Truth Editorial on Labour’s asset sales policy

I have written an editorial at the Truth website about Labour needing to come clean on their asset sales policy:

Labour and the Greens need to come clean on asset sales. We know that both parties oppose asset sales. We get that. They have spent a considerable amount of taxpayer cash recruiting staff and manipulating for political purposes the Citizens Initiated Referendum process to try to re-litigate the 2011 election.

The Maori Council tried to assist with their vexatious and costly litigation, only to fail int he Supreme Court with a unanimous decision that asset sales of the power companies can proceed. 

The process for the government to sell down 49% of the assets, retaining control and 51% is now underway with an information sharing exercise and advertising campaign to accurately inform people of the benefits and risks of investing in shares.

We know what the government thinks. We can all read the prospectus when it comes out for Mighty River Power, but what investors don’t know is what Labour intends as its policy towards these sales.

We know they oppose them, but what is their policy moving forward.

Investors and voters need to know if Labour intends opposing the sales in actions and not just words.

Will Labour commit to forced buy-back of the shares, essentially a re-nationalisation of the asset. Before readers poo-pooh that suggestion remember Air New Zealand.

Read the rest at Truth.


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  • In Vino Veritas

    This surely has to be a rhetorical question? Of course Labour will do nothing, as their opposition is purely for immediate political purpose, since they have no other particular way of attacking the Government in a competent and coherent way. Their opposition is not as deeply ideological as they would have you believe, and hence, buy backs will be out of the question.
    Labour needs to be reminded that it was their economic management that left the country with a permanent structural deficit.

    • johnbronkhorst

      Never underestimate labours stupidity in the name of socialism.. After all, they bought Toll…I mean kiwi rail for 3 times what it was worth.

      • blazer

        hey bronko…the Natz bailed out the BNZ,then it got flicked to Nat Aust bank and was valued at 10x the sale price within a few years!

        • johnbronkhorst

          Idiot. .your stupidity is in your own answer…it was worth 10x (you say) after a few years of Nat Aus management and control…it wasn’t worth that when sold!!! Toll rail wasn’t worth a 1/3 of what Cullen paid (with our taxes) for it.

          • blazer

            read your own drivel…how did you arrive at a valuation of 1/3 of what was paid for the rail assets.Thats right…YOU MADE IT UP!

          • johnbronkhorst

            Valuation of toll rail purchase…$200 million….price paid ….$600 million…additional “favours” for Toll Road including free ACCESS to the rail from road terminus for years estimated at $10’s of millions, guaranteed up grades in the purchase agreement..$100’s of millions.

          • blazer

            eat this…’With Bill Birch and Ruth Richardson, two hard-line privateers, holding powerful Cabinet positions it was inevitable the BNZ would be sold when the first offer appeared. National Australia Bank (NAB) spotted the opportunity and in mid-1992 made a cheeky offer at 80c a share.

            The Crown and Fay Richwhite, who had been given a favourable deal in the Adbro restructuring, rushed to accept NAB’s offer, which was worth $1.4 billion compared with the BNZ’s estimated current value of about $7 billion.’…never mind Rail…do the numbers…!!

          • Cadwallader

            Numbers please! Or, do you own Cullen’s calculator?

          • unsol

            Errm hate to say it, but blazer may have won this one….according to wikipedia anyway!

            “1989: Government reduces its share to 51% by selling 34%; with 30% sold to Capital Markets Ltd, and the remainder to the general public

            1990: Government bail out of $380 million to avoid collapse

            1992: BNZ purchased by National Australia Bank Group, First call centre opened in Auckland”

            That is a huge bailout for the 90s – I would say it is on par with Toll as there is no way BNZ was worth $380m at the time…

          • johnbronkhorst

            and who was the govt. in 1990?….LABOUR the election was in 1990!!!Still think that be moving events by a couple of years blazer can bull shit his way through?

          • unsol

            Oh yeh. Whoops. That goodness for that……I like blaming all asset sales on Phil Goff…and GST increases…..hate to think I have been misplacing my wroth!

        • johnbronkhorst

          It was Lange who bailed out the BNZ (with tax payers money) after the complete balls up of marginal lands mortages that he endorsed and encouraged!!!

          • blazer

            first with hand up with wrong answer…AGAIN!Bolger was at the helm einstein.Do you suffer from selective amnesia or wishfull thinking.

          • johnbronkhorst

            1988…Lange fuck wit!!!!!

          • blazer

            ‘1992: BNZ purchased by National Australia Bank Group, First call centre opened in Auckland’…Natz won election in 1990 bronko…the BIG bailout done under Natz.period.

    • blazer

      talking b/s again Vino…English congratulated Cullen on the state of NZ finances when the Natz took over.

      • Patrick

        Cullen misrepresented the state of PREFU, I cannot understand why legal recourse was not sought for this. Instead he was rewarded with a knighthood – the very thing his government did away with. I question what hold Cullen has over the National party. His backtracking on the knighthood is par for the course with Cullen.

        • In Vino Veritas

          Quite right Patrick. Though I think the Knighthood was a piss take, showing the country how hypocritical Cullen is.

      • In Vino Veritas

        blazer, as always, you often say bs, when you have no idea about anything at all. You must be very young to be so stupid and ideologically twisted. The 2008 PREFU (before the election) predicted a decade of deficits (thanks to Labour), and just two months later, the forecasts were changed to PERMANENT STRUCTURAL DEFICITS.
        These forecasts are available from the Treasury website, go have a look.
        On English congratulating Cullen, firstly, he didnt know that the forecasts were going to be changed and there was also the small matter of the ACC future funding hole that Cullen left. All of this is public information. Perhaps you should do some reading instead of just making up things that suit your uninformed arguments.

        • blazer

          you just confirmed what I said re English/Cullen.Its par for the course for incoming govts to feign being surprised at the ‘real’ state of the…books.

          • In Vino Veritas

            Since Nats were left with a permanent structural deficit blazer, which you called “bs” on, you can apologise anytime you like. Though I won’t be holding my breath.

          • blazer

            perhaps you can explain this ‘PSD’,who identified it and verified it.If you can show its an independent conclusion I will most certainly apologise…not just say ‘my bad’ as some are inclined to.

          • In Vino Veritas

            My bad is OK with me blazer. Forecasts and revisions are available at Treasury as per my earlier post (since you are a lazy bugger, google PREFU 2008 & DEFU 2008 – its really that easy). I look forward to your apology in whatever form it takes, since it will be a first for a myriad of stuff you made up or denied when the facts are in the public domain.

  • peterwn

    Labour wants to make noises about it, but a promise of a forced buy-back at below-market price would put the wind up investors and have an immediate detrimental effect on the NZ economy – that is investors at large will not trust the NZ Government. Senior Labour MP’s uderstand this, but less so the Greens, and Winston does not care anyway. Even the Fiji military leaders generally understand this sort of thing. Labour’s posturing will probably depress the Mighty River sale price slightly.

    A buy-back at market price would be unaffordable except for those who think money grows on trees.

    Air NZ was doomed anyway. If the Government had not intervened (which probably would have been the better option) it would have gone into liquidation, been sold off and the shareholders paid out anything left. That would have been tantamount to a ‘buyout’ of shareholders but is quite normal in such circumstances. Arguably, those shareholders were slightly better off with the Government bailout.

  • unsol

    Finally, a great reason to consider buying the Truth.

    Great piece. Answer – proof will be in the pudding, but given past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour I think we can all assume that Labour are just bluff, bluster & bullshit.

  • cows4me

    Both leaders of these lefty outfits should be ambushed by the press and ask what they would do concerning the asset sales. Lets see if their stories match and if not the right can point out government under these dropkicks would be like watching a ringley three ring circus.

  • What I would like to know, is, will our government be seeking costs and damages from the failed legal battle. The Maori Council took a case, which vicariously cost taxpayers money to contest. The delay has also resulted in cost associated with being able to service debt with the proceeds of a legitimatly mandated sale.
    I am disgusted that as a working New Zealander, money is taken from me simply to be wasted by vexatious litigants, acting as though this is a cost neutral exercise. I guess it’s always easy when its someone else’s money. Perhaps if the costs had to be met, we would not see these wastes of time and money which serve only to unjustifiably enrich second rate lawyers.
    The respondent in this case was successful, it is only fair that like in most other litigations the unsuccessful party to proceedings, stump up the dollars.
    That this is unlikely to happen is infuriating.

  • Pete George

    Something the Greens haven’t come clean on is who is driving the petition on asset sales.

    The photo here gives us a possible hint: Smart, green economics?

  • The obvious solution is for all those who oppose asset sales to buy enough of the shares on offer to ensure that ownership remains in NZ. Then when they get back into power Labour can buy all those shares back at the original price ensuring majority ownership remains with the government.