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What if they threw an asset sale & nobody came?

Written By: - Date published: 7:58 am, August 13th, 2012 - 49 comments
Categories: privatisation - Tags:

A TVNZ poll matches the results of the TV3 poll on whether people would buy shares in the asset sales. Only 50% say they definitely have $1,000 to spare to buy what they already own. Only 13% say they would “very likely” use that money to buy those shares. Hardly the ‘vast majority’. Most of us would end up dispossessed.

If and when the sale of Meridian Energy happens, watch for National to crow at the number of investor information packages it sends out. When that happens, remember that in the QR National float they sent out a million packs but only 80,000 people ended up buying shares.

49 comments on “What if they threw an asset sale & nobody came? ”

  1. marsman 1

    ‘Harmos warned that the process could be hijacked by political agendas, which would be at the expense of intelligent, fact-based debate.’ So whines the self-serving chairman of the NZ Stock Exchange Andrew Harmos (Stuff today). His own arguments for the State Asset sales are anything but intelligent or fact based but are based on greed for a Government handout to prop up his failing empire.

    • tracey 1.1

      And no one is more impatial than tge head of the nzse who are the major winner… :rolleyes:

    • Tom Gould 1.2

      NZX is a private company, right? So it’s like the CEO of McDonalds saying ‘eat more burgers’?

      Besides, how are ‘mum and dad’ investors to decide, with the Herald headline at 5.30am saying “Meridian’s profit rises despite challenges” which by 9.30am had become “Meridian profits hit hard – down 52pc”.

      Looks like the spin machine is kicking in, albeit late.

      • Akldnut 1.2.1

        Would you like to upsize with that order – we’ll throw in a complimentry share or two to sweeten the deal.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Spread the word, any kiwi that buys these shares if the sale proceeds is a scabby bastard negating previous taxpayers financial contributions and dissing the workers and engineers that built the hydro schemes.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Quite likely there will be many kiwisaver funds buying shares, so you’re painting rather a large proportion of the population as scabby bastards.

      • Tiger Mountain 2.1.1

        Call as you see it Lanthanide, my concern is about individuals who might make a personal decision to buy and I know a couple in my neighbourhood, not for unsuspecting Kiwisaver members who go with the flow.

        Silence is often condoning.

      • Te Reo Putake 2.1.2

        While you are technically right, Lanth, I think the point TM is making is that Kiwis who actively choose to fence the stolen shares are scabby etc’s. I’m going to fight the good fight myself tomorrow at my footie club’s finance committee meeting, where the question of ‘investing’ in the shares will come up. I think the majority will say no, particularly as the last time we put up large amounts in a hair brained financial scheme, we lost the lot. Thank you, Nathans Finance.

        • Tiger Mountain

          Interesting TRP, it is good to bring things back to real world consequences of the stuff we talk about on blogs.

      • mike e 2.1.3

        Lanthanide(sounds like some sort of poison)Robbing Peter to pay Paul.
        Goldman Sachs gets a giant commission to prepare and sell unethical for a start.
        Goldman Sachs the most unethical company on earth.
        They have got off SEC charges of fraud because they destroyed evidence in the corruption investigation .

    • Fortran 2.2


      I suppose that means me, and my chosen Kiwisaver Manager !

  3. Carol 3

    Meanwhile, the NZX chairman Andrew Harmos is looking nervous:


    New Zealand risks scoring “the most enormous of own goals” if the partial sell-down of state-owned assets flops, warns NZX chairman Andrew Harmos.

    First, the number of publicly listed companies was threatened by an increasing trend for private equity takeovers and scant new listings.

    “The slowing corporate birth rate is a fascinating, if unfortunate phenomenon,” Harmos said.

    He also noted that cautious investors were increasingly putting their money in term deposits and conservative KiwiSaver funds, rather than equities. Of the $12 billion now stashed in KiwiSaver, only $1b was invested in the New Zealand sharemarket.

    “If we don’t do something about it, we will wither on the vine.”

    Harmos acknowledged that there was a lack of companies in which to invest, but said this was partly because of the disproportionate number that were wholly owned by central and local government.

    That gave the Government the “unique ability” to create investment opportunities for New Zealanders through mixed ownership.

    Harmos warned that the process could be hijacked by political agendas, which would be at the expense of intelligent, fact-based debate.

    And it looks to me like Harmon is blaming local and central government services (necessary to a thriving and equitable society) for the lack of development of new and successful businesses.

    I think there have been some very innovative and successful start-ups in NZ, but as soon as they become successful, a big overseas corporate swoops in and takes it over.

    Something needs to be done to stimulate successful and sustainable, NZ owned businesses.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      I think there have been some very innovative and successful start-ups in NZ, but as soon as they become successful, a big overseas corporate swoops in and takes it over.

      That’s exactly what happens.

      Something needs to be done to stimulate successful and sustainable, NZ owned businesses.

      Ban foreign ownership.

  4. AmaKiwi 4

    Like NZ, the Greek government wants to sell the state owned Public Power Corp.

    Unlike NZ, the unions have a strategy which could stop the sale: rolling blackouts.

    Kiwis have internalized powerlessness. “We have to be polite boys and girls and play by their rules.” No matter that their rules are autocratic, unfair, and undemocratic.

    Their system depends on us being compliant. We can STOP asset sales, but not until we decide to recognize our power and decide to use it.



  5. captain hook 5

    kiwis have given everything away for a second hand jap car and a trip to macchu piccu or mongolia.

    can a magpie change its spots?

  6. tracey 6

    I have read folks sayi g that people not having money to buy is not the same as being against asset sales. They miss the point. People not having the money to buy makes the vacuous mum and dad claims moot. This govt knows mums and dads dont have the spate cash but were happy to pretend they did for political gain. Mr nzse didnt contradict that bit of myth in his plea for a factual debate…

  7. Observer Akl 7

    Should we send a get well card to the NZ Stock Exchange? So sad that “… the number of publicly listed companies was threatened by an increasing trend for private equity takeovers and scant new listings.”

    The wealthy get big payouts when their firms are sold on. They take the money and run. And why not?

    The scant new listings is likely to be down to the fact that there is less spending power among the commons to support new Business.

    But it is not all bad news for our wealthy brethren – the landlords of domestic premises are heavily subsidised by the commoners. This because, the rents are simply too high for people on minimal rates of pay – not to mention those who are unemployed.

    Businessmen pride themselves on their self reliance and competence, while at the same time holding out their hands for very large, weekly donations (plus other “$incentives” ) from the less well off.

    Everyone knows that a better distribution of wealth, which places less cost and more spending power in the hands of the numerous Commoner, will give Business the boost it needs. Replace the flawed “trickle down” with the “flood up”.

    Meanwhile, the only safeguard for the numerous Commoner is to hold on to the paid for Assets he built and already owns. They are his property.

    While keeping his current Assets out of the hands of rogue parliaments, he should move towards building more housing right now – for it too is an essential Asset and a crying need.

    The NZX should stop itself from seeking to suck on the public teat, and act like a true Business. It is pitiful seeing them want to be like those “despised” beneficiaries whom Key and Shearer so dislike.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      With the advent of high frequency trading and other market manipulation by big players (see the Faceberg IPO and subsequent collapse), stock exchanges are now irrelevant meeting places for computer algorithms to trade with computer algorithms.

  8. Tracey 8

    It seems the NZSE is actually saying, contrary to usual ideology, we want government in business insofar as we want govt to sell stuff so we can thrive. Boo freaking hoo

    • sootz 8.1

      So true Tracy. All I can say to Mr Andrew Harmos is diddums, ring Toyota they care. End of the day, you are all just a bunch of gamblers. When it all falls apart you expect us the tax payer to bail you out. Mr Harmos, go fuck yourself.

  9. deuto 9

    If and when the sale of Meridian Energy happens ….

    An interesting article in the Business section of the Herald online this morning – Meridian’s profit for the year ended 30 June was down 52% – or 28% if adjusted for the loss of the Tekapu revenue (sold to Genesis) and a one-off settlement to NZ Aluminium Smelters. Doesn’t bode well for a partial sale (hopefully).


    Low rainfall, the sale of some of its assets to Genesis Energy and a one-off dispute settlement in the previous year saw Meridian Energy’s net profit fall 52 per cent to $106.1 million in the year ended June 30.

    The result, which excludes unbooked movements in the fair value of financial instruments, largely reflects the lowest rainfall in Meridian’s South Island hydro catchments in 79 years of record-keeping, and the loss of output from the Tekapo A and B hydro stations.

    The impact of low hydro inflows is best illustrated by the fact that the result was achieved on a 25 per cent increase in total revenue to $2.57 billion, despite the reduced asset base. Hydro generation was down 22 per cent to 9.79 Gigawatt hours for the year, while wind generation rose 17 per cent to 1.38GWh.

    Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and changes in the fair value of financial instruments were down 28 per cent to 476.6 million, from $659.9 million, largely because the average price of electricity generated rose by 138 per cent to $98.79 per MWh in the year just passed from $41.57 per MWh the previous year.

  10. deuto 10

    And another possible spanner in the works on Stuff this morning


    A Lake Taupo lobby group is calling for the Mighty River Power share float to include a warning it may face a water use review, after claims it is causing erosion by holding lake levels too high for too long.

    The move casts another cloud over the part-privatisation of the state-owned enterprise, planned for later this year. It has already been threatened with delay after a Waitangi Tribunal hearing – and a likely legal challenge – over water rights.

    Waikato Regional Council has called for submissions on whether to review Mighty River Power’s consents next year, amid claims it has breached undertakings to maintain Lake Taupo close to natural levels. …

    The more spanners the better.

  11. Pete 11

    This was always meant to be a raid of pots of money that the government can’t otherwise get its hands on – the ACC investment portfolio and and the Cullen fund. Mum and dad investors is just window dressing.

  12. Tracey 12

    Anyone’s blind trust lining up to buy them… it would be great to get that question put tot he PM… or even if he is lining up for his $1000 worth, he and Bronagh?

  13. AAMC 13

    Mum & Dad likely won’t line up to buy, but with the continued bleeding in Europe, Chna’s slow down, USA’s sideways crawl, investors are now paying Germany, Switzerland and Holland to hold their money in 2 yr bonds, Fed, BoE, BoJ, ECB printing liquidity into banking institutions who are speculating rather than leading to the deleveraging over indebted private sector.

    The big players and the real money are looking for tangible stores of wealth, like electricity generation in a first world country accustomed to being able to turn it’s lights on.

    The buyers will be there, it’s just it’ll be hedge funds not Mum’s & Dad’s…

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1


      The sale of our assets was never for the mum and dads but to help ensure that the rich maintain their power over us, their power to appropriate our work to their benefit.

  14. tc 14

    What a self serving whining Twat Harmos is, if the NZX was half decent it wouldn’t have most of these issues. Weldon did SFA for his fat package over the years leaving investors with little confidence in it’s integrity.

    Let’s see Feltex, PPCS/Richmond Meats, Finance companies etc and a commerce commission that simply rubber stamps consolidations which removes entities and encourages monopoly practices, TelstraClear to Vodafone being the most recent.

    The ASX is considering merging with a large asian board so how can the NZX seriously expect to command respect when it lacks the teeth, enforced regulations, management and scale investors require.

    Of course it rocks for the 1%’ers as that’s what the SOE sales are designed to benefit.I know Oz investment planners who wouldn’t touch any NZX listed company with a barge pole as it’s known as a cowboy market.

    Note the way Shonkey’s quite happy to talk it down allowing his banksta mates an even bigger killing which he’ll say…’ we made it available, like we said we would’ forgetting to mention they’d make it unattractive also.

    NZ….you are being conned.

    • Georgecom 14.1

      “Harmos recognises that there is a lack of compabies listed on the NZX in which to invest”. His simplistic answer is this is due, partly, to central and local government owning a disproportionate number.

      Wrong. Its due to the lack of companies listed on the NZX. Nowt to do with the number owned by government. Where are all the new companies Mr Harmos.

      Don’t simply expect the state to bail out the NZX and investors by selling off our collectivly owned assets. Thats a lazy bludgers approach.

      Go out and do some hard work growing business and getting them to list publicly. The problem is with private business getting itself onto the NZX and being run properly. Nothing to do with state ownership of some companies.

  15. Wayne 15

    Actually 13% of all people over 18 (I assume) is quite a lot, around 400,000 people. Investing does reflect lifecycles quite well. For instance students and youg people under say 24 are not likely to be buyers, given their other priorities. Neither are most beneficiaries likely to be buyers. Together I guess that accounts for around 800,000 people.

    It is also worth noting that 50% of national superanniutants have no other income, so therefore no capital for investment. That is another 400,000 people. But that also means 400,000 superannitants who do have money to invest.

    So who are likely buyers? It is going to be predominantly people aged 40 plus, and will include superannuitants who want secure investments. If 400,000 peple did actually invest that would be pretty impressive. Once people know the loyalty share option and the likely dividend yeild it is going to look quite a bit better than 2.5 to 3% from the bank. And for people wanting a predictable income, presumably most superannuitants with at least some money to invest, it is going to be pretty attractive

    And on top of that will be KiwiSaver Funds, which will cover perhaps another million people.

    Now I know many people here say we all already own them equally, but that is the essence of the socialist argument and is not one that has much appeal to National. But I guess it does for Labour and the Greens.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      National wants to take assets owned by everyone, and concentrate that wealth in the hands of the few.

      And of course, the richest, with the biggest incomes and the biggest kiwishare contributions, will have the capacity to buy the most.

      Actually 13% of all people over 18 (I assume) is quite a lot

      What fucking bullshit

      It happens to leave out 87% of people. Which is what I would call “quite a lot”

    • fatty 15.2

      “Now I know many people here say we all already own them equally, but that is the essence of the socialist argument and is not one that has much appeal to National. But I guess it does for Labour and the Greens.”

      True…at the beginning of your post you mention that students, beneficiaries, young people and superannuitants will lose their assets so the rich older people can take them.
      That is theft of wealth, from the vulnerable people in society, to the privileged. This policy is taking resources from those who are suffering and giving to those greedy people who already own too much, it is the essence of greed and is not an ideal that has much appeal to Labour and the Greens. But I guess it does for National.

      • crashcart 15.2.1

        All so they can pay for tax cuts that were a huge benefit to the wealthy and not bother with a CGT which would hurt the wealthy. mmmmmm seing a bit of a familiar theme here.

        • John

          You are forgetting that we all own the debt too. Those poor students, beneficiaries, young people and superannuitants will also be relieved of their share of the debt. The sort of decisions we elect a govt to make.

          • Draco T Bastard

            The debt that we wouldn’t have had without the tax cuts and excessively stupid spending has engaged in.

          • Colonial Viper

            Those poor students, beneficiaries, young people and superannuitants will also be relieved of their share of the debt.

            How big a cheque are beneficiaries and student debtors going to get from this?

            Or are you simply FULL OF SHIT

          • Lanthanide

            Except the proceeds aren’t going to be used to repay debt, they’re going into “new assets” like schools, irrigation schemes for farmers and whatever else makes a good soundbite.

            And, over the long term, the government has already admitted that we’ll be in a worse revenue position after accounting for the lack of dividends, as soon as 2016, than if we hadn’t sold them.

            • Tracey

              EXACTLY, the “repay debt” spin was replaced with education and health investment a long time ago, it’s interesting tho that some are still basing decisions on the former meme.

  16. xtasy 16

    “Only 13% say they would “very likely” use that money to buy those shares.”

    That is 13 per cent too many!

    But one knows who they might be – John Key’s biggest fans and solid supporters.

  17. Wayne 17

    A key point of my post is that people have investor lifecycles. Sure young people won’t be significant buyers, but they will graduate, will get jobs, promotions, etc. Over time many will become investors and savers. And it is at that stage they will buy shares (and will also be in the top tax bracket). Markets recognise these facts. Superannuiants invest, using their life savings, and secure investments will be good for them – certainly better than the finance company alternatives they have had.

    And the whole point of Kiwisaver is that everyone in super scheme will become an owner, either directly or through a managed fund.

    However, if you are a socialist you prefer the state to own market based assets, rather than the private sector (induividuals, funds etc). And that is the case even where there is a competitive market, which there is in electricity, although the state ownership is currently around 80%, which in my view is too high.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      Over time many will become investors and savers.

      No they won’t as all the ‘investment options’ would have been taken up by the previous generation and the only way to have any ownership after that will be to inherit it.

      However, if you are a socialist you prefer the state to own market based assets,

      Infrastructure isn’t a ‘market asset’. It’s a social asset that’s there to benefit society as a whole not just for a few people to get income from everyone else without working.

  18. The present government is selling these “assets” to subsidise the share market.  Roger Douglas threw our entire economy into turmoil because Muldoon used to subsidise farm production.  At least farmers produce something useful and of value share markets don’t they are nothing but a drain ont eh collective wealth, LOTTO without the community contributions

    Roger put that to the sword, the entire farming industry suffered awfully but they got over it.  It is time to do the same to the share market.

    Your retirement savings are being used for the same nefarious purpose.

    By 2020 Kiwisaver investments will be worth more than the entire capital value of the NZSX


    And Draco T is right the things these crooks are selling aren’t “assets” they are infrastructure – it is time for those opposed to the sale to stop using the exploiters language and start referring to them as DTB as social assets or better still Infrastructure.

  19. AmaKiwi 19

    Yes, we should change the campaign to “No infrastructure sales.”

    Labour and Greens would do well to never again refer to assets again.

    It’s our infrastructure. I’ve passed your excellent idea to Shearer, Parker, and Cunliffe.

    • tc 19.1

      I’d settle for Labour/Greens hammering a theme like ‘selling an 18% ROI asset for 4% debt cost’ type message as they need to focus on the financial swindle the hollowmen are pulling.

      Most folk don’t get the ‘I’ word, I prefer power or electricity, keep it simple so the sheeple can grasp the impact of a rising power bill.

      You’d hardly think there was a campaign since the election Shearer has been so quiet on the matter, I mean seriously the bloke looks uninterested along with Parker who comes across as the lucky prize winner (look mum I got finance ‘ rather than making serious points with verve and brevity.

    • tc 19.2

      I’d settle for Labour/Greens hammering a theme like ‘selling an 18% ROI asset for 4% debt cost’ type message as they need to focus on the financial swindle the hollowmen are pulling.

      Most folk don’t get the ‘I’ word, I prefer power or electricity, keep it simple so the sheeple can grasp the impact of a rising power bill.

      You’d hardly think there was a campaign since the election Shearer has been so quiet on the matter, I mean seriously the bloke looks uninterested along with Parker who comes across as the lucky prize winner (look mum I got finance ) rather than making serious points with verve and brevity.

  20. Wayne 20

    Electricity obviously has social benefit, but we all buy it in a competitive market. No one gives it to us or subsidises it, like happens with state owned housing for instance. So it it is not really a social asset. If electricity is infrastucture, so are telecoms and the internet, so that doesnt really help.

    Transpower is not for sale because it is both a monoply and really is core infrastructure. The four state generators do operate in a market, so a partial float makes sense, and is a pattern common in many countries, which is why governments of both left and right have gone down the path of sales.

    That is surely one of the reasons why David Shearer has said there wont be any re-nationalisation.

  21. Balanced View 21

    13% very likely + another 21% quite likely. Add to this proposed kiwi saver investment and I’d say that a “vast majority” of kiwis would be owners.

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