The possible privatisation of Ports of Auckland

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, May 19th, 2017 - 134 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, assets, auckland supercity, business, Economy, local government, national, phil goff, phil twyford, privatisation, Privatisation, same old national - Tags:

The future of Auckland’s port has become the subject of some media attention recently. Is it going to be privatised?

The conjecture started with this article by Bernard Orsman in the Herald.  It said this:

High level discussions are under way over the future of Ports of Auckland as Auckland Mayor Phil Goff wrestles with how to fund the city’s ballooning infrastructure costs.

But Goff is refusing to be drawn on whether he plans to sell the council’s ownership stake, saying only he wants to address the port’s long-term future this term.

The Herald understands an IPO, or initial public offering, of the port is being discussed in merchant banking circles. Either a sale of the operating company or a part sale of the entire entity is understood to be under discussion.

Goff would only say he has had wide-ranging discussions on Auckland’s port but no specific proposal on ownership has been presented to him.

During the last election campaign Goff talked about the future of the port.  It is a feature of developing city ports that as time goes by and the city grows the relationship of the port to the city changes.  Initially they are an important piece of infrastructure as a transport node but as time goes by and the city develops the port function becomes less and less important and the value and future use of the occupied land becomes somewhat critical.  It is an important issue for a growing city.  Maybe we should think of a future where there is no inner city port.  As an example Sydney and Melbourne ports have gone through similar changes.

Ports of Auckland is essentially owned by Auckland Council.  The port has already been a source of major frustration for progressives because of POAL’s attempt to deunionise the site.  The amount of money spent on this particular fight was obscene and unjustifiable unless the activity was necessary to facilitate its privatisation.

There is clearly a lot of central government support for the proposal.  It appears that the Government has offered $1 billion dollars worth of transport projects to Auckland Council if it proceeds with the privatisation.  From Richard Harman in Politik:

There are an extra billion dollars on the table in Wellington for Auckland transport if the city agrees to sell its port company.

The city’s Mayor, Phil Goff, has confirmed that he has received a briefing from the Ports Company proposing a privatisation.

POLITIK has learned that the Government may be willing to stump up an extra one billion dollars for transport projects if the port – or other assets – were to be sold.

Given that the company is worth approximately $1.1 billion the Government appears to be proposing a dollar for dollar subsidy.

And what is at stake …

A senior Government source last night told POLITIK that one billion dollars could be available and  projects that might be able to be brought forward could include:

  • Mills Road motorway extension.
  • The Panmure- Botany busway and other roadworks
  • The busway to the Airport
  • A busway and other work on the North Western motorway.

The offer reeks of bad faith politics.  The North Western busway is to give the Government cover because the decision not to build the north western busway over the past few years while the north western motorway has been rebuilt is stupidity of the most extreme level.  The busway to the Airport is clearly to try and dull the effect of Labour’s light rail to the airport policy.

The problem for Auckland Council and for Goff is that current Council debt levels are close to the maximum comfort level.  Debt is currently $7.6 billion and just below 270% debt to revenue ratio.  Although the Council has an urgent need of funds for the construction of new infrastructure its ability to borrow further is limited.

And the Government has turned down every request by Auckland for alternative funding streams.  A request for reinstatement of the ability to put a regional fuel tax in place has been turned down.  And Goff is having to use a targeted rate to create a tourist bed tax.

So Goff is caught in this difficult position where Auckland urgently needs further funds but the Government is refusing to allow it the new revenue streams it desperately needs.  And Goff’s analysis is that anything above a  2.5% rates rise is politically risky.  The problem is that an increase of this size would mean that the per head of population spend would decrease at a time when it needs to increase.

Labour has come out in opposition to the proposal.  Phil Twyford has said this:

Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford.

“National has blocked every request Auckland Council has made for new sources of revenue to invest in desperately needed infrastructure, including road pricing and a regional fuel tax. And now the usual cheerleaders for privatisation are telling the Council to flog off the port company to fund the infrastructure deficit.

“Of course the merchant bankers and the international investors will be salivating at the chance to sink their teeth into the port but let’s stop for a second and think about what’s good for New Zealand.

“The country needs the future of the upper North Island ports to be resolved on the basis of what’s good for the long term prosperity of New Zealand. Privatising the port now could jeopardise that process.

There are councillors such as Mike Lee and Cathy Casey who would vehemently oppose any privatisation.  This issue could present Phil Goff with his biggest headache as mayor.

Reprinted from gregpresland.com

134 comments on “The possible privatisation of Ports of Auckland”

  1. Jenny Kirk 1

    Phil Goff just needs to do nothing until 23 Sept . By then a Labour government with a different more positive attitude towards the Port will be talking to him.

    • Stunned Mullet 1.1

      As we live under MMP representation I believe you may be being a tad optimistic.

    • james 1.2

      “Phil Goff just needs to do nothing until 23 Sept . By then a Labour government with a different more positive attitude towards the Port will be talking to him.”

      That might not be the smartest strategy to take.

    • michelle 1.3

      +100 Jenny big positive changes are coming and we need a mixture of parties in power to keep them honest and on there toes

      • tuppence shrewsbury 1.3.1

        But that didn’t happen when we transitioned from labour mayor len brown to labour mayor phil goff. One labour mayor left the city a financial mess for the next. hard to see how it’s ALL the governments fault

        • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1.1

          The only people who have left Auckland in a financial mess has been the RWNJs starting with Banks’ massive increase in borrowing, then the National/Acts fuckup with the SuperShitty amalgamation and then refusing Auckland the revenue it needs to fix their fuckups all so that they can pressure Auckland to sell off our wealth.

        • One Two 1.3.1.2

          “Hard to see”

          Only if you have no idea or no interest in understanding the true genesis of the ‘financial mess’..

    • Enough is Enough 1.4

      What is that positive attitude towards the port?

      I hope it doesn’t include leaving it where it is

    • Ben Clark 1.5

      Newsroom reports that Goff is unhappy about the Ports leaking – as media reported the supposed results of a meeting before he’d actually held the meeting…

      Wonder who’s pushing this…

      • mpledger 1.5.1

        The port for one. They want to do a majour build out into the harbour and that’s not going to happen if it’s council owned. That want to screw over their work force and that’s not going to happen if it’s council owned.

      • rod 1.5.2

        @ B C Wonder who’s pushing this… Bernard Orsman of Herald would be a fair punt.

  2. Ad 2

    I have only limited sympathy for Goff.
    He has chosen to go for rates increases of only 2.5% per year.
    If he had gone for 4.5 or 5% he would have had more income to service higher debt.
    This would have let him get more projects going faster.

    I’m not convinced that he’s tried out enough instruments to take out profits from land developers.

    I also accept he’s in the full grip of a pincer movement government is applying, between enabling houses, and on the other hand coordinating funding.

    But I don’t see leadership from him.

  3. Janet 3

    Hard to trust Goff. Jenny is right, he should do nothing til the election. Goff should not underestimate the numbers of Aucklanders who fought to stop the Port Company narrowing the harbour. Once sold, it’s gone. Remember the other Douglas and Prebble sales? Didn’t Brownlee try to force asset sales in Christchurch?

  4. ianmac 4

    Imagine Auckland Port being closed down altogether. Freight enter via Marsden or Tauranga. The Auckland Port site being redeveloped for the people. That would be progressive.

    • Don’t know if it’d be so progressive , – that would be prime real estate for either high end residential or commercial use. Also , would transport costs from Marsden Point or Tauranga be slapped on for Aucklander’s?

      They paved paradise
      And put up a parking lot
      With a pink hotel, a boutique
      And a swinging hot spot
      Don’t it always seem to go
      That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
      They paved paradise
      And put up a parking lot

      • Phil 4.1.1

        You appear to be under the impression that a functional port is (1) unpaved and (2) a paradise of trees.

        I assure you that neither of these things are true.

  5. Wayne 5

    A partial sale (say 65%) of the Port operation (as opposed to the land) is an excellent idea.

    Keeping the land in public ownership is necessary if the port is shifted, so as the ensure an integrated redevelopment plan. A bit like Wynard Point.

    You only have to see how private sector capability has hugely improved the operation of the Port of Tauranga.

    I suspect that this will be actually quite popular with most people in Auckland, though of course Standardnistas will protest will the usual tagline of the evils of neoliberalism.

    • DoublePlusGood 5.1

      If you privatise it. even partially, and the company is run for profit, then you are sending those profits overseas . Those profits will easily outweigh the money you get from selling the company, in the long term – as we have seen with the power companies sold by National.

      • michelle 5.1.1

        no profits overseas if our Maori whanau buy it

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          None going overseas if we don’t sell it at all and it would continue to benefit all of us.

      • Wayne 5.1.2

        DoublePlusGood

        As Michelle has noted the great majority of the any privatized shares will be held in New Zealand, by a mixture of the Super Fund, ACC. Kiwisaver funds, local private investors, and iwi.

        Having some overseas ownership by a major port however would be useful.

        Incidentally I consider the power company partial privatizations as success, and the majority of them are held locally.

        But the real exemplar is the Port of Tauranga. No one would seriously dispute that it is a much better operation than the Port of Auckland.

        As for you expropriation argument, well New Zealand fortunately is not a Cuban/Venezuelan workers paradise.

        • lprent 5.1.2.1

          Tell me why Auckland needs a port?

          I think NZ would be better off developing the Whangerei harbor, which is further north, a better harbor, and just need a rail link and development. Which is a government infrastructure issue rather than an Auckland infrastructure issue.

          Auckland city gets the best value from shutting down the port (and keeping the Manakau distribution center) , and selling the land. The latter is far more value to Auckland than the operational company – but only if it doesn’t have the uneconomic dead weight of the port company on it.

          • Ad 5.1.2.1.1

            “I think NZ would be better off developing the Whangarei harbour…”

            Tauranga Port has a substantial % ownership of Northport, so they are commercially motivated to see Auckland’s one die. Theere’s been a minor industry of consultants and financiers hovering over the Auckland port question for several years now.

            Major problem there is there would be no price competition for freight export and importers.

            There is no price regulator for sea ports, unlike airports.
            Airports have their landing charges regulated.

            There is no government plan anywhere that integrates rail and road freight transport as a single network. Not even the NLTP really gets to it other than a few paragraphs. It’s really left to main freight players to figure out.

            Nor is there a government plan for integrating sea ports, air ports, and freight for exporters. That’s really left to logistics companies to sort out.

            I would at least like to see the existing Auckland Viaduct fully developed and successful before they try privatising another one.

          • Enough is Enough 5.1.2.1.2

            I agree.

            Two questions need to be asked

            1. Does Auckland/New Zealand require a port in Auckland;
            2. If it does then is downtown Auckland the best place for it.

            My view, close the port, clear all those trucks out of congested downtown Auckland, sell the land.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2.1.2.1

              2. If it does then is downtown Auckland the best place for it.

              Downtown Auckland is the only place for a commercial port in Auckland. Nowhere else has the necessary land connections.

              • KJT

                Even if Marsden point becomes the main upper North Island port. As it would if we didn’t have the fake competition between ports. Auckland would still be needed to accommodate feeder ships around the coast.
                Unless you want to congest Auckland land transport links, even more.

                • lprent

                  Possibly. However if they shifted off road and went to rail for the link between Whangerei and Auckland, it’d be less of an issue. But they really need to get rid of that single meandering rail track that wanders all over the north. Make it more direct and double track it.

                  However the Waitemata port doesn’t need to be downtown. Plus it’d be whole lot smaller if it focuses on local shipping and would therefore easier to move elsewhere in the harbour where there is deeper water.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    But they really need to get rid of that single meandering rail track that wanders all over the north. Make it more direct and double track it.

                    Need to do that with our entire rail track across the country. That and electrify it.

                    However the Waitemata port doesn’t need to be downtown.

                    About the only other place is across the harbour at Devonport where the navy is and that’s lacking the land connections that the southern side has. And I’m pretty sure that there’s nowhere deeper in the harbour.

                    You might get away with increasing the size of the one in Halfmoon Bay for coasters but imagine the cries of the, very rich, NIMBYs.

          • mordecai 5.1.2.1.3

            Totally agree. This would also provide an economic boost to the North.

            • dukeofurl 5.1.2.1.3.1

              nonsensical. The trucks come via the motorways anyway.

              Port means many things. From fishing vessels to cruise ships. You are only thinking container ships.

              • mordecai

                No, I’m not. Auckland port is struggling to cope with the size of the new Cruise ships now.

          • Jeremy 5.1.2.1.4

            I certainly do think we need some form of port in Auckland, containers can go down to Tauranga via Wiri and rail, but it would probably require a few hundred million $ of rail infrastructure between Auckland and there to handle the 800,000+ containers. The North Auckland line is pretty poked and the tunnels would require excavation (last time I checked). I don’t think building a container terminal at Northport would be cheap so that option is probably double sending everything down to Tauranga, half a billion $+.

            Then you have all the vehicles and breakbulk that has to go by truck. Offloading that is Tauranga or Northport would add thousands if not hundreds of thousands of long truck movements over a large part of the Upper North Island each year.

            So I think we need something, even if a much reduced import only container terminal (not sure if that is even possible economically) and breakbulk / cars.

          • Jason Warrington 5.1.2.1.5

            “I think NZ would be better off developing the Whangerei harbor, which is further north, a better harbor, and just need a rail link and development.”

            I agree with what your saying, unfortunately doesn’t appear much chance of this happening going by the looks of this;

            “The future of the rail link is unclear, and council is awaiting further direction from central government before reconsidering the purpose of the rate. Rolling the rate over for a further year will allow time for any required investigations. Council will then put forward options in the Long Term Plan and consult on what infrastructure investments the rate is best spent on.”

            The Northland Regional Council which has purchased land over the years for the port rail link has submissions hearings starting next Monday.

            The NRC want to sell the land/farms and the trucking industry want the current rail corridor from Oakley (where the proposed rail link would start) North into Whangarei for the main highway.

            There is a very good Rail campaigner who has a lot of support making a business case. Be very interesting in the lead up to the election how this all plays out.

        • DoublePlusGood 5.1.2.2

          So instead of Auckland getting the profits for the benefit of Auckland, a mixture of the super fund, ACC, kiwisaver funds, local private investors, iwi, and overseas investors will get the profits, for the benefit of those people.
          That’s taking profits from the people and giving it mostly to wealthy people. Public benefit changing to private benefit.
          Great for wealthy people like you. Terrible for anyone wanting Auckland to be a functional city.

          And power company success? It raised bugger all money for the government that is vastly outweighed by the foregone dividends. Power prices have risen greatly. So the government is worse off and less able to serve the public good as a result. Power prices rising has a huge effect on many households, especially those on low incomes. The only benefit is to the well off who bought shares. So again, the public as a whole are worse off while the rich get richer.
          Great for wealthy people like you. I guess you’re more than happy to profit off power price increases squeezing New Zealand families. Terrible for anyone wanting New Zealand to be a functional, decent country.

          Also, what exactly is wrong with having a country be a paradise for workers? Do you want New Zealand to be bad for workers?

          • Stephen Doyle 5.1.2.2.1

            DPG is right. Selling the port would just be another example of privatising the profits off the back of public ownership.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2.2.1.1

              Which is what National want and have been pushing for ever since they got in power and shafted Auckland with the SuperShitty that they forced upon us.

        • Ad 5.1.2.3

          You have set out the actual theft here:

          Those public fund managers (ACC, NZSuper, EQC) will snap it up, and support the Crown’s net financial position …

          … and take both capital value and dividends away from Auckland Council.

          If you could imagine an Auckland Council that owned:
          – 100% of Auckland International Aiirport
          – 100% of Vector
          – 100% of the Council flats it used to have
          – 100% of all the properties it essentially gave away at amalgamation …

          … all of which those fuck-knuckles in successive National governments have forced to sell …

          … then you would have an Auckland Council that had the money to run its own affairs.

          • mickysavage 5.1.2.3.1

            +1

          • Wayne 5.1.2.3.2

            Ad,

            The city would probably have grossly excessive borrowing, and we would have a much worse airport.

            I know that some/many Standardnistas are in love with socialism, and wish New Zealand was just a modernized version of the 1970’s. But imagine how bad New Zealand telecoms would be if the Govt had retained monopoly ownership of NZ Telecom. I remember how bad it was in the 1970’s with an 18 month wait for a phone line in Manurewa.

            My memory of the 1970’s is that we were a nation of expensive goods made here behind massive tariff/licence walls, limited choice, shoddy services and a stultified economy in permanent crisis. But at least the summers were better!

            The reason why virtually the entire world has got a much wider range of private ownership across the economy is not because of some evil plot, but because many of these once owned government services simply were not adaptable to technological change while they remained in public ownership. New Zealand being the case par excellence.

            • KJT 5.1.2.3.2.1

              Telecom waits were a function of technology at the time.
              Wait times were improving long before privatisation, but don’t let facts get in the way of a good story.

              • McFlock

                Yeah.

                Wasn’t it a bugger when it took five days to clear from when you deposited a cheque from someone else into your own bank account? Bloody communism is what it was…

            • KJT 5.1.2.3.2.2

              Yeah. The socialized companies, and infrastructure in Singapore, China, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and others are doing so badly.

              Even in New Zealand, the private sector are simply making monopoly profits, out of State built utilities.

            • Ad 5.1.2.3.2.3

              Complete red herring Wayne.
              Write your own counterfactual on port service quality elsewhere.

              This is central government robbing local government, again.

              To no good end.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2.3.2.4

              But imagine how bad New Zealand telecoms would be if the Govt had retained monopoly ownership of NZ Telecom.

              Lets see, the ~$30 billion removed as profits would have gone into the network instead and that would have easily funded FttH at least 5 years earlier and probably more likely 10 years. It’d be across the full country and even to farms. We’d probably be paying far less per month and we’d have unlimited bandwidth on both home lines and cell phones and instead of having to buy a phone when it was updated it would have been supplied as a matter of course.

              Instead we’re having the government subsidise the network for the benefit of the rich bludgers and it’s costing millions, if not billions, more per year because of all the duplicated bureaucracy and infrastructure.

              But you already knew all that but you’re probably one of the bludgers making life worse for the rest of us.

            • Drowsy M. Kram 5.1.2.3.2.5

              Hi Wayne,

              You comment here more often than I do – would it be wrong to consider you a Standardnista? Are you (simply) employing ‘Standardnista’ (about two dozen times in the past year, and twice in this post alone) as a playful goad?

              Yours,
              A proud Standardnista.

            • millsy 5.1.2.3.2.6

              Wayne – nearly all the ports on the US eastern seaboard are publicly owned, by either state or city authorities.

              In the same nation, much infrastructure, such as airports, seaports, hydro dams, water reticulation and so on are publicly owned. Only railways, and telecomms are privately owned, but that is for historical reasons.

              30% of hydro dams in the US are owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers, and I am guessing you know all about the Teneesee Valley Authority.

              The modern USA is essentially built on public ownership.

        • KJT 5.1.2.4

          You think Tauranga is a better operation than POAL. Because privatisation?.

          As an example of cognitive blindness and ideological bias. That really “takes the cake”.
          Especially in the light off the Governments refusal to allocate Wellington level, per capita, funding for public transport in Auckland. Which would help break the logjam of getting cargo to and from the port. A problem Tauranga does not have, among others.

          There are a great many reasons why Tauranga works better.

          The private sector, more management, management style of Auckland, being one of them.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2.5

          As Michelle has noted the great majority of the any privatized shares will be held in New Zealand, by a mixture of the Super Fund, ACC. Kiwisaver funds, local private investors, and iwi.

          And you’re pulling out that fabrication and distraction as well.

          Having some overseas ownership by a major port however would be useful.

          No it won’t.

          Incidentally I consider the power company partial privatizations as success

          Of course you do. That’s because you’re delusional and in denial of reality and the damage that the sale has done to our society.

          No one would seriously dispute that it is a much better operation than the Port of Auckland.

          The Ministry of Transport does:

          New Zealand ports had differing results in 2009 and 2010, reflecting the differing situations at each port. Port of Tauranga performed well for crane, ship and vessel rates, while Auckland and Otago had vessel rates comparable with Tauranga. The trends over the last two calendar years show that crane rates at New Zealand ports on average have been static, but ship and vessel rates on average have grown about four percent per annum. The container productivity of New Zealand ports appears at least comparable with, and in some cases better than, Australian and other international ports.

          Comparable which would only be a surprise to the idiots who believe that privatisation automatically makes things better. The reality is that both are run by people, probably the same people even, using the same methodology and so the results will be the same.

        • s y d 5.1.2.6

          Wayne, Wayne …..”But the real exemplar is the Port of Tauranga. No one would seriously dispute that it is a much better operation than the Port of Auckland”

          Better for whom?
          Workers Health and Safety ?
          The local environment?

          POT is the real exemplar of :
          casualistion of workforce, a cynical ‘contracting out’ by the management to their own subsidiaries, a hand washing of responsibility for ongoing failures
          a poisoning of the local environment (methyl bromide)
          a destruction of natural resources (dredging)
          a blind eye to effects of their operations (Rena, Mobil etc etc)

          all assisted by a government more than willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to facilitate heavy vehicle access (RONS – check the transport blog) and advantage POT over the unionised Auckland workforce.

    • lprent 5.2

      Effectively what this means is that National government having made the decision to flood Auckland with migrants, is using this as blackmail instead of doing what they should have done and funded the infrastructure required to support the population growth. Auckland has been systematically starved of infrastructure funds based on its growth for years.

      What I fail to see is ANY benefit to Auckland in selling the port company. What I can see if a bunch of arseholes wanting to resume irrational privatizations and an ability to revalue assets. Fuck them – it doesn’t add either value or efficiency.

      I also can’t see much economic value long term for the port for Auckland. So lets just shutdown the port and sell the land. That will realize the most value FOR AUCKLAND. Let the National government deal with the economic dislocations.

      In the meantime, lets get rid of the blackmailers from Wellington and get a sensible nett migration policy and local taxation policy run by Auckland. Basically we need at least 5 years to catch up from National’s irresponsible policies. Either nett migration goes elsewhere or immigration should be curtailed to that Auckland isn’t running from behind on housing and infrastructure.

      But if I see anyone trying to privatize the port company, then I will see what I can do to make them political toast.

      • Ad 5.2.1

        +100

      • Wayne 5.2.2

        Iprent,

        You are always trying to censor people for all kinds of thought crimes. At least be polite enough not to call people who have a different view to you arseholes.

        Or is it perfectly OK so long as you are the one who is contemptuously abusive?

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.2.1

          I didn’t see any abuse from Lprent – just calling a spade a spade.

        • lprent 5.2.2.2

          I seldom “censor” people for “thought crimes”. I ban them for behaviour, and make it pretty clear that is why I do it. However I am blunt about my opinions on actions and words. Which fits within the “robust debate” that the site is set up for.

          Offhand I can only think of a couple of times where I have gotten offended enough to kick someone off for anything else. Typically that has been because they deliberately asserted a fact that was manifestly false.

          For instance Matthew Hooten being a weasel worded PR dickhead describing an admitted offense under s311 of the Crimes Act not being a crime. Something that I also found personally offensive as it was my server that was the target.

          But knock yourself out – find some actual linked examples of me censoring people for thought crimes and I’ll tell you why they offended either the laws of NZ, brought the site into legal danger, or violated one of the patterns of behaviour that we guard against and are outlined in the policy.

          //==============

          In this particular case, after several decades of looking at the economic benefits to the citizens of this country from privatisations – I can’t see many. What I see is quite a lot crony capitalists getting rich off privatisations, while the cost to most citizens of those privatised services has risen dramatically.

          Deregulation has had considerable economic benefits. But in my keenly observed opinion, privatization has been a economic disappointment for the the majority citizens of this country.

          In other words I don’t see many if any efficiency showing up in the cost of the services to the consumers of those services. What I see in most cases is a vastly increased cost over decades well above the rate of inflation.

          The most extreme example is the consumer cost of electric power which has been a manifest failure. However the underlying price/costs of telecommunications, roading construction, long distance freight (once you add in the taxpayer subsidies for trucks), and a number of other effectively infrastructural semi-monopolies.

          I also don’t see that it has helped reduce taxes except for a very few at the top of heap. The effective tax take from those at median income levels is quite a lot higher than it was, once you factor in the indirect tax take. While they are also paying more for privatized services.

          Sure I see quite a lot of assertions by those who benefited from being crony capitalists that they have been better off after privatizations. But all of the data I have looked at in at economic basis indicates exactly the opposite.

          But I’d be happy to apply my business skills to pointing out the flaws in whatever analysis you would like me to criticize. The most common reason is that the data is usually as selective as a Farrar bullshit analysis (ie pick the right years and make the period too short to be useful for any economic analysis).

          In the meantime I’ll keep referring to privatization advocates as being arsehole – because I consider that they invariably are. In my opinion, they’re usually beneficiaries of it and they don’t argue based on facts. They just lie like Trump.

          • stunned mullet 5.2.2.2.1

            Has it taken many years of practice to come across as such a complete bell end ?

            [I agree with Draco. Why should you not be banned? – MS]

            • Draco T Bastard 5.2.2.2.1.1

              If you’ve got time, before you get banned, I suggest you read the policy about pointless abuse.

    • millsy 5.3

      New York’s port is 100% publicly owned. So is Baltimore’s. If it is good enough​ for the workers paradise of the USA it is good enough for us.

      • Wayne 5.3.1

        millsy,

        My comment about workers paradises was about expropriation without compensation, a typical feature of communist regimes.

        • DoublePlusGood 5.3.1.1

          It’s really just returning stolen property.

        • Ad 5.3.1.2

          Superfund, ACC, and Kiwisaver is effective nationalisation: the total Crown accounts benefit.

          And the ratepayers are ripped off by a National government again.

          • Wayne 5.3.1.2.1

            Ad,
            Possibly true about the Superfund and ACC, although the management of these funds is pretty independent of the political process. Not true about Kiwisaver funds, which are really an aggregation of private savings.

            • Ad 5.3.1.2.1.1

              So youve admitted this is taking the port from local government.

              Next step: admit why.

              Because government won’t help any other way.

              Election gift to Twyford in the Auckland electorates.

              Just dumb.

        • KJT 5.3.1.3

          It was fucking public property in the first place.

          You, and your bunch of numpties, chose to sell it against the owners wishes.

          Proceeds of crime are usually expropriated, by the rightful owners. No matter what the subsequent history.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.3.1.3.1

            Proceeds of crime are usually expropriated, by the rightful owners. No matter what the subsequent history.

            QFT

            And it’s what we need to do to many of the privatisations of the last thirty years.

    • dukeofurl 5.4

      Port of Tauranga is majority owned by Bay Regional Council.

      being a listed company doesnt really offer that many benefits.

    • Reality 5.5

      Wayne, do you remember Richard Prebble selling off the railways to private businesses? Do you remember that those private businesses ran down rail by spending no money on upkeep and maintenance. Wellington’s rail network was a heap of junk and scrap metal and inconvenienced thousands and thousands of people every week with breakdowns and signal failures.

      Helen Clark’s government purchased rail back and millions of dollars had to be spent on tracks, signal systems, carriages. It is pretty good now, but with no thanks to your precious private enterprise being better at running businesses.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.6

      A partial sale (say 65%) of the Port operation (as opposed to the land) is an excellent idea.

      Only for the bludgers that will scoop up the shares so that they can have a ‘passive’ income from other work.

      All the rest of us will be worse off especially as the income that’s forgone from such a sale comes to bite even more later.

      You only have to see how private sector capability has hugely improved the operation of the Port of Tauranga.

      The private sector has only ever made things worse for the society in general.

      https://hbr.org/1991/11/does-privatization-serve-the-public-interest

      Refocusing the discussion to analyze the impact of privatization on managerial control moves the debate away from the ideological ground of private versus public to the more pragmatic ground of managerial behavior and accountability. Viewed in that context, the pros and cons of privatization can be measured against the standards of good management—regardless of ownership. What emerges are three conclusions:

      1. Neither public nor private managers will always act in the best interests of their shareholders. Privatization will be effective only if private managers have incentives to act in the public interest, which includes, but is not limited to, efficiency.

      2. Profits and the public interest overlap best when the privatized service or asset is in a competitive market. It takes competition from other companies to discipline managerial behavior.

      3. When these conditions are not met, continued governmental involvement will likely be necessary. The simple transfer of ownership from public to private hands will not necessarily reduce the cost or enhance the quality of services.

      https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21929310-200-state-of-innovation-busting-the-private-sector-myth/
      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/10/government-private-sector-leads-innovation.html

      You’re too focussed upon your ideology and beliefs which have been proved wrong in reality.

      I suspect that this will be actually quite popular with most people in Auckland,

      You’re wrong. Polls show only about 30% of the population have ever supported privatisation. But the government, operating for the wishes of the psychopathic business people, did it any way.

  6. DoublePlusGood 6

    Just privatise it, take the money, and then forcibly nationalise it without compensation. Free billion dollars.

  7. Barfly 7

    Get an incoming Labour Government led to legislate the end of the Remuera Golf Course. Parks, housing and an f’ing great Mall. That’s an enormous amount of dosh plus very gat ongoing income stream and helping to alleviate the Auckland housing shortage.

    (keep part ownership of the Mall plus tons of extra rates Oh and tough cheese for the rich pricks tying up hundreds of millions of dollars of assets for a peppercorn rent.)

    No need to sell the port company.

    • DoublePlusGood 7.1

      Or levy actual property value rates on the Golf Courses city-wide. If they can’t pay, take possession of the property to cover the debt.

      • Johan 7.1.1

        Isn’t that how our gov’t stole Maori land?

        • Barfly 7.1.1.1

          FYI the council OWNS the land the REMUERA GOLF COURSE is on. Previous RW Council has signed up on uber long term rent at a peppercorn rate so 3500 people who can afford $1000s per year for membership can get an obscenely large subsidy from the ordinary people of Auckland – it’s bullshit …but it’s bullshit that would take central government legislation to overturn.

          • greg 7.1.1.1.1

            its not just the remuera golf course all these golf courses pay bugger all in rates all 33 of them golf is massively subsidized

        • Sacha 7.1.1.2

          Ae. Survey pegs on that course would be great symbolic utu.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2

        We already own them.

        • DoublePlusGood 7.1.2.1

          Then there’s no reason for Auckland City to be in any kind of debt whatsoever!

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2.1.1

            Government should never be in debt at all, ever. Deficit – sure, debt – no.

    • simonm 7.2

      Now that’s a superb idea. Have you thought about running for the Auckland Mayoralty? I’d vote for you if you did.

  8. Johnr 8

    The port should be left as is, it’s a tidy income stream and the powers that be are too daft to do anything sensible with the land.
    In my opinion we need to control the urge to have everything in the CBD, it needs to be hollowed out.
    Examples;
    1. We’re spending gazillions of dollars on a rail loop. If we hadn’t abandoned the original rail station we would have a ready made loop, in through Panmure,Glen Innes and out through Mt Eden,Newmarket and Ellerslie. That station was a 15 to 20 minute walk to Queen st.
    2. They’ve just built a wharf at Half Moon Bay for $6 million to get more and more people into the CBD, that wharf is an ongoing maintenance cost to the ratepeyer for the rest of its life. How much better would it be to have a one offcost to encourage business to move the jobs to the people, say free rates for 5 years.
    3. Fonterra as I understand has a 1000 workers in its HO downtown, that’s about as far away from a cow as you can get. I can understand them being close to the airport for sales staff flying overseas but downtown makes no sense.
    4. Can anybody raise a logical reason for Ak Uni being in the CBD. To me it would make more sense to buy a 200 hectare farm, say around South Drury sandwiched between the motorway and railway. That’s another 20 to 30,000 people who don’t have to go into the CBD.

    • dukeofurl 8.1

      “That station was a 15 to 20 minute walk to Queen st.”

      Most people used the shuttle tram service and later trolley buses that ran down Queen St to the station and back

  9. Bill 9

    That whole area’s going under water. Just saying.

    • Johnr 9.1

      Yep and then we can make a whole new Kelly Tarltons out of Britomart Rail Station

    • lprent 9.2

      Eventually yes.

      It is one of the reasons that I deliberately chose to live 85m above sealevel less than 2km from the waterfront level in Auckland rather than anywhere else in NZ. But I’m kind of cautious about any geological process.

      Remember that most of Auckland has some pretty abrupt rises in elevation.

      I don’t think that the CBD will be inundated for a quite number of decades. Basically the biggest direct threat in coastal areas is from storm surges on top of king tides. Being in a very sheltered and very large harbor helps to prevent that a lot. If you want to see that effect, then look at video the hurricanes that hit the exposed eastern seaboard in the US. Or my partners video looking at king tides washing over a Polynesian island.

      Sure eventually the sea level rise from west Antarctica is going kick up to about metres and cause problems. However it is likely to be slow enough in Auckland that the CBD will get built up as well. After all that was how most of it was formed last century.

      BTW: I always get puzzled with what people think about geological physical effects. They simply don’t seem to understand the time frames.

      The main effect of climate change for this century is going to hit in the increased frequency of hard hitting extreme weather events. That will be in cities directly exposed to weather (sea storms, unstable hillsides, cold and warm weather cells) and food production exposed to the same.

      But a hilly set of temperate islands in the middle of a very large ocean is a pretty good bet unless you are perched on the side of steep slope or a ocean exposed sea side cliff. We’re going to get more short and strong events from both the cyclones from the north and the cold fronts from the south as the air masses get faster at mixing. But those will both have largely dissipated their effect by the time that they hit us. Nothing like extremes that the northern hemisphere with its large disruptive land masses and the tropics with their hot oceans will get.

      Worldwide the biggest problem is going to be the effects of climate change in constraining food production as we start to hit peak population. That is on one hell of a thin margin.

      • Bill 9.2.1

        Going off of Jan Wright’s arguably conservative report from 2015, it would be absolute madness to assume that area’s safe from sea-level rise for any extended period of time.

        Yes, Auckland is fairly immune to sea-level rise in comparison to other main centres because of its topography. And Auckland’s port isn’t as susceptible to “one in a hundred” year events becoming as common as in other NZ ports under given sea-level rise scenarios. But it’s still vulnerable and one of those areas that probably ought to be looked at in terms of ‘managed retreat’.

        edit. For example, on a 70cm sea level rise, Auckland would experience a “one in one hundred year event” every month. Wellington every tide. Christchurch every day and Dunedin once a week. (P29. Table 3.2)

        How quickly will sea level rise? No-one knows for sure, but whereas the IPCC was projecting 1m global average by 2100, the like of NOAA are suggesting anywhere between 2m and 3m by 2100…so 70cm could be coming down the line fairly soon on the NOAA predictions.

        • weka 9.2.1.1

          Did Wright say that Ak city was at risk, or the port?

          • Bill 9.2.1.1.1

            Auckland is not low lying in general. Areas of Auckland are vulnerable, but it’s nowhere near as vulnerable as Christchurch, Wellington or Dunedin.

            edit The table linked to in the previous comment is for the ports.page 48 of the report gives an overview for Auckland.

        • lprent 9.2.1.2

          For example, on a 70cm sea level rise, Auckland would experience a “one in one hundred year event” every month.

          Yes. However that will affect drainage rather than washing houses at their roots from the sea.

          But there are few areas in the whole city area that are susceptible to anything unless there is more than 2 metre rise. basically the smallish infill area in the CBD and bottom end of Parnell, some parts of Onehunga and Mangere Bridge. Parts of Owera, Waiwera and a few other old beach settlements and beach houses that should have been demolished years ago anyway – they destroyed fore dunes and mangroves to get the view. A couple of motorway areas would become problematic – north western and the city part of the northern.

          More of an issue would be drainage in places like New Lynn with increased rain. We already get some interesting flooding there and in parts of Sandringham. But that is mostly because of the infill housing in the last couple of decades causing those areas to strain the existing networks.

          Auckland is actually the most safe city I know of in NZ for any natural disaster apart from the dinky basaltic volcanic cones. Of course that isn’t a high bar, this country really rocks 🙂

      • weka 9.2.2

        “Basically the biggest direct threat in coastal areas is from storm surges on top of king tides.”

        Does heavy rainfall (single events esp single events on top of a rainy month) also pose a threat? This is the issue for Dunedin, whose stormwater system can’t cope with the increased rainfall, esp at high tide. Sky meets water table.

        I think this was a factor in last months NI flooding too. When the land is saturated it has less capacity to absorb a big single event.

  10. adam 10

    How many times do we have to say NO!

    Bruce Jesson reminded us in in “Only their purpose is Mad” that they won’t take no for an answer.

    So again, out to the breach, to get worn down, or worn out.

    Don’t you think at this point there is somthing deeply flawed with a system, which people for the last 25 years when people say no, keeps getting put back things like this back on the agenda?

    Don’t you think that maybe, that this radical center is actually just a bunch of ideological reprobates?

    I’m sick of having to have the same arguments for the last 35 years, especially when in the last 10 they have been proven wrong on almost every level.

    • Karen 10.1

      Exactly my thoughts Adam. It’s exhausting.

    • Wayne 10.2

      Adam

      That is mostly because your arguments are wrong. And have been for 35 years.

      • KJT 10.2.1

        I have to respect your stubborn inability to look at the evidence.

        Always hard to face your own responsibility for a major fuckup, I suppose.

        • Johan 10.2.1.1

          Poor Wayne reminds me of a two year old, making a scene at the supermarket check-out counter where all the candies are located.

      • Brigid 10.2.2

        Wayne

        Isn’t it odd that your contemporary Jim Bolger would agree with Adam?

        “The sale of Telecom in 1990 was a mistake and New Zealand Governments have generally proved themselves inept at privatisation, says former Prime Minister and departing NZ Post chairman Jim Bolger.”

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10680372

      • Draco T Bastard 10.2.3

        Isn’t that our choice to make? if we’re wrong then we wear the consequences. That’s democracy.

        Still, it’s actually you that’s wrong as the increasing poverty in NZ that is a direct result of your failed ideology shows.

  11. Another illustration of the stranglehold the National, or any other, government has on local government under our present, unwritten, constitution. A written constitution could define the functions and powers of local government and entrench them. Whether it would, of course, is unknown.

  12. Logicgerman 12

    To “privatise” anything means basically that government fails. If you look at government employees there are not up-to-the-job.

    A government “should” RULE. Today parliament MP’s have no knowledge what their portfolio entitles actually.

    The court is run by government. This means that a government department is above the law. An uneducated person is above the law. Think about it.

    This is what rules New Zealand.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      To “privatise” anything means basically that government fails.

      No it doesn’t. It means that the politicians have been bought out by the private sector who want to rip off the rest of the country more than they already are.

      If you look at government employees there are not up-to-the-job.

      Actually, they’re usually the brightest and most conscientious people around.

      The court is run by government. This means that a government department is above the law.

      No it’s not and no it doesn’t.

      An uneducated person is above the law.

      I think you’ll find that its a requirement to be educated to get a job in a government department. It’s not a requirement to start your own business and yet many of the businesses in NZ are started by such uneducated people.

      Your logic fails as it’s lacking in facts and is reliant upon logical fallacies.

      In other words, you’re an uneducated dickhead.

      • ropata 12.1.1

        IllogicalGerman wants a dictatorship and the RULE of oligarchs over critical public infrastructure.

        [lprent: drunk or drugged troll. Now dealt with. ]

  13. johnm 13

    The Privatisation nightmare continues! Will it ever end until we’re pauperised!

  14. BM 14

    Wouldn’t it make sense to use Auckland port purely for unloading, straight from crane to train and then off to an inland port sited out a more accessible point?

    That way you’d only need a much smaller port area and the other land can then be sold off for development.

    • Muttonbird 14.1

      I need a laugh and you provided me with one.

      A RWNJ calling for rail and inland port infrastructure! Who would have thought it possible?

    • Andre 14.2

      If the model is get everything straight off a ship onto a train then move it to an inland port somewhere else, then the sea port may as well be Tauranga or Whangarei. Going that extra distance by train would add bugger-all extra to the cost if the volume gets high enough, the handling at each end would be a bigger part of the cost.

      • BM 14.2.1

        Doesn’t make sense to me to use some of the most prime real estate in NZ to store containers.

        If it isn’t feasible to do an inland port from Auckland you may as well close the port and move it to Whangarei.

        • Andre 14.2.1.1

          All that used car storage at the port must make you really happy then. At least containers can get stacked 7-high.

        • Muttonbird 14.2.1.2

          What? Move it to Whangarei and breathe life into neglected Northland? Upgrade the heavy rail route from there to an inland port near Auckland where freight trains run all day and all night and trucks are removed from the road?

          You are not talking like a RWNJ. Are you voting Labour this time around?

          • BM 14.2.1.2.1

            I don’t do the rah rah “my team is better than your team” bull shit in case you haven’t worked that one out yet.

            I’m more interested in stuff that works, not ideological wankery.

            Still voting National though, best of a poor choice.

            • Muttonbird 14.2.1.2.1.1

              Yes you do. You do it every time you post.

              I’m also interested in stuff that works. The difference between you and me is who benefits. For you it’s the wealthy elite, and for me it’s communities and families.

              • BM

                Fuck you’re a cock, do me a favour and don’t bother replying you’re not worth the effort.

                • Muttonbird

                  What’s with the swearing? Are you drunk? Or have you had your conscience pricked?

            • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.2.1.2

              I’m more interested in stuff that works, not ideological wankery.

              Still voting National though, best of a poor choice.

              hahahahahahahahahahahaha

              And I bet you’re still too stupid to realise why I’m laughing.

              • BM

                No idea why someone with a mental illness would be laughing.

                Could be anything?

                • Muttonbird

                  That’s a very poor effort, BM. You should apologise. We all understand you are under pressure right now.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  The only people with a ‘mental illness’ are those that say that they’re only interested in that which works while saying that they’re going to vote National – the home of ideological wankfest.

  15. Logicgerman 15

    Draco – my love
    Did I insult you? Why do you call me dickhead.

    IF a politican is bought by the private sector . that basically means s/he doesn’t do their job to “enhance the country” and their thinking is of their own benefits. That is under military rules called traitor.

    http://www.kiwisfirst.com/kingmaker-finlayson-2/
    IF a person in a ruling government decides who is a judge makes the justice a micky mouse.

    IF you look at government employees and their “education” it shows cost cutting and we do have monkeys in front of an PC and show what statistic outlayer we have to “investigate”

    Reasoning. If a person is choosen to be “mellow yellow” and don’t ask questions.. that is the best for any boss. Government does it. Private sector fire you.

    Love – I am educated. Far more than your horizon will ever explore.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      Did I insult you?

      The only person you insulted was yourself.

      IF a politican is bought by the private sector . that basically means s/he doesn’t do their job to “enhance the country” and their thinking is of their own benefits.

      True but that’s not what you said.

      IF a person in a ruling government decides who is a judge makes the justice a micky mouse.

      No it doesn’t as the court is not run by government but by the courts. There is certainly cause for concern though as there is the possibility of corruption.

      BTW, the highest court in the land is parliament.

      Reasoning. If a person is choosen to be “mellow yellow” and don’t ask questions.. that is the best for any boss. Government does it. Private sector fire you.

      And that’s a load of bollocks. I’ve been encouraged to leave from the private sector because I was making waves – private sector bosses do not like it when you question them and point out that they’re breaking the law.

      In the public sector I’ve found the opposite to be true.

      Love – I am educated. Far more than your horizon will ever explore.

      You only believe that because it makes you feel better about yourself but that doesn’t make it true.

      BTW, learn to use the ‘reply’ button.

  16. Logicgerman 16

    Draco T Bastard
    I guess that says it all.
    Draco for draconian?

    [If you want to continue to have commenting privileges you will have to do better than this – MS]

    [lprent: Dumb and apparently increasingly drunk or drugged troll proceeded to leave about 20 garbage comments all over the post complaining about “Sensorship”.

    So after a days commenting it is now banned permanently.

    I also cleaned out all of its comments except where people responded and this one. ]

  17. Logicgerman 17

    Draco my love

    When comments getting longer it means you have to dig yourself out of the shit more.

    Seeing the timeframe of your comments (In comparison to normal) . LOL Do you believe I am a threat?

    Ever thinking of brainwashing?

    Love – Let people choose. ^^

    PPS help required?

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      LOL Do you believe I am a threat?

      No, I believe you’re an idiot and you keep proving it.

      BTW: Bye.

  18. David Mac 18

    Lets fill it all in. The beaches are unremarkable and without it we’ve still got coastline for Africa.

    From Devonport to Riverhead, back fill it. Lay the infrastructure just before it’s topped up. 1000’s of acres within cooee of the CBD. The harbour bridge, a monument to AJ Hackett. It would make so many of Auckland’s problems go away. We’d lose the Waitemata, but we could end up with a state of the art city.

    The owners of waterfront property would need to relinquish their prime positioning for the better good….we’d have to leave a channel to the Chelsea Sugar works. we’d have to hang onto heritage bits of it. It’s a dog but we all love Pt Chev beach. The hell wave machine there could work.

    I better lie down now.

    • ropata 18.1

      Might as well, the council is hell bent on wrecking any decent public waterfront access by selling all the nice open spaces to giant corporations (QE2 square, Wynyard Qtr, Princes Wharf). The only decent beaches near town are on the North Shore.

  19. In Vino 19

    Please desist – you bore us.

    [lprent: drunk or drugged troll. Now dealt with. ]

  20. lloyd 20

    The way I look at this the minimal transport development bribe government could make to Auckland Council would be a double-tracked and straightened electric rail line from Marsden Point to Auckland and a double-tracked and electrified line to Mount Maunganui.

    Anything less than that would be a much more inefficient transport service for Auckland, with the costs going to the suckers who don’t own the shares.

    Selling the port for a few short urban transport links would be like selling telecom in exchange for a free i-phone or selling the Electricity Department for a new electric heater, or selling Manhattan for a few blankets.

    • Draco T Bastard 20.1

      Anything less than that would be a much more inefficient transport service for Auckland, with the costs going to the suckers who don’t own the shares.

      Sounds exactly like the stuff that national likes – you know, roads, roads and more roads.

      Highly inefficient but makes great profits for the bludging shareholders.

      Selling the port for a few short urban transport links would be like selling telecom in exchange for a free i-phone

      That’d be better than what we actually got it.

      Sold for $4 billion, pulled out in excess of $20 billion in profits since. Profits that we would have got if we still owned it.

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