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.