programme

                  Ummm… no-one has said anything about Nationals position here. That was always perfectly clear.

                  Peter Dunne holding a rather non-commital position on the topic.

                  Well then… that’s what all this is about. Getting the man to make a committment. If Dunne is anything like his acolyte Peter George; that’ll prove a difficult task.

                  I think it would be far more mature to accept this fact and try and defeat the National party at the next election rather than try to call into question the democratic legitimacy.

                  The problem here is simple. Many things that governments do are what you might call ‘reversible’. If it turns out that one government’s decisions where wrong or had bad effects in hindsight, then usually a new government can make the required legislative reforms without too much pain.

                  Asset sales are very, very difficult to reverse. There is an inherent assymetry at work here.

                  You only have to look at the enormous difficulty Dr Cullen encountered while trying to undo the totally failed sale of KiwiRail for a recent and highly pertinent example.

                  Because if it turns out that selling these assets was a very, very bad idea… like many other things right-wing governments have done in the past, like well… selling state assets, de-regulating the building and mining industries, dismantling the first NZ Super Scheme and so on… then undoing this mistake will prove very difficult.

                  That’s why this isn’t just a ‘business as usual’ political matter. At some point in the future a left-wing government is going to faced with the bad consequences of this folly… as we have already had to do once already.

                  • Matt

                    Being from California I can tell you a bit about what happens when private economic interests start having their way with critical public utilities, things like the electricity crisis of 2000-01 happen. When the interests of shareholders and customers are different, the customer always loses because what, you’ll go without electricity?

                    National will tell you “this time it’s different”. but people always say that and it never is, is it? It’s always the same story, patch a short term hole in the budget at the long term expense of everybody. Well not everybody, since someone will profit handsomely from these deals, just not us. If National really cared about mums and dads owning these companies we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because those mums and dads already own them.

                • Colonial Viper

                  With only 59 seats, National has no mandate to make a move as large as selling off this country’s strategic energy assets.

                  Especially since a majority of votes cast on Nov 26 were for parties who were against asset sales (or who have no policy of asset sales lol Pete George and UF)

                  If National wants to seek a true mandate it can put the proposition to a referendum.

      • In Vino Veritas 4.2.2

        And therefore Red, Labour had no mandate to increase tax rates in 2000 after they’d come to power in 1999. So, the the cut in tax rates by National was simply righting a historical wrong. Perhaps National don’t have to mandate to sell assets, and therefore Cunliffe’s plan to re-purchase those assets sold will be righting a historical wrong. And in future, a government that does not govern by majority, will have no mandate. Brilliant!

        • Gosman

          Good point IVV. Does anyone on the left of the political spectrum wish to discuss why raising Tax rates is fine if there isn’t a democratic mandate to do so but selling assets after a party has won an election where they campaigned specifically on them requires a referendum?

        • mikesh

          I don’t think that a mandate is possible for increasing taxes since no party ever campaigns on that platform. However, if a governing party increases taxes and doesn’t get chucked out at the next election, I guess it could claim a sort of retrospective mandate.

    • IrishBill 4.3

      The most important part of the democratic process is accountability. Dunne will be held to account for his decision to sell our assets. If his constituents think that’s okay they’re democratically re-elect him. If they don’t he’s down the road. Democratically.

      • Gosman 4.3.1

        Sure. I will look forward to a robust campaign to unseat Dunne in 2014. Until then you will have to restrict your opposition to rather ineffectual protests such as writing letters to him. I’m sure he will be quaking in his boots at the thought.

        • Colonial Viper

          Ah the arrogance of The Hair!

          • Gosman

            Far less than the arrogance of the left to actually think that National does not have a mandate to implement the policies they campaigned on and that they should be subject to a referendum.

            As stated above, would you support this rather idiotic idea for all policies a Government wishes to implement or just the ones you personally disagree with?

            • ropata

              NZ is a country of 4 million people, not jkey’s personal plaything.

              a sensible democratic government would seek a clear mandate before fundamentally changing the future of a nation.

              we are talking about assets owned by the whole community not just the self important remuera clique

              the whole debt/asset sales issue is bullshit invented by jkey so that his mates can have tax breaks AND monopoly power, hurrah old boy

              • prism

                I think that in the dim recesses of the brains of right wing financials there lurks the unsettling conclusion that the world especially the financial one is deteriorating seriously, that climate change will affect general business seriously, and that now is the time that prudent moneybags should get serious and ensure that they are on the upper rungs of the ladder. Tax breaks without delay and unfettered and diligent activity to grab and stash any useful resource they can get before they lose out and end up along with all the traumatised hoi polloi.

              • Gosman

                So what specific policies of the National party in 2008 did you support then?

                From what I can tell the reason you voted National in 2008 was along the lines of ‘ I quite like John Key’. Surely you can’t be that moronic can you?

                Did you not read their policies such as those involving Tax cuts and National Standards?

                Did you not think you were voting for a party who generally supports free market solutions to the problems of Government?

                I find your position truly bizarre if you are really stating you had no idea that National is more right leaning than Labour.

                • ropata

                  sigh. old news gos.
                  people grow older, re-consider ther values, and change their minds.
                  as “labour-lite” the gnats seemed unthreatening. things sure have changed haven’t they?

                  it took a while to recognise, but the ugly reality is that smile and wave johnny boy is a wall st bankster first, a corporate crony second, and a PM last

                  • Gosman

                    I’ll ask again as you seem to be avoiding the question for some reason. If you are having difficulty understanding what I am asking you then let me know which part you don’t understand and I’ll attempt to rephrase it to make it easier fot you.

                    Which policy or aspect of the National party in 2008 meant that you voted for them versus another political party?

                    Simply stating ‘Well they were Labour lite’ doesn’t cut it. What part of their policies that made them lighter than Labour meant they were more attractive than just voting Labour?

                    • ropata

                      you sure are asking a lot of strange and irrelevant questions gos. but to humour you perhaps i was swayed by personality more than policy. i felt that the gnats were more in line with my christian values. This was until i realised 80% of christian values are propaganda from the right wing nuts in America. The Good Book says that helping your neighbour is more important than being a rich asshole

                      merry christmas (for the elite anyway)

                    • Gosman

                      So essentially National didn’t move away from your political view point. Your political viewpoint changed to become more left leaning. That is fine. It happens a lot and both ways. However it is entirely inaccurate to paint the picture as National suddenly changing tack after they got elected to soemthing you didn’t expect. You admitted you had really no idea what you were voting for. More fool you.

                    • ropata

                      more fool the poor voters of NZ. the nats ran a very effective marketing campaign
                      3 years of key adulation in the media, lovely royal photo ops, and not forgetting the RWC

                      plus a few disasters kept people nicely distracted from the ballooning cost of living, the entrenchment of inequality, and the nats fiscal irresponsibility

                    • ropata

                      PS: talking of false pictures … http://keyholes.co.nz/

                      Even Ian Wishart, one time Key supporter has changed his tune, see Daylight Robbery 2012 edition.

                      We need a new Winebox inquiry to bring jkey’s finance sector mates to justice (banks, brash and hujlich for example).

        • seeker

          With any luck Dunne might get the sack for suppressing a really important document/report on alcohol use as mentioned on TV3 last night. His action was disgraceful and probably wilfully negligent. Definitely woefully negligent anyway.

      • In Vino Veritas 4.3.2

        Quite correct Irish. And that is why Labour was held to account in 2008, and again, in an even more spectaclular manner, this year. Labour are being held to account for their actions 1999 – 2008. Democratic accountability, you’ve got to love it.

        • RedLogix

          and again, in an even more spectaclular manner, this year.

          Repeat of the big lie. This government saw it’s majority in the House fall from 69 to 64 (only 61 with UF and ACT) and the proportion of it’s votes fall to a the slimmest of majorities… 50.40%.

          It was nothing like a ‘spectacular win’.

          Democratic accountability, you’ve got to love it.

          In which case you can’t possible object to it being applied mutatis mutandis …can you?

          • In Vino Veritas

            Red, your reading and interpretation of what you read are going to pot. I was referring to Labour’s spectacular demise, not National’s win, and made it quite clear: “Labour was held to account in 2008, and again, in an even more spectaclular manner, this year”

            Try the following:

            Labours Election Results

            Seats Vote %
            2005 50 41.10%
            2008 43 33.99%
            2011 34 27.48%

            Now that’s whats called being held to account, in spectacular fashion. That would be a 47% decrease in seats 05-11 and a 50% decrease in votes 05-11. I believe its called “taking a bath”.

            Your “repeat of a big lie” is just a nonsense smoke screen to try and make an argument unrelated to my post. At this rate, the Green’s will be called upon first to form a Government in 2014 – imagine that, Labour being a secondary party!

            • RedLogix

              Irrelevant FPP thinking.

              I don’t care how the proportion of party votes falls out on the left. For instance it is inevitable that as the Greens do better, then some of that vote will come at the expense of Labour. What matters is which parties can form a government.

              And given that I’m a paid up member of the Greens AND I donate substantially to Labour… I’ve put my money where my mouth is.

        • ropata

          even jkey knows that most kiwis are basically left leaning. the concept of a fair go is still valued.

          that is why labour are making every effort to reconnect with their disenfranchised voter base

          and why national are trying to disenfranchise them even further?

    • Colonial Viper 4.4

      Hey Gosman, you champion of democracy you, let’s get together and petition for a nationwide referendum on asset sales shall we?

      I love democracy as much as you do, and although it might cost $9M or so to run such a referendum that’s only around 0.1% compared to the $5B to $7B the asset sales might bring in.

      Let’s do it!

      • Gosman 4.4.1

        Hey Colonial Viper, how about we put our weight behind a plan to subject all major policies to be decided by referendum? Then we could do away with the need to have politicians and the day to day running of the country can be left in the hands of the Civil service.

        • Colonial Viper

          So you’re for a referendum on Asset Sales! Cool!

          • Gosman

            So you are for puting all key policies up for a referendum and doing away with the concept of parties being elected on a platform to govern in a particular way are you? Quite a radical change away from what we now have don’t you think?

            • prism

              Gosman Keep to the point of the discussion – that of holding a referendum on a vital issue, asset sales – weakening our control over assets that the rest of NZ, not just little you, have funded out of their taxes small or large.

              • Gosman

                So Air NZ was built up by the NZ Government was it? Because I am pretty sure it was nationalised by the Government after originally being privately owned (I’m talking back when it was Union Airways and TEAL). Air NZ as a distinct government owned entity was only established in the 1960’s and was sold off in the late 1980’s so it has had private equity involvement for about half the time it has been in existence. Your irrelevant logic would be like trying to argue that BNZ was built up with taxpayers money and thus should be renationalised. The same applies to the former assets of Petrocorp or a multitude of other commercial enterprises either created by the State or Nationalised at one time or rather. Simply having State involvement in something doesn’t mean that they are somehow the property of the state for all time.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Anything which constitutes core strategic infrastructure necessary for NZ society should be Government owned and operated.

                • RedLogix

                  The answer to your question is interesting.

                  Some things that governments do, nutty libertarian sentiments aside, are clearly state functions for all time, eg, running Parliament, Courts, Police, core Ministries like External Affairs and so on.

                  At the other extreme, as Arnold Nordmeyer famously asked a group of students once, “should the State run corner-dairies?”. Obviously no.

                  So the question is; how do we determine whether an enterprise should be public or private sector? The answer is essentially political.

                  When the Dutch airline KLM failed in the 90’s (IIRC) the Dutch government did not bail it out. Why not? Because Europe is full of airlines and Holland as a nation could function perfectly well without one. It may well have been a blow to their prestige, but one they could cope with.

                  By contrast when Air NZ was on the verge of failing (yet another failed asset sale)… it would have be unacceptable to any NZ government to allow the critical flows of reliable air freight service and tourism routing to have fallen entirely into the hands of Qantas and SAL. Therefore Air NZ was re-nationalised.

                  The pivotal question is; “What happens if this enterprise fails… in any form?”. If the answer is “Who cares”… then it’s a private sector enterprise. If the answer is that ultimately it is the taxpayer who has to carry the risk… then it should have been a taxpayer owned enterprise all along.

                  • Gosman

                    So Fonterra should be nationalised then?

                    That would be great to see the left argue for this. Just seeing so many farmers up in arms at the prospect of a Socialist confiscation of their assets would be wonderful.

                    How about Fletcher Construction? That is pretty big as well and I’m sure someone will miss it if it went belly up. Or perhaps the forestry companies? Yeah, they all need to be nationalised along with the banks and all the transport companies.

                    Why isn’t this Labour party policy again?

                    • ropata

                      Selective amnesia gos?

                      Once upon a time, the BNZ, Telecom, Ministry of Works, Ministry of Energy were publicly owned and operated for the good of the country. BIllions of $ in asset value, skills, and revenue were lost when ACT and National started selling every damn thing that wasn’t nailed down.

                      Only their purpose is mad!

                    • Gosman

                      And once upon a time many of those so called businesses weren’t contibuting to the Government’s coffers but were actively draining them.

                      If State owned enterprises actually worked better than the private sector over the long run the best companies in the world would be largely State owned. The fact that the vast majority of the top companies have aspects of private equity suggests the model is crap. You just need to see many of the problems in Greece to see this.

                    • felix

                      “If State owned enterprises actually worked better than the private sector over the long run the best companies in the world would be largely State owned.”

                      When you say “best companies” I assume you mean the ones that return the most profit to the owners.

                      If so, you haven’t really understood the discussion.

                    • mikesh

                      The banks need to be nationalized since the are part of our infrastructure. However, if Fonterra or Fletchers went belly up, only their respective shareholders would be affected. The rest of us may be affected indirectly, but that’s true of almost any economic activity which fails.

                    • ropata

                      Public assets aren’t supposed to be high flying global corporations gos.

                      They are public utilities built up by generations of taxpayer hard work and sacrifice, for the public good, not a capitalist bonanza.

                    • RedLogix

                      So Fonterra should be nationalised then?

                      If the government of the day would be politically compelled to either bail Fonterra out or buy them up, then the answer is yes. Because ultimately in this case it is the taxpayer who is taking the risk. Any other scenario is essentially a recipie for privatising profit and socialising the losses.

                      If the answer is no… then it can remain happily the socialist co-operative it is, but given the history of the farming lobby to immediately apply for government assistance the moment any of them get into enough trouble due to droughts, floods, disease etc… then I’d be not surprised if they suceeded in persuading a National govt to bail them out.

                      All your other examples are interesting, but I’d guess that most governments would allow them to fail. By contrast the moment the lights went out… any government would be under immediate pressure to rescue a power company.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      How about Fletcher Construction? That is pretty big as well and I’m sure someone will miss it if it went belly up. Or perhaps the forestry companies?

                      Fletcher Construction can be folded back into a renewed Ministry of Works if needed, especially the components critical to rebuilding Christchurch.

                      And most of NZ’s major pine forests were planted by the Government in the first place so retaking them is no biggie.

    • Half Crown Millionare 4.5

      The only reason why that self seeking prick said that was, he read the the election results right and knew he would get his fat arse on a cabinet seat if National won. If labour were leading in the polls before the election he would have said exactly the same thing about labour. And he did say he was against Asset sales, and if I remember rightly after the election he said” I am against assets sales, but can compromise if need be” Yeah right. The pricks main concern was getting back in Keys cabinet

    • Lanthanide 4.6

      “You just can’t accept that more people voted for the National party than the left. ”

      Actually more people voted against National than for them.

      Nevermind all the people who didn’t vote at all.

      • Gosman 4.6.1

        People who don’t vote don’t get to directly influence government policies under our system. If they wanted their opinion to matter then they should have voted.

        You missed the bit where I stated that National got more support than the left. You can hardly claim that the left of the political spectrum includes ACT, NZ First, United Future, and the Conservatives and be expected to be regarded as a rational human being. That is not stating you won’t do it though.

      • In Vino Veritas 4.6.2

        And Lanth, a significantly higher number of people voted against Labour, so their policies and ideas have been rejected even more forcefully than Nationals.

    • Ianupnorth 4.7

      One word for the Trollmeister that is Gossy


      Was that true democracy?

      • Gosman 4.7.1

        It is a factor of our MMP electoral system and is no different to other agreements made in the past by a multitude of parties. I seem to remember Labour had some sort of unspoken agreement in relation to Jim Anderton’s electorate. Are these things only an issue if they involve the right?

        • Puddleglum

          Speaking as someone who has lived in the Wigram and – previously – Sydenham electorates for most of the years between 1969 and the present, I can say that, from the perspective of a voter, no accommodation occurred, either spoken or unspoken.

          Anderton won Sydenham for Labour, won it when he formed New Labour, entrenched his majority and, so far as I could tell, Labour continued to field candidates and campaigned in much the same way as they did in other electorates where they thought they had only a slim chance of winning. 

          But you may have some inside knowledge? 

        • Lanthanide

          As Puddlegum states, there is no evidence that any deal was done between Labour and Jim Anderton at any election in Wigram.

          On the contrary, National and ACT have had numerous cups of tea and John Banks was even out campaigning for the John Key led government.

          Jim Anderton won his seat on his own personal merits. John Banks did not. Rodney Hide didn’t really either. Richard Prebble did not.

        • mikesh

          The Wigram voters voted for for someone they wanted. The Epsom voters held their noses while they voted.

      • In Vino Veritas 4.7.2

        And Ian, you could add the following words:

        “MAORI SEATS”

        Are they true democracy?

        • ropata

          yes we have certain democratic traditions unique to this country.
          we don’t blindly follow the example of westminster, thank God

  5. Spratwax 5

    Everyone knows Dunne is a carreer politician- he’s been there since 1984, so he’s a survivor. He will do anything to keep his job. If that means contradicting himself then so be it. If that means pleas*ing John Key then it’s a Dunne deal.

    • Hami Shearlie 5.1

      And people talked about Winston Peters wanting the baubles of power! Dunne and the MP are just as bad, probably worse, yet no-one says it about them!

  6. Dunne and United Future have been entirely consistent pre-election and post-election on asset sales.

    a) no party policy to sell assets
    b) bottom lines on not selling specific assets or more than 49%
    c) recognise the right of the best supported party and major partner in a coalition to progress it’s key policies

    This was all very clear during the campaign to anyone who wanted to take any notice.

    We’re now seeing the beginnings of a new campaign by minority parties – one with not much more than half the votes, the other with less than a quarter the votes of the leading party – to impose their ideology by any means.

    • Gosman 6.1

      Seems pretty clear to everyone except the hard core lefties who have a problem with the National party winning the right to form a governement and implementing it’s policy programme after democratic elections. It seems many lefties like democracy unless it produced an outcome they dislike. Then they want to change the system such as what Colonial Viper is suggesting with regard to subjecting key policies to referendum.

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        The problem for you Gosman is that National was only just able to form a government. The centre-right vote is just 51%… and far less than that if you include all those who didn’t bother to vote because the right-wing media told them the result was a foregone conclusion. That is a very, very thin excuse for a ‘mandate’.

        Worse still the pollsters have told us that a large majority of New Zealanders don’t like the asset sales policy. That undermines your ‘mandate’ even further.

        This is politics Gosman; the Opposition’s job is to challenge the Government of the day … and on this issue we believe National’s position is weak and we have every reason to speak up on it.

        • Pete George

          What level of ‘mandate’ should a government have before it proceeds with any of it’s policies?

          Worse still the pollsters have told us that a large majority of New Zealanders don’t like the asset sales policy.

          Can you point to polls that tell us that ” a large majority of New Zealanders don’t like” the National asset policy?

          • Puddleglum

            “What level of ‘mandate’ should a government have before it proceeds with any of it’s policies?”

            I guess that depends upon whether such a government sees itself as a centrist, moderate, get the population on side kind of government or a radical government intent on pursuing its policies with the slimmest margin of power it has under its control.

            I suppose we now see clearly that John Key is not a moderate, centrist and, instead, is happy to push ahead despite the clear divisions over asset sales in the population. This seems odd since, in the first term and during the campaign, ‘listening to New Zealanders’ seemed to be something Key claimed he did. Should I have not believed him?

            Also, on the question of asset sales the parties line up in interesting ways. Positively for asset sales we have National and Act. Indifferent to asset sales (ignoring the labyrinthine and evasive statements) we have UF. 

            Against, we have Labour, the Greens, NZF, Maori Party and the Conservatives.

            When it comes to asset sales, is their a popular mandate – assuming the word ‘mandate’ means something more than ‘the structural power’? 

        • Gosman

          Did you see Pete George’s reply detailing UF position on Asset sales?

          What part of National planned programme of Asset Sales was UF not supportive of prior to the election?

        • Colonial Viper

          The centre-right vote is just 51%…

          Hmmm. In fact, less than 50% of valid votes cast were for pro-asset sales parties. National plus ACT doesn’t even go near to crossing 50% of valid votes cast.

    • vto 6.2

      ” recognise the right of the best supported party and major partner in a coalition to progress it’s key policies”

      ha ha ha, that’s the second time you have said that. All that statement is is a big easy out for Dunne and his malleable morality.

      It means “we will bend over and shine our arse to the sun for whoever needs us – don’t worry, we have no bounds and we can flex and bend and wobble wherever one desires”.

      Such a strong useful positive contribution to our nation Pete G – well done.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.1

        It reminds me of working in central Wellington and being accosted by transvestite prostitutes on the way home. United Future, the Party that pays for its own lubricant.

    • Campbell Larsen 6.3

      (a) ‘no policy’ is just meaningless weasel words
      (b) ‘bottom lines’ totally contradicted by (c)
      (c) merely affirms UF’s true role as Nationals lapdog.

      Have they got you on some sort of apologist retainer Pete? I hope so for your sake.

      • Pete George 6.3.1

        ‘No policy’ is not meaningless, it’s a simple fact.

        UF didn’t have a policy on lifting 100,000 children out of poverty, but the party will still work on poverty issues. Etc etc.

        • fender

          Are you sure you have the time to spin on this site Pete? Don’t you and Dunne have another hole to dig, theres bound to be results of another study that need burying somewhere, like the alcohol one your Dunne tried to suppress.
          UF is a joke party. Dunne will sell everything to keep his comfortable chair.

        • Puddleglum

          UF didn’t have a policy on lifting 100,000 children out of poverty

          Now that’s a glaring omission – or is that ‘admission’? 

          Revealing, either way. 

    • Galeandra 6.4

      Lord Haw haw.

      • uke 6.4.1

        Right on.
        The privatisers and their apologists (and all those who voted for them) are basically traitors. Nothing less. Willing to sell out NZ’s sovereign independence and for what. To keep their unsustainable “lifestyle” going a bit longer while the world burns.

  7. Hilary 7

    With the news of the suppression by Dunne of an important report on attitudes to alcohol, I suspect he will not have an easy ride this term.

    • Galeandra 7.1

      He isn’t riding, he being ridden. Just a hack for the Tory huntsmen.

    • RedLogix 7.2

      Indeed. Ohariu-Belmont is a somewhat unusual electorate; a high educational and income profile… and a large number of active churches with a “middle of the road” flavour. Many are civil-servants, IT types, generally well connected into their communities and contribute actively to them.

      The abuse of alcohol is by and large an anathema to them. It concerns them both personally as families, and as a society they worry about what they see as a rising tide of bad consequences arising from it. This is an issue they are concious of.

      If Dunne really has mis-handled this report.. then the fallout will not be forgotten.

    • Chris Oden 7.3

      I am sure that john key will be able to make it all go away.

  8. ianmac 8

    Some clever person could track down the video of the Leaders Debate and extract Dunne’s comment on Asset Sales. That could be embarrassing for Mr Dunne, and even critical.

    • seeker 8.1

      Am trying Ianmac. Taking me ages to go through my untitled(stupid me ) recordings of everything election 2011, including news clips and items of interest. Who would have thought I would have needed Dunne and his little cartoons. Were they not on the Standard?

      • seeker 8.1.1

        I think this may be what you are looking for Ianmac.
        I think it contains a Dunne ‘assets statement,’ but I can’t hear it as I have no speakers and my headphones are broken. It is the Multi -Party debate on one news election2011.

  9. seeker 9

    Wow how did that happen ?

  10. RedBaron 10

    If a referendum on asset sales is only $9M then we should go for it. That is small change compared to the amount that has already been paid to the Merchant Bankers to “ready it for sale” $101M wasn’t it? Actually, if the government had instigated a referendum then us taxpayers will be ahead by $90M.

    As for Peter Dunne and his so-called family policies – if he really belived in them then why does he spend his time cuddled up to the party that spends it’s time bashing single parents.
    Whether or not he likes it, these are the parents doing the work of childcare, taking the huge lifetime financial hit of being that parent, and all too frquently removing children from violent situations.

    So what is his policy here, he’s goimg to take money from them and make them even more dependent on the state. Perhaps he should spend his time chasing up the do nothing, pay nothing parents.

    • seeker 10.1

      All good points RedBaron . Is some one going to organise a referendum? Jeannette Fitzsimons was saying she would help somewhere, but I can’t remember where.

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  • Prime Minister's Speech to NZIIA Annual Conference
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