web analytics

Two great columns

Written By: - Date published: 1:31 pm, June 4th, 2011 - 15 comments
Categories: national, newspapers - Tags: , ,

Two great columns today.

John Armstrong has an excellent piece in the Herald, about Bill English’s agenda. The son of Treasury is still in love with their outdated ideas, although he’s happy to let Treasury publicly speak to make National appear more moderate.

Armstrong argues that English, despite protestations, has every intention to implement as many of Treasury’s ideas as he can politically get away with – less public service, flogging assets, privatisation of as much of the public sector as possible:

add all this together – asset sales, a stripping back of the core public service, and extensive contracting out of management and service delivery to the private sector. Then add the opening up of accident compensation to competition.

Then add welfare reform to cut back the number of beneficiaries and you start to get the real picture of National’s slimming of the state’s apparatus and ipso facto its role. […]

This has had little if any effect on National’s sky-high poll ratings. That may be because voters have yet to realise National’s agenda is much greater than the sum of its parts. It may be because voters are not hearing Labour’s shrill warnings.

But it is probably because English’s revolution is incremental rather than “big bang”.

Earlier this week Vernon Small had a DomPost piece about the very weak case for asset sales, so the government certainly don’t seem to have managed to take the media or the public with them on this issue – they’re just hoping the public will vote for “that nice man John Key” regardless.

.

The other great column today has Tracy Watkins following on from the Greens’ revelations about Westpac gifts to ministers. She writes about the rise of the lobbyist, and their current ability to stay hidden.

She points out that the rules in the US – so often seen as corrupt – are much stricter, and we know exactly who is lobbying whom. Lobbying gifts are banned, where ours are largely hidden in trusts or kept under the $500 mark that needs disclosure.

It’s an article that needs reading in full, so I won’t quote it. It certainly raises some scary points about how journalists are being further restricted around parliament whilst lobbyists (particularly ex-MPs) are getting ever greater access to our politicians.

Even the OIA seems powerless to see who the likes of (anti-Pharmac) Mark Unsworth, Tony O’Brien (Sky), Matthew Hooton, Mai Chen, Stephen Franks, Katherine Rich, Roger Sowry, Doug Woolerton and Barrie Saunders are lobbying, or indeed for whom they’re lobbying. Or how they’re doing it.

We need fresh laws to deal with this.

15 comments on “Two great columns ”

  1. I would say they don’t need any access, since our Ministers are all bosses with a massive stake in NZ Inc. These so-called lobbyists are dogs bodies, and go betweens not heavy hitters. The NACT pollies are proving Marx’ point that the state is a committee (cabinet) of the ruling class. They move between the boardroom and cabinet without so much as a vote. In fact David Kirk thinks that the Cabinet is one big boardroom. While he thinks that FPP serves cabinet best because it has a clear mandate for ‘reform’, I think he’s missing a big point which is that the right are ideologically a minority and its helps to parachute rightists into parliament cause they generally won’t get voted in. That’s the main reason I think the anti-MMP faction of the bosses won’t overturn MMP. Big bossiness is happy to manipulate MMP cause they can second a Rodney or a Don or a Steven into cabinet for an innings or two when they run out of true blue seats in the shires.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Definitely need more rules about who our politicians are meeting and why.

    As for Treasury? They need to be ignored until they find their way back to reality.

  3. Bucking convention, John Key is now seeking a mandate for a second-term agenda which is radical and transparent.”

    Armstrong gets it. Key (and his backers) are following the oldest – because most unexpected – burglary tactic out: Walk calmly, and in full daylight, through the front door, whistling and offering a cheery smile to passersby. Look like you’re harmless. That is the very last approach to theft people expect. (Of course, ‘hiding in plain sight’ is still hiding, given the political context.)

    The ridiculous comments to the effect that Key is ‘Mr Moderate’ and his government is centrist are just that – ridiculous.

    Perhaps the most galling aspect of this tactic is that, once the pillage is done (though, in reality it is never finished) Key can simply say, ‘Well, I told you what we’d do. You had fair warning.’ And I’m afraid that, even then, many New Zealanders will respond “you’re right John – you were being honest with us all along, It’s our fault that we now don’t like this stuff. We just didn’t understand. It’s not your fault – you’re a great guy John!”

    And off he then heads to smile his way to some even greater project of deception elsewhere …

  4. Jan 4

    The policy paper on which some of this thinking (In John Armstrong;s article) is based is the
    2010 Investment Statement of the Government of New Zealand Hon Bill English, Minister of Finance 14 December 2010 http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/2010/is/is10.pdf which claims that the value of government assets have increased fourfold in 15 years.

    “the value of the Government’s assets now more than four times the size it was in the mid-1990s (sic) and now more than double the size of borrowings and liabilities (SIC). This has led to significant growth in the Crown’s net worth from around zero (sic) in the mid-1990s to around $95 billion in 2010 (50% of Gross Domestic Product [GDP]).”

    (I thought assets and GDP were measures of different kinds – stock rather than flow – but never mind) By any objective measure the paper is misleading (conflating GDP and assets as well as comparing earning assets such as the power companies with social assets such as schools and hospitals ( if it is not arrant economic nonsense – and I am not equipped to judge) It claims that ‘greater transparency” in making investment decisions is required by understanding the value of government assets. One would have thought that investment decisions might be made by looking at the value provided by public services (rather than the value of teh underlying asset) – after all a road is a road, a hospital is a hospital and a pylon a pylon whether you ascribe them a low or a high value. Valuation of assets however does make a lot of sense however if you are aiming to divest them

    I think the document is the precursor of the budget and is intended to provide the ‘intellectual’ validation of the set of budget policies related to the $5- $7bn of proposed public asset sales whose proceeds are already banked against proposed “social spending” as well as future asset sales and public private partnerships . I wish I had seen somewhere an analysis of it somewhere and Armstrong’s article is the first that has really explained this train of thought and its likely consequences in such clear terms. Hurrah for the MSM six months after the fact! 😉

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Yeah its high time that Treasury was broken up and sold.

    Not sure who would buy them though as they are a complete money losing liability, and private investors are only looking for worthwhile public assets to take over.

  6. Chris 6

    Maybe people just aren’t as against asset sales as labour thinks? Since we all know anecdotal evidence is the best everyone I’ve spoken too who is still planning on voting national don’t care about them. I wouldve thought by now everyone knows that is what they are planning yet there doesn’t seem to be any backlash about it no matter how hard labour try

    • bbfloyd 6.1

      so what your saying is that the morons are in control now? you seem to be “relaxed” about that. does that make you one of them?

      heartbreaking to think that there is still a significant number of people who can’t, or won’t exercise any kind of intellectual vigour when considering the ramifications of asset sales.

      being smug about that demeans you.

    • felix 6.2

      I think the results of surveys taken on the subject of asset sales which show an overwhelming disapproval by kiwis tend to outweigh your anecdote. I’m old fashioned like that.

      • Chris 6.2.1

        There is a large difference between disapproving about something And caring enough about something to change your vote about it.

        Not sure why it is moronic to disagree with how you think assets should be utilized. My opinion is that they aren’t particularly well run now so don’t see why they would change that much with privatization. Or that the government would get that much better return on holding them.

        I don’t disagree that there is a good chance I could be wrong but that doesn’t make me a moron.

  7. Afewknowthetruth 7

    The game now is the same as it has been since the first colonists arrived: extract as much wealth as possible and keep the general populace from realising what the real game is.

    International bankers have been in control of NZ society (and governments) since the 1800s, particularly since the Maori Wars were won. That state of affairs is unlikely to change in the near future.

  8. randal 8

    you on it dude. keep up the good work.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Bill to transform drinking water safety passes
    The Government today passed legislation that will transform drinking water safety and improve environmental outcomes for our wastewater and stormwater networks. “The Water Services Act gives Taumata Arowai the legal authority to carry out its duties as New Zealand’s dedicated water regulator. This represents a major transformational advance for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor to travel to Europe and US to support economic re...
    Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor will travel to Europe and the United States on Thursday this week to advance New Zealand’s trade and economic interests with key partners, including representing New Zealand at the G20 Trade Ministers’ Meeting in Italy. It follows recent engagement between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Asia New Zealand Foundation Chair and Board members announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Dame Fran Wilde, DNZM, QSO, as the new Chair to the Board of the Asia New Zealand Foundation – Te Whītau Tūhono. “Dame Fran Wilde has been a trustee since 2019 and I am confident that her experience and deep ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Latest KiwiSaver Annual Report shows promising benefits for members
    The latest KiwiSaver Annual Report from the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), highlights how Government’s recent policy tweaks have positively benefitted New Zealanders, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said today. “Fourteen people so far have withdrawn their funds early thanks to a rule modification made in March this year. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Reasons for permitted travel across Alert Level boundary expanded
    From 11:59pm tonight additional reasons for permitted travel will be introduced for movement across the Auckland boundary, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “As this outbreak has shown Delta is highly transmissible, and in order to be confident of controlling its spread, restrictions at the Alert Level boundary have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Tenancy measures introduced to further support COVID-19 impacted businesses and tenants
    The Government has introduced changes to help ease the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on both commercial and residential tenancies. As part of the COVID-19 Response Legislation Bill introduced to Parliament, measures are being taken to help businesses resolve disputes over commercial rent, as well as provide greater certainty for landlords ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Details of interest deductibility rules released
    The Government has released the draft legislation outlining the details of the policy limiting the deductibility of interest costs on residential property investments. Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the interest limitation proposals, announced in March, aim to stem investor demand for existing residential properties. They do not affect the main ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • GPS sets long-term direction for housing, urban development
    The Government has today laid out its long-term vision for housing and urban development in Aotearoa New Zealand, ensuring we have the infrastructure and homes needed to nurture thriving communities in the decades to come. The Housing Minister Megan Woods says the Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Government welcomes collaboration between Vector and X
    A move by Vector to form a strategic collaboration with X, (formerly Google X) to work together on the virtualisation of the Auckland electricity grid highlights the type of innovation that can help decarbonise and decentralise the electricity system, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. “The visualisation of New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • PM farewells Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy
    The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy completes her five year term as Governor-General of New Zealand today. “Today marks the end of an eventful term of office for Dame Patsy and I want to acknowledge and thank her for her tireless service to New Zealand over the last five years,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Government delivers on improving health and equity outcomes for women
    ACC cover for maternal childbirth injuries Government working to improve and strengthen maternity services The Government is laying the foundations for a better future by improving equity and health outcomes for women through amending ACC legislation and an updated Maternity Action Plan. “Amongst a suite of changes, we’re proposing to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Speech at launch of the Dementia Economic Impact Report
    E nga mana E nga reo E nga iwi Tēna kotou katoa Ka huri ki nga mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēna koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. No reira tēna koutou katoa Acknowledgements Thank you ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Backing world-class innovation in New Zealand
    $12 million Government investment to support cutting-edge R&D in New Zealand by international businesses Dawn Aerospace and Merlin Labs join Innovative Partnership’s Airspace Integration Trials programme MOU signed with Air New Zealand to conduct a nationwide feasibility study into sustainable aviation fuels The Government is propelling cutting-edge innovation through a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • One-way quarantine free travel dates confirmed for RSE scheme
    From 4 October RSE workers from Vanuatu can begin arriving into New Zealand From 12 October RSE workers Samoa and Tonga from can begin arriving into New Zealand As part of a programme of work to reopen our borders and reconnect with the world, the Government has announced quarantine free ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • More community grants to support youth mental wellbeing
    The Government continues to make more mental health and wellbeing supports available to young people to ensure services are there when and where they need them, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “More than twenty community-led projects have now received a funding boost through The Youth Mental Wellbeing Fund to keep ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Self-isolation pilot to start with 150 people
    The goal of safely re-opening our borders and developing new ways for people to travel will start with a self-isolation pilot, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “As part of the Reconnecting New Zealanders plan announced in August, the self-isolation pilot will look at self-isolation for vaccinated travellers who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Poroporoaki: Waka Joseph Nathan
    E Waka e, kei hea ra koe, kua ngaro nei i te iwi e, E kawe nei i ngā rongo, i ngā mahara mōu, i ngā wawata i hua mai i a koe. E Waka e, haere ra, kei te tuahu koe o te ati a toa, Kei poho tonu ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Canterbury school students get hands-on with food and fibre careers
    Secondary school students in Canterbury will have the breadth of food and fibre careers showcased to them thanks to a new initiative launched today, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. Secondary School Employer Partnerships (SSEP) Canterbury is a collaboration between the Ministry for Primary Industries and SmartNZ, a charitable trust that connects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Tuvalu language revival and COVID-19
    Te Vaiaso o te Gana Tuvalu 2021 - Tuvalu Language Week moves online due to the uncertainty around COVID-19 said the Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.  “However it is a timely reminder of the power of embracing both traditional and new ways of doing things. It has been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strengthened reporting will improve abortion and sterilisation services
    Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall has announced new data and reporting regulations which will help improve abortion and sterilisation services in New Zealand, by painting a clearer picture of the need in our communities. “The Government is committed to ensuring everyone who needs to access abortion services can, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • United Nations General Assembly: 76th General Debate Statement
    E ngā Mana, e ngā Reo, Rau Rangatira mā o tēnei Whare Nui o te Ao Prestigious people, Speakers of note, Chiefs one and all of this General Assembly Ngā mihi mahana ki o koutou katoa, mai i toku Whenua o Aotearoa Warm greetings to you all from my home ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • APEC 2021 Women and the Economy Forum prioritises women’s economic empowerment
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today chaired the virtual APEC 2021 Women and the Economy Forum, which is working to address outstanding issues for women and girls across the region as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum brought together Ministers and representatives from 21 economies to discuss gender ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government invests in restoring iconic South Canterbury river valleys
    The Government is investing up to $18.4 million over four years to create jobs and help restore braided river valleys, alpine and pastoral lands in the South Island as part of its Jobs for Nature programme Land Information Minister, Damien O’Connor announced. Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Upper Hauraki to move to Alert Level 2
    Upper Hauraki will move to Alert Level 2 from 11:59pm tomorrow, 25 September, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. After positive cases were detected in the Upper Hauraki area on Sunday, extra Alert Level restrictions were put in place to immediately prevent any wider transmission of the virus.  “We’ve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Report into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system released
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today welcomed the findings of an independent review into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system, which regulates the export of goods to foreign militaries, police forces or paramilitaries. Produced by David Smol, a former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General David Parker has announced the appointment of Brett Crowley of Wellington as a District Court Judge.  He is currently the Wellington Public Defender and started his career as a staff solicitor working in a range of litigation including criminal defence work. He went to the bar in 1999 specialising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Mental health stocktake shows strong progress
    The first report of the Government’s Implementation Unit has found strong progress has been made since the Mental Health and Addictions Package was announced in 2019. “The report notes most initiatives funded in the Budget 2019 package are on track to deliver what is expected by 2023/24,” Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Working together to grow the West Coast
    A project that has been crucial in allowing businesses to continue during the tourism downturn is among a number of initiatives to receive a boost from the Government’s Jobs For Nature programme, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Sustaining South Westland is an extension of an initiative set up last year ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Next steps to improve safety in wake of Whakaari White Island tragedy
    The Government is moving to improve safety in light of the Whakaari White Island tragedy and has released proposals to reinforce safety standards in registered adventure activities. The package of proposals includes: Strengthening requirements for how operators, landowners and the regulator manage natural hazard risks Improving how risks are monitored, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand donates more COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX and the Pacific
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio announced today that New Zealand is donating additional Pfizer vaccines to the Pacific and AstraZeneca vaccines to the COVAX Facility, to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. “New Zealand is donating 708,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to the Property Council of New Zealand
    Kia ora koutou katoa   Is it a pleasure to be able to speak with you today, and to be able to answer some questions you may have. I would like to acknowledge the organisers of this event, the Property Council. The theme of this year’s conference is City Shapers. Together ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Additional MIQ for Christchurch
    An additional hotel will be added to our network of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I have approved and Cabinet is in the final stages of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ COVID-19 response earns another major digital investment
    Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark welcomes Amazon’s Web Services’ (AWS) decision to establish a Cloud Region on New Zealand shores, further boosting New Zealand’s growing digital sector, and providing a vote of confidence in the direction of New Zealand’s economic recovery. “Amazon is the second ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand invests in cutting edge cancer R&D
    Scaling up the manufacture of CAR T-cell cancer therapy for clinical trials Advancing New Zealand’s biomedical manufacturing capability Supporting future international scientific collaborations Transforming cancer care with targeted, affordable solutions Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has announced that the fight against COVID-19 will not stop the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Expert group appointed to lead New Zealand’s future health system
    An outstanding group of people with extensive and wide-ranging governance and health experience have been appointed to lead the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This Government is building a truly national health system to provide consistent, high-quality health services right across the country. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding to help clean up contaminated sites
    The Government is supporting the clean-up of contaminated sites in Northland, Dunedin and Southland to reduce risk to people’s health and protect the environment. Environment Minister David Parker said the funding announced today, through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, will help us turn previously hazardous sites into safe, usable public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Predator Free apprenticeships open up new job opportunities
    The expansion of a predator free apprenticeship programme is an opportunity for more people to kick-start a conservation career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The Predator Free Apprenticeship Programme is focused on increasing the number of skilled predator control operators in New Zealand through a two-year training programme. “The Trust ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further NCEA support confirmed for Auckland students
    The number of Learning Recognition Credits for senior secondary school students will be increased for Auckland students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. This recognises the extended time these students will spend in Alert Levels 3 and 4. “It means students in Auckland will have a fair opportunity to attain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Long-term pathway next step to better mental wellbeing for New Zealanders
    The Government is taking a new approach to support people who experience mental distress, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (Kia Manawanui) is the first 10-year plan of its kind that targets the cause of mental distress and also sets out how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
    The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams at the Police College today.   The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago