Why Lewis Evans wants you to keep paying too much for power

Written By: - Date published: 7:22 am, April 30th, 2013 - 41 comments
Categories: capitalism, energy - Tags: , ,

Lewis Evans had an op-ed in the Dompost yesterday. It attacked NZ Power in confused terms. Evans claimed, for instance, that all the savings from lower costs would come from lower dividends to the Government, when a moment’s thought shows you that’s not true and will be even less true after the asset sales. The disclosure statement at the end of Evans’ op-ed doesn’t mention Contact and Meridian pay him.

See, Professor Evans isn’t just any old rightwing academic economist.

He was a member for its entire existence of the infamous Electricity Market Surveillance Committee. This body was set up by Bradford to ‘monitor’ his reforms. In reality, it was a gentailer apologist group. It found there was no over-charging in 2001, and was disestablished in disgrace in 2004.

Evans moved sideways out of the academic mainstream into consulting for various rightwing ‘think tanks’. He’s worked for NERA and the famous RAND Corporation, but most interesting to us is the ISCR (Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation).  Evans was the founding executive director of this “externally funded research unit” of Victoria University and works for them still.

Now, you might feel a bit of bile in the back of your throat just at the notion that our universities have “externally funded research units” where corporates pay the piper and call the tune for research and opinions produced with the false veneer academia by the ‘right’ academics, but wait till you see who pays Evans’ bills.

The funders of the ISCR are: Contact, Fonterra, Meridian, Powerco, Telecom, and Westpac.

Evans and his mates must laugh at the irony of having a name that says they study competition and regulation when they represent the interests of a handful of monopolies, former monopolies, and oligopolies who have fought every attempt to regulate them.

So Evans used to work for a group that was meant to monitor the gentailers but defended their interests instead. Then, he became the establishing boss of a think tank funded by two of those gentailers. Those are some seriously tight links.

It’s no surprise that Evans has produced some poorly researched dross opposing the Green/Labour plan to lower power prices for Kiwis and end to super-profits for electricity companies, that’s the job that Contact and Meridian pay him to do.

See also:
Why Doug Heffernan wants you to keep paying too much for power
Why Allan Millar wants you to keep paying too much for power

41 comments on “Why Lewis Evans wants you to keep paying too much for power”

  1. geoff 1

    Nice work, Eddie.

  2. Paul 2

    Can you provide a link to his article?
    Great work – such a pity the corporate media does not do research of this quality for their stories.

    [I can’t find the op-ed online – there’s a longer version here http://www.iscr.org.nz/f869,22851/3._Cost_Shifting_-_The_Single_Buyer_Model_With_Price_Discrimination.pdf . Eddie]

    • Tom Gould 2.1

      I guess all that taxpayers’ money being spent on advertising must be influencing their editorial judgement? I wonder who approached who? I hope no one from the taxpayer owned power companies is involved?

    • lprent 2.2

      Yeah I just had a look through the stuff site as well to no avail. Dompost really needs to get all of their material online in the same way that the NZ Herald and indeed most of the remaining newspapers do.

    • DH 2.3

      “It attacked NZ Power in confused terms. ”

      Confused is being polite, more like incoherent. He’s no threat if that PDF is the best he can come up with.

    • freedom 2.4

      “The proposal is silent about the way it proposes to manage dry years. ”
      umm first guess is they will hike prices and/or limit supply exactly like the current system does.
      (This guy gets paid to write this ?)

      “In The Environment Court deliberation of Variation 6 of the Waikato District Plan it was demonstrated by cost benefit analysis that removing water from generation in all dams of the Waikao River to convert dryland to irrigated pasture would, in situations, be in society’s best interest: ”
      I believe it was shown that the increase in dividends from the increased Dairy development would increase the tax take and that would be beneficial to the economy. That may be true but that in no way means it is better for society.

      I get the impression that Lewis Evans is a fan of comments made in 2005 by Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck. Brabeck talked on the value of water and it has gotten a bit twisted recently, as things do on the net, but he still appears to want water to have a cost applied when the resource is required, instead of developing systems and processes that sustain the resource that nature freely supplies us with in the first place.

  3. vto 3

    If you’re right Eddie then both the Dominion Post and dear old Lewis Evans himself have no credibility for hiding information that outlines a substantial conflict of interest.

    Just toss both of them onto the dead wood pile. Useless.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    These ticket clipping corporate lackeys have zero respect for ordinary NZers.

    • johnm 4.1

      Hi CV
      100% They live in an alternative universe. 🙁

      • johnm 4.1.1

        The problem with the rich is that they can’t think or see past their own greed. 🙁

        • johnm

          Perpetrators of an insane culture hell bent to DIE…aka Domination, Individualism and Exclusion. Capitalism has always been legalize financial cannibalism and will go down in history (not that there will be anyone around to read it, let alone learn anything from it) as the Supreme road to our ultimate destruction. 🙁

      • freedom 4.1.2

        so let’s just set up a network of toll bridges and hammer them when they commute to our universe 😎

  5. IrishBill 5

    Meanwhile, an actual independent academic, Geoff Bertram, points out how much change is needed in the electricity sector: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/8607601/Tighter-rein-urged-on-asset-revaluations

  6. vto 6

    Dunno what the fuck all the crying is for. If you were an investor in MRP or some other generator then the next Labour government has just effectively guaranteed you an easy ride to a fair return. Guaranteed profits – pretty damn good investment.

    I mean seriously, what are they all crying about? That they can’t continue to make a return that is above a fair return? That is simple greed. Greed at the expense of elderly being unable to pay their winter power bills. People are disgusting sometimes.

  7. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 7

    When will Labour do something about the markets for pine nuts and printer ink? Both are clearly not working.

    • vto 7.1

      in what way?

      • vto 7.1.1

        In no way gormless. It is quite clear that some parts of our wonderfully modern and super economy are quite at home being left untouched by the intervention of people, such as undies and pine nuts. That is good. We get to take full advantage of cheap slave labour in foreign countries and cheap buildings which kill the undies makers – most of us are very happy with this state of affairs, especially the likes of the right wing national party and act bastards.

        It is also clear that some parts of our wonmderful modern and super economy must never be trusted to the full force of unregulated free market forces….. such examples include…….

        lending money, lest people lose their life savings.

        mine safety, lest people lose their lives.

        In some situations the unregulated free market is abysmal to such an extent that it ruins peoples lives and kills people dead. You surely see that don’t you gormless.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      BUT you can’t do anything with pine nuts or printer ink without electricity.

      • freedom 7.2.1

        cv, pan roasted pine nuts over an open fire with a fresh greens salad, mmmmm 🙂

        and i paint with printer ink on occassion too, (but do not get it on your skin)

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 7.2.2

        2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
        1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
        1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
        1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
        3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
        Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


        Combine the basil in with the pine nuts using mortar and pestle. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, crush these first first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, crush some more.

        Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream. Add the grated cheese and crush until again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

        Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.

      • Colonial Viper 7.2.3

        You guys are great. Even the Righties haha 🙂

    • Paul 7.3

      So droll for a troll.

  8. Typical right wing policy – if you are a worker you are here to keep the country working, pay us our huge salaries and other than that we don’t care a rats arse about you.

  9. Funny how the ‘market’ in the plutocracy’s ideal society can find the efficiency to hire these shills, but not to pay decent wages or hire more people to do real work which produces real goods or services.

    I’ve still not seen any of these power industry sycophants explain how it is that investors, all expecting a return on their money, can ever have an interest in seeing prices drop for the consumer. There is simply no reason why they would want to see that happen. The cookie jar must always contain a mouse trap.

  10. One Anonymous Knucklehead 10

    Professor Evans has been “teaching” economics since 1976. The stench of political bias pervades his entire career: his work consists mainly of arguments in favour of the privatisation of everything.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 10.1

      Let’s sack all academics with political views. Starting with the sociology department.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 10.1.1

        Bollocks. Confirmation bias ensures that personal opinions will always differ, but when that bias affects ones research it will be noted.

      • lprent 10.1.2

        I hadn’t noticed sociology academics being used as sockpuppets by corporate PR. Perhaps you could point to some instances to support your argument?

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Paging Dr. Bratt.

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

          Well, they’re unlikely to shill for corporate PR, are they? But I remember a member of the Auckland University Sociology Department shilling for the Labour Party.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead

            And you thought they should be sacked?

          • lprent

            Well bearing in mind that Labour doesn’t pay, I’d say that it was more from actual conviction than a pocketbook conviction.

            Which is what these last two look like. Especially with the incoherence of their statements indicating that they simply haven’t bothered to think about it past their wallet. Finally read the Evans one in a PDF – looks like it was designed to be satisfactory for the lowest level of incompetent managers…

            • McFlock

              Hang on, there’s a qualitative difference between an academic promulgating their genuine beliefs and a paid shill simply regurgitating a line to serve their paymaster?

              but, but, but – that might mean that milk in opaque bottles might not actually be different enough from generic milk to warrant doubling the price!!!

      • Lightly 10.1.3

        the issue is not existence of conflicts of interest but the failure to declare them

  11. muzza 11

    Evans moved sideways out of the academic mainstream into consulting for various rightwing ‘think tanks’. He’s worked for NERA and the famous RAND Corporation, but most interesting to us is the ISCR (Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation). Evans was the founding executive director of this “externally funded research unit” of Victoria University and works for them still…

    The funders of the ISCR are: Contact, Fonterra, Meridian, Powerco, Telecom, and Westpac.

    This is how the life functions is stolen from people, and its controlled by funding – see how that works!

    Control the money, control the world!

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