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Villain or hero

Written By: - Date published: 4:09 pm, March 5th, 2012 - 158 comments
Categories: election 2011, privatisation, united future - Tags:

The Nats have announced their asset sales legislation. Mum and dad aren’t at the front of the queue. No provisions to ensure 85-90% stays in Kiwi hands. Nothing to stop the companies being sliced up and sold after partial privatisation. No real way to stop one company owning more than 10%. There’s 1 vote that can stop this. It’s all down to Dunne now.

Now, last week Tony Ryall seemed to think the government’s majority was assured. But, actually, Dunne campaigned against asset sales. Admittedly, he campaigned against asset sales that weren’t part of National’s policy but he never supported National’s policy either.

In fact, Dunne’s confidence and supply agreement with National doesn’t have him voting for asset sales either, it just talks about not selling certain assets.

A lesser man might accuse Dunne of being a duplicitous prick who didn’t have the guts to just come out and tell the voters of Ohariu that he would support National’s asset sales programme and purposely muddied the waters by saying he would vote against different asset sales that were never on the cards. But I’ll take a more charitable interpretation, which is that he really isn’t committed to asset sales unless they make sense.

Now, Peter is your chance to be the hero who stopped asset sales and ensured he would remain member for Ohariu and Revenue Minister for life. The alternative is to be the focus of a remorseless campaign for the next three years and go down as the villain who made asset sales happen.

158 comments on “Villain or hero ”

  1. Ianupnorth 1

    Cue Pete George…..

  2. tc 2

    dunne follows the power and who has that currently.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    “But I’ll take a more charitable interpretation, which is that he really isn’t committed to asset sales unless they make sense.”

    No, I’ll take the interpretation that he’s just sloppy and fully intends to support their asset sales, despite being “in principle” against them.

    And yes, Pete George, here’s the proof he said it, despite your repeated attempts to re-write history and say he never said it:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6123338/Dunne-holds-key-to-asset-sales-vote

    • CnrJoe 3.1

      Petes on the loo, he’ll be here shortly

    • From that article:

      In October, Mr Dunne said assets sales were “a critical issue for this election”.

      “UnitedFuture says very clearly there are some state assets we should never sell. Kiwibank is one, Radio New Zealand is another and our water supplies are the third,” he said at the time.

      Yesterday, he acknowledged he had campaigned on saying that “in principle we were not in favour of the sale of assets. We don’t as a principle think the case can be made across the board for selling state assets.

      “But we recognised that the Government had nominated the energy companies and Air New Zealand for partial sale and, on that basis, we said provided there were controls around the level of ownership and the level to be sold, we would support them.”

      That’s clear and consistent.

      Some people that didn’t want him elected and would never have voted for him now want him to do what they want. And if on other things he changed his mind those people would be the first to criticise him for it.

      Dunne is in a good position to ensure the asset sale programme remains moderate and has sufficient safeguards.

      • Pascal's bookie 3.2.1

        provided there were controls around the level of ownership and the level to be sold

        here would be the point at which you point to those ‘controls’ in the legislation, and explain that those clauses are the reason Dunne can vote for the bill and not break an election promiss.

        • Pete George 3.2.1.1

          We’re not at that point yet.

          Those things are still being discussed and lobbied on by all parties, and are not yet written in drafts for the first reading let alone being legislation.

      • Lanthanide 3.2.2

        What he’s really saying:

        ‘We think in principle asset sales are bad. But in this case, because National has offered me a ministerial salary, I’ll vote for them anyway’.

      • But these proposed asset sales are neither “moderate” (not sure how asking kiwis to pay for something they already own could possibly be called moderate, but if it possibly could be, this would not be the way to achieve that) nor have sufficient safeguards. (there are no guarantees against minority shareholder rights being invoked to asset-strip our infrastructure, no guarantees that shares will not be onsold, and no provisions to ensure a diverse shareholding that does not go to a few large parties and gives the small-time investors that the National Party tried to paint this policy as benefiting an actual chance at a significant slice of the pie.)

        • Pete George 3.2.3.1

          Not sure how you can say this when there is no legislation yet. You’re arguing against opposition claims, not against anything real.

          • Matthew Whitehead 3.2.3.1.1

            I’m going off National Party statements so far, not opposition claims. If they’ve somehow changed their minds in the drafting process, great, but I doubt that will happen.

      • (A different) Nick K 3.2.4

        “Dunne is in a good position to ensure the asset sale programme remains moderate and has sufficient safeguards.”

        He’s in a better position to stop them entirely and ensure that the benefits of owning these elements of essential infrastructure continue to benefit all New Zealanders not just those that can afford shares. Ensure that the key to economic recovery isn’t the state equivalent of flogging your possessions on trade me to make a quick buck and ensure that the government’s actions reflect the will of the majority of the public on this particular issue.

        Moderating bad policy isn’t nearly as good as preventing it in the first place.

  4. Kaplan 4

    These assets sales must mean an awful lot to the Nats as they seem prepared to throw away the next election over them. Say’s a lot really.

    • Jackal 4.1

      That they are more worried about their own personal interests than the longterm viability of the National Party… selfishness in other words.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 4.1.1

        If recent history is anything to go by, it only takes nine years for the NZ population to forget who they are voting for when they give National a tick. The Party’s foreign owners can easily afford to wait that long.

    • tc 4.2

      Watch the hollowmen again, the first term was don’t scare the horses tinker and shore up the rednecks, the second is sell out the country.

      There’s no plan beyond that, never was as they couldn’t give a toss, outta here and thanks for that suckers.

      KTH is on the money, if folk had memories, or enough that voted had been living in NZ during Shipley/ Muldoon would we be in this position…..leopards and spots they haven’t changed a bit.

  5. higherstandard 5

    “The Nats have announced their asset sales legislation.”

    Link ?

    • Jackal 5.1

      Govt introduces public share offer legislation

      “The $5 billion to $7 billion we expect to free up by these partial share floats will go into the Future Investment Fund to build priority assets like schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

      Still a work of fiction I see.

      • higherstandard 5.1.1

        Not much info there, I was hoping for some details around the share offer and price.

        • Jackal 5.1.1.1

          Yeah! They’re pretty much regurgitating the same press release every week.

        • David H 5.1.1.2

          What you actually think that the NATS and Dunne have any idea of A: how much they are going to get (“it’s just a guess”) said English. and B: what to spend the money on, to date, I have figured that the NATS have spent the money at least 3 times.

        • Fortran 5.1.1.3

          Me too – as I want to move out of Bank deposits into these SOEs.
          Am getting ready.

      • KJT 5.1.2

        I thought they said it was going into debt reduction? Was that last week?
         
        While they borrow 300 million a week, (or was that last week too) for tax cuts for the wealthy and to cover the profits going offshore from the last lot of privatisation,

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 5.2

      @ hs: LMGTFY

  6. Kotahi Tane Huna 6

    Stuff reports that “asset sales come with treaty clause”.

    Cue minority shareholders suing the government…

    • queenstfarmer 6.1

      Why?

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 6.1.1

        For the reasons that have been thrashed out here ad nauseam.

        • queenstfarmer 6.1.1.1

          Can you not give one example?

          • Kotahi Tane Huna 6.1.1.1.1

            Yes, please refer to previous comments and debate and you will find several.

            • queenstfarmer 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Obviously you cannot give one example. Resorting to the “Oh, they’re there somewhere” excuse instead.

              • Kotahi Tane Huna

                There is another explanation: LMGTFY. I am not your information provider.

                • insider

                  From my reading of that thread, the idea minority shareholders could just sue was roundly discredited, because it was based on a few false assumptions, one of which was that if someone offered you more for an asset than you valued it at, you were bound to sell it (which was an absurd belief) and another being a misunderstanding of what directors’ duties were to minority holders. American bankers, Key and Goldman Sachs, and 9/11 were probably chucked in there too, but I don’t think they are worth anything.

  7. queenstfarmer 7

    Now, Peter is your chance to be the hero who stopped asset sales

    Perhaps the same huge turnout of 50 people protesting asset sales would give him a tickertape parade.

    • Kaplan 7.1

      Do you honestly believe the majority of people support assets sales or are you just using a bullshit example to assist you with talking out of your arse?

      • queenstfarmer 7.1.1

        I don’t claim to know what people believe. What we do know is that Labour made this its #1 issue, and got a historic thrashing. We also know that all of 50 people could be bothered turning up to a rally.

        • Blighty 7.1.1.1

          one march organised by some moron the day before with no advertising. And I think it rained that day.

        • mikesh 7.1.1.2

          The Greens and NZ 1st both opposed asset sales, and both did rather well.

          • Lanthanide 7.1.1.2.1

            Don’t forget the conservatives, that ended up getting around 3% of the vote, as well. Far more than ACT managed, who are rabidly pro-sales (and 100% too, not just 49%).

        • muzza 7.1.1.3

          The only historic event that happened on polling day was the historic low turn out at the booths!

          “We have a mandate” – No you bloody do not !

        • Kaplan 7.1.1.4

          So the answer is bullshit example. Thanks for clearing that up.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.5

          What we do know is that Labour made this its #1 issue, and got a historic thrashing.

          Labour’s result was less than 1% less than their loss in 1996.

          For a historic thrashing you only have to look more recently at Bill English, 2002.

  8. lcmortensen 8

    Failing that, we may have to resort to wrecking amendments. Trying to include other SOEs in the plan will be like dangling the carrot in front of a bunny rabbit – the rabbit being ACT.

  9. Treetop 9

    On comparing Crafar’s legacy to Dunne’s legacy there is only one duplicitous prick and he wears a suit.

  10. I have not seen the bill (big proviso) but it seems to me that the legislation will have an effect. Right now the treaty binds the Crown and because the SOEs are essentially extensiuons of the Crown they are covered too.
     
    With partial privatisation the SOEs will no longer be a crown entity so they do not have to worty about such things as the treaty.  They can use resources willy nilly and not worry about any possible breach.  The Crown will though and in effect will be indemnifying Maori.
     
    The new entities will still be subject to existing rights.  For instance Tainui have through legislation rather significant powers over the Waikato that in future years could have a significant effect on the hydro power stations.
     
    No doubt a discount will be applied because of such unknowns.

  11. Dunne will hide in the Dunny on this one,Interest.co.nz,Gareth Vaughn,posted jan/25/2012
    Credit Suissie,MacQuarie and Goldman Sachs to be named joint head managers of
    Mighty Power sell down.
    Considering GS has played a part in the decision to sell our assets,they will earn quite
    a handsome sum no doubt,paid for by the tax payers.
    More corruption is evident.

  12. Eddie: In fact, Dunne’s confidence and supply agreement with National doesn’t have him voting for asset sales either, it just talks about not selling certain assets.

    Not correct if you look at the whole agreement.

    * There will be no sale of any part of Kiwibank or Radio New Zealand

    * Introduce statutory limits on the sale of public assets to no more than 49% of shareholding to private interests including limits on the extent of single entity ownership

    That’s probably what you’re referring to. But…

    The Government has identified the initiatives on National’s Post-Election Action Plan as priorities and United Future acknowledges the electoral support for this plan. Accordingly, United Future agrees to support the legislation required to give effect to the plan, insofar as it is consistent with this agreement.

    http://www.unitedfuture.org.nz/confidence-and-supply-agreement/

    That covers agreeing to allowing the asset sales programme to progress.

    • McFlock 12.1

      United Future acknowledges the electoral support for this plan.

      What electoral support? It’s under 50:50, with Dunne’s rotten borough taking it over the line.  
       
      So really, the C&S agreement says “although it doesn’t have popular support, the overhang caused by my seat [giggle] enables majority votes for asset sales, so I will vote for asset sales with the highly principled exception that I absolutely won’t vote for any asset sales that aren’t proposed for this term.”

      • Pete George 12.1.1

        NZ democracy 101

        National got significantly more vote than any other party, in our democratic system (the way it’s worked all century and before) they get to put throuigh their policies if they get sufficient support from other parties to make a majority in parliament.

        Otherwise no government would have been able to do anything, which would have been a bit stupid.

        And some seem to want Dunne with one vote to override National’s 59. How principled is that?

        • KJT 12.1.1.1

          Swiss Government seems to manage fine with democracy. One of the most stable and wealthiest countries. They have the sense not to give politicians too much power.

          • Pete George 12.1.1.1.1

            We seem to manage pretty well with our democracy too. A few sore losers hissy fitting doesn’t seem to interfere too much.

            • KJT 12.1.1.1.1.1

              You think the constant fuckups and sellouts by NZ politicians is doing well?
               
              Now you have really confirmed you are on a different planet.
               
              The “winners” are cheating. If NACT and UF had gone into the election stating their intentions honestly they would never have got the vote.
               
              “We are going to make most New Zealanders poor to make our funders rich, we are going to have everyone on minimum wage and we are going to steal  assets that will earn NZ income in perpetuity so we can cut taxes to a few rich people”. Would have been an honest statement of policy.

        • rosy 12.1.1.2

          How principled is that?
          Very principled if he goes back to his electorate and asks them what they want. They voted him in, barely anyone else in the rest of the country did.

          Do you reckon he’d dare find out what the people of Ohariu want and vote accordingly?

          • Pete George 12.1.1.2.1

            Sounds fine in theory but it’s not the way our established democracy works. We have a representative democracy.

            The voters of Ohariu will have known his stance on asset sales when they voted just over three months ago, and still chose him.

            • just saying 12.1.1.2.1.1

              You know perfectly well that Dunne deliberately created a false impression of his intentions in regard to the asset-sales. He said on the leaders debate that he did not support asset sales. I know the reality was “in the fine print”, but played both sides by not being upfront on his position.

              His moral position now is far from ‘cut and dried’ even from the highly slippery ethical perspective of the UF party.

              • You’re wrong. Some people tried to spread false impressions but that’s not his fault, it’s his opponents doing, and those who didn’t want to know.

                Dunne and UF were clear about the party position on asset sales to anyone who wanted to know. Do you want me to post you the election leaflet? And you can check this out:

                http://www.unitedfuture.org.nz/four-key-election-issues-animated-video-1/

                • Jackal

                  Actually Pete George, just saying is correct. Peter Dunne states in the pre-election animated video:

                  Asset sales are on National’s agenda but they cannot be given a blank cheque. Part of United Future as a support partner, is to keep the government on a centre path, no extremes. So we say there are three key assets that should never be sold; Kiwibank, Radio New Zealand and our Water… and that we also need to keep New Zealand Control of all our other assets.

                  The video makes it appear that Peter Dunne was against selling our assets prior to the election. He also more clearly stated as much in at least one debate prior to people going to the polls.

                  You might not be aware that much of our water is being included in National’s MOM privatisation model. This clearly goes against what Peter Dunne in United Future promised prior to the last election.

                  • rosy

                    He also clearly stated in an address to Deloittes that he was very aware that many voters were voting for Key despite asset sales, not because of them:

                    Asset sales are on National’s agenda, but the jury is very much out on just how comfortable New Zealanders are with this policy.
                    – My take it on it is that Kiwis are not very comfortable at all with it – most certainly not with anything close to open slather.
                    – The many people who want John Key back in power for the next three years, want him in spite of asset sales and not because of them.
                    – I sense very strongly that New Zealanders do not want to give National a blank cheque on asset sales.
                    – Part of UnitedFuture’s role, therefore, as a support partner is to keep the government on a centre path and keep faith with middle New Zealand – no extremes!

              • Herodotus

                You know perfectly well that Dunne deliberately created a false impression of his intentions in regard to the asset-sales- How is this any different that Helen Clarks deliberately created false impression regarding S59 when interviewed by Bob McCrostie ? Please be consistant when directing your comments.
                http://www.protectgoodparents.org.nz/quotes.html.
                At least we all knew UF position on this and they supported some asset sales, and most NZer’s at the time couldn’t care less and those few who did care didn’t count (unfortunately 🙁 )

                • just saying

                  I’m not actually talking about Clark herodotus, nor are her actions all those years ago the topic at hand.
                  Fyi – I never voted for her government.
                  Please don’t jump to conclusions when directing your comments

                  • Herodotus

                    JS you want to refer to principles or to eliminate deliberately created a false impression of intentions then where IMO you are wrong is associating this with politics.
                    I have never read you making such comments leveled at any other party or politician, just curious why in this isolated case you have. From following the election I thought Dunn made his position quite clear – he was supportive of some SOE being sold and for the retention of 100% govt ownership of others. I am sure with this link there will be now 5 people who have visited this site post election 😉 haha
                    http://www.unitedfuture.org.nz/peter-dunne-on-asset-sales/
                    – That is about all I recall from UF election campaign. ps for the record I am 100% against the sale, but have reluctanltey accepted that Nat won and as a consequence the loss of Nationally significant assets will be sold.
                    There are very few times I can recall MP’s standing brave for their priciples e.g. M.Waring and M.Mahuta being 2.

                  • @just saying: Please don’t jump to conclusions when directing your comments

                    You could follow your own advice. You stated:

                    You know perfectly well that Dunne deliberately created a false impression of his intentions in regard to the asset-sales.

                    Not only is it a jumped conclusion (or a deliberately false accusation), it’s also demonstrably false.

                    Just saying.

                    • just saying

                      I believe it to be true, and still do.
                      I believe you are not being honest. That is my conclusion based on seeing you debate this and other issues on this and other blogs for quite a long time now.
                      No jumping, lots of watching and drawing inferences on the balance of probablilities.

                    • You’re still jumping to conclusions just as you requested someone else not to do.

                      And they are conclusions based on no facts. You haven’t show anything to support your accusation about my honesty.

                      I’ve been consistent in what I’ve said about this since before the election and backed it here tonight with links to corroborating information. Facts.

                      You are either jumping to conclusions or ignoring basic facts, if you continue to make baseless allegations it’s not a good look for your honesty or intentions.

                      No facts, no credibility. Just saying.

            • KJT 12.1.1.2.1.2

              There is no such thing as a “representative democracy”.
               
              We have a revolving dictatorship where the dictators graciously allow us to change the deck chairs every three years.
               
              From 1984 to the last election we did not even have a choice of sensible economic policy. Neo-Liberal fuck you heavy and Neo-Liberal Fuck you lite were the only items on the menu.
               
              The BS from you, Pete, and other politicians is an excellent argument, for democracy.

            • rosy 12.1.1.2.1.3

              He can also go back to the electorate and asked if they understood his stance on asset sales. Given how open to interpretation his stance was, I think the answer might be a little different to what you imply.

              A representative democracy and an MP representing an electorate hmmm that might be open to interpretation too.

              He’s voted against the government he allegedly supports before. Smoke-free legislation 2003 comes to mind.

          • Pete George 12.1.1.2.2

            Very principled if he goes back to his electorate and asks them what they want.

            That’s what Ohariu People’s Power were doing, having a public meeting last Thursday. It was publicised beforehand but no reports afterwards. Does that mean there wasn’t overwhelming support for the idea?

            Indications are that while there seems to be majority preference that assets aren’t sold by far the majority of people aren’t worried enough about proposals to do much about it.

            • rosy 12.1.1.2.2.1

              Does that mean there wasn’t overwhelming support for the idea?
              I don’t know, why doesn’t he go and ask them? This circular argument can go on for ages. It’s very simple for him to break out and do the right thing and ask.

              But that’s not where his interests lie IMO, I suggest his interests lie in the position that benefits him the most. I’m not sure his [lack of] principles has changed very much since this post was written.

            • mikesh 12.1.1.2.2.2

              Last Thursday’s meeting was not actually a protest meeting. Its purpose was to hear an address by Bill Rosenberg, and to form a committee to hear submissions.

        • McFlock 12.1.1.3

          And some seem to want Dunne with one vote to override National’s 59. How principled is that?

          Democracy 102: Basic Math.
          Dunne voting to maintain the status quo will not “override National’s 59”.
            
          Here’s a hint: 1<59.
             
          Working:
          National 59 + Banks 1 = 60
          Dunne = 1
          Mana 1 + Maori 1 + NZ1 8 + Green 14 + Labour 34 = 60
              
          No “overruling”. Simple democracy.
             
          I know it must be galling for Dunne, actually having to vote according to principle rather than hiding behind the coattails of a clear proportional majority government. Trouble is, he took the gamble that his entire career in parliament can be free of any act of political commitment. Bit late to cry about it now.

          • Lanthanide 12.1.1.3.1

            In principle he doesn’t support asset sales, but he’s going to vote for them anyway. He’s said as much.

          • mikesh 12.1.1.3.2

            And Banks’ elections was a bit dodgy anyway.

        • just saying 12.1.1.4

          I understood that one of the main reasons for United Future’s existence in parliament, and more particularly in a government coalition, was to act as a safe guard against egregious breaches of common-sense against the public will and the public good.

          If there can be no actual situation where UF exercises its role as a safeguard, because to do so, would be to override the government majority, (and in this case UF’s vote is the government’s majority) what exactly is the point?

          • Pete George 12.1.1.4.1

            Dunne has already he’ll support the Mondayisation bill, possibly against National (depending on what they decide).

            And he is listening to the concerns of other parties and supporting limitations and safewguards.

            There’s no chance he’s going to change sides over the partial sale of the power stations but he’s stepping up when Labour, NZ First and the Greens call on him to make sure the legislation is watertight.

            http://www.3news.co.nz/Asset-sales-decision-rests-with-Peter-Dunne/tabid/1607/articleID/244912/Default.aspx

            And

            Peter Dunne’s crucial vote required to pass asset sales legislation will have the Government listening very carefully to his concerns.

            The latest is the possibility that individual assets (such as stand-alone power stations) could be hocked off if there was a buck to be made and it was in the interest of the minority private shareholders. Greens co-leader Russell Norman spelt out the possibility clearly, and Peter Dunne wants such an ‘asset stripping’ possibility to be prohibited under the legislation

            http://www.nbr.co.nz/node/111430

            He’s doing what he was elected to do. No surprises, working with all parties under our democratic structure.

            • Lanthanide 12.1.1.4.1.1

              “Peter Dunne wants such an ‘asset stripping’ possibility to be prohibited under the legislation”

              The way to do that is to stop the asset sales going through at all. Pretty simple, Pete. He’s opposed to them in principle anyway, so it seems if he stood by his principles he’d be voting against it anyway.

        • felix 12.1.1.5

          Hi Pete. This is a bit off, mate:

          NZ democracy 101

          National got significantly more vote than any other party, in our democratic system (the way it’s worked all century and before) they get to put throuigh their policies if they get sufficient support from other parties to make a majority in parliament.

          I’m sure someone with your level of interest in politics knows that what you describe only happens to be the case under MMP so far.

          There is absolutely nothing inherent in our system to say that having “significantly more vote than any other party” carries any special privilege or right to form a government.

          A coalition of, for example, 3 small parties with 20 seats each or 4 smaller parties with 15 seats each or for that matter 60 very small parties with 1 seat each (absurd example I know but nonetheless true) beats a much larger party with 59 seats.

          There’s your 101.

          • Pete George 12.1.1.5.1

            But it’s how it’s been done for how long now?

            And I suspect you would agree that the country would not be happy if 1/121 Dunne tried to run the government around on his own just because he could. Just say he didn’t like Working for Families and forced National to stop that. It wouldn’t be looked on very favourably by a lot of MMP fans.

            • Lanthanide 12.1.1.5.1.1

              So then it would be up to National to get support from the other parties in parliament to implement their policies. Duh.

            • Matthew Whitehead 12.1.1.5.1.2

              The public doesn’t like it when they support policies that are being opposed by minor parties or oppose policies that the minor parties are supporting.

              The difference is that a majority of the public, and Peter Dunne’s electorate in specific, widely oppose asset sales when they are directly asked about it. Dunne brands himself specifically as a populist, he would be perfectly justified following public opinion on this matter, even if I think that’s a stupid way to make policy in general.

              • a majority of the public, and Peter Dunne’s electorate in specific, widely oppose asset sales

                What evidence do you have of this re Ohariu?

                There’s indications that while country wide majorities prefer no asset sales there are only a small minority who have strong opposition, the rest don’t seem very bothered about them, certainly unbothered enough to increase National’s vote and decrease Labour’s vote. Asset sales were major issues campaigned on by both parties.

                • Lanthanide

                  Yes, but National only told lies about them during their campaign, like $5-7B was definitely what they were going to get (turns out it was a guess) and that mums and dads would be first in the queue (no evidence of this so far) and that over the long term it would be a net financial gain to the country despite losing the dividend stream (recently the government admitted that was wrong, too).

                  So, when you have an election where one party is deliberately lying about their policy, dressing it up as all milk and honey, against an opposition that is being honest about the countries state and proposing the bitter pill of actual changes to make things fairer and more sustainable going forward (GST off F&V, capital gains tax, raising superannuation age, tax-free bracket) it’s not surprising that milk and honey lies won.

                  • like $5-7B was definitely what they were going to get (turns out it was a guess)

                    Anyone who knows anything about selling things on a market understands that you don’t know the price you will get until the sale takes place.

                    It’s obvious you have to estimate or ‘guess’ what you might get in advance.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Yes, so they went with the $5-7B “guess” instead of the $3.78B estimate that treasury came up with.

                      I see you didn’t disagree with the thrust of my argument that National lied to the public though in order to win the election and that Labour had the better policies for the future of this country.

                    • that Labour had the better policies for the future of this country.

                      Totally different issue, and no, I don’t think Labour had better policies, some were fundamentally flawed, like their minimum wage, CGT and super policies.

                      The voters seemed to accept NAtional and reject Labour to if you recall.

                    • Lanthanide

                      See again “milk and honey lies”, Pete. Apparently you have a short attention span?

                • DJL

                  Actually I saw alot more anti asset sale campaining, than pro asset sale.

                  • Lanthanide

                    Yip, I think National’s campaign was more on deflecting attacks than it was putting forward a considered and robust platform and justification for the sales.

                • I was thinking of the on-the-ground political opposition to asset sales in Ohariu. Saw those balloons down Ngaio Gorge recently, for instance? 🙂

            • felix 12.1.1.5.1.3

              Pete,

              “But it’s how it’s been done for how long now?”

              It happens to have turned out that way in every MMP election we’ve had so far.

              That’s really to do with the relative sizes of the various parties we happen to have, and that’s mostly just a hangover from FPP.

              “And I suspect you would agree that the country would not be happy if 1/121 Dunne tried to run the government around on his own just because he could. Just say he didn’t like Working for Families and forced National to stop that. It wouldn’t be looked on very favourably by a lot of MMP fans.”

              Totally irrelevant, it’s National’s problem to find support for their policies.

              Dunne is supposed to vote for what he believes are the best policies, if that includes WFF he should support it.

              And if it includes selling the power companies he should support that too.

        • Drongo 12.1.1.6

          Because the majority of NZers are against the sales happening.

        • mikesh 12.1.1.7

          John Banks got in courtesy of a bunch National party supporters who effectively got two party votes each. How principled is that?

        • Puddleglum 12.1.1.8

          As for, “And some seem to want Dunne with one vote to override National’s 59. How principled is that?”, well …

          Dunne doesn’t have to ‘override’ National’s minority representation – he just needs to vote in accordance with what he believes. Does he believe that the proposed asset sales are fine or not? 

          If he thinks they’re fine then he’s out of step with the majority of the electorate – which is ok if that is his ‘principled’ position.

          Further, your characterisation of “our electoral system” meaning that the party that gets more votes than any other party gets “to put through their policies” is incorrect.

          In New Zealand’s electoral history it has been the party that has been able to control a majority in parliament that has been able “to put through their policies”. (Try to remember the 1978 and 1981 elections, at least). 

        • Being the largest party gives you exactly 0 legal rights in a democratic system. All democracy means is that people vote, votes are not only fair, but seen to be fair, and there is a strong media culture. There is nothing in those principles that endows rights upon the largest political grouping.

          In a representative system, (please note that this is a different thing to a democracy- you can have democracies in ways that don’t use representatives, and you can have representatives in undemocratic systems) what matters is having a majority. Due to benefitting from an enormously depressed electorate, the government can achieve a majority with the support of both its micro-party partners when it can’t rely on the Maori Party, so it is perfectly in keeping with our democratic system for United Future to withdraw its support in accordance with the wishes of its constituents in Ohariu, who did not vote for an asset-sales based platform by any means.

          If United Future were to refuse to support legislation, what would happen would be United Future, the Maori Party, New Zealand First, The Green Party and the Labour Party’s 61 votes overriding National and ACT’s 60. Your 1 vs 59 strawman ignores the rest of the people’s representatives in the House.

    • KJT 12.2

      If Dunne had any ethics at all he would oppose the fire sale of essential infrastructure. But then so would NACT MP’s.
       
      Working against the best interests of your employers would be grounds for instant dismissal, for any other employee but a politician.

      Negligence, Fraud, misrepresentation and theft as a servant should cover it.

      Dunne will be done next election. So will NACT, but it will take a generation to clean up their mess.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 12.2.1

        “Working against the best interests of your employers…”

        Who employs the National Party? We have some idea of who pays them, and a general acknowledgement that they are smart enough to take their bribes after they quit the Beehive, but they can hardly be said to be working against their employers on that basis.

        I know you mean the voters, but the National Party doesn’t exist to serve the electorate, eh.

  13. Reagan Cline 13

    As long as they sell what we need at an affordable price, what does it matter who owns them ? Meanwhile we can use the cash.
    4.4 million people can never raise the money to pay for the big expensive items without borrowing -it’s always been the same story, right from the start.
    Control of the huge, relatively shallow seabed offshore from NZ and Antarctica are what the powers will use us for. They will try to get us on side because it’s more sustainable than military conquest.

    • KJT 13.1

      And what do we do next time we need the cash. To cover the dividends going offshore forever.
       
       
      What happens when everything is sold?

      And. We got out of the 30’s depression, before most other countries I may add, because we lent the money for infrastructure to ourselves.

      Just as the USA did with the new deal.

      • queenstfarmer 13.1.1

        To cover the dividends going offshore forever

        Labour has already admitted this was a lie. Pretty much the day after the election, senior figures were admitting they could be bought back. And of course they never took into account interest payments going offshore forever. Or that one asset (or set of assets) is being swapped for another. Etc etc etc.

        What happens when everything is sold?

        Don’t know, and won’t know seeing as the Govt is retaining majority stakes (51%) – keep conveniently forgetting that, don’t you?

      • Foreign Waka 13.1.2

        I think that many of the politicians as well as corporate CEO’s count on the a generational forgetfulness. Somehow this debate seems to mix very well with the recent revelation about diplomatic comments regarding our strategic importance. I cannot shake the feeling that there is a fire sale to the highest bidder going on and the residents are being thrown in as a bonus.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 13.2

      Does KJT’s comment register, Reagan Cline? The fact that NZ history shows you haven’t the first clue? When your own lack of knowledge is thrown into such sharp relief, does it ever cause you to wonder what else you have completely wrong? Just asking.

  14. marsman 14

    As Bill English said in his ‘outed’ conversation ” tell them what they want to hear then do what you want to do” and these pricks were still voted in.
    They are scamming it all the way to the bank. Talking of which, Goldman Sachs seems to have quite a presence in NZ, is that scary or what? Invited by whom? Key? Joyce? English? It’s all very,very Hollow Men…. May they meet a spectacular downfall soon.

  15. Rosemary 15

    Dunne will not do what the people want. This will be his legacy, and he will not be a politician after 2014. The likes of Pete George can go running around arguing semantics around what Dunne said he’d support and what he wouldn’t, what are strategic assets and what aren’t, but the fact is that Dunne’s electorate believed Dunne would not support these current sales. He has sold his electorate down the river, just like the Maori Party has. Dunne deserves nothing but pure and outright derision for being the two-faced tory-supporting liar that he’s ended up being. Goodbye, Mr Dunne. I hope you can sleep at night.

    • but the fact is that Dunne’s electorate believed Dunne would not support these current sales.

      Facts can be backed by supporting evidence.

      a) I don’t think you have any supporting evidence (you can hardly speak for 37,215 voters)
      b) if any one of them believed what you claim they weren’t looking at the facts at the time.

      • Drongo 15.1.1

        Most New Zealanders don’t want the planned “partial” sales to go ahead. National were able to form a government, but this doesn’t mean that most New Zealanders want the planned partial asset sales to go ahead.

      • mik e 15.1.2

        I suppose we can add your 170 odd very odd votes to that PG

  16. Galeandra 16

    ahem! Villa i n, Eddie… unless you’re referring to his penchant for wiggery and his Janus- faced make- up whereupon ‘vaudevillian’ becomes perfectly appropriate.

    PG was referring to hissy fits up thread ; anyone remember that little televised gem an election or two ago when Mr UF lost his charm and threw his toys out of the cot? I’d love to see it again.

    Villain indeed, Mr FU.

  17. Reagan Cline 17

    KTH. NZ has always been a net importer of capital Just look around, all the stuff made here is made with imported machinery, most of our ideas are imported, our religions are imported, sports, fashions, languages – you name it. NZ is almost 100% imported – and that means borrowed, lent bought or stolen from others. Maori were imports too, just a bit earlier than the rest.
    Getting back to our state so-called “assets” what about the risk of ownership ? (Look up Taupo Eruption and Alpine Fault). If we really want to own power stations and coalmines why not sell ours and buy, borrow or conquer a share in some situated in more geologically stable places – and with a more sustainable long term population growth and demand ?

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 17.1

      Reagan, I’m sorry but advocacy doesn’t float my boat. Define this and that however you like: it doesn’t move me. Characterise reality in new and exciting ways; I don’t care.

      KJT said “We got out of the 30′s depression, before most other countries I may add, because we lent the money for infrastructure to ourselves.”

      That’s a fact. Deal with it.

    • Matt 17.2

      Did you accept a dare to heap as much retarded bullshit nonsense as possible into a single post?

      The most compelling evidence that this is all just privatisation for privatisation’s sake is that no matter how many of Nationals assurances re: asset sales are broken – and this entire proposal would catastrophically bad even if they’d been kept – you quisling trolls are still unquestioningly ra-ra.

      In short, fuck you.

    • Foreign Waka 17.3

      Well, this was a revelation if there ever was one. Of cause everything is “imported” – even the birds if you want to take it that far. However, the “imported” taxpayers of this country have paid for the assets which are now being “appropriated” by the Government and sold to private parties. This undertaking means that not only do we not get the proceeds, but we will also loose any future income from that asset to pay for things like hospitals and schools etc. Geologically stable – Most will take gladly the risk if they also have the benefit. As to conquering other coalmines and power stations, I think those times should be brought to a halt and it is my understanding from these many posts that a majority actually is all for it – especially if it is about the ones in NZ which are conquered at this very moment. Not that any politician really want’s to know. Which brings me to the question: What form of Government does NZ actually have? I must have sat in the wrong class when I learned about democracy.

  18. RedBaron 18

    Any Nat MP scheduled to retire next election from a farming electorate?
    Could we all get together and bribe him/her to go out in a blaze of glory – complete with a heavier wallet. I’d be up for some of the dosh, even a couple of dollars each would go a long way, and has to be a whole lot cheaper than any any other option.

    Failing that perhaps Labour, Greens and Winston could announce they will renationalize complete with a special tax rate for the likes of GS so we get our fees back.
    There is no room for being “nice” about this, it’s a waste.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 18.1

      Yep Baron. But why settle for a retiring gNat? I think the party needs a healthy dose of floor-crossing blood-letting internecine hell, to rid itself of the bought members. We clearly have a serious problem of economic sovereignty, and it is equally clear that the National Party follows orders from offshore.

      Take out the trash, Tories.

    • Lanthanide 18.2

      They got rid of gift duty too, so there’s nothing stopping anyone from “gifting” a sitting MP whatever they like.

      • queenstfarmer 18.2.1

        Except the law. It’s a crime to bribe an MP, and for an MP to accept a bribe.

        (and yes, we are talking bribery: Could we all get together and bribe him/her to go out in a blaze of glory …)

        • Lanthanide 18.2.1.1

          Funny how Rodney Hide got all anti-climate change right after receiving that “donation” from the anti-climate change group, eh?

        • Kotahi Tane Huna 18.2.1.2

          @QstF: Yep. It’s time you cleaned house.

        • RedBaron 18.2.1.3

          Quite right QSF the “b” word should not have passed my lips.

          We should collect the funds, start a think tank and award a scholarship to the lucky MP who gets to go on a three year no expenses spared world trip studying privatisation. It’s only coincidence that they are out of the country for so long and don’t get to vote. No pairs either.

          Something like this – the Frontier Centre for Public Policy – looks like how to go about it. Note the involvement of Roger Douglas and funding from NorthAmercian rightwingers and climate deniers.

          Same result different framing – all fixed now.

  19. Georgecom 19

    Update today regarding legislation being prepared to enable the sales. The government will apparently retain 51% of “voting shares”, more than 49% of share may be sold but only 49% will come with voting rights. So whilst the govt may retain some majority (though fettered) voice over decisions far more shares could be issued. The more profit taking shares issued, the more profits we can expect to see heading offshore.

    • Campbell Larsen 19.1

      So the Govt may own considerably less than 51% of the value of the assets, but under the treaty clause will be liable for 100% of any compensation arising from impacts/ activity?
      We retain token voting control but the dividend stream we retain may not even cover obligations under the treaty. What a shit deal – turning a ongoing revenue stream into a one off payment and an ongoing liability. FFS.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 19.1.1

        3. Attack by Stratagem
        1. Sun Tzu said: In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.
        2. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

        A “shit deal” indeed.

      • Foreign Waka 19.1.2

        One people under the Treaty?

  20. Morrissey 20

    Villain.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 20.1

      He would make a pretty tarnished hero (pretty on account of the hair), but I think he will get more publicity – and personal rewards, for betraying his country, than he could ever expect from us. This is a man who runs with the fox and the hounds; no-one trusts a quisling.

  21. vto 21

    Has anyone explained how selling these assets benefits New Zealand?

    Is it better to own or to rent? In the long long term that is..

    • burt 21.1

      Well, that really depends on other questions:

      Can you afford to buy the house you want to live in or can you only afford to rent it?
      Can you afford the maintenance costs associated with the asset or are you forced to let it run down? What other opportunities exist for your capital?

      I don’t think it’s a simple as a house ownership scenario – but I do appreciate the concept of house ownership v renting is easily communicated and hits all the right emotional buttons.

      • Except the annual returns are so much compared to the sale value that it just doesn’t make sense to do the sale- this is like asking if you should sell a house you’re renting out in order to pay interest on a loan- no, you should eat the interest because you’re making more off the rent than you would from selling, and even that is problematic as an analogy, because these assets return more in dividends compared to their cost than a house would to rent it.

        • burt 21.1.1.1

          Matthew Whitehead

          You simply can’t say that while renting out a property you are making more from the rent than the interest cost. It’s simply not always true. In fact there has historically been tax advantages with running rental properties at a loss. Entire tax consultancies have made a living off this reality.

          Recently, to negotiate school zones (but that’s another story) I rented a property in a situation where the rent I was paying wouldn’t anywhere near cover the cost of financing the entire property. The rental market is not indexed by some rock solid formula to the capital value of the property. The owners of said property could be considered foolish for running it at a loss – but they had their reasons I’m sure. One of which was simply that nobody would pay the level of rent required to cover the capital value when you could move 0.5k’s away and rent a house identical for way less.

          This is why I say comparing a countries assets to real estate is inappropriate. Sure I get you point of cost of capital v return – but that’s simply not the only factor in renting property or owning assets.

          • McFlock 21.1.1.1.1

            textbook deflection
             

            • burt 21.1.1.1.1.1

              How so… Have you seen my 11:22 comment ?

              • Colonial Viper

                Its a deflection because NZ power assets make big money, and you ended up talking about real estate situations making losses.

                Irrelevant, and a deflection, and you know it.

                • burt

                  CV

                  NZ power assets – like the Wellington power network we sold to the Chinese in July 2008 ? 100% sold – under Labour !

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Another deflection?

                    That was a mistake too, admittedly. At least Labour learnt but you haven’t.

                • insider

                  Do they really make big money? Contact makes just over 4% on equity, though it has made over 8%. Steady but not huge. What would you esrn risk free if you chucked The companys value into bonds or similar? (I’m not using soe data because I don’t think they will tell the same story on business return compared to a private one)

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Of course they make big money. Why else would the shitty unimaginative top 1% want them instead of term deposits.

                    BTW hydrodams are better than ‘risk free bonds’ because they are hard assets, not to mention the fact that there is no such thing as a “risk free bond”.

                  • burt

                    insider… It’s can’t be true…. we know that state owned assets produce better returns on investment than any other use of money… If we didn’t know this as fact there wouldn’t be suggestion of borrowing in the short term to retain ownership.

                    Keep up with Labour party campaign points CV… he’s the financial wizz because he can parrot the talking points of a failed election campaign.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    the bankers and National’s 1% friends want these assets out of public hands and in their private portfolios and that’s all that counts.

                    • burt

                      I was right – CV can parrot the talking points of a failed campaign.

                    • felix

                      He’s only repeating what Key said in the house just the other week; that the assets will be sold regardless of price because it’s the right thing to do.

              • McFlock

                The point of the take rent:sell equation was that our current assets will return more money if we keep them and borrow a bit more in the short term than if we sell them to borrow less. And you devoted a paragraph to how you rorted the school zoning system.
                   
                And no, at 11:17 I hadn’t seen your 11:22 comment deflection postscript. I’m good, but not god.

                • burt

                  I didn’t rort the school zone at all. I moved a year before I was wanting to have my kids attend [xyz] school and moved back a year befroe the next one. I followed the rules to the letter. Noting wrong with that… Now I know it’s against the spirit of controlling school roles using real estate location as some form of proxy – but I didn’t write the rules and I didn’t break them.

                  Now tell me how we just know state assets always return more money than the sale and reinvestment of the capital would. We have established it’s simply not the case with real estate – so why is it true with state assets – always!

                • burt

                  McFlock

                  If I had said – didn’t you see my 11:22 comment then your ‘not god’ reply would have been valid. I was giving some some extra food for thought…. But I guess you don’t need that when you just know state ownership is always right ! Not god… but you know state ownership has better returns for tax payers… if you are not god – stop pretending to know everything.

                  • McFlock

                    I have never pretended to know what planet you live on.
                        
                    By the way, the government didn’t sell the wellington grid. Vector did, while 75% owned by a community trust.
                       
                    Another good reason to keep things in government hands, it would seem – one never knows to whom the new owners will sell.
                     

        • burt 21.1.1.2

          Matthew Whitehead

          Actually, my own house which I was renting out had a lower GV than the place I was renting in. I was paying less rent to be in that place than my tenants were paying to be in mine.

          Location, location, location.

    • burt 21.2

      vto

      Have you also considered that the own v rent equation (in the context of housing) is strongly influenced by the tax treatment of the asset ?

      If for example all residential property in NZ was subject to capital gains tax the economics of ownership would change. They would also change if maintenance was tax deductible and so were mortgage interest payments. If all owners could claim depreciation on the building – that would also change the equation again.

      • Colonial Viper 21.2.1

        Simplify it to assume a standard rate of maintenance for a building and take that into account when setting your rate of capital gains (or asset) taxation.

        Apply the taxation only to the net worth of the building but charge a once off levy on every new mortgage taken out.

        • burt 21.2.1.1

          OK sure… that’s your solution to “control” the real estate market… and possibly change the tax distortions. How is that relevant to state owned assets ?

          I’m simply saying comparing state ownership with property ownership is inappropriate. Hits the correct emotional buttons but is folly from a logic point of view.

          It would be like saying it’s silly to rent a car when on holiday because the cost per km is so much higher than buying one……. Only a twit would take that argument on. Now sure we can say state assets have a longer time frame than a holiday – but they are still not permanent, they still require maintenance, they still hold capital and therefore have a capital opportunity cost. Just like buying a car on holiday has….

          • Colonial Viper 21.2.1.1.1

            Sigh.

            Have you also considered that the own v rent equation (in the context of housing) is strongly influenced by the tax treatment of the asset ?

            You chose the context of housing did you not.

            • burt 21.2.1.1.1.1

              Sign indeed….

              One context where vto’s question ( “Is it better to own or to rent? In the long long term that is..” ) is answered. The rental car on holiday was another.

              But yes I know… It’s different when it’s a Labour party campaign point state owned asset.

              • vto

                mr burt, I think my second and third sentences detracted from the first. In addition, the question of whether ’tis better to own or rent was not meant to refer to housing.

                The point was ……………. “Has anyone explained how selling these assets benefits New Zealand?”

                Nobody has demonstrated the net benefit.

              • vto

                One other thing that arises in conversations around our circle re selling these things (aside from the utter nonsense re the financial rort) …..

                Old ladies rely on electricity to keep warm in winter. Otherwise they die. Would I trust some corporate entity to keep the power running so my grandmother can keep warm? NO.

                Electricity is too important. If the government was selling off a whole bunch of corner dairys or some factory that made underpants then non problema, but not what keeps old people warm in winter. Imagine if people had had to rely on NZ Rail for life’s basics given Fay’s stripping and ruining of the system……

  22. Warren 22

    Villain it is.

    He was on the TV News tonight stating that he was definitely voting FOR asset sales.

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