The Boagan signs up Brian “Opinion-for-Hire” Rudman


By now, regular readers will know all about Michelle “The Boagan” Boag’s campaign to steal $2.1 billion from the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust to give to her new friend Lyin’ Len Brown so he can build his trainset a bit earlier than planned.

But remember, this is The Boagan we’re dealing with here. Her campaign is going about as well as when she got caught videoing the Winebox Inquiry, or when she made Bill English leader of the National Party, or the Blackheart America’s Cup fiasco, or her “help” in John Banks’ mayoral campaign

If The Boagan’s involved you don’t have to wait long for a fiasco.

And so it has happened again.

Of the original Ten Dwarfs, The Boagan recruited to her $2.1 billion snatch, it turns out some didn’t even know they were meant to be involved.

The original Ten Dwarfs were:

  1. Kim Campbell – from the Employers’ and Manufacturer’s Association
  2. Michael Barnett – from the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce
  3. Tony Garnier – from the Auckland Business Forum
  4. Stephen Selwood – from the NZ Council for Infrastructure Development
  5. Barney Irvine – from the Automobile Association
  6. David Aitken – from the National Road Carriers Association
  7. Heather Shotter – Committee for Auckland
  8. Cameron Pitchers – from the Campaign for Better Transport
  9. Connall Townsend – from the NZ Property Council
  10. Jeremy Sole – NZ Contractors Federation

Whaleoil’s spy at the big meeting to plan The Boagan’s campaign say as soon as they got wind of what she planned, Barney Irvine, Connall Townsend, David Aitkin and Jeremy Sole decided not even to show up.

Tony Garnier did show up but made clear he was there only to listen and wasn’t signing up to anything. Stephen Selwood turned up and spoke strongly against The Boagan’s $2.1 billion snatch.

Now the tipline is running hot with news Michael Barnett of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce had his eye off the ball and didn’t really know how he was being used by The Boagan. His board is furious. They knew nothing about the snatch.

Even the Boagan’s old winebox mates at Russell McVeagh weren’t impressed either when they found out they were being asked to unleash the legal dogs of war against AECT.   

So that leaves just Three Dwarfs:

  1. Kim “The Clown” Campbell
  2. Heather “The Shotter” Shotter
  3. Cameron “Public Transport” Pitchers – from the Campaign for Better Transport

The Clown’s a fool. The Shotter’s Boag’s little protégé. Public Transport will do anything to build a trainset.

So, so much for The Boagan’s campaign.

But The Boagan never rests.

Looks like she’s signed up Brian “Opinion For Hire” Rudman, a left wing shill and best mate of former Labour Party boss Mike “Fat Tony” Williams – another BFF of The Boagan’s. And she’s using Opinion For Hire to throw The Clown under the bus.

Here’s (lightly edited) what Brian Opinion-For-Hire had to say in the Horrid on Friday:

If the campaign to transfer ownership of the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust into the hands of Auckland Council fails, we have one man to blame – Employers and Manufacturers Association boss Kim Campbell. Put a muzzle on that man.

Right. So there is a campaign planned. Good to have that confirmed. And The Clown blew it. So needs to be silenced.

Like a bull in a china shop, he’s stumbled into this delicate scenario before the campaign has even started and demanded the trust be wound up, the shares be sold, along with those of the council-owned airport and port. Why? “Because we want to get roads built in Auckland.”

You bet it’s “delicate”. Stealing $2.1 billion is a mighty heist.

He was speaking on the eve of a private meeting of business groups and transport lobbyists he’d organised to plan a public relations campaign to persuade the majority of Aucklanders that transferring the assets of the AECT was a good thing. What a fiasco.

Good word that: fiasco.

Personally, I support the trust being wound up and the $2.1 billion Vector shareholding going to Auckland Council. But not if the shares are then going to be sold and the money squandered on more bitumen.

Opinion-For-Hire got that right. The Clown went way off message talking about more roads.

Back in 2012, I argued that the 312,000 households in the old Auckland, Manukau and Papakura council areas, myself included, should forgo our annual $312 handout, and the $99.84 million that was shared between us. I proposed the annual windfall be spent on landmark projects such as a park on the Tank Farm or a grand building on Queens Wharf. A month ago, Auckland councillor Christine Fletcher revived the theme, and I was quick to support her. Adding to my list of possible projects, I suggested the City Rail Link (CRL), repairs to St James Theatre and new regional park purchases.

That’s more like it. The Boagan’s plan is about monuments to her and Lyin’ Len, like new grand buildings, new arts projects as well as the trainset. And who would have guessed Christine Fletcher would be in on it too.

The quick background is that, in 1993, the Government declared community owned power companies ideologically impure, privatised them, and gave customers the choice of personal shares, which they could then sell, or continued community ownership through a trust. The trust’s main task was to pay an annual dividend to occupants.

Yup. That’s right Brian. Ratepayers in West Auckland and the North Shore took their shares in cash back in 1993. In Auckland and South Auckland, they put the dosh into the AECT trust. That’s why its their money not The Boagan’s or Lyin’ Len’s. It’s called investing.

Auckland, Manukau and Papakura customers voted to form a trust which, the legislation declared, would retain ownership until 2073, at which time it would pass to Auckland Council.

Wrong Opinion-for-Hire. Trusts are always set up initially for 80 years. That’s why the 2073 year is in the trust deed. But no other reason. And it can be rolled over later. There’s nothing that says the trust will ever go back to Lyin’ Len’s council. Not now. Not in 2073. Not ever. You see, Opinion-for-Hire, this is a PRIVATE Trust. Comprende commo?

With rates inexorably rising, and traffic increasingly jamming, it’s increasingly obvious that Auckland as a region needs the income from asset now. The stumbling block is to persuade the 316,000 current beneficiaries to forgo their annual handout for the common good.

How about getting Lyin’ Len’s council budget under control first. Giving him $2.1 billion in shares is like giving whiskey to an alcoholic.

Blurting out, like Mr Campbell did, that he wants to sell the shares so his mates who met with him on Wednesday afternoon from the Chamber of Commerce, the Auckland Business Forum and New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development can build more roads is not the way to win our hearts and minds. Well not mine anyway. Especially when he wants to sell off the port company and airport shares as well.

Well, as we’re learning, The Boagan and The Clown haven’t won any hearts and minds. But since Opinion-For-Hire has raised it, why not sell the port company and airport shares first before raiding a private trust?

In Auckland there’s also growing support for the CRL.

Really? Maybe in Gay Lynn.

For this campaign to succeed, the business community has to convince a suspicious public that they’re more than petrolheads seeking a quick fix.

Nope. For the campaign to succeed, it has to convince Aucklanders and South Aucklanders to hand over another $335 a year of their money to Lyin’ Len.

They had their work cut out before Mr Campbell’s outburst. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has already painted it as a raid on low-income pensioners and beneficiaries by a strange mix of “neoliberal” privatisers and “socialist” Auckland Council big spenders.

A stopped watch is right twice a day.

Labour’s energy spokesman Stuart Nash has jumped on the bandwagon, calling the proposed sale both “underhand” and “a disgrace”.

Nashy’s a rising star in Labour. He puts it as well as National’s rising star Jami-Lee Ross.

Adding to the confusion, the five trustees, who get $343,000 in fees, have hired public relations consultant and right-wing commentator Matthew Hooton to defend the status quo.

Corporate whore Hooton will be taking the credit for other’s work while skiing the slopes with Laila Harre in Whistler.

The issue seems clear. Without unacceptable increases in rates, Auckland Council lacks money to pay for infrastructure improvements. It’s not necessary to sell Vector shares to realise value. The annual $100 million-plus dividend stream could be used to service the extra borrowings available against this new asset.

There it is. The Boagan wants to snatch your $2.1 billion in shares, borrow against it, and then pay your $335 a year in interest to foreign banks. No wonder ANZ, Westpac, ASB and the rest are top of the list of those wanting to Cancel Christmas.

The Clown and Opinion For Hire have done us all a favour. At least we now know what The Boagan is all about.

More all this all the way to Christmas. And especially this question. Who’s paying The Boagan? You don’t think she does this stuff for free?




– NZ Herald


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  • Just a thought …

    I’m sure the Boagan has her eyes firmly fixed on a “nice” little commission for pulling this deal together ( better check the fine print closely )…….. The sooner she heads off into the sunset and sets up camp in a nice little retirement village the better. I have never witnessed anything good come via this woman…. Well and truly past her use by date…..

  • You know, if the case for asset sales was being put to retire debt i would feel better about it. For new capital or infrastructure investment, if you can’t get private funding for it, then you need to look very closely at if the viability of the project.

    • That would be fine if it was the council’s own asset. It is not. They should sell their own assets.

      Then the North Shore Council and the West Auckland council gave away and sold their equivalent shares, and now want a second bite at the loot.

      • Then its a criminal conspiracy to acquire through fraud and sell for profit. If the council or the mayor can be firmly linked as initiating this conspiracy, then the local body regulatory authority would have to act.

      • Warren Murray

        Its only a matter if time before the trust deed kicks it to the Council. Its either this generation or a future one that will piss it away. What makes you think the politicians of the future will be any better?

  • Alright

    Rudman: “Blurting out, like Mr Campbell did, that he wants to sell the shares so
    his mates who met with him on Wednesday afternoon from the Chamber of
    Commerce, the Auckland Business Forum and New Zealand Council for
    Infrastructure Development can build more roads is not the way to win
    our hearts and minds. Well not mine anyway. Especially when he wants to
    sell off the port company and airport shares as well”

    Some fact checking wouldn’t have gone amiss Mr Rudman. I made a couple of telephone calls (its easy, you just dial a series of numbers on a numeric pad) and was able to establish that Auckland Chamber of Commerce ceo Michael Barnett was NOT at the Wednesday meeting.

    A couple of other (accurate) perspectives:

    Barnett was the chairman of the AECT when he and the board fought and beat then Mayor Christine Fletcher’s attempt to grab the AECT.

    Secondly, to establish (again accurately) Barnett’s perspective one has only to ask him (you know, pick up the telephone and call him).

    I think you’ll find that in terms of all assets/equity that might or might not be sold in favour of the Auckland City Council, Barnett simply favours an open debate in which the merits (or otherwise)of sale/transfer of the individual assets are considered alongside each other.

    • MaryLou

      That seems to match the opinion of Chris Carr, on another post.

      • Alright

        Its no coincidence, just the result (on my part) of some simple fact checking. Interestingly, I wrote this before I saw Chris Carr’s response.

        I know Barnett so simply rang him and talked about the subject.

        PS I am not Chris Carr, don’t know him and have never talked to him.

        • MaryLou

          Sorry AR didn’t mean to imply you did! Just confirmation from two places is better than one

          • Alright

            You are lovely ML. The response was designed to put to bed any suggestion (to anyone else reading) that I was not being a mouth piece.

            I love your work and hope you have a great Christmas.

  • Wendy

    New Auckland Council Trust anyone?

  • Aucky

    The money trail from the Boagan to her provider will prove to be quite fascinating.

    This really is the stuff of legend. I suspect that cellphone coverage in Omaha and the other playgrounds of Auckland’s manipulators will be under some stress over Christmas.

  • Benoni

    WhaleOil is rightly pouring sunshine on this rotting fungus infected scheme of B’ag’s to pillage money from central Auckland ratepayers and rape the AECTrust. We heard it here first and no other media has the honesty to run with the story as it is unfolding. That is why I read whale oil …I want to know who is doing what and to whom , and why they are doing it.

  • Not Clinically Insane

    One small correction – its Pitches, not Pitchers. No ‘r’

  • Eiselmann

    Oh Auckland …I miss you so much …no I really do …I miss living in a city where the patients are running the asylum

    • Alright

      There was a great line in “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest” when Jack Nicholson said to one of the asylum inmates “The only difference between you and me is that I have keys.”

  • elton_fred

    Reading the AECT trust deed, not a long document, it appears consumers receive dividends from the shares for 80 years, or less if the trustees decide to terminate earlier. Upon termination, under clause 4.1, the local authority of the day (currently Auckland Council) gets the capital (ie the power company shares, or whatever other investments are in the trust at the time). There is no provision for local consumers to get the capital. Also as a matter of common law I don’t believe it’s possible for the trust to be rolled over beyond the 80 years, as this article suggests. I’m not a lawyer but my reading of the deed, which is not a complex document, suggests that the council, not electricity consumers, will

    “legally” inherit the shares at some point in future.

    • peterwn

      The trick is at about year 50 onwards, is to get the trust period extended by legislation. This gives a 30 year ‘window’ in which to pick a time when the majority of MP’s are likely to be favourably disposed to support such legislation.