Asset sales a gift for opposition parties
Fri, 16 Dec 2011 11:26a.m.
The Government calls it the mixed-ownership model. Everyone else calls it state-owned asset sales.
proposal to sell 49 percent of four state-owned power stations was the
most contentious issue of the election campaign and it's going to be
the most fiercely fought parliamentary debate of 2012.
Opposition parties know they've got public opinion on their side and they're already contesting the high ground.
The Government has to pass legislation before shares can be floated and it
has a one vote majority. The count on the bill will be 61-60.
because the Maori Party, which has given the government three
confidence votes, insisted in its support agreement that it would be
free to oppose asset sales.
So the legislation can't be put in the budget, which is a confidence vote, and has to be a stand-alone bill.
Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and the Mana Party couldn't ask for more.
in the rare and glorious position of going into a fight with an
overwhelming majority of voters on their side, proved by surveys during
And the MP who holds that single deciding vote is Peter Dunne, who says that "in principle" he opposes asset sales.
He's already under the gun and he's going to face some seriously heavy ammo when the bill is debated.
saw it coming and tried to cover himself by asking for a clause in his
support agreement which says the government has to pass a law saying it
can't sell more than 49 per cent of the power stations and won't sell
He got what he wanted. It was Government policy anyway.
Dunne is explaining he opposes the total sale of assets but when the government retains 51 percent ownership, that's OK.
His position doesn't seem to have been crystal clear to his Ohariu constituents.
did not campaign in Ohariu on the sale of state assets, he has no
mandate to support the policy of the National government," one said in a
letter to The Dominion Post.
Despite Prime Minister John Key's
repeated assurances that control of the power stations won't fall into
foreign hands and most shares will be held by Kiwis, opposition parties
aren't buying that.
They say it's the thin end of the total
privatisation wedge and it will be impossible to stop the "mum and dad
investors" the Government keeps talking about from selling their shares
to foreign companies.
Finance Minister Bill English says he
doesn't expect more than 15 percent of the shares to go overseas but he
admits there's no way the government can guard against any or all of
them being onsold offshore.
Victoria University foreign relations
lecturer Jason Young says it can't be done because New Zealand's
international agreements - including its CER with Australia - forbid it.
the opposition parties are warning that power prices will go up when
profit-greedy foreign investors get their hands on shares.
the share speculators and gamblers, National's friends, will be at the
front of the queue," says NZ First leader Winston Peters.
"The shares will be sold into overseas hands in a matter of months."
Labour's Clayton Cosgrove says the power stations already operate at close to maximum efficiency.
"The only way to make profits will be through higher power prices," he says.
"And that will affect every single one of us."
If he's right, in three years' time the Government could be wondering whether it was worth losing an election for $7 billion.
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1/06/2012 1:49:14 p.m.
Labour have lost the plot on this and are conspicuous by the absence. If they are going to get off the opposition benches they need to get off their fat backsides and start acting like the old time pro active Labour MPs.
19/12/2011 10:21:03 a.m.
Chris: When telling a story, Facts can make the difference between a yarn or rantings. In Dec 2004 NZ Post entered a joint venture with Deutsche Post (DHL) because DHL already had the infrastructure set up for a world wide distribution for courier items. Prior to the venture between NZ Post and DHL, Two other contenders were considered, NZ owned 'Freightways' and Australian owned 'Toll Holdings'. The Labour government simply gave the "yes" or "no" to the joint venture. To NZ POST it was simply a business decision. Not an Asset Sale by any measure. simply good business practice as DHL already had the worldwide distribution set up and would have cost NZ Post and Freightways or Toll Holdings and unjustifiable cost that would have been met by the tax payer.
19/12/2011 12:51:41 a.m.
John Key has no mandate to govern... his coalition is such a farce.
Out of all possible elligible voters the reality is John Key and His entire coalition got no more than 36 percent of the vote.
33 percent voted to the left.
And from the other 33 percent there was deafening silence.
In other words... 66 percent of the country didnt vote John Key or National, Act, United Future or the Maori party.
Technically we have a government.... morally, they have absolutely no mandate by which to operate.
18/12/2011 3:06:36 p.m.
Labour never came clean on this secret asset sale re. of 50% of New Zealand Post’s Courier business to German freight company DHL.Labour never did explain why it did not tell the public the terms of a significant asset sale which saw New Zealand Post-owned Express Couriers sold to a German company.There were no tender process, no other bidders, just a secret deal negotiated in a backroom, with the terms to kept confidential. What was Labour hiding?This is a lousy way to do business. If New Zealand Post were a public company listed on the stock exchange it would be in big trouble for breaching continuous disclosure rules.
17/12/2011 9:28:04 p.m.
Christopher; Never let the facts get in the way of a good story, huh? You presented the story, so i will present the facts for you. In Dec 2004 NZ Post entered into a joint venture with Deutsche Post (DHL) DHL was chosen because DHL already had a worldwide distribution network which would have been a too bigger operation for NZ Post to set up. NZ Post's after tax profit has significantly risen each year since. or in other words. The Governments money from NZ Post is now huge compared to 2004 and climbing every year.
17/12/2011 11:19:14 a.m.
Labour are such hypocrites it make me vomit.Labour sold 50% of NZ Post Couriers to German company DHL in 2004 without any public consultation. They did the deal behind closed doors and would not disclose the price they got for it. Labour are are not to be trusted. Not only did they sell FIFTY percent but they sold it to a FOREIGN company and pushed it through when everyone's thought's were on Christmas. Just to remind all you leftie morons what labour did in the 1980's.Dozens of state assets were sold - lets count them - Petrocorp, Post Bank, Rural Bank, Air New Zealand, Telecom, State Insurance, Government Print, New Zealand Steel, Forestry Cutting Rights, Tourist Hotel Corporation, Development Finance Corp, Health Computing Service, Maui Gas and the Shipping Corporation. YES BIG FAT HYOCRITES ! - THANK GOODNESS NORMAL VOTERS TOSSED LABOUR OUT AGAIN
17/12/2011 10:35:41 a.m.
@Ricardo..Sorry but you cannot absolve your self from responsibilty for asset sales buy a saying you voted for them but didn't want them..you ask where to from here, for you that involves looking at yourself in the bathroom mirror every morning for the next 3 years and repeating.."Its all my fault"
17/12/2011 10:16:44 a.m.
The inteesting thing is that if they had not put the sale of assetts on the table until after the election they would most likely have a clear majority and rolled it through after without a problem. Instead they were transparent about their intentions, Greens picked up votes and it is almost as if they did not want to sell the assets anyway Is there something more clever going on here than we can see? All their advisors must have told National that this would be opposed so why announce it before an election?
17/12/2011 9:10:52 a.m.
Borrow $7 billion or sell $7 billion.At the end its still getting funds locally att he cost of control. The difference is only paper as the assets cant be moved. When people talk of ownership they are talking one intangible vs another. The reality is the business loses control if they borrow or issue shares - thats business. Either way the equity in the business owned by the business drops, which is the control drops. Spaon/Greece/Ireland are runign into the borrowed too much problems which Labour supports so heavily. What NZ needs is to have the economy truned around so we spend less on welfare and have more of those people contributing to the NZ economy in a positive way vs the negitive.
16/12/2011 9:47:45 p.m.
I, like many others voted National, primarily because no other party exhibited true leadership. However, I and many others do not agree with asset sales. So where to from here?
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