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The political year ahead

Written By: - Date published: 8:02 am, January 9th, 2012 - 173 comments
Categories: Politics - Tags:

Here’s a few guesses about what’ll happen in the year ahead in politics. Shearer will cement his leadership by turning his back on the old guard who put him there. The Greens will hold on to their gains. National will go hell for leather. Mana will build as the Maori Party dies. Asset sales and the economy will be the big issues – can the Left win the framing?

Labour: I reckon Shearer will grow in his role and be secure as leader by the end of the year. Sure, I thought Cunliffe would be the better leader. And Shearer was put in the leadership by the failed old guard with the idea that Robertson would replace him is he didn’t fire. But he’ll surprise them by being his own man and not rewarding them for their loyalty (these are the strategic geniuses who led Labour to its worst result in over 80 years, remember). Getting good advice and cutting out the old guard will ensure Labour climbs in the polls, and that’s, ultimately, what will make Shearer’s position safe. It might piss off some people who fight politics very dirty but what are they going to do? Launch a coup against a successful leader and fail? Nah. Shearer will go through Labour’s internal polls, ditch the policies that both aren’t core Labour values and are vote losers, re-focus on job creation policies, and have Labour into the mid-30s by year’s end.

Greens: The days when the Greens were an activists’ party are been and gone. The Realos and Fundis went head to head and, as with the German Greens in the 90s, the Realos won. The result is that middle-class, relatively conservative people, now feel they can trust the Greens and they sucked up huge numbers of their votes, which otherwise would have gone to Labour. Undoubtedly a successful strategy, at least in the short-term. But now the challenge is to stay above 10%. With the activist base disillusioned and looking for a new home in Mana and no safe electorate to fall back on, the Greens are one bad campaign from annihilation. I don’t reckon that will happen (despite National’s continued efforts to eliminate Labour’s natural support partner) but it’s a strategic risk if things don’t go well. Meanwhile, the Greens can justly celebrate unparalleled success and the power that comes with it, while preparing themselves for a much higher level of scrutiny of their ideas in the press. I reckon their intake of bright young things is up for it in a way that the previous generation wasn’t.

National: Any government, but especially one that has been elected by de-emphasising its own policies, faces a choice: go softly softly, maintain the public’s confidence and aim for another term, or throw caution to the wind and get everything you can through before the plebs vote you out. National went with option 1 last term. The closeness of this election (a 1 seat majority for asset sales, the Nat-ACT-UF-Maori Party bloc reduced from 69 to 64) and the rising threats of Shearer and the ailing economy will tell National that they will be hard-pressed to win another term even if they do run a softly softly government. So, they’ll go the whole hog. We’ve already seen the intent in the Nats’ arrogant  announcements and actions in the last month – most notably Key claiming a mandate for asset sales because 48.98% of voters voted for a party that supported them, and ignoring the polls that show half his own supporters don’t want to flog off the family silver. It’ll be full steam ahead with asset sales, welfare cuts, and attacks on your work rights this year. The tempo will only increase when the Budget shows getting back into surplus by 2014/15 is not going to happen (if it doesn’t show that, we should ask where Treasury’s getting their weed, because it’s clearly good stuff). The economy will continue to suck and National will find excuse-making doesn’t cut it in the second term.

Others: The Maori Party will continue to decline. Sharples will be replaced by Flavell, who has none of his charm or mana. Turia’s health isn’t getting better. Dunne will try to keep his head down – will Chavuel work harder and make everything the government does an embarrassment for Dunne in Ohariu? Winston will still not listen to any advice and will be back in slugging matches with journos, which will mean poor coverage, hurting his polling but he has an important 8 votes in this Parliament, and he’ll use them to maximum effect. Mana will build its organisation, taking up more of the Greens’ activists. There is a place for a fringe Left group. With Davis leaving politics, Hone is safe and Mana can look forward to picking up more seats in 2014. ACT will be a sad joke waiting for the final punch-line. The Conservatives will wisely decline a merger and will stick around to take 3-4% off National in 2014, but not get into Parliament because National’s not willing to give them Rodney.

Anti-asset sales campaign
: Russel Norman, in his address in reply speech, said that the Greens are talking with people about getting up a petition for a citizens’-initiated referendum on asset sales. I reckon that’s a goer. Unite managed to get 200,000 signatures with their half-arsed, go-it-alone $15 minimum wage petition. If the Left is smart enough to get together, set up a dedicated group and give it some funding, then getting the 300,000-odd signatures required should be possible. They managed a similar success with the MMP campaign, after all. What a thorn in the government’s side that would be. Any claims to a mandate for asset sales would be met with ‘if you think Kiwis want asset sales, lets have a vote on it’. If the Nats are going to go hard this term, let the Left come back at them hard and undermine the case for their flagship policy at every turn. With any luck, it might at least delay some of the sales, or get Peter Dunne (any campaign worth its salt would make a point of targeting him) to jump ship to protect his seat.

173 comments on “The political year ahead ”

  1. Gosman 1

    I keep asking this question but noone seems to be willing to answer it.

    If National does not have a mandate for Asset sales then what policies that they campaigned on in the last election DO they have a mandate for?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      National has a mandate to govern. If they govern in their usual sloppy and incompetent manner they will lose the mandate. If they want to be absolutely sure they lose the mandate at the earliest possible opportunity they will pursue a policy of asset sales.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        No. Governments win mandates to enact policies not just to govern. If you simply wanted a competent administration you should do away with the idea of elections and just allow a elite group of highly educated civil servants manage the levers of government.

        I will ask again – What POLICIES do National have the mandate to implement?

        • Blighty

          the ones where the public hasn’t expressed overwhelming opposition.

          Now, I’m struggling to think what they are too – because they released so little policy.

          Soft compulsion for Kiwisaver?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Citation please. Or to put it another way: you can say it as many times as you like but that won’t make it true. If you want to support your assertion with facts or an argument that would be refreshing.

          My reasoning is as follows: voters elect on the basis of many factors. One of these factors is the overall policy package being presented, as they perceive it, in contrast to the other alternatives. Another factor in this election that political opinion writers have alleged is “one term isn’t enough – give ’em another three years”. Another is because John Key has nice teeth.

          Another is because they didn’t like the idea of getting taxed on the capital gains from their family home (despite the fact that no-one was proposing it), etc etc.

          So the idea that any particular policy is mandated by an election win simply fails the reality test.

          Zorr (below) puts it well by saying “Only the Right feels the need to claim a mandate for their unpopular policies rather than actually consulting the electorate and experts as to what would be the best course of action for all involved.”

          I’m not sure he’s correct that “Only the Right” do this, but the rest is spot on.

        • Fotran

          National have a mandate to do what it publically stated prior to the election.
          Until 2014 the country will have to grin and bear what they do not like, at that time with a Labour/Greenpeace coalition, these assets can be fully renationalised.

        • Puddleglum

          Hi Gosman,

          My understanding is that no party in a parliamentary democracy has a ‘mandate’ for any policy.

          They have a mandate, if they control a majority of seats in the house, to pursue the implementation of their manifesto. 

          Think about it. If a party won a mandate for a policy then that policy – presumably – would, via the appropriate protocols, be straight-forwardly and automatically enacted. An election would provide the requisite mandate for such automatic lawmaking, if you are correct.

          That would be a policy implementation process as automatic as the installation of a new government that gained an electoral mandate to govern. However, while governments – in our system – are installed pro-forma after an election which provides them with a mandate to govern, policies, for some reason, aren’t.

          That we have a parliament with the opportunity for debate, discussion, argument, etc. and common law rights of civil protest, petition and the like suggests that a policy only ever has a ‘mandate’ if it gets through all of those processes successfully. With particularly crucial or controversial policies the idea of a referendum to provide a direct test of the mandate on that issue is quite common.

          Right at the moment, in fact, David Cameron has pushed for just such a referendum to decide the question of Scottish independence.

          In the finer details of that issue, Salmond is claiming a mandate for a 2014 referendum, since he ran in the election on that policy – Cameron is arguing that the referendum needs to be earlier, presumably on the assumption that Salmond does not have a cast iron mandate for 2014.

          That is, Cameron is presumably arguing that, given that polls show only about 32% support for independence, Salmond did not get a mandate to put the referendum when he wanted to. (There are also, apparently, uncertain legal aspects to this particular issue.)

          Here’s another question for you. When does a political party NOT have a mandate to implement a policy? (How about, ‘When it doesn’t mention it prior to an election???). Should entirely different processes be pursued in those cases?

    • RedBlooded 1.2

      I think they have a mandate “For a Brighter Future” I didn’t see them campaign on any other policies. That and the Nice Mr Key. By the way, How’s the Brighter Future working out for you?

    • mikesh 1.3

      The narrowness of their majority suggests that they do not have a mandate for anything. It would be appropriate, I think, to put up what they hope will be an attractive programme and then call a snap election. They are essentially a “caretaker” government and, by convention, a caretaker government doesn’t initiate changes.

    • Pascal's bookie 1.4

      National are in a coalition government Gos.

      That is because they failed to win a mandate to govern on their own.

    • Tombstone 1.5

      None. People voted for Brand Key not the policies.

    • McFlock 1.6

      They “have a mandate” to smile, wave, make tut-tutting sounds when bad things happen, on occasion yell the same not-very-funny-joke twenty times like the town drunkard, and that’s about it. Those were, after all, 99% of their campaign platforms. 

    • prism 1.7

      Why don’t you do your own research? Or are you cunningly asking qustions you already know the answer to?

    • The NACTMP gov has a mandate to govern and pass whatever it wants by a majority of votes. But this is a GERRYMANDATE created by the NACTS gerrymandering Epsom and ChCh central, buying the Iwi Leaders Forum Party and buying the election due to its control of the media which broadcast and spread its lies that assets had to be stripped to pay back nasty debt (incurred by NACTs thru tax cuts for the rich) but that’s all right they would become owned (and therefore fulfil an assssssssssssssssssspiration in the property owning kleptocracy of Godsown) by your average joker and jokette (already stripped down to their togs by finance fraudsters) and kept in NZ, and therefore out of foreigners hands (haha most NZ super rich assets strippers live offshore and I don’t mean Great Mercury Island) and that hang on, the proceeds wouldnt be used to pay back nasty debt after all because that lie was a mistake, but used to fund schools and hospitals, especially the nice Charter kind that we charter from the private sector to teach freedom and stuff, so that everything in the garden is now lovely and pppeachy cream (well anyway that’s what my copy of the NZHerald says as I use it to soak up the catpiss.)

  2. RedLogix 2

    Maybe this HoS editorial is the kind of answer you are looking for?

    All this becomes particularly significant given the Government’s plan to sell off part of the three remaining power companies, starting with Mighty River Power, probably in the third quarter of the year. The Prime Minister, who prefers the anodyne “partial privatisation model” to the more tarnished terminology “asset sales”, claims the election result was a mandate for this plan, despite several scientific polls that show between 65 and 75 per cent of New Zealanders were opposed to the sale plans.

    This is nonsense. The Government has the thinnest of majorities and John Key cannot know what proportion of National support was from voters prepared to back the party despite rather than because of its asset-sales policy.

    Does that help?

    • Gosman 2.1

      No because it singularly failed to answer the question I asked.

      • RedLogix 2.1.1

        Yes it has.

        It clearly points out that solid polling shows a majority of New Zealanders oppossed asset sales. You cannot ignore that point.

        It also shows that a razor thin majority (it was hardly a landslide win for National) while technically giving them power, scarcely constitutes a mandate in the wider sense of the word.

        You are taking the word ‘mandate’ to mean “enough seats in the House to form a government”, whereas it also has a broader definition; “a majority of support from the nation as a whole”. The first is a largely technical definition of the word and suffices for ordinary work of Parliament and government.

        The latter definition is however the essence of democracy, something which governments ignore at their ultimate peril. As Labour did during the S59 Reform debate, or National more recently when it proposed mining high value Conservation estate.

        • Gosman

          Opinion Polling is largely irrelevant when it comes to determining who forms the Government. In this equation the only poll that matters is the election.

          In both your examples National and Labour did not specifically campaign, (as far as I can remember), on repealling S59 and mining the conservation estate so they are not valid comparisons. Another example similar to this would be the Charter schools idea. I have no problem with people claiming the National led government doesn’t have a mandate to implement this idea as even ACT’s policies in this area was vague.

          You have heard the term expending political capital haven’t you? This is where you leverage your popularity to push through policies which might not be as popular as the general support for you is. It is all part of the democratic political process and is essentially what National has done with the partial sale of certain SOE’s.

          • RedLogix

            Again as the HoS article points out, there is no way of knowing what portion of people who voted for National did so despite their opposition to asset sales.

            Logically if the election had been a poll on people’s position on asset sales, and nothing else, then National would have lost resoundingly.

            And the term ‘expending political capital’ is just a fancy term for ‘doing what we damn well please because the system lets us get away with it.’

            Besides if National want to spend their ‘political capital’ on such mendacious grounds … then the left has every incentive to make them pay the highest possible price.

      • mik e 2.1.2

        gooseman if national enact unpopular and poor policy as they have done in the past the voters will dispose of them at the next election.
        Thats why the assets are slowly being sold off to allow National to change their minds if it is a failure as most other policies have been a complete failure hence what should have been a landslide for national ended being a one vote majority hardly a resounding endorsement.

    • aj 2.2

      but when significant numbers of people can’t afford to turn the heater on in winter, the free market is not working any more.

      From that same editorial – the free market will be working alright, because that’s the natural consequence of unfettered capitalism

  3. Zorr 3

    They have a mandate to be “not Labour/Greens/Mana/NZF”. Only the Right feels the need to claim a mandate for their unpopular policies rather than actually consulting the electorate and experts as to what would be the best course of action for all involved.

    • Gosman 3.1

      Answer the question.

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        There have been multiple answers that logically explain why they don’t have a mandate for asset sales. You’ve just arbitrarily decided that they aren’t good enough.

        • Gosman

          I didn’t ask about partial sell down in equity in certain SOE’s. I asked about what other policies they do have a mandate for. Try and keep up. There have been a couple of interesting answers so far ranging from that this is a caretaker government so they don’t have a mandate for anything, (wishful thinking me thinks), to the fact that elections provide a mandate to pursue their manifesto but not for individual policies. I kind of like this last one. National has a mandate to pursue it’s manifesto promises and it has the numbers in the house to enact this legislation. It is the job of any loyal opposition to oppose them and point out where they fail to deliver on promised benefits and I have no problem with that.

          • Descendant Of Smith

            There is a clear separation of power in this country.

            The only thing the government has a mandate for is to form and then to introduce legislation.

            Parliament has the power to pass legislation not the executive.

            Parliament then has processes such as select committees and the debating chamber to try and ensure that legislation is subject to both public and parliamentary submission and discussion and modification and amendment. To ensure that the interests of not just the majority but also the minority are taken into account.

            So therein lies national’s mandate.

            They as a political party don’t actually have the power to do anything directly.

            Given the opposition, even within their own party to asset sales (whether partial or full), it would seem to me that it would be a travesty if this government continued to abuse urgency – like last time – and not seek further public submission through select committee processes.

            What’s the bet they don’t do it though.

            Here this from parliaments own website:

            The legislative process

            “The law is the framework within which citizens consent to be governed. Democratic theory is that having elected their lawmakers (legislators), citizens recognise the legitimacy of the laws made on their behalf by the lawmakers and consent to abide by those laws.

            Parliament legislates by examining bills (proposed laws), making amendments, and agreeing their final form. The bills then become Acts of Parliament. Several steps are built into this process to ensure bills can be rigorously tested.”

            This is pretty basic democratic process. So will we see parliament examining the merits or otherwise of the legislation needed, will we see public submissions, will we see rigorous testing.

            Key’s line that he has a mandate to sell anything is just crap. It requires legislative change and the government does not have that power.

            • seeker

              “The only thing the government has a mandate for is to form and then to introduce legislation.”

              Exactly Descendant of Smith. I tried to argue this with the ombudsman two days before the last election. He said that if I wanted to sell assets vote National and if I didn’t then vote Labour! How simplistic!

              I tried to explain that voting for a party and voting for an electorate MP, which I had waited three years to do, was not the same as saying that I wanted /or didn’t want John Key to sell our electricity companies.I could not say two things at once with one vote. No matter how much crafty John Key said I could.

              I said that we should have had a separate referendum on the sale of assets where what I voted for would count. There was a referendum for MMP (also manipulated by Key, as he never told anyone he was going to do this before the last election as he claimed; he merely told his National Party members apparently,and I had to ring a reporter at TVNZ to find that out.) So why could we not have had one on asset sales?

              When I voted in the Novemer 2011 election, I voted for a party to govern New Zealand and an electorate MP as usual. I voted on their manifestos, or lack of in National’s case. And I voted for MMP on the voting system referendum paper. However,there was nowhere for me to say I did /or did not want electricity assets partially or wholly sold. I felt powerless in that voting booth as regards our assets.

              John Key had sold New Zealand a dummy, and no one picked him up on it. Just because he said that if he won it would give him a ‘mandate’ didn’t mean it could, would or should. It is an old conjuring trick to deflect with a falsity – and while people are focussed on that – as Labour were – sneak what you really want to achieve in under the radar.

              Why didn’t someone in the Labour Ranks, someone with political know how call Key on this? You can’t vote on two things with one tick. I tried to call it out by ringing the ombudsman when I saw the flaw, but I was too late. Sleight of hand had done it again.

              This was definitely shonkey, not democratic, practice. our country should get it’s constitutional act together and not allow our elections to be hi jacked by an opportunist money trader, no matter what Gosman or Chris73 et al say about the matter.

  4. chris73 4

    Its a shame that in a surprisingly well-written piece you couldn’t help but ruin with this:

    “We’ve already seen the intent in the Nats’ arrogant announcements and actions in the last month – most notably Key claiming a mandate for asset sales because 48.98% of voters voted for a party that supported them, and ignoring the polls that show half his own supporters don’t want to flog off the family silver.”

    Are you just ticked off that even under the advantages that MMP offers the left that National are still in power?

    Mystified that even though John Key said they would sell upto 49% of shares of various SOEs before the election that they still got elected?

    Or just think that even though National formed a government they shouldn’t be allowed to do anything?

    Or just a poor loser?

    • millsy 4.1

      So you support the private ownership of essential infrastructure,and you are prepared for the blackouts and higher power prices that will result.

      • chris73 4.1.1

        I support a partial sell-off where the govt controls the majority share holding. I don’t know if you pay the power bill where you live (I’m assuming you still live at home) but if you do you’ll know that power prices increase no matter who owns the companies.

        You may also want to talk to Auckland about blackouts (you know, the ones that Auckland have already had)

        • Colonial Viper

          Major shareholders have seats on the Board of Directors which means that the Government has limited control.

          When power prices go up NZ gets the benefit, under 49% foreign ownership Australians and Americans will get the benefit.

          Blackouts in Auckland are evidence of long term underinvestment in our electricity infrastructure: privatising our electricity assets will worsen not improve this.

          All in all you suck.

          • burt


            When power prices go up NZ gets the benefit

            WTF… Old and low waged people needing to turn their heaters off so the gummit can pay for ACC advertising to tell us what a great job a monopoly is doing….

            • Colonial Viper

              Its still a monopoly afterwards loser, just a monopoly with money going offshore to foreign investors.

              • lulu

                Hi CV
                Good to see you haven’t given up on me… or given up on your personal based, argument free posts.

                Did you really write: “RWNJs like lulu think that NZ being ripped off of its best assets by local and foreign money men is a good deal for the future of the country”? So many assumptions and so wrong.

                It has been fun and you have confirmed all of my suspicions about you. See you later.

          • lulu

            CV you seem to be a little overexcited today:
            As long as Government has 51% ownership they have control. Not limited control; actual control.
            Your reference to 49% foreign ownership is misleading. 49% is to be sold. I agree some of that may fall to foreign owners but your reference to “49% foreign control” creates quite a different impression.
            As far as infrastructure in electricity assets is concerned billions are being spent on the national grid. The level of spending by local lines companies is governed by part 4 of the Commerce Act. None of this is affected by the proposed partial privatisation. Currently we have a projected surplus generating capacity. It remains to be seen whether this becomes a more narrow margin under partial privatisation.
            Your personal comment seems a little out of place on The Standard.

            • Jum


              If the four main default Kiwisaver providers which happen to be the Australian owned banks buy shares in the power SOEs, does that mean the shares are foreign owned or NZ owned?

              If you say the shares of Kiwisaver are NZ owned can the bank providers on-sell to foreign investors one day after buying them?

            • McFlock

              As long as Government has 51% ownership they have control. 

              Incorrect. As long as the government has 100% the directors are permitted, when directed, to work in the wider interests of the government. As soon as the government sells one share, the directors are obliged to work strictly in the local interests of the company (including maximising profits), regardless of the wishes of the NZ government.

              • As long as the government has 100% the directors are permitted, when directed, to work in the wider interests of the government. As soon as the government sells one share, the directors are obliged to work strictly in the local interests of the company (including maximising profits), regardless of the wishes of the NZ government.
                Good concise summary McFlock and I wish that a few others (eg Petey boy) would read this and understand.  Partial share sales has a fundamental effect on Governance of the entity and makes the sollar supreme and not Government policy.  If only some would understand this we would not have these continuously inane discussions occurring.

                • McFlock

                  qstf would be finicky about that summary, but in the end it’s pretty much the case.

            • Puddleglum

              lulu, I follow your argument but there’s problems with it.

              Shareholders have certain rights. They can vote at AGMs, they can trade shares, they can make use of relevant legislation that protect those rights. That all means that they have some power. Either that or it’s all a charade.

              Now, as I understand the government’s logic and that used by some economists, one advantage of shareholding is to introduce further degrees of market discipline.

              This is because if the entity pursues a strategy that shareholders dislike then they have the option to trade away their shares. Typically, this would mean selling shares at lower prices to ‘get out’ of the entity. Commercial strictions mean that low share prices are usually not liked by boards of directors.

              Because of this form of shareholder ‘market discipline’ being introduced, the largest ‘controlling’ shareholder actually has less power to pursue policies that it alone prefers. It has to compromise (this is a natural consequence of foregoing power – as we see with MMP coalitions).

              So selling 49% of the shares is a reduction in the power (i.e., sovereignty) of the government when it comes to determining energy policies (in this case) and how they are to be enacted. The government therefore has less control than previously. It has lost some control – that is, it has not ‘maintained control’ as you and others seem to be suggesting. Things will not be the same in terms of decision making power.

              Unless, of course, all this talk of how markets work their magic and dissipate decision making power among economic actors is wrong. 

              • lulu

                I am happy to concede that I was not precise on some points of governance.
                When it comes to a vote, the 51% owner has control. That includes appointment of directors. When it comes to a board resolution the 51% doesn’t have full control unless it forces a vote on a particular issue.
                However, this is a really interesting issue. Would Mickey, McFlock and Puddleglum like to comment on whether the partial sell down would disturb the current objective of the entities as provided for in section 4 of the State-Owned Enterprises Act 1986 No 124 (as at 01 May 2011)? Namely:
                4 Principal objective to be successful business
                • (1) The principal objective of every State enterprise shall be to operate as a successful business and, to this end, to be—
                o (a) as profitable and efficient as comparable businesses that are not owned by the Crown; and
                o (b) a good employer; and
                o (c) an organisation that exhibits a sense of social responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when able to do so.
                Would these obligations change and would the directors act differently under partial ownership?

                • McFlock

                  Would these obligations change and would the directors act differently under partial ownership?

                  At a guess, the obligations would not change.
                  The interpretation of the objectives, and therefore the directors’ actions might change, e.g. if the majority shareholder wished to put “community interest” significantly ahead of profits (e.g. by building wagons at hillside rather than buying cheap imnported stock), the directors could be sued by minority shareholders who believe that the “community interest” of the domestic purchase was overvalued and that the directors were therefore not acting in the interests of the company. Similarly infrastructure investment would be delayed in favour of shorter term profits, like we saw with the rail network and the phone network.

                  So current practise would not change, but a government with a brain would not be able to change from the current practise if it was only a majority shareholder, rather than sole owner.


                • The difference is Lulu:

                  1. Being profitable and efficient does not mean sacrificing long term benefits for short term dividend payouts.
                  2. An SOE HAS to be a good employer
                  3. An SOE HAS to exhibit a sense of social responsibility
                  4. Through the SOI process a Minister who knows what he or she is doing can significantly affect an SOE’s long term direction.
                  5. If the directors know what they are doing they will listen hard to Government Policy and make sure they do not frustrate it.

                  • lulu

                    Thank you for a considered response. This is much better than CV’s mindless flailing attacks on people who make points that might not suit his view rather than coherent argument on point.

                    I follow your logic and I agree your points. However you talk as though the Minister in point 4 will use the SOI for positive societal benefits and your director in point 5 will act in support of government policy, again, on the assumption that Government Policy is focussed on positive societal benefit.

                    If you don’t mind me saying this is not a strong argument in favour of retaining 100% ownership of SOES because the Minister can also use the SOI for short term political gain and the directors can also act in support of Government Policy that is intent on short term political gain. 100% ownership SHOULD be good but section 4 of the Act is a double edged sword and the benefit of our SOEs cannot be viewed simply as 100% state ownership good, 51% ownership bad.

                    • McFlock

                      So government control of government assets might be a bad thing?
                      Nobody’s perfect, true, But whether a politician is allowed to use an asset as something other than incremental revenue into the consolidated account is for the electorate to decide, not minority shareholders.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      the benefit of our SOEs cannot be viewed simply as 100% state ownership good, 51% ownership bad.

                      What bullshit, yes it can be viewed that simply and it should be. A tightly run, very profitable SOE in 100% state ownership is good, where profits are returned fully to the people of NZ.

                      That same SOE with 49% foreign control and millions in hard currency profits being exported off to overseas investors, is bad.

                    • RedLogix

                      And given that a large balance of payment deficit is New Zealand’s most chronic structural economic fault….double bad.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      And when one analyses our large balance of payment deficit the primary underlying cause is…corporate expatriation of NZ financial capital to overseas shareholders.

                      RWNJs like lulu think that NZ being ripped off of its best assets by local and foreign money men is a good deal for the future of the country.

                    • mikesh

                      Profit passing into private hands, whether overseas hands or not, is not good when the alternative is that those profits might be used for everybody’s benefit.

        • millsy

          So you do not support any form of public ownership and control of infrastructure?

          • chris73

            I’m only going to answer this if you promise not to mention anything about closing down schools and hospitals

            • millsy

              Well you are on record as wanting to sell off PoA to the Chinese, ban unions and close schools and hospitals to pay for tax cuts.

              • chris73

                Am I? Copy and paste my comments please

                • Jum


                  Do your own dirty work.

                  No wonder you’re not doing well financially – here I’ve cut and pasted this current quote of yours below – in case you can’t remember that either.

                  chris73 …
                  9 January 2012 at 12:51 pm

                  “Actually I don’t have it that good”

                  • chris73


                    I asked him to do that because I haven’t written anything like it, he wants to make stuff up then good on him.

                    • McFlock

                      2 minute search gives banning unions (my emphasis below):

                      Thats one idea, another idea would be to fire everyone and rehire only non-union workers (on their old contracts) and get the port back to working

                    • Jum


                      And now you’ve introduced sex into it, you can fuck off.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      chris73 is really a fifteen year old at heart isn’t he.

        • mikesh

          “power prices increase no matter who owns the companies.”

          It doesn’t have to be that way. If government owns a power company it can choose prices that allow the company merely to break even. Prices which allow it to make a profit are essentially just another tax, since such profits are extracted at the expense of businesses and households.

          • chris73

            But neither Labour or National are willing to do that so its a moot point

            • McFlock

              But neither Labour or National are willing to do that so its a moot point

              At the moment.   Politics change, and if mana and maybe a leftist portion of the greens are coalition partners with labour, labour might not have a choice. Like kiwibank.
              But of course even partial sales remove it as an option. Forever.

            • mikesh

              True. Both parties seem to suffer to some extent from this neo-liberal disease.

        • millsy

          Forgot to tell you that unlike some of the chinless wonders on here I actually work in the electricity supply industry, and I can tell you right now, privatisation/corporatisation has fragmented it beyond belief, with work split up and contracted and subcontracted out to so many different companies its a nightmare finding out who does what, and you have stupid situations where work orders go through 3, 4, 5 different companies before they are done, and network staff turning up to a property and finding that it needs to be reconnected, so they have to get the reconnection contractor out to reconnect the property.

          And dont get me started on the fact the the power meters on your meter board are actually *NOT* owned by your local network company….more fragmentation.

          At least with MERI, MERC/MRP and GENE in public hands, it would be easier to put the whole damn thing back together…

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      Or just a poor loser?

      Don’t you see chris73. Selling off our highest earning assets will make NZ poor, and a loser.

      The top 1% wealth holders will do quite well out of their investment in the power generation assets though as it helps them vacuum up even more funds from the bottom 99%, which is all that is important to you.

      • chris73 4.2.1

        And we’ve seen how well the 99% have done in NZ 😉

        Anyway you are wrong because you’re (and the rest of the nasty lefties) trying to say National are selling off the assetts (like Labour did) whereas National are keeping the majority shareholding (unlike Labour which NZ is still paying for)

        • Colonial Viper

          National is selling off ownership in the assets. You own a whole pie nek minnit half of it is gone. At which point your semantics are irrelevant.

          The 1% are stealing this country and yes, it will get nasty.

          • chris73


            I’d take you more seriously if you didn’t use phrases like nek minnit or the 99%

            Yep they’ll rise up alright…most of the ones I saw in Hagley park look like they’ve never risen before lunch time or made the connection between water and soap

            • Rob

              Be careful, we all know that CV is such a hard arse….

              • chris73

                Yup him and Millsy will be leading the storming of the Bastille

                • Colonial Viper

                  Don’t forget to remind the peasants to eat cake.

                  • chris73

                    I would love to see an uprising lead by the contributors to this site.

                    Firstly the latte liberals would have to organise the time off from their jobs, the young and unemployed would have to make sure they set their alarms (probably not used to getting up early), they’d have to start the protest at the bastion of consumerism (McDonalds and Starbucks, so they can have breakfast and coffee) and not forgetting the stops along the way to fortify themselves with cans of V or Red Bull

                    Bring it on I say, I could use a good laugh

                    • lprent

                      the young and unemployed

                      You mean the 25% or so of the youth who this government prefers to have languishing in unemployment because fuckwits who think with their prejudices (like yourself) are too stupid to understand harmful downstream costs that causes?

                      You give National a effective mandate to do bugger all. The daft thing is that you’ll spend the next 40 years or so whining about the consequences. When the reality is that you and your like are the real problem lies. So busy bashing others that you never actually think about what the consequences are.

                      I saw it in the politics of bene-bashing and structural unemployment that National used in the 90’s. The costs of that were immense and still being paid today.

                      Now the dumbarses are doing it again… Because you let them as you’re too lazy to think.

                    • Jum

                      Chris 73,

                      What are you talking about you childish little emo you?

                      Uprising – are you talking guns. That’s obviously your American-trained parrot Key feeding you those lines. Although, this government is certainly intending to make guns more available to the police and soon after the streets will have them.

                      Jacinda Ardern was right when she said you cannot put the gun-genie back in the bottle.

                      New Zealanders don’t do guns. They show up to protest, with principle. This government doesn’t believe that though – the little scaredy cats are busy building gated communities to keep the other 90% out. The 9% left are still hoping for the crumbs the 1% keep promising them – fools.

        • lprent

          … selling off the assetts (like Labour did) … (unlike Labour which NZ is still paying for)

          FFS: You’re still wanking on about something that probably happened when you were less than 10 years old (it was more than 20 years ago after all – and you do read like a young idiot). Most of the people involved in the assets sales left Labour to form Act or just left Labour. It was in any case one of the few responses that was available to the 4th Labour government from the screwup that was National’s fiscal mismanagement in the 70’s and early 80’s.

          Tell me, how likely is it that you think that the current Labour or Green or Mana MP’s would support any strategic asset sales? For that matter, I even think that the Maori party would have problems with it without considerable bribes to their iwi corp backers.

          Don’t be such an idiot…. If you are actually as ignorant as you seem and don’t understand then simply ask. It is preferable to making up whale dreck like Cameron….

    • Blighty 4.3

      what ‘advantages’ does MMP give the Left? That everyone’s vote counts?

      • chris73 4.3.1

        No, that theres more of an unbrella for lefties to shelter under

        But seriously I don’t know what the big deal is, I mean this is NZ so Labour will probably get in next time and if not then definately the election after that…then National will get another go after two or three more terms etc etc and nothing will really change in the mean time

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    I reckon Winston will play this term better, more calmly, and more effectively than he has any previous term. And it will be very interesting to watch.

  6. Dv 6

    Is it not a little ironic that 49% ownership of soes does NOT give control, BUT 49% in an election give you contoll of the country!!!

    • Gosman 6.1

      That is the nature of the electoral system we operate under.

      Do the opposition political parties have a problem with this system?

      Do they object to National being able to form the Government?

      I have yet to see any comment from them claiming that the system is corrupt and should be changed.

      Is their some sort of grass roots movement outside the political parties calling for a change to the system that is gathering momentum? I have yet to see that.

      Don’t try and tie in the pathetic Occupy crowd. I have seen their puny effort in Wellington and was unimpressed. I was also physically intimidated by two of the crowd who claimed that where they were camped was Maori not Public land.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Gosman you just missed the point. Which is that with even less than 50% of the votes control can be taken.

        I was also physically intimidated by two of the crowd who claimed that where they were camped was Maori not Public land.

        Should’ve stood up for yourself mate. Did you at least tell them that they should be good hard working serfs and serve their better, richer, lords (instead of being loser bludgers)?

        Or did you take the coward’s way out? That sound by the way, are guillotine blades being sharpened.

        • Gosman

          So? Is their mainstream opposition to this occuring? I have yet to see it manifest in any serious way.

        • RedLogix

          And besides no government, regardless of how many seats it has, will find it has a mandate for something the nation finds overwhelmingly abhorrent.

          Gosman is using one definition of the word. Mandate = “A majority of seats in Parliament’ = “The power to do anything we please”. Classic authoritarian thinking.

          The dictionary definition, while succient, is more complex: Mandate = “A command or an authorization given by a political electorate to its representative.”.

          Note carefully, the power in this definition flows from the electorate to the government. This is strongly linked with the concept of The Consent of the Governed.

          “Consent of the governed” is a phrase synonymous with a political theory wherein a government’s legitimacy and moral right to use state power is only justified and legal when derived from the people or society over which that political power is exercised. This theory of “consent” is historically contrasted to the divine right of kings and has often been invoked against the legitimacy of colonialism. Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.”

          Immediately Gosman’s narrow and literal concept is shown to be nothing more than a modern ghost of fuedalism.

          • Gosman

            Actually I asked you what policies they do have a mandate for if not partial sale of equity in certain SOE’s. Other than a rather pathetic attempt by someone here noone has been able to answer this. All we have is you resorting to some sort of sophistry trying to argue that all actions of Government require the consent of the governed. Hardly answering the original question.

            • RedLogix

              Oh that’s easy.

              The Government will go about the business of government as usual. The will put up legislation as they see fit and pass it if they have the numbers.

              But nothing, nothing about this election result says that the Opposition must remain mute.

              What you are really doing is attempting to leverage an election result into a stick with which to silence opposition. Democracy doesn’t work that way.

              • Fotran

                Don’t panic – Winston will lead the charge against every and anything this Parliament. Does not matter what it is, as long as he can lead his way. None of his rabble of followers will be allowed to have any say. It’s HIS party again.

            • Vicky32

              Actually I asked you what policies they do have a mandate for if not partial sale of equity in certain SOE’s

              You have been told often enough, but you don’t like the answers… My answer is “sod all” basically.
              Once again, I’d like to point out, to you and to everyone, that plurals don’t take apostrophes! Marching morons much?

        • Gosman

          So what would your solution to being physically pushed by two large men who threatened more physical violence if you didn’t comply with their wishes then CV? Curious because the left is big on decrying brutality when it is dished out by agents of the right, (and rightly so in my mind), but many are quiet when it comes from the people on the left. This is not the first occurance as well as the Wellington Police informed me when I made a complaint. Also the nature of the protestors in Wellington have led to a split where it is the hard core ones that now predominate there. Seemingly the peaceful protestors have all left.

          • chris73

            Let me help you out, according to the left the end justifies the means so the violence offered to you is ok because it works towards a greater good.

            Also the left “care” about people and are “good” whereas the right only “care” about money and are therefore “bad” so its ok to to do violence on someone on the right because they deserve it for not being as caring as the lefties.

            Hope that helps

          • RedLogix

            Sorry .. but you leap from being ‘threatened’ in some unspecified way, in unspecified circumstances… to demanding that the left decry ‘their brutality’.

            Oh the horror.

          • marty mars

            walk away if you feel intimitated – which you did. Go to the authorities if necessary – which you did. Go and moan about it on a blog – which you did. Seems like you covered all the bases there goss

      • dv 6.1.2

        Still ironic Gos that the control of a country has a lower threshold than control of a company

  7. Olwyn 7

    I think that many people voted for National to maintain the status quo of the past three years, and thus protect the value of middle class incomes and assets in uncertain economic times.

    When you gets down to policy detail however, it gets a little more complicated, since it involves both what National intends to do, and what they claim will result from their doing it. For example, they might have a mandate to sell 49% assets if it is true that the government will retain the same level of control over those assets as they had when they fully owned them, which seems unlikely. They might have a mandate to cut benefits without its having an adverse effect on small businesses, which again seems unlikely. In other words, they may have a mandate for the claimed results, but not the actions themselves where they lead to different results than those claimed.

    • Gosman 7.1

      Therefore the oppositon should hold them to account for the results of the policies if they fail to produce the desired result. However it is a waste of time to state they don’t have a mandate to implement policies they explicitly campaigned on. If they sell more than 49% or if they lose control as you think they will do then the opposition has a good case.

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        The damage of selling state assets will unfurl over the next 5-20 years, just like the damage from the state assets in the late 1980’s has taken that long to really come home to roost.

        It’s somewhat difficult for the opposition to highlight the bad results when the bad results are not yet clearly evident, innit?

        • Olwyn

          If the positive or at least non-negative results of the proposed actions are untrue and known to be untrue by those who intend them, then this raises questions about the mandate itself. If you agree to come to my house to an afternoon party, and you do come to my house, only to find no party, but instead me pressuring you to help me to replace the tiles on my roof, then the condition of your coming (the party) does not hold. The mandate for asset sales, where the foreseen results are different from those stated, seems to me to be similarly undermined.

  8. james 111 8

    Very interested in this comment
    Shearer will go through Labour’s internal polls, ditch the policies that both aren’t core Labour values and are vote losers, re-focus on job creation policies

    Are you then admitting that labour has pissed off its core voters because they have listened to much to the fringe in the party. The hard left (fabian socialists) Who dont strike any accord with their strong base voters.Do you honestly believe the left in the Party are going to give shearer a smooth ride or try and undermine hime where ever they can?
    I predict the greens to get stronger because they have a greater pull on the youth ,and are seen as the modern left wing Party. I believe the left will arrest control from Shearer at the end of 2013 barbecue season ,and put Cunliffe back in.Labour will really struggle with Job creations policies as they have no affinity with building busnesses. They can only think like Trade unionists.
    Winston will be gone next election this will put more votes the way of the right block.

    National will go like Hell the Partial sell down of the Assets will be a great success,and Labour will not be able to use it next election.National will create jobs ,and export dollars in both off shore ,and on shore oil production. As well as jobs coming from more coal mines ,and mineral exploration on shore all things that New Zealand need right now. The World economic recession will continue National will be voted back in because New Zealanders know they need a safe pare of hands. Not a tax, more tax ,and wastefully spend party.

    • millsy 8.1

      So you are opposed to trade unions and more spending of health and education then?

      How many schools and hospitals are you going to close?

      • james 111 8.1.1

        No Millsy not at all I beleive that National has spent more productively on these areas than Labour ,and gained much greater results in Hospitals than Labour ever did in its term in Office. Much more worried byLabours stupid policies like giving Working for families (note the first word is working) or family support to people all ready on the dole. Why would you ever want to work again?

      • chris73 8.1.2

        Seriously? Most of your posts seem to end up about you thinking that schools and hospitals are going to close.

        Maybe you need to get out more, breathe in some fresh air…

        • McFlock

          look at schools and hospitals over the last twenty years.
          Two more schools in my area are being “merged” this year, and they’re not the only ones.

          • higherstandard

            Yet more people are being treated and educated in NZ than ever before.

            What some don’t seem to understand is that it makes no sense to have a hospital and school in every nook and cranny in NZ.

            • Colonial Viper

              Who asked for a hospital in every “nook and cranny”? If you want sense here’s very simple sense, and that is that no New Zealander should have to travel more than two hours to get to world class tertiary medical care.

              Yet more people are being treated and educated in NZ than ever before.

              Wow, a one dimensional absolute measure which ignores the high level of current unmet needs.

              Come on man you’re not this stupid (and neither are we), what have you done with the real HS.

              • higherstandard

                “If you want sense here’s very simple sense, and that is that no New Zealander should have to travel more than two hours to get to world class tertiary medical care.”

                With the exception of Stewart Island and the Chatham’s isn’t that the case in NZ ?

                I think the amount of time you spend moaning and wailing on the interwebs has ruined what remains of you grey matter – I noticed this occurring late last year when you became more attracted to the many ravings of Travelleve and should have warned you then.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Ahhhh mate you can’t even accept that all NZers need access to specialist tertiary care to acceptable standards.

                • Descendant Of Smith

                  Ahh no.

                  When they closed Taumarunui Hospital – partly so Waikato could get it’s hands on the very good medical equipment they had – much funded by the local community and some by the Italians who worked on the hydro scheme. The Italians still maintained an ambulance service from the mountain as well.

                  Plenty of people now had to travel from outlying areas for more than two hours to get to Waikato e.g. hour and a half to Taumarunui then two hours to Hamilton.

                  Some didn’t bother. Taumarunui residents still get crap from staff at Waikato e.g. why are you still loving in that hole, often turn up expecting one thing e.g. we’ll go through your medical notes, explain what has happened, what the prognosis is, what options you have, talk to the specialist – often turns into a short chat with no notes or specialist evident.

                  They also surveyed the people of Taupo and claimed that they wished to be serviced by a larger hospital like Waikato rather than Taumarunui.

                  When the hospital was pretty much closed down someone found the survey results in a drawer and discovered that the results were the opposite of what was claimed.

                  Taumarunui Hospital at the time never went over budget and in the off season spare capacity was used to to do hip replacement operations from around the NI.

                  • higherstandard

                    There is no point having a hospital in a place such as Taumaranui when there is a base hospital in hamilton where a full and more safe service can be offered.

                    What Taumaranui does arguably need is an emergency care triage staffed by local primary care providers.

                    • Descendant Of Smith

                      Taumarunui btw.

                      1. Nowhere in the public domain at the time were any concerns raised about the safety of patients for a range of medical interventions, including plastic surgery and hip replacement operations
                      2. The hospital at the time was going through NSW accreditation to be permitted to also take paying patients (it was generally accepted that there was some spare capacity outside the ski season which is why they successfully did hip replacement operations from elsewhere around the country
                      3. Some of the equipment was better than Waikato’s and they had some excellent surgeons who like living there. Some actually went overseas rather than work at Waikato.
                      4. The number of people who now have to go to Waikato hospital which continually appears understaffed and over-worked, often to be treated like crap as opposed to the good service they used to get locally would totally disagree with you. Moving much of the local work to Waikato has not resulted in efficiencies – it has helped clog Waikato up – and the cost is borne by that community
                      5. Even simple services such as pallative care are now shit cause the lazy staff from Waikato don’t like traveling there and drop people off their visits as soon as they can.

                      What they need is their local hospital with local people who understand the health needs of the local community back.

                      What they need is services provided by a competent hospital and not offloaded to semi-competent community groups who are poorly monitored and not held accountable.

                      If somehow you think the quality of healthcare has improved for that community and that they are medically better off – you’re full of shit.

                      The service is significantly less and more people die without adequate healthcare than when they did have a full fledged hospital.

                • RedLogix

                  +1 to DoS comment above.

                  In the 1990’s the Masterton Hospital was threatened with closure and the response was remarkable:

                  A wonderful example of the Wairarapa facing a perceived threat that motivated pretty much the whole community to react, was in the early 1990s when it was perceived that the Masterton and Greytown Hospitals were threatened with closure. 22,000 people were reported to have linked arms to circle their hospitals, to place their arms around, so as to signify to the Government the community’s level of opposition and dismay. The perceived threat was personal because closure had the potential to affect ‘me’, that is, essential health services would not be available.


                  The whole document is an interesting read.

                  Higherstandard is being very selective when he measures travel times in terms of emergency admissions only. The vast majority of visits to a hospital are non-urgent A&E, outpatient clinics, or patient visitors and the like.

                  For much of last year my partner and I had to manage my father in a hospital 8 hours drive away… and it was a royal pain in the arse. We only managed it because I’m fortunate we have no dependent children, my partner is self-employed and my employer is pretty reasonable. Most people wouldn’t be nearly as fortunate.

                  • higherstandard

                    Um why on earth do you need to present to hospital for non-urgent A&E first port of call should be your primary care provider.

                    The example you provide in relation to your father is odd – why did you/he have to travel eight hours ?

                    • McFlock

                      Well, the last time my ankle went I spend 3 hours waiting at my GP who then referred me to A&E because he doesn’t have xrays, kickass drugs and consultants onsite to confirm the diagnosis. 

                    • higherstandard

                      Oh dear, sounds a pretty poor GP.

                      Most primary care providers will provide pain relief fairly quickly from the medicines on hand – if possible I’d recommend signing on with an alternative GP.

                      Unless of course this GP has a history of patients presenting with false ailments drug seeking in which case their response is understandable.

                    • RedLogix

                      Um why on earth do you need to present to hospital for non-urgent A&E first port of call should be your primary care provider.

                      Again the vast majority of people presenting at A&E are not trauma patients arriving in an ambulance in a life and death situation. Often they’ve been sent their by their GP, or it’s the kind of non life-threatening injury or illness that isn’t time critical.

                      And lots of people turn up at A&E because their primary health care provider is shut at that time of day.

                      But that doesn’t mean that it’s ok to make them drive 2hrs or more to get there.

                      As for my father, all I was pointing out is that when a patient is in hospital for a long stay, it’s a real burden of the rest of the family… and having to travel considerable distances simply compounds the problem.

                    • McFlock

                      Leap to assumption, much? Who said pain medication (although it would have been nice)? And why concentrate on the meds – do all other GPs have onsite consultants and radiology suites?
                      And last, but not least, this isn’t about my GP (who is one of the better ones I’ve had over the years, and indeed his diligence in confirming diagnoses if he’s not 100% sure is actually a sign of that, given that one or two I’ve encountered were IMO trigger-happy with the pill form) – the issue was “why on earth do you need to present to hospital for non-urgent A&E first port of call should be your primary care provider.”
                      GP or pharmacy referrals are one of many possible answers.

                    • higherstandard

                      Mc F

                      Oh I thought your injury required pain relief as you mentioned ‘kickass drugs’.

                      My mistake, I must admit to now being somewhat confused as to whether your injury was urgent or not and what complaint you have against your GP and the service provided ?


                      The majority of patients presenting at A&E who need to be seen urgently are trauma patients or those who are experiencing serious cardio/respiratory issues or life threatening infection.

                      Frankly many who turn up at A&E should not be there in the first place. Most urban and larger rural centres have a 24 hour service available some do not and it cannot be realistically offered.

                      Yes having a family member over a period of time in hospital does place stress on families and more so when travel is involved – once again there is no simple solution for this and certainly having secondary care centres within walking distance of everyone’s place of residence ain’t going to happen.

                    • McFlock

                      so the only type of “drug” is pain relief? Antibiotics count too. And one or two other items, as well as radiologists etc. Most of which (especially regards specific drugs) a small GP office might not have in stock, but a high volume tertiary hospital does.
                      I have no complaint against my GP. My point was to answer why someone with a non-urgent complaint might end up at A&E. That answer is “to provide shit that doesn’t hang around a doctor’s office, can’t really wait 6 months for a consult, but doesn’t need a ward admission”. 
                      Comprehension issues, much?

                    • McFlock

                      It was and always has been a GP referral to A&E – what the fuck is “changing the goalposts” about that?

                      IF you must know, initial suspects were gout or a strain (prior history), after radiology (to be sure) the final bet was cellulitis in one of the tendons, which was treated by a short course of antibiotics I’d never had before and ISTR 75mg tablets of diclofenac. Which seemed to so the trick. Left A&E at around 11pm.
                      Was it urgent? Not compared to everyone else there – it was painful, all I really wanted were crutches for a few days.

                  • RedLogix

                    Frankly many who turn up at A&E should not be there in the first place. Most urban and larger rural centres have a 24 hour service available some do not and it cannot be realistically offered.

                    Really you need to get out into the real world. Sure you may be ‘technically’ correct in some kind of ideal world… but spend any time in any A&E clinic and it’s different to your fantasy.

                    once again there is no simple solution for this and certainly having secondary care centres within walking distance of everyone’s place of residence ain’t going to happen.

                    What kind of polite answer do you expect to that?

                    • higherstandard


                      None it’s a statement of fact.

                      I’m assuming your dad was quite elderly and couldn’t be moved back into home care which would have been the preferred option for the family.

                      Failing that he was pretty much stuck staying in the care where he was, it’s not a perfect world but our health service is nowhere near as bad as many would have us believe and could consume our entire GDP with little overall improvement.


                      I think you are full of shit and continuing to move the goalposts hence I will bail on your ankle which seems to have a variety of ailments most of which are a fantasy – if you provide me with your GP/hospitals diagnosis of you malady I will provide you with a view of whether this should be treated easily in primary and secondary care

                    • RedLogix

                      Because no-one was demanding ‘having secondary care centres within walking distance of everyone’s place of residence”.

                      It’s called putting words into other people’s mouths and it pisses people off. You tend not to get polite responses.

                    • higherstandard

                      Putting words into other peoples mouths what like this ?

                      What’s really going on at Ports of Auckland

                      Really RL not sure what your problem is – you are very geriatric at the moment.
                      I was pointing out that having full service medical care throughout NZ is an unrealistic expectation in a country our size with it’s existing population and both yourself and McFlock have gone out of your way to provide some fairly loose situations to be argumentative on the issue.


                      Not sure where you live but assuming it’s in the lower Waikato and your GP referred you to Taumaranui or Te Kuiti for radiology to confirm a possible diagnosis that seems fairly reasonable as was your treatment and recovery – seems to me that this is an example of a functioning tax payer funded health system.

                    • McFlock

                      Not sure where you live but assuming it’s in the lower Waikato and your GP referred you to Taumaranui or Te Kuiti for radiology to confirm a possible diagnosis that seems fairly reasonable as was your treatment and recovery – seems to me that this is an example of a functioning tax payer funded health system.

                      Wrong dhb, but thankyou for reviewing the treatment of anonymous people over the ‘net. The referral was to A&E, not to radiology outpatients. Hence why I used my specific case in answer to your quessumption “why on earth do you need to present to hospital for non-urgent A&E first port of call should be your primary care provider.”

            • McFlock

              A happy medium between “every nook and cranny” and “patient died in transit” would be nice.
              Simliarly a happy medium “every nook and cranny” vs “forced to home school because journey too far” would also be nice.

              • higherstandard

                “A happy medium between “every nook and cranny” and “patient died in transit” would be nice.”

                When patients die in transit it is most often due to extreme trauma or severe MI – our ambulance services in NZ are pretty much as good as anywhere in the world but if you have a different view/solution please feel free to provide it.

                • McFlock

                  Agreed, as we are now – although I like the fudge “most often”. 
                  There is also the question of general availability of secondary and tertiary services in a timely manner – e.g. west coast gps referring patients to ChCh specialists. No data of negative repercussions in such delays available as far as I know, unless someone’s done a case/control local study..

  9. Jum 9

    Who says the people of Ahariu Belmont aren’t greedy enough to want to steal other New Zealanders’ valuable SOE share?

    I’ll sign the petition to demand a referendum. Every MP of this government should be challenged constantly on their intention to sell our assets to foreignors.

    Every public servant should be challenged to speak out about any attempts to hide government actions in how they siphon off our assets to the top 1% in New Zealand and those outside New Zealand seeking to control the government and us.

    Public servants should remember where their loyalties lie; it is to us not any government which seeks to sell our sovereignty and our assets.

    I also suggest marches and for those who can’t or don’t march then each placard carried could also carry the names of people who support a referendum and are against asset sales. Each march is then guaranteed to include a larger number of allies than seen on the streets of our cities and towns during the next six months.

    Media should report that extra support; let’s see how truthful they are with that.

    Also, get some physical news sheets to spread the news throughout New Zealand. It only takes one page to tell people something. Individuals can print out the sheet at home and put into places that will take them.

    We will also find out which New Zealand businesses/individuals who intend to betray all other New Zealanders’ rights to retain their SOE share, if they do not want to have a few copies to hand out.

    We need a dedicated fund bank account to donate to and we need a dedicated and experienced small group to control it. No political gaming required; this is countrywide and there are people against asset sales across the political spectrum.

    • chris73 9.1

      So in other words you’re either with us or against us

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        With us or against us? In reality its the 99% against the 1%.

        And to be even more accurate, its the top 1% of the 1% who are the real assholes and ingrained sociopaths.

        • hs

          Who are the top 1% of the 1% in NZ that are the real assholes and ingrained sociopaths.?

          • Colonial Viper

            well by definition there’s only 400-500 of them in NZ, but between them and their paid advisors they will have the most say over the entire country’s socioeconomic direction out of any group of people.

        • chris73

          No its not, the 99% is fiction. Sorry to disappoint you but its not going to happen

          Why you ask, simple NZ is a fairly benign, decent country. Yes theres some inequality but there always has been and there always will be because some people have more drive then others.

          But on the whole life is pretty good here, don’t wan’t to work? Doesn’t matter we’ll give you money. Had more kids then you can afford to look after? No worries we’ll give you more.

          So no matter what you want to think theres simply not enough starvation in NZ to mount an uprising.

          As an example of what I mean the last protest of any note was against mining on the coast…not starvation, not child abuse, not the poor not having enough but keeping mining out of National parks

          If you can protest against job creation and more wealth then its really not such a bad place to live.

          • Colonial Viper

            Why you ask, simple NZ is a fairly benign, decent country. Yes theres some inequality but there always has been and there always will be because some people have more drive then others.

            Some of us have plenty of drive to overturn the system owned by the 1%. See how that ‘drive’ works for you.

            Oh and if you think that NZ has a fairly ‘benign’ history of social change then you are more ignorant of our roots than I originally thought. Read some history mate.

            By the way, your theory of why revolutions happen or they don’t is wrong. Again, read more history.

            • chris73

              Yes I’m aware of NZs history but if you compare NZ to the rest of the world its still fairly benign (some Maori might disagree with me though…). Look at the Americas, Europe, Africa etc etc

              I tell you what, if I’m right there’ll be no mass uprising and If I’m wrong there will be.

              So if you want to prove me wrong then get off your (probably) fat arse and do something about it. Stop typing about it and start organising it. You lefties are all talk and no trousers.

          • McFlock

            Job destruction, you mean – cutting off your tourist industry to mine your face.
            And while I have it pretty good, like I suspect you do, I’m not so naive to imagine that everyone in NZ has it so good. I guess you’re the type who can drive around town without seeing the homeless people, or walk down the high street and assume that most people can afford to shop there.
            And things are going to get worse. Possibly not as bad as someone like AFKTT believes, but I doubt we’ll see anything other than stagnant GDP for the next few years. Which, with population growth, means people are getting poorer, preventative infrastructure will be cut back, and we’ll have a nice riot or two – and not a scarfies-on-the-piss riot, a real one.

            • chris73

              Actually I don’t have it that good but and its a pretty big “but”, I don’t blame anyone else for my circumstances. Its not the 1% fault, its not Nationals fault (or even Labours) its not the MSM fault, its not colonisations fault.

              The main problem with the left is that you’re always looking to blame someone/thing else for your problems rather than looking at yourself first.

              And always looking for someone else to sort your problems out for you.

              • Jum

                Chris 73 – you are right in that New Zealanders have too much trust that this government will work on their behalf. They will have no one to blame but themselves when they find out his loyalties lie elsewhere. They’ve been through enough decades of personal and economic loss (80s 90s) to understand who the real beneficiaries are of this thieving government.

              • McFlock

                The main problem with the left is that you’re always looking to blame someone/thing else for your problems rather than looking at yourself first.

                Not always. But sometimes if you wake up with a headache, it’s not a hangover. It’s because some prick hit you with a hammer.
                Maybe you are poor (although if you count yourself as such there’s always the likelihood that you have no idea what “poor” is). The flipside of the champagne liberal is the poor tory – someone who believes that they are the master of their own destiny, yet consistently votes against their own interests because they can’t see the structural obstacles set in their path. 
                If you are indeed 100% responsible for your own destiny but don’t have it that good, shouldn’t you be re-evaluating the assumptions and values that put you in this position?

              • Colonial Viper

                I don’t blame anyone else for my circumstances. Its not the 1% fault, its not Nationals fault (or even Labours) its not the MSM fault, its not colonisations fault.

                You are a fool. You refuse to blame the most powerful and most wealthy who have set up and run the system, but are happy to blame some beneficiary or DPB mum with no money and no power.

                That’s fucking evil is what that is.

                This country is being extracted from by both overseas and local elite at a massive rate, billions of dollars a year, and you would prefer that the rest of us ignore it. To turn a blind eye to the massive thieving from workers and the wider economy, to make the job easier for the 1%.

                Guess what, some of us are taking personal responsibility. To change that gawdawful and unsustainable situation in favour of the 99%. Enjoy the ride.

              • mikesh

                The trouble with the right is that they are always looking for someone else to blame for the poverty that exists, instead looking in the mirror and seeing how the extraction of unearned income on their own part impoverishes everyone else.

            • Jum

              McFlock –

              studies suggest that people of higher social standing would not intervene directly if a person of lower social standing was suffering. It’s called ‘selective compassion’.

              The Rosie Horton’s of NZ do their charity thing from a distance.

              We might remember that many of those who have climbed the success tree didn’t just have the drive as Chris 73 surmises; they were also happy to drive over others to get there.

              John Key speculating on the NZ dollar for a rich chum that he wanted to be in the same social sphere as, and risking our financial security, is a perfect example of selective action him being Rosie Horton and the rich chum, the charity.

              More fool New Zealanders who ignore his selectivity to their detriment.

  10. Anne 10

    Labour: I reckon Shearer will grow in his role and be secure as leader by the end of the year. … Shearer was put in the leadership by the failed old guard with the idea that Robertson would replace him if he didn’t fire. But he’ll surprise them by being his own man and not rewarding them for their loyalty.

    I hope you are right. The old guard put him there to save their own political necks rather than because they thought he was the better leader. They did their level best to talk Shearer into pushing Cunliffe right off the front bench and they nearly succeeded. Thank goodness common sense prevailed in the end. IMHO, that’s a big plus for Shearer. Now it remains to be seen if he can do a ‘Helen Clark’ and ensure Cunliffe plays a vital role in formulating Labour’s economic policies. It should be remembered that it was the Clark/Cullen tandem that was so successful and kept Labour in power for nine years. This time it looks like a threesome with David Parker but we’ll wait and see…

    • You are right Anne and Zetetic is also right.  If David can get a bit of momentum and the polls come right then anything is possible.
      Politics is as much about luck and timing as it is about anything else.
      Goff had little of either.

  11. randal 11

    nashnil will dump key when his luck runs out and it wont be long.

    • Jum 11.1


      sorry but Key always intended to go when he had done his job in New Zealand and sold us off. Now they will put in policies which he has promised to resign over and he will leave, complete with knighthood back to America from whence he was fashioned in the land of Sauron’s Morhdorh (Monsanto in case you are wondering).

  12. MrSmith 12

    Labors obsession with the Greens will back fire just as it did in the election, Shearer will be rolled by Cunliffe 12 to 18 months from now as they won’t make that mistake twice, shit they might even have a chance at a share of the spoils in 3 years if they can read the righting on the wall this time, otherwise the party could completely implode, ‘worst result for 80 years’ it’s not far to the bottom from here.

  13. Jum 13


    You haven’t answered my question:

    ‘9 January 2012 at 2:18 pm


    If the four main default Kiwisaver providers which happen to be the Australian owned banks buy shares in the power SOEs, does that mean the shares are foreign owned or NZ owned?

    If you say the shares of Kiwisaver are NZ owned can the bank providers on-sell to foreign investors one day after buying them?’


    • lulu 13.1


      I am not familiar with the rules and restrictions on Kiwisaver fund managers so to answer your question I would have to speak from a point of ignorance. (Although that doesn’t stop some people here.)

      As I understand it a foreign owned investor manager investing on behalf of investors in a Kiwisaver fund would be just that foreign owned but the dividends, less fees, would flow back on shore to the Kiwisaver investor.

      I don’t understand what you mean by the “shares of Kiwisaver are NZ owned”. I would have thought the funds are taken in by the foreign manager and invested in the name of the manager on behalf of NZ investors. That makes an Australian owned Kiwisaver fund manager that bought shares in the SOEs a foreign investor right there so I don’t follow the last part of your question.

      In any event, all I did was contest CV’s usual unsubstantiated and erratic arm waving. He referred to the partial asset sales as resulting in 49% foreign ownership and that is clearly an overstatement. That’s all.

      • Jum 13.1.1


        ‘That makes an Australian owned Kiwisaver fund manager that bought shares in the SOEs a foreign investor right there’

        Yep – a foreign investor, so this government is not being truthful when it says Kiwisavers get the shares. The foreign bank does.

        So the next question has to be – when are the shares sold to Kiwisaver providers? At the same time as individuals? In effect that means foreigners are getting the shares first because they have the wherewithal to buy and to organise the buying of shares better than the Kiwi individual.

        I believe the bank can sell them off a minute after buying them if it wants – tell me, anyone, if that is not true i.e. has Key put a moratorium on on-selling any shares for say 10 years.

        Has Key GIVEN every person in New Zealand a pocket of shares in the 49% they already own, not allowed to be sold off, at say 10,000 at set $1per share value increased in line with inflation, before selling off the rest?

        Nah, didn’t think so.

        Better still has he put in a proviso that a future government can return them to 100% NZ owned by any method and at any time and any TPPA conditions do not apply to any SOE so the corporate owners of our assets cannot sue the government for considering NZ workers over shareholder profits?

        You know, Lulu, like Tony Gibson wants to treat the port workers – flexibly.

        As for your last paragraph about Colonial Viper’s comments; perhaps you haven’t thought this whole asset sale travesty through like so many (other) New Zealanders. NZ is a small place; it has an even smaller director base (we’re talking numbers not size Lulu).

        Those directors work together; it is not for the benefit of all New Zealanders. They would be lying if they said they were. Those directors own shares from the last sell off; they will act as a secret cartel to control the asset market by buying up the assets on behalf of clients that could be here or overseas – no one will know until it is too late.

        Simon Power is already arranging that for his secret Westpac clients. (A prediction for you Lulu – after Power has made enough money from helping his clients, like Key did, he will return to politics and become PM – politics is a dirty game and Power is even better than Key at it. He will bring in Katherine Rich as his deputy for services to this government).

        No director should ever be permitted to own shares in these utilities, (blind or otherwise) or any other once owned and controlled assets whether they are on the board or when they leave. No member of their family or extended family may own any either. That means they will not be seeking to increase profits and reduce worker costs to fatten their own wallets.

        No foreign directors should be allowed on the board unless they live 11 months of the year in New Zealand and are personally accessible to us. i.e. I can be guaranteed an appointment with them, not their flunkeys.

        All directors should have their histories profiled in layman’s terms annually; what shares they own or owned, their profits from said shares; their success and failure history, their fees paid to them in relation to those successes/failures – that sort of thing. Unless directors really are accessible to us they can get away with financial chicanery and we never get to know. Shareholders have meetings with directors; any NZer is entitled to as well.

        Previous asset buyers like Fay and Richwhite should not be allowed to buy any more SOEs, especially as they were the agent to sell off the last Roger Douglas free for all on our assets. They would not be eligible to be directors of course because they already own shares in our other once-owned and controlled assets.

        And the piece de resistance – No politician voting for this sell off should ever be allowed to own any shares in any New Zealand owned or once owned assets. On becoming a politician then any shares they currently own should be taken away from him/her, reduced by the amount they have ever received in dividends, and added on to the share base given to all New Zealanders originally.

  14. randal 14

    thats a real poser Jum.
    it questions our sovereignty too and if that scenario should come to pass then we will know that poltics in NZ is just a farce with the parliament being just a bloody waste of money and source of sinecures for placemen and yessers.

  15. Jan 15

    “the Greens are one bad campaign from annihilation”
    um sorry – I don’t think so – unfortunately I think that there is a greater risk that Labour – tainted with ugly accommodations with capital over 3 decades (not only in NZ) – starts to look less relevant in a world where “it’s the environment stupid” becomes increasingly pressing. Also, from my reading the ‘realos’ and voters supporting the Green Party are supporting policy that is more progressive than Labour’s in almost every respect – so portraying these people as broadly Conservative is somewhat misleading.

    “most notably Key claiming a mandate for asset sales because 48.98% of voters voted for a party that supported them, and ignoring the polls that show half his own supporters don’t want to flog off the family silver”

    Gosman is technically correct. What would confer a mandate if not a victory following a widely signalled policy? Arguing that they have no mandate is heading into dangerous territory for Labour activists. That doesn’t preclude an enthusiasiic campaign against the asset sales including a petition for a referendum. Finding 1200 voters in Ohariu who will be vociferous to the effect that they voted for Peter Dunne with no idea that UF would support asset sales might be a useful activity ;-0.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Gosman is technically correct? You must be technically out of your mind.

      Further, saying that the Greens have any idea about how to prepare for the coming long emergency – evidence is that they are just as afraid of speaking the truth as any other party.

      Arguing that they have no mandate is heading into dangerous territory for Labour activists.

      BS. I’m a Labour activist and I argue that National has no mandate to sell our strategic energy assets. If National think that they have a mandate then they should spend $10M (or 1/10 of their bankers mates fees) on a nationwide referendum and prove it.

  16. Mervyn Keene 16

    Nice article – but I do find it amusing to see a writer at the Standard supporting a citizen’s initiated referendum and holding the Government to obeying the outcome. I do seem to remember the anti-smacking referendum result getting a well deserved bollocking on this site – what has happened to this sentiment?

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      The anti-smacking referendum is ancient history and quite irrelevant to this economic discussion.

      National claim to have a mandate for asset sales. Lets see them put their money where their mealy mouthed platitudes are.

      • Mervyn Keene 16.1.1

        “The anti-smacking referendum is ancient history and quite irrelevant to this economic discussion” – Why? Irrelevant because you think you might support the result of a referendum on asset sales, but not the previous issue, or irrelevant because it occurred a whole 3 years ago?

  17. mikesh 17

    Technically, a government has a “mandate” if it has the support of more than 50% of the house. Most of us however are using the word to signify moral justification, and debating whether this or that quantum of support provides that moral justification in the case of individual issues such as asset sales, and, in the case of the latter, whether the fact that two thirds of the population are known to be opposed makes a difference.

    In my opinion a one seat majority is insufficient under those circumstances, but this is largely a matter of judgment.

  18. Colonial Viper 18

    Irrelevant because one is ancient history and the other concerns the generational, long term energy viability of our entire country.

  19. Why would Maori vote for a party with Skyes, Minto and Bradford, they dont care about Maori, all they care about is their own ideology?

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