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The wheels coming off

Written By: - Date published: 10:40 am, August 22nd, 2012 - 46 comments
Categories: privatisation - Tags:

The Nats are admitting the wheels are coming of their asset sales programme. Solid Energy’s revenue is in free-fall. So is AirNZ’s. Nobody can predict the impact the water rights issue will have on the power companies. And Meridian is playing chicken with its main customer, the country’s largest energy consumer. How could the government possibly get good prices in these conditions?

46 comments on “The wheels coming off ”

  1. Craig Glen Eden 1

    Whats interesting is English saying on Tv 1 or 3 on last nights news that any delay in sales wont directly effect the governments budget. Well bugger me if theirs no direct effect lets not sell them at all, lets just bank the proceeds from the sale of them but not sell them “Brilliance”.Other wise known as the Clayton’s asset sale.

  2. Carol 2

    Yep. You can only rely on spin for so long.

    And watch the benefit lady in the House if the opposition keep up the pressure – she looks rattled at times, in spite of the bravado. To a lesser extent similar for the education lady.

    Turning to custard all round.

    • Jim Nald 2.1

      As a colleague said,
      when this current lot in government are not cooking the books,
      they specialise in making things turn to custard in their hands,
      or having eggs on their faces.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Solid Energy’s revenue is in free-fall.

    That’s the China slow down for you. Look for the economic news coming out of Australia. Bad Christmas there coming up.

  4. And what will happen to the futures investment fund/repayment of debt/construction of technology infrastructure at school/blah blah blah that the sale proceeds were going to achieve simultaneously?

  5. shorts 5

    Rather the govt find a economic reason to halt or delay the sales than stupidly carry on with them

    could (will be) all be spin but retaining these assets for what ever bad PR line they run works for me and all of us long term

    if in fact thats what they’ll do… which I seriously doubt

  6. tc 6

    I reckon this is exactly what they are seeking, drive the value down so their mates get them even cheaper.
    Wait for the spin people, it’ll be award winning.

    Selling ANZ is a stupid idea, the Rob’s have it in good shape (fyfe and McDonald) and we need our carrier if we are to keep our tourism industry feed and not leave it up to the Emirates etc.

    • Murray Olsen 6.1

      That’s exactly the thought that occurred to me. Once you realise why and to whom they actually want to sell the stuff, it makes perfect sense.

  7. insider 7

    Weren’t these companies whose revenues are in freefall the golden eggs, the family silver, returning dividends better than anything else ever could ever? What’s happened?

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      The Great Recession.

      Remember though that the prize has never been financial and short term as National assumes – its the control of the physical energy resources which is crucial for our survival in the 21st century. Which Labour doesn’t get either, I should note.

      • Craig Glen Eden 7.1.1

        I think some in Labour do get that CV!

      • insider 7.1.2

        control for a sovereign state does not require physical ownership IMO. Ultimately we can stop them digging it up and exporting it if we want.

        • Lanthanide

          “Ultimately we can stop them digging it up and exporting it if we want.”

          Yes, if we’re willing the pay the price of ostracism from global markets. We do actually import a lot of stuff from China, for example. A lot of stuff that people seem to enjoy having part of their daily lives.

          • Draco T Bastard

            We can make that stuff here. Still, there would have to be a time of transition.

          • Tracey

            The FTA is not mutually beneficial. Latest figures indicate it is a much better deal for them than us… but isn’t that always the way.

            • Matthew Hooton

              The idea that a trade deal between an already open economy of 4 million and a previously closed economy of 1.2 billion is so stupid you really should reflect before typing next time. New Zealand conceded pretty much nothing in terms of trade access in the NZ/PRC deal whereas it dramatically cut tariffs on many major NZ exports. On economic grounds, it was all one way in our favour and the Chinese did the deal for other reasons – mainly diplomatic demonstration effects to other first world countries.

              • Colonial Viper

                On economic grounds, it was all one way in our favour and the Chinese did the deal for other reasons – mainly diplomatic demonstration effects to other first world countries.

                This is very very unlikely. Given that the Chinese have a habit of totally screwing the people they enter into partnership with. Just check out what they did to Siemens in terms of technology theft. And the dire brittleness of the rail stock they built for us.

                The more naive the whities, the more screwed they get.

                The idea that a trade deal between an already open economy of 4 million and a previously closed economy of 1.2 billion is so stupid

                This use of statistic reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of the Chinese consumer market and the allocation of spending power in China.

                Are we going to have to trade more farmland to the Chinese with fewer controls.

                • Matthew Hooton

                  Then you need to explain how they could possibly have gained in an economic sense from getting access to a market of 4 million that they already had open access to. Unless you have forgotten that Douglas / Richardson had already abolished all our production and expor subsidies and trade protections.

                  • Adele

                    Kiaora Mathew Hooten

                    To suggest that China is entering into a trade deal with NZ on purely altruistic grounds is niave. What benefit do they actually gain from cosier diplomacy with a comparatively tiny island amok with middle-class white guys and gals – who secretly still harbour fears of yellow peril.. They have much longer timeframes in terms of their strategic positioning in any business dealings.

                    In saying all that, Māori have no problem with doing business with China. Their style of business is more compatible to a Māori business ethic which places value on the quality of relationships formed and is inclusive of a broader context than how westernised countries have structured their business dealings in a general sense.

                  • mike e

                    wong and shipley showed them aye mad hatter.how to rip off kiwi entrepeneur.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Just check out what they did to Siemens in terms of technology theft.

                  Not just Siemens but the Russians as well and now Rakon have just entered a deal with them.

                  Matthew, China has been using the last few decades to build up it’s tech base, meanwhile, we’ve been losing ours. I’m figuring that the China/NZ FTA was just another means of advancing that. They’re doing everything the right way and we’ve been doing them the wrong way for the last three decades. We will be the losers in this one way or another, although I don’t know exactly how, unless we start to build up our own tech base and manufacturing again.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    It seems to me like Matthew is viewing the economic relationship as China “selling into” a tiny market of 4M. Well, its true, we’re insignificant to them. But its also a naive viewpoint, because China wants economic multipliers, not a few million extra consumers.

                    The Chinese want our dairy technology. And they want out stock genetic databases. That intellectual property is gold. Unfortunately, Matthew Hooten forgets about incidents like Chinese nationals trying to sneak biological samples out of NZ. (And we only know about successful intercepts). Once they have acquired our technologies, they will apply what they can to their 20,000 ha dairy farms. What Chinese manufacturing did for cut price electronics goodies, they’ll do for dairy.

                    And we’re just naive young New Zealand bumbling along.

                    • weka

                      Does that mean our dairy export industry will fall over sooner?

                    • Colonial Viper


                    • blue leopard

                      Here is what I found

                      …Preferring to engage first in relatively easy-to-win FTAs focusing
                      only on goods, China is meeting resistance in negotiating
                      FTAs with more developed countries. Trade in services and
                      investment have been relegated to later stage negotiations
                      except in the case of Australia, which is seeking a
                      comprehensive FTA. ”


                      Would someone like M.Hooton know anything about a term called a “sweetener” and would he respond to any of these posts or simply only capable of putting in a poorly thought out comment encouraging those with any concerns regarding what our dear transnationals and politicians are discussing to believe they are unfounded?

                      I don’t think making connections with China is without merit, however severely mistrust deals being arranged involving transnationals, our politicians, when such involves activities that act to keep democratic processes out of the process; in both the creating of the agreements and the consequences of them.

              • NTB

                Bloody hell Matthew, when doing business and the deal looks too good to be true it pays to assume it is too good to be true. And you bat for the “right”….sad. Check your pockets.

              • lprent

                Agreed. I particularly liked the fact that the agreement offered no particular advantages to chinese nationals and companies over any other foreign investor in land. Of course that was before Maurice Williamson started becoming a rubber stamp.

              • tracey

                what is it with you and name calling. I am not stupid because you disagrww with something i wrote. If you had to stop and think before you spoke or wrote the silence would be deafening, and welcome…

          • KJT

            Yeah. I really enjoy the fact I can only buy Chinese made electric jugs that last two months, the two year old Chinese ship that is falling apart already and the interest we are paying to borrow to buy cheap junk.

        • KJT

          Just like Iraq stopped the USA from digging up and exporting their oil. Eh!

      • tc 7.1.3

        +1 very much about control of essential services that can’t be substituted for , that’s why they went after Water directing Rortney in that play.

        When does a recession become a depression as the GFC is 4 years ago next month ?

        • Colonial Viper

          Depressions are usually called by the economists well after the event. But yeah, this is a Great Recession, and its going to be a long one. I just pray there isn’t going to be another major war.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I just pray there isn’t going to be another major war.

            I don’t think they’ll be a major one but lots of little ones.

    • Lanthanide 7.2

      The hydro power companies still are.

      It’s the government that’s created the problem with selling them because they didn’t do their homework re: water rights.

      • Tracey 7.2.1

        and because it was blinkered by ideology. It wanted to sell, so it will sell, regardless of the sense in it at any stage.

    • Pete 7.3

      If the SOEs are making better returns than government bonds, it makes sense for the government to hold on to them, borrow money and use the revenue to pay off the debt. If they are making a worse return than governement bonds, then no-one should buy shares as they are not an attractive investment.

  8. Akldnut 8

    When they finally realise they can’t go through with it after pushing as hard and long as they can, it wouldn’t surprise me if they lessen it to a degree but still plan to sell some of them off.

    There’ll be a turnaround and spin something like “After considerable consultation and public input, the Govt has decided not to further the sales process of some Power Companies but Govt will still blah blah blah”

    They won’t let it go lightly without trying some sleight of hand or dodgey scheme to put it over on the public.

  9. captain hook 9

    not only are the wheels coming off but there was no air in the tyres in the first place either.

  10. Tracey 10

    the wheels on the float went thunkity thunk

  11. UpandComer 11

    This shows Russell Norman is wrong, and Bill English is right. These are inherently risky assets like any other assets, not the cash-machines that Russell Norman makes them out to be.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Characterising core power infrastructure as “just like any other assets” is a gross misunderstanding of their strategic importance to the future wellbeing of this country.

      UaC you don’t seem to understand anything about the ROI timescales of these power assets. They are outstanding investments worth billions of dollars in income over a 10 year period. And you want to give them away for nothing. Loser.

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