When spin backfires

Written By: - Date published: 7:46 am, June 28th, 2012 - 41 comments
Categories: privatisation, spin - Tags:

John Key has this weird defence when challenged over the number of Kiwis who will buy and retain shares in his asset sales, given that shareholders in Contact have plummeted from 225,000 at point of listing to 78,000 now. He cites a single article by a single journalist that says Contact is widely-held. Yesterday, Key quoted at length from the year-old article. And walked straight into David Shearer’s trap.

David Shearer: Is he aware that the number of Contact Energy shareholders has reduced from 225,000 to just 78,000 since its sale, and that now just 0.03 percent of shareholders—that is, about 20—own 75 percent of the shares; and why did he say last night that those retail investors who bought shares when it was sold for the most part held on to their shares?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I have great news for the member. Fifty-one percent of all shares in the mixed-ownership model will be held by one investor, which is called the New Zealand Government, so it is a vastly different proposition. Secondly, the retail component involved people directly buying relatively small parcels, and there was some slight consolidation of the very small parcels some years on. For the purpose of the member’s education, let me read from Pattrick Smellie: “One of the least defensible criticisms of the Key Government’s partial privatisation plans have been regular references to Contact Energy as an example of a privatised company which lost control to foreigners. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. The reality of the Contact share register is it remains possibly the most widely held share by domestic New Zealand investors, 11 years on from the float. In fact, Contact’s shareholders have shown a high degree of loyalty to the Company, to the extent that EME’s attempts to take 100% were roundly rebuffed in the early 2000s. What it shows is that many small-scale investors have piled into privatised companies …” [Speaker tells Key to sit down and stop endlessly quoting an old newspaper article]

David Shearer: Is this the same Pattrick Smellie who worked as a public relations consultant for Contact Energy?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not know that, but now, I think, he works for Fairfax…

Classic.

And, then, Shearer tagged out and in came Russel Norman:

Dr Russel Norman: Given that Treasury documents show that only about 7 percent of New Zealanders are expected to buy shares in these companies, does he think it is more likely to be the 7 percent who got massive tax cuts under his Government, the 7 percent with zero or negative net wealth, or the 7 percent who are unemployed under his Government?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: [long pause as Key realises none of his lines address this argument] Within the rules that govern the Financial Markets Authority legislation, let me say that the Government is moving ahead with the mixed-ownership model, which will present opportunities for all New Zealanders, if they wish to, to purchase those shares. There are 1.8 million KiwiSaver accounts, which currently hold $12 billion worth of investments. What that member is saying to those 1.8 million KiwiSaver account holders with the $12 billion is that they should go to Australia and buy shares in its energy companies. If the member took just one moment to go and have a look at the share registry owned by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund he would see that they own pretty much most of the listed electricity companies and energy companies in Australia. I, for one, personally would rather see them investing in New Zealand than in Australia. If the member has a different view, well, he is welcome to go and put that to New Zealanders.

Of course, none of this stopped Key turning around and telling journalists that he thought the typical family (which he thinks is on an income of $90,000 – knock $20,000 off that, sunshine) would be able to afford to buy 5 $1,000 parcels of shares in companies that they already own.

Key has committed himself no to a situation where he has promised that not just a couple hundred thousand but more like a million people will buy shares.

If he doesn’t deliver in the Mighty River float – if most middle-class households end up losing their shares because they can’t afford to fork over thousands of dollars for what they already own, then this asset sales programme, and Key’s popularity, will be down the gurgler.

41 comments on “When spin backfires ”

  1. Descendant Of Smith 1

    What I would like to see is that the opposition parties set up a trust where those of us who wish to can purchase shares and then put them in the trust so that a future government can buy them back at the same price we paid for them.

    I’m quite happy to buy my share to have it held on behalf of all taxpayers until they can be repurchased by the state and quite happy to have any profit and increase in value also returned to the tax payer whose assets they are.

    If there is also a way that poor people could also be helped to buy their share and put it into such a trust that would be useful as well.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      “If there is also a way that poor people could also be helped to buy their share and put it into such a trust that would be useful as well.”

      Um, what? Are you suggesting the opposition parties by shares on behalf of “poor people”? Or that poor people are going to go out, get loans to buy shares that they then put in a trust and don’t benefit from financially in anyway and have to pay interest on the borrowing in the mean time?

      • Carol 1.1.1

        Eh? I thought DoS was suggesting that opponents to asset sales set up a trust. Then Kiwis who can afford it, buy shares that they put into the trust on behalf of all Kiwis.

      • North 1.1.2

        Shades of obstructive pedanticism there L.

        What D of S suggests is a magnificent notion. Application difficult of course but you scotch the essential sentiment in the most high-handed, Tory like, dare I say wannabe parliamentary gravy train rider Petey George ?, fashion.

        You might better have said nothing at all. Know all.

        • Descendant Of Smith 1.1.2.1

          I’m suggesting two things:

          1. A trust be set up by those parties and people opposed to the sales to hold onto the shares that those of us who can afford to buy the shares but are opposed to their sale to hold onto the shares for a future government to buy back.

          This would send a clear message about who is committed to keep shares in the public hands and is indeed putting your money where your mouth is.

          2. At the same time it’s clear many people cannot afford to but their shares who are also opposed. I’m also happy to make a recorded charitable donation towards creating as part of that trust a fund to help others but their shares and also put them into the trust I.e. give an interest free loan on the condition the shares are sold for purchase value to the trust.

          3. Wouldn’t it then be good if any dividends from the power companies paid into the trust from the shares were used to help poor people buy the shares for the next power company as well as charitable contributions.

          If a future government doesn’t buy them back then the trust could be dissolved and people’s shares or donations returned.

          This seems quite feasible. It would be helpful if more parties would actually commit to buying them back.

      • Fortran 1.1.3

        I would expect that anybody with a KiwiSaver account will have some in their portfolio.
        Have sounded out a couple of biggies and they will go for as many as they can get, as they consider that it is a good long term investment for their clients.

    • Macro 1.2

      Totally agree!

      An Excellent Suggestion.

      L – get in behind!! These things need to be thought through and slagging it off isn’t helpful in the least.

      There are some who are prepared to put their money where their mouth is. Maybe not as many as those rubbing their hands gleefully anticipating a nice little earner curtesy of Uncle John, but sufficient to make a point.

  2. Tom Gould 2

    This is all very interesting, but Key and his cronies and apologists in the media seem to have convinced the public that the sales will reduce debt, which is a very simple concept for people to get their heads around.

  3. BLiP 3

    .

    Key’s fall back position is that since the KiwiSaver fund will be buying shares and since so many Kiwis are in KiwiSaver then they can be counted as shareholders. Makes sense to him.

    • Dv 3.1

      How will the Kiwisaver funds be counted in regard to the 10% cap.
      Will each provider/fund be separate?

      If they are then Kiwisaver could easily buy all of the 49%-(isn’t that the Peters solution)

      • BLiP 3.1.1

        .

        Irrelevant. According to financial genius and waiting-for-his-knighthood John Key, even if KiwiSaver buys just $1000 worth of shares, all the members are – hey presto – shareholders. Another National Ltd™ promise delivered as per the usual semantic hopskotch.

        As for the 10% cap, meh, nothing that can’t be got-around via a single company owning how ever many concealed shelf-companies required to obtain the desired holding. Goldman Sachs will have custom devised legal niceties already on the desks of their favoured customers.

    • Lanthanide 3.2

      Funny how he’s relying on a policy set up by Labour, that they loudly scoffed at at the time, and wouldn’t consider back in 1996 when Winston had the referendum on it, as their special Spin Card.

    • Vicky32 3.3

      Makes sense to him.

      I’m sure the Easter Bunny makes sense to him… 😀

  4. Ouch.

    Almost makes you feel sorry for Key …

    This shows one of National’s major techniques and one of its major weaknesses.  

    Grab a study, any study will do as long as it backs up your right wing dogma.

    Shout it to the hills.  With the utter confidence that only a born to rule tory can manage praise its conclusions incessantly.

    And hope no one completely and utterly undermines it …

  5. Akldnut 5

    David Shearer: Given his statement “yes, we will lose the dividend flow, but the dividend flow is pretty equal to that borrowing cost …”, has he read the Treasury advice that shows that New Zealand will be worse off by selling assets by about $100 million in lost dividend flow, and does he think that is insignificant?

    Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.

    That $100 million would be a could be funds toward a Convention Centre, a new rail link, tax cuts for the 7 percent with zero or negative net wealth, or the 7 percent who are unemployed under his Government.

    Hell it would even look good in my back pocket.

    • Nick 5.1

      $100 million has to be insignificant in Key’s eyes otherwise they need to justify $100+ million on brokerage fees, $100 million on advertising / PR campaign etc.,

      Of course a fraction of this on Community Education or TVNZ7 or any number of relatively cheap, socially beneficial programmes is unaffordable, but once you get to the $100 million mark its ‘insignificant’.

      The KiwiSaver argument is a distraction. Key keeps going on about how people don’t understand the mixed ownership model and that’s why they are against it. Part of the reason they don’t understand is because an known amount of money ($5 – $7 billion but could be less) has been touted to do about $70billion worth of work from improving the companies themselves, to investing in other assets, to investing in infrastructure to paying down debt.

      Paying down debt seems to be the only one they have admitted won’t be happening, the money will avoid additional debt apparently. If the dividend flow is equal to the borrowing cost what happens when you’ve paid off your debt? No more borrowing cost AND the higher dividend flow. I think treasury’s advice said we are worse off as soon as 2016.

      All this passed with the support of an MP who was previously ‘dishonest’ or at least forgetful and another MP who was deliberately ambiguous (I don’t care how many links you put up, when they all start with ‘In general we are opposed to asset sales but…’ what do you think people hear?)

      Makes me so mad.

      • BLiP 5.1.1

        .

        People don’t understand the “Mixed Ownership Model” because there is no such thing. Its a PR-manufactured term for something they understand very well: PRIVATISATION. Reminds me of when the Sunday Herald launched – editor at the time Sue Chetwin and INL flunky Mike Robson fronted the launch and just couldn’t bring themselves to say “tabloid”.

    • felix 5.2

      “Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes.”

      The question has two parts. The “yes” only has to be an answer to one part of the question according to the rules of the house.

      That was just Key being a smartarse and saying yes he’s read it which exempts him from answering what he thought about it.

      As someone here pointed out the other day, Labour and the Greens really need to tighten up their questions. They’ve had 4 years of Lockwood now, they know how he works. If the questions are tight and unambiguous the speaker will ensure that the minister answers it properly. If not, you’re on your own.

      • mickysavage 5.2.1

        Agreed Felix.  

        They keep asking double barreled questions.  They should ask single questions so there is no wriggle room and the Nats have to answer.  It may mean that supplementary questions do not go as far but they will be more effective.  

        There is nothing better than a simple question to make the questionee squirm.

        • Carol 5.2.1.1

          But usually the sting is in the supplementaries.

          • felix 5.2.1.1.1

            True Carol, but all of this applies equally to primary AND supplementary questions. The sting in a two-headed supplementary is just as easily avoided.

        • gobsmacked 5.2.1.2

          They’ve had 4 years of Lockwood now, they know how he works.

          They’ve also had about 4 years of being told how to do this, not least on the Standard, Red Alert, etc. Repeatedly.

          The advice has been largely ignored, because we’re just dumb voters and the MPs know better. And who can argue with 28%?

          The “Smellie” riposte that Eddie quotes in the post was very good. But Key has used the same Contact Energy quotes, by the same writer, on many occasions in the House. And he got away with it each time.

          Instant rebuttal has taken almost a year.

        • felix 5.2.1.3

          Beautifully illustrated in the house just now: Mr Cosgrove, through asking a specific straight unambiguous question, forced Mr Joyce to admit something he very much didn’t want to admit.

          (The admission btw was that Kiwirail is on the auctioneers block)

          • Carol 5.2.1.3.1

            I was distracted when he finally answered the question. Was that specifically what he said?

            • felix 5.2.1.3.1.1

              There was a fair bit of waffle around it but the crucial bit was that he said no, he will not say that Kiwirail will not be sold.

              • Carol

                *sigh*. He was clearly trying to avoid giving a direct answer. And this press release from Brendan Horan, NZ First:

                http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1206/S00432/300-kiwirail-workers-to-be-made-redundant-nz-first.htm

                New Zealand First is warning that KiwiRail is going to cut about 300 jobs over the next two years.

                Transport spokesperson Brendan Horan says about 200 job losses are expected in the next year alone, with a further 100 jobs to go in the following 12 months.

                “Nearly 14 per cent of KiwiRail employees are facing unemployment under KiwiRail’s proposal which rules out any possibility of them being replaced by contract workers.”

                Mr Horan says it’s a callous move by KiwiRail to trim the wage bill by about $14 million to make it even more profitable to sell to private investors.

                “It is further proof that the Government’s policies are based on gutting profitable state-owned companies at the expense of its workers.

                • Vicky32

                  “It is further proof that the Government’s policies are based on gutting profitable state-owned companies at the expense of its workers.

                  That’s both saddening and sickening!

      • Carol 5.2.2

        I have wondered about this. That the opposition keep using two part questions makes me think there is a strategy to it. Could it be that supplementaries have be based on the primary, and asking a two-part question widens the scope for supplementaries?

        • felix 5.2.2.1

          That’s probably the tactic, but it’s a false economy if it results in the question being wasted.

          • Akldnut 5.2.2.1.1

            Is there a limit of supplimentry questions that can be asked of a primary question or does it work on time constraints – or both?

            • Carol 5.2.2.1.1.1

              There are limits, but I don’t think it’s per question – must be per day or a time period. Sometimes the speaker comments that a party has used up all there supplementaries, or that another party has gifted a party with one of their supplementaries.

            • felix 5.2.2.1.1.2

              Yes, Carol is right – it’s per day (or rather, per question time). Each party is allocated a number of supplementaries according to how many seats they hold.

              Not sure exactly what the formula is but the bigger your party, the more questions you get.

  6. Carol 6

    But, in relation to Key’s spin, have people been keeping track of the developments with Key’s liar “tell”?… his subsequent attempts to disguise it by overusing it when telling the truth, and Labour MPs use of it in the house to annoy Key: it’s his Pfiss. And how often has he used it when talking about asset sales?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10815891

    Pfiss … Key’s poker face revealed
    By Claire Trevett
    9:30 AM Thursday Jun 28, 2012

    In Prime Minister John Key’s case, that telling tic is a sharp intake of breath at the end of the sentence – a tight “pfiss”.
    […]
    Key’s “pfiss” originally only came out when he was saying something he did not necessarily mean – such as whether he believed, deep down, that it made economic sense for the retirement age to rise. In that context, it could be argued that when Key said “no, pfiss” he meant “yes”.
    […]
    So Key has since sought to cover his tic’s tracks by using it in all manner of situations.

    It now comes out when he is getting irritated by a line of questioning and repeating himself. There is a triumphant “pfiss” when he thinks he has slain Winston Peters, as in Parliament this week when the pair performed their sequel to the riveting saga of how many elderly migrants were freeloading on NZ Super.

    There is also the satisfied “pfiss” which comes out when he thinks he’s made a joke. In that context, the noise appears to serve the joint function of indicating his own pride in being such a wit and a verbal order to his own backbenchers to laugh, somewhat akin to a standup comedian pulling his ear for the hired laughers strategically placed in a difficult audience.
    […]
    So Labour MPs have fallen upon this pfiss with some glee and generously started to save him the trouble of doing it in Parliament by doing it themselves – pfissing away in noisy unison whenever Key stops talking, although regrettably Hansard is yet to come up with an accepted spelling for it.

    It comes out when he’s not quite sure whether even he is convinced by his own spin – most recently setting out the list of 14 targets in 10 areas his Government wanted the public service to achieve – ranging from getting 20,000 people off long-term welfare to reducing cases of rheumatic fever.

    • mac1 6.1

      “So Labour MPs have fallen upon this pfiss with some glee……pfissing away in noisy unison whenever Key stops talking…”

      So, Labour is taking the pfiss out of John Key?

      Someone had to say it.

    • fender 6.2

      So thats what it’s all about,
      I had been thinking Key was trying to suck all the oxygen out of the room in order to render everyone unconscious to avoid further questioning.

      Bloody annoying habit whatever the reason, but at least it shows he has no cavities (unlike many struggling NZ’rs).

  7. DH 7

    The Govt is really going to have to do a snow job on the public to make these floats work. Historically the share price of a newly floated SOE went up considerably post float because there were more wannabe buyers than there were shares. Contact was the only exception there & that because Edison paid way above market value for their controlling share. Many would-be buyers will be expecting a quick capital gain from these floats, they might not get it.

    This time around the share price of Mighty River may not go up in the short/medium term, indeed it could fall. Everyone knows there’s another two power companies up for grabs and I expect many people who missed out on the first float to wait for the next one rather than push up the price of MR shares post float. And if MR shares don’t go up that could have a cascade effect on the demand for the next lot of shares.

    Putting three identical businesses on the NZX one after the other in such a short space of time is pretty stupid IMO, it’s a high risk game that could backfire badly. It’s like telling bidders at an auction that you have more lots the same coming up later….

  8. Dv 8

    >The Govt is really going to have to do a snow job on the public to make these floats work.

    But they have to publish a prospectus that is accurate by law.
    They can’t spin a prospectus and stay within the law.

    • Georgecom 8.1

      Does that only apply to financial prospectus?

      The government spun and snow jobbed their election prospectus, and are not in prison.

      • Dv 8.1.1

        Yes I did mean the financial prospectus.

        But polis and others will have to careful as they are not licensed to give financial advice.

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    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    5 days ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    5 days ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    6 days ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    6 days ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    6 days ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    7 days ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    1 week ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    1 week ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    1 week ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • In Defence of Kāinga Ora
    Given the headlines around the recent findings of the ‘independent’ review of Kāinga Ora by Bill English, you might assume this post will be about social housing, Kāinga Ora’s most prominent role. While that is indeed something that requires defending, I want to talk about the other core purpose of ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Baby You're A Rich Man
    “How does it feel to beOne of the beautiful peopleNow that you know who you areWhat do you want to beAnd have you traveled very far?Far as the eye can see”Yesterday the ACT party faithful were regaled with craven boasts, sneers, and demands for even more at their annual rally.That ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Stopping a future Labour government from shutting down gas exploration
    A defiant Resources Minister Shane Jones has responded to Saturday’s environmental protests by ending Labour’s offshore oil exploration ban and calling for long-term contracts with any successful explorers. The purpose would be to prevent a future Labour Government from reversing any licence the explorers might hold. Jones sees a precedent ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23
    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 2, 2024 thru Sat, June 8, 2024. Story of the week Our Story of the Week is Yale Climate Connection's Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths, by ...
    1 week ago
  • Fission by the river
    This is where we ate our lunch last Wednesday. Never mind your châteaux and castles and whatnot, we like to enjoy a baguette in the shadow of a nuclear power plant; a station that puts out more than twice as much as Manapouri using nothing more than tiny atoms to bring ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago

  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Paid Parental Leave increase to help families
    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Brooke van Velden says paid parental leave increase from 1 July will put more money in the pockets of Kiwi parents and give them extra support as they take precious time off to bond with their newborns. The increase takes effect from 1 July 2024 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Defence increases UN Command commitment
    The number of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to the Republic of Korea is increasing, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.  NZDF will deploy up to 41 additional personnel to the Republic of Korea, increasing the size of its contribution to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand to attend 'Summit on Peace in Ukraine' in Switzerland
    New Zealand will be represented at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine by Minister Mark Mitchell in Switzerland later this week.    “New Zealand strongly supports Ukraine’s efforts to build a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Minister Mitchell is a senior Cabinet Minister and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Big step forward for M.bovis programme
    Farmers’ hard work is paying off in the fight against Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) with the move to a national pest management plan marking strong progress in the eradication effort, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The plan, approved by the Coalition Government, was proposed by the programme partners DairyNZ, Beef ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Build To Rent opening welcomed by Housing Minister
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Housing Minister Chris Bishop formally opened a new Build to Rent development in Mt Wellington this morning. “The Prime Minister and I were honoured to cut the ribbon of Resido, New Zealand’s largest Build to Rent development to date.  “Build to Rent housing, like the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Agriculture to come out of the ETS
    The Government will deliver on its election commitment to take agriculture out of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) and will establish a new Pastoral Sector Group to constructively tackle biogenic methane, Coalition Government Agriculture and Climate Change Ministers say. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand farmers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Luxon Tokyo-bound for political and business visit
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Japan from 16-20 June, his first visit as Prime Minister.   “Japan is incredibly important to New Zealand's prosperity. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and our fourth largest export destination.  “As you know, growing the economy is my number one priority. A strong economy means ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

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