The politics of Envy. One of the Left’s go-to stategies



In the NBR, Dr Oliver Hatwich writes

A day after the Labour/Greens’ bombshell announcement on energy policy last week, Greens co-leader Dr Russell Norman delivered another ‘argument’ in favour of nationalising the electricity sector: executive pay.

Releasing figures for executive remuneration and payments to the boards of energy companies, Dr Norman told The Sunday Star Times, “I think most New Zealanders would be shocked that the reason their power bills are going so high is not just the super profits to the companies, but also the super salaries that are going to their senior management.”

Dr Norman’s claim is both correct and irrelevant. It is correct because all salaries paid by companies must come from the revenue they generate. It cannot be any other way, so well done to the Greens for spotting an absolute truism.

But Dr Norman’s point about executive pay is also irrelevant in the discussion on electricity sector reforms.


If the Greens slashed to zero CEO and board payments for Contact Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis, Transpower, and Meridian Energy, households would still save only about 11 cents a week. Whoop dee doo!

To link the debate about the best market structure for the electricity sector to the question of executive pay makes one wonder how sincere the Greens really are about their proposals. Are they driven by the wish to develop and discuss good economic policy? Or is it only about scoring political points?

Asked and answered, I would think.

It will be interesting to see if the Greens and Labour can keep this issue alive in the voters’ minds right up to election.  Having announced it for maximum economic damage to the MRP share float, they now have to pretend it is a real policy they are actually going to implement when they get to government.

I doubt $7 a week, per household, is going to make much of a difference to voting patterns.  But now that Labour and the Green Taliban have shown how low they will go to capture that disaffected 7% of voters, I can only think that the “NZ Power” hand grenade was but the first of many to come.

They’ll have a taste for more of it now.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.