Rodney Hide

Rodney Hide on the alleged failure of privatisation

Rodney Hide discusses privatisation vs the state in the prison sector in his NBR column.

The Left were gleeful. The free market a failure. The private sector demonstrably about cost-cutting and profit, not service. The government’s privatisation policy wrecked.

Me? I’m waiting for the results of the review before declaring capitalism dead, turning my back on 250 years of economic knowledge and crossing to North Korea.

Besides, what’s really on display is the Left’s woeful understanding. People and organisations in the private sector aren’t better than those in the state sector. It’s rather that poor performance is weeded out in the private sector. And that’s precisely what’s happening with Serco. Its fee is cut and it’s at risk of losing the contract.

That’s precisely how it works. That’s what contracting out is all about: Perform or else.

I would have thought the swift dealing to was evidence of the wisdom of contracting out. What happens when the state sector fouls up? Invariably it’s a systems fault, no one has their pay docked and no one is fired. The state sector staggers on to the next mess up.

Besides, there’s no options with state sector management. Ministers are stuck with the people, the system, the organisations. There is no talking tough and no talk of sacking.

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Rodney Hide on the troughers need to control

Rodney Hide at the NBR wades into the attack on the health troughers seeking to control and manipulate the population through increased taxes.

He will be accused of Dirty Politics next.

We have among us power-hungry elitists always urging governments to regulate, control and boss us about. They never pass an opportunity to call on government to spend more, tax more or tell us more what to do.

Their crowning glory is global warming: control CO2 emissions and you control industrial life.

But they never rest on their laurels. Nothing is too big, or too small, to escape their attention.

Fizzy drinks. Bad. Tax them.

It isn’t just fizzy drinks it is salt, fat and sugar, meaning they will want taxes on everyday items across the board, including staples like meat.

Their push for a tax on fizzy drinks highlights the modus operandi.

First, it’s always a grand cause. If it’s not saving the planet, it’s fighting childhood obesity.

Second, there will be experts in white coats chiming in on song. And so there are: plenty of professors of nutrition are ready to pipe up for a tax on fizzy drinks. And another grant.

Third, there must be little understanding of the problem but always no time to waste. We must push on with policy regardless. We can’t wait. The problem is too pressing. And so it is with obesity. We don’t know what causes it.

There’s the obvious cause that we eat too much. But such a statement explains nothing and only raises the question: why do we eat too much?

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Should we get a break down of what our taxes pay for?

Rodney Hide nearly managed to get it past parliament but for a veto from the government of the day.

Today he explores once again the proposal that the government fully inform us as to where our taxes actually go, in a highly personalised manner.

The biggest commotion I caused in Parliament was having the numbers to pass a requirement that every year the Minister of Finance write to each taxpayer advising them of the tax paid on their behalf and thanking them for their contribution.

Bill Birch used the government’s financial veto to squash my amendment, arguing the cost of postage was exorbitant.

Officials later conceded the concern was a taxpayers’ revolt.

Councils teeter on the edge of a ratepayers’ revolt each and every budget. Central government doesn’t. That’s because central government collects PAYE before workers even see their wages and buries GST into the price of everything.

The fuss over rates is a good thing. It keeps councils on their toes.  We need the same opportunity to know what central government costs.

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Rodney Hide explains why the Taxpayers’ Union is so important

Rodney Hide discusses why organisations like the taxpayers’ Union and presumably the Auckland ratepayers’ Alliance are so important.

Recently they have been highlighting waste in government departments; that while they are small in the overall scheme of things these small amounts add up.

But that spending is peanuts compared to the true waste of government. Try explaining to a journalist the deadweight cost of tax. That’s the loss of all the wealth-creating trades nixed because of tax.

Taxes hike the cost of everything. That means fewer people employed, less bought and sold, and a multitude of investment projects that never get off the ground. In the absence of government all those trades would fly. The cost is in the billions. The waste is horrific. And it’s never seen, nor remarked upon.

Think of the businesses and projects that never happen because of red tape. That’s the waste of government.

The kids who can’t read, write and do arithmetic. That’s because the state runs the schools. Think of the lost human potential because of that.

Look at the families, broken and busted, neighbourhoods, indeed entire communities, left without hope and opportunity because the government thinks it a good idea to pay mums to have children and dads to do nothing.

The resulting hopelessness and despair, and their tragic consequences, are the true waste of government.   Read more »

Alarming incompetence at the Insolvency Service

Rodney Hide relates a case of dreadful incompetence at the Insolvency Service:

My mate Dave Henderson (“Hendo”), nonetheless, decided to have a crack and took the Official Assignee to court. Hendo has a shocking catalogue of failings to choose from but was determined to chew off just a small corner. It was very wise of him. He had to take the case himself. And he’s no lawyer, having failed every paper at stage one law.

The Official Assignee flew down from Hamilton a hot-shot barrister well-versed in insolvency law and another to observe from the Hamilton Crown Solicitor’s office. It was David and Goliath.

I covered the case from the media bench. And also served as paparazzi.

Hendo’s case was simply the wrongness of the Waikato Region Official Assignee, Les Currie, in refusing his application to travel overseas.

Hendo lost. But in his June 12 judgment, Associate Judge Osbourne found the following:

First, that the Insolvency Service’s Guidelines reflect the 1967 Insolvency Act, not the 2006 Act, and ignore the 1990 New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. Think about that. That’s the guidelines for staff. The Official Assignee’s own guidelines don’t follow statute. It should not be surprising that Official Assignees don’t.

Second, “Mr Currie clearly proceeded upon an understanding of the law that requires a travel decision to be based on the proposition that a bankrupt should not in the normal course of events go out of New Zealand during bankruptcy in the absence of a ‘good reason’.”     Read more »

Rodney Hide on insolvency and the wild west of the industry

Rodney Hide writes in the NBR of the gobsmacking arrogance of the Official Assignee, the lack of accountability and the general parlous state of insolvency.

I have hitherto reported the Official Assignee of New Zealand, Mandy McDonald, spending a gobsmacking $835,000 administering Jamie Peters’ bankruptcy.

I wanted to find out how she spent the money, first, to tell astonished NBR readers; second, to make an uninvited report to the minister; and third, to complain to the Auditor General.

I made a s.227(2) application under the Insolvency Act 2006 to inspect the Assignee’s accounting records.

I had a back-and-forth with a number of staff and finally received a “statement of receipts and payments” from Robert Rendle, Lead Business Registries, Legal Services, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The statement was three lines long. Now remember, the Official Assignee excused the $835,000 cost because Mr Peters’ bankruptcy was “complex.” And here it was, “sale of assets: $388.35; legal fees: $288.79; service of documents: $99.56.” That’s it.

That three-line statement of receipts and payments perfectly illustrates the lack of transparency of the New Zealand Insolvency Service.

The Official Assignee tells us how she spent the $388.35 she raised from Mr Peters’ estate but not the $835,000 plus of taxpayers’ money she spent getting it. Our spooks and spies are more forthcoming than the Official Assignee. And less intrusive.

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Bigger than Harry


Rodney Hide’s mate Hendo’s experience at the end of unlawful police action gets top billing in The Press.  We can only hope van Beynen notices this before he goes on this next fiction finding tour.

Winston hands Andy his arrrrrs

Rodney Hide reviews the major strategic error Labour made in Northland

It seemed a good idea. Support Winston Peters in the Northland byelection to give John Key a bloody nose.

It would save the embarrassment of coming third and show Andrew Little’s ability to work with Peters. So Little dumped on Labour’s own candidate.

The young Labourites cheered. Finally, a leader with smarts. It’s MMP in action, they cried. It’s pragmatic politics. Labour must hold its nose, look the other way, and back Peters. If that’s what it takes, that’s what we do.

The old hands weren’t so sure. Dumping on your own candidate didn’t seem right. And Labour’s support for Peters embarrassed them.

Not as it it hadn’t happened before.   Kelvin Davis stood up against the party’s wishes for him to pull up lame and let Hone Harewira bring in Kim Dotcom’s Laila Harre and perhaps even John Minto.  When it comes to pragmatism, Labour have no problem.   Read more »

Rodney Hide: A Routine and Regular Abuse of Power

Guest Post

Annmarie Foidl

Annmarie Foidl

Three weeks ago my mates were summonsed by Senior Insolvency Officer Annmarie Foidl. We all say WT…? I tease them. I am not called.

They turned up as ordered and Deputy Official Assignee Deborah Coles had them swear an oath. They are interrogated by Private Investigator Dennis Parsons and his sidekick Katherine Kenealy, both from InDepth Forensics, Hamilton.

Parsons questioned my mates about my movements and my activities.

Bloody Hell!

I rang Parsons. Kenealy answered and hung up.

I emailed and left messages for chief Official Assignee Mandy McDonald. I heard nothing back. Read more »

Rodney Hide schools Jackie Blue

Rodney Hide schools Jackie Blue on what a waste of space her job is.

He is of course talking about Blue’s ill-considered opinion over Paul Henry stating a few home truths about Helen Clark and Hillary Clinton.

Henry had said in regard to Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House: “Why, if feminism has come so far, does she feel the need to highlight the fact that she’s a woman?

“Shouldn’t she be selling herself on the fact that she’s the best person, the right person, for the job, no matter what her sex?”

Henry also noted other high-profile females had “fallen into the same trap”, including Helen Clark in her bid to become Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Henry has a good point. The feminist complaint was “jobs for the boys”. The argument was women shouldn’t be excluded because they’re women. But the argument has become that women must be selected because they are women. Clinton and Clark have replaced sexism with reverse sexism.    Read more »