LabourGreen power policy already costly

October 24, 2013

Meridian shares will list at $1.50 which is at the bottom of the government’s indicative range and some of the blame for that can be laid on the threat of the LabourGreen power policy:

. . . Numerous factors combined to force down the price of Meridian shares. Chief among these were market fears that a Labour-Greens government, if elected next year, will gut electricity company profits to deliver large price cuts; and ongoing uncertainty about the long term future of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. . .

The Labour and Green parties have cost the country in opposition.

They’ll cost us all lots more if ever they get into government.


Labour threatening superannuation

September 9, 2013

Kiwiblog points out that if Labour enacts what is an effective minimum wage of $18.40 it will have an impact on superannuation.

The pension is based on 66% of the average wage for a couple. If the average wage goes up, as it will if the ‘living wage’ is introduced then superannuation will too unless Labour changes the way it is calculated.

The party is already proposing to increase the age of eligibility for superannuation because it says it’s not affordable now.

What changes will they have to make to ensure it’s affordable if they keep it based on 66% of the average wage?

Even if, as is inevitable, they have to accept that the ‘living wage’ is unsustainable, one of their other policies will impact on superannuation.

They’re promising tax increases.

The pension is based on the average wage after tax.

When taxes fall, as they have under National, the average after-tax wage increases and so does the pension.

When taxes increase the average after-tax wage will fall. It would be political suicide to cut the pension but if they increase taxes and do nothing else pensions won’t increase or will do so more slowly.

Whichever of the policies you look at, the current rate of superannuation is under threat under a LabourGreen government.


A tax the NZ left hasn’t thought of – yet

August 4, 2013

The LabourGreen answer to almost any economic question is more tax.

However, there is one thing they haven’t thought of taxing – yet – and that’s sunlight.

But it might occur to them because it’s being done in Spain:

The state threatens fines as much as 30 million euros for those who illegally gather sunlight without paying a tax.

The tax is just enough to make sure that homeowners cannot gather and store solar energy cheaper than state-sponsored providers. . .

If you get caught collecting photons of sunlight for your own use, you can be fined as much as 30 million euros.

If you were thinking the best energy option was to buy some solar panels that were down 80% in price, you can forget about it.

“Of all the possible scenarios, this is the worst,” said José Donoso, president of the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), which represents 85% of the sector’s activity.

Before the decree it took 12 years to recover the investment in a residential installation of 2.4 kilowatts of power. Following the decree, it will take an additional 23 years according to estimates by UNEF. . .

Huge solar generation panels lined paddocks near Vejer de la Frontera in south west Spain.

It seemed like a very good use of a natural resource when the sun shone all day, every day for the three months we lived there.

We were told there were EU incentives for generation from renewable sources.

It seems ludicrous to take an incentive with one hand and impose a tax disincentive with the other.

But let’s not tell LabourGreen, they might think it’s a good idea.


Lawyers major beneficiaries of Labour policy

July 30, 2013

Labour’s housing policy might win votes from fellow-xenophobes and the economically illiterate desperates who think banning a tiny number of people from purchasing property will make a difference to house prices.

But the only real beneficiaries of the policy will be lawyers:

Labour’s policy to restrict foreigners from purchasing a home will hit Kiwis in the pockets and will line lawyers’ wallets, ACT Leader John Banks said today.

On Radio New Zealand this morning, David Shearer confirmed that Labour’s policy would put the onus on conveyancing lawyers to determine whether those purchasing a home are New Zealand citizens or permanent residents and are buying the home for themselves with their own money

“Housing is already unaffordable without Labour’s added proposition of more red tape and higher lawyers’ fees,” Mr Banks said.

“Under Labour’s policy, when any New Zealander buys a house, a lawyer is going to have to establish whether or not they are a foreigner.

“As there is no list of foreigners handy, every purchaser will have to be questioned by their lawyer and will have to prove their citizenship.

“Labour also expects lawyers to prove that the purchaser will be the beneficiary of the purchase and is not purchasing the home on behalf of someone else. But how would they know? Lawyers only know what they’re told by the purchaser.

“Labour’s dopey ban on foreigners purchasing housing is going to cost every New Zealander through increased legal fees and more red tape.

“It is recent immigrants to New Zealand who will sadly come under the most scrutiny from this policy that is not actually going to do anything to solve the problem of housing affordability.

“Instead of focusing on this kind of dog-whistle claptrap, Labour should be doing something about the real cause of the housing crisis – the lack of land supply for residential development,” Mr Banks said.

The policy will generate more work for lawyers as people seek to circumvent the restrictions by, for example,  setting up companies registered here with resident directors.

One of Labour’s other polices, the capital gains tax, will also provide opportunities for lawyers as people seek to find loopholes.

There will no doubt be other new or increased taxes under a future LabourGreen government.

They too will provide extra work for lawyers from people seeking to minimise their liability just as tax increases under the 1999-2008 Labour governments did.

Labour in its early days aimed to govern for the workers. These days its policy provides a lot more gains for lawyers.


CGT comprehensive or useless

July 26, 2013

I’m not averse to the idea of a capital gains tax if it was comprehensive and matched by a decrease in other taxes.

The LabourGreen proposal for a CGT won’t be balanced by a reduction in other taxes and will exclude the family home which means it will have little or no affect on house prices.

A capital gains tax on property makes little sense unless it also applies to the family home, says Finance Minister Bill English.

Speaking at today’s Mood of the Boardroom event in Auckland, English told the country’s top business leaders the government was maintaining its “clear position” on the capital gains tax debate.

“We’re not supporting the extension of the current capital gains tax,” he said.

“The overseas experts who tell us we need it all say that it should be comprehensive on all capital gains. And if you don’t do the whole thing then it probably doesn’t make much difference.”

The LabourGreen proposal is typical of them – an overall increase in tax for little if any benefit.


Tripe or starvation

July 25, 2013

The majority of National Party supporters would like Prime Minister John Key to work with New Zealand First after the 2014 election, a new poll indicates.

This puts me firmly in the minority.

Then we see the reason behind the response:

Mr Key says National supporters want him to do a U-turn on previous promises and work with Mr Peters, if it means stopping a Labour-Greens government, and a 3 News/Reid research poll backs this up. . .

“I think partly it reflects that the country doesn’t want to see Labour and the Greens in office,” says Mr Key, “and so if it means having to deal with New Zealand First, a lot of our supporters would prefer to see that situation.”

If it makes National supporters prefer Peters the thought of the LabourGreen alternative must make them feel very, very bad.

It would be a bit like preferring tripe and liver to starvation.

 

 


Illiberal left

June 9, 2013

Do LabourGreen and New Zealand First understand what they’re doing in calling for a police investigation over the leaking of the GCSB report?

Politics lecturer Brent Bryce Edwards rightly says they’re being illiberal:

“There’s always problems when the police get involved in the political and media realm. It can have a very chilling affect on politics and journalism,” Dr Edwards says.

Threshold not reached
Generally those that regard themselves as politically liberal will not want the police involved unless utterly necessary, says the Politics Daily compiler.

“Therefore the threshold for calling the cops into Parliament and newsrooms should be very high. It’s hard to see that this threshold has been reached in this case,” Dr Edwards says.

“Normally those that call the police in on their political opponents are from an authoritarian political philosophy. By contrast, liberals generally regard those that leak government department reports as heroic whistleblowers that are enabling the freedom of information and the right of the public to know what those in authority are doing.”

That was certainly the case when, Tracy Watkins reminds us,  Labour’s Phil Goff was gleefully leaking sensitive Cabinet documents relating to Foreign Affairs.

He almost certainly got the papers from a public servant who, like an MP, is supposed to keep confidential matters in confidence and, unlike an MP, be non-partisan in his/her work.

Jane Clifton reminds us:

The affair does underline the dichotomy we in the political firmament face over the issue of leaks, though. Labour and New Zealand First are harrumphing like scandalised Wodehousian aunts about Dunne’s behaviour. Yet both have received, publicised and gloated over similarly spicey leaks in their time.

Leaks have come to the Opposition from two of the most sacred departments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government Security Communications Bureau, at times in farcical quantity. Information from these bureaucracies have the potential to harm this country’s security and trade.

It’s a very unhealthy sign that such officials are prepared to undermine the Government by leaking information that could also undermine the welfare of the country. Yet the Opposition has trafficked in them with abandon, and never has a single Labour, Green or NZ First politician called the police about such documents, as they have done over the Dunne situation.

Clifton goes on to remind us that leaks are undeniably desirable for the media and the public who learn from them.

Calling for a police investigation is at best baffling and definitely hypocritical when all three parties have benefited from leaks, the most recent being of the Henry report to Peters.

Would he like an investigation into that one too?


OECD doesn’t back LabourGreen CGT

June 7, 2013

New Zealand’s economic policies have been endorsed by the OECD.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has confirmed New Zealand’s macroeconomic policies strike the right balance between supporting the recovery and ensuring sustainable medium-term growth, Finance Minister Bill English says.

In its Economic Survey of New Zealand for 2013, the OECD also notes the economy is gaining momentum, with post-earthquake reconstruction in Canterbury, and business investment and household spending gathering pace.

“The OECD confirms the Government’s economic plan is on the right track,” Mr English says. “In particular, it notes our work in improving productivity to support long-term growth, it confirms the banking system is in good shape and well supervised, and it supports our focus on getting back to surplus and reducing debt.

“It concludes that reducing government debt will establish a favourable starting position for confronting longer-term cost pressures from an ageing population. It will also tend to raise national saving rates and reduce New Zealand’s external vulnerabilities.

“This is a welcome endorsement of the Government’s economic programme from the OECD, coming just a few weeks after the International Monetary Fund also confirmed we have struck an appropriate balance with our programme.”

Mr English agrees with the OECD’s assessment that New Zealand’s high private debt levels, large external imbalances and an over-valued exchange rate are among the main risks to growth.

“That’s why the Government is taking a number of steps, such as through the Business Growth Agenda and the internationally-focused growth package in the Budget, to help businesses and exporters become more competitive and to sell more to the world.

“While the OECD’s modelling predicts relatively small growth impacts from achieving some of the specific Business Growth targets, taken as a package evidence suggests they could make a material difference to productivity and incomes,” Mr English says.

The OECD notes that New Zealand policymakers are increasingly attuned to social equity and welfare issues.

It says welfare reforms are attempting to reduce long-run benefit dependency by emphasising education and training for at-risk youth, placing more conditions on beneficiaries and requiring stronger accountability from public and private providers.

“I’m pleased with the OECD’s positive assessment of the main elements of the youth package within our welfare reforms, and other recent changes to increase educational achievement and reduce youth unemployment.

“We will carefully monitor progress to ensure we further improve the participation of young people in education and training.”

One area the OECD report differs from the government’s policies is a Capital Gains Tax.

Mr English says the Government does not agree with the OECD about the need for a comprehensive capital gains tax applying to all assets, including the family home.

“Two comprehensive, expert reviews of New Zealand’s tax system – the 2001 Tax Review and the 2009 Tax Working Group – did not recommend a widespread capital gains tax of the sort the OECD recommends.

“The Government significantly tightened the tax rules around property investment in Budget 2010, which is expected to raise an additional $3 billion in tax revenue over four years.

Labour and the Green Party policy is for a CPT and they’ve seized on the OECD report as vindication of their stance.

However, that conveniently overlooks the report’s recommendation that a CTG covers the family home and replaces other taxes.

The LabourGreen version would exclude the family home and those parties wouldn’t reduce other taxes.

Labour lost the argument over this in parliament on Wednesday:

Hon David Parker: Why does he continue to refuse to adopt a capital gains tax excluding the family home when it is clear it would reduce inequality, it is clear it would take the pressure off house prices, and it is clear some people would pay their fair share of tax, and, at the same time, it would improve the economy?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: If a capital gains tax had all those magical powers, then you would not see a whole lot of developed country economies on their knees because of excessive housing markets. We have not implemented it, for a couple of reasons. One is that we believe the other tax measures we have taken, which are collecting $3 billion in tax revenue over 4 years, are more effective, and, secondly, we believe that changing the planning laws to allow more supply of houses will have a much bigger impact on fixing wealth inequality than a capital gains tax.

Rt Hon John Key: Has he seen any reports about a period of time between 1999 and 2008 when there was a substantial increase in the housing market in New Zealand and when there was a major amount of work done, to extent that half of the work of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet was about the housing market, and, by the way, was there a recommendation for a capital gains tax that was adopted in that period of time?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: It is funny you should mention that. Some of the things the last Labour Government did were sensible. In 2001 it commissioned a tax review—a comprehensive review of New Zealand’s tax system. That review concluded that a capital gains tax that exempted the family home would not be effective. Faced with the fastest-rising housing market in New Zealand’s history through the mid-2000s, the previous Labour Government, in which most of the Opposition’s current front bench served, did not implement a capital gains tax. . . 

Hon David Parker: Is the truth of the matter not that Mr English and his colleagues stopped the Savings Working Group and others looking at a capital gains tax by putting it out of their ambit, and is it not the reality that National’s refusal to introduce a capital gains tax is because it does not suit the vested interests of its backers?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, with, I think, 47 percent of New Zealanders voting for the National Government in the last election, we are very pleased to represent a very broad range of backers—in fact, a much broader range of New Zealanders than the Opposition Labour Party, which claims to represent everybody. No, the reason we have not implemented a capital gains tax is that when you exempt most of the housing market, it becomes a tax purely on successful, profitable businesses, and that would be bad for growth. We are addressing the problem of rising house prices by addressing the real issue of the lack of supply, particularly in Auckland.

How typical – LabourGreen have a policy which wouldn’t address Auckland’s housing affordability and would be a tax on successful, profitable businesses which would be bad for growth.

Offsetting Behaviour also argues against a CGT:

 

 

 

 

 


LabourGreen power play flaws exposed

June 5, 2013

Electricity Authority chair Brent Layton has exposed the LabourGreen power play flaws.

He agrees with other experts who say their plan will lead to blackouts, less investment in renewable power projects and shrink the New Zealand economy.

He says the cost of a regulator transferring wealth under such a centralised power-buyer proposal would have a “chilling effect” on investment, which is likely to be “large, widespread and long-lived”.

“Either the government will be forced to build future plants, and many other assets, or shortages of electricity and other services will be likely.”

The authority is an independent Crown entity tasked with ensuring the efficient operation of the New Zealand electricity market, promoting industry competition “for the long-term benefit of consumers”.

Dr Layton, a former New Zealand Institute of Economic Research chief executive, says a centralised power buyer would require a large bureaucracy and an “army” of generator staff supported by consultants.

“Given the inefficiencies of the central decision-maker arrangement, the result will be to shrink the size of the New Zealand economy because more resources would be needed to operate the market than under the current arrangements for a less efficient outcome.” . . .

. . .Dr Layton says this “pay-as-offered” model will lead to either increased inefficient spilling of renewable energy from hydro-electric dams or severe constraint on further investment in renewable generation projects, “even if it would be efficient to do so”.

“The authority does not believe this outcome would be of long-term benefit to consumers.”

He also busts the myth hydro-electricity generators are earning super-profits because their fuel – water – is free. Rather, it is offset by the cost of capital to build dams, he says.

Dr Layton says claims there is a price-fixing cartel by generators have been investigated by the Commerce Commission and has resulted in no prosecutions. . .

Who has more credibility:

The man who heads the organisation tasked with ensuring the efficient operation of the New Zealand electricity market, promoting industry competition “for the long-term benefit of consumers”.

Or political parties who think politicians and bureaucrats know more than the market?


Wacky, extreme, unusual

May 31, 2013

Question of the day:

Hon Steven Joyce: Has he considered getting a really big colour photocopier and printing off enough money to pay off New Zealand’s international liabilities, on behalf of all New Zealanders, sometime next week?

Mr SPEAKER: I do not think that is a helpful question, but if the Minister wishes to answer it the Minister can.

Hon BILL ENGLISH: We have been advised to consider it, but I understand that the whole supply of them has been bought up by the Green Party, in anticipation of its opportunity.

I wonder where the advice came from?

It certainly wasn’t the Prime Minister who considers LabourGreen policies wacky, extreme and unusual.

That’s a view with which a majority of voters have sympathy:

When asked who they would trust more to run the economy, 55 percent of respondents preferred a National-led government with John Key and Bill English.

A Labour-Greens government with Mr Shearer and Dr Norman had the support of 37 percent of respondents.

Eighteen percent of Labour voters trusted National more, as did 19 percent of Green voters.

Nearly a fifth of their own supporters trust National more – that’s hardly a ringing endorsement of their own policies.

A tale of two polls

May 27, 2013

TV3 says LabourGreen are closing the gap on National:

National remains on top, with 47.3 percent – down 2.3 percent. Labour goes up to 33.1 percent; that’s up 2.9 percent. The Greens are up a tad, at 12 percent.

New Zealand First drop to 2.2 percent, beneath the 5 percent threshold required for leader Winston Peters to get back. . .

Patrick Gower says that’s proof the LabourGreen power play appeals to voters.
But TVNZ says National could rule alone:

National has jumped six points and is sitting pretty on 49 percent.

Labour has dropped three points, now at 33 percent.

The Greens have lost a big chunk of support, now in single digits on nine percent, while New Zealand First picked up a point to be on four percent. . .

Both polls are close enough to each other and both show that National is still fairly close to the support it got in the 2011 election which is an amazing feat given the natural and financial challenges the government has had to tackle.

But polls aren’t elections and there’s still nearly a year and a half until the next one.


Green hypocrisy

May 25, 2013

State Owned Minister Tony Ryall has correctly applied the H word to the Green Party:

The Government says it’s hypocritical of the Green Party to criticise the number of ‘mum and dad’ Mighty River Power investors, when they were responsible for “frightening them off”.

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall is defending using ‘mum and dad investors’ in the Government’s sales pitch of the shares, despite Greens co-leader Russel Norman calling it a “con”. . .

. . . Mr Ryall responded to those claims this afternoon, saying there was a huge turnout of first time investors, or ‘mum and dads’, despite a plan by the Greens and Labour to “sabotage” it.

He says there were 77,000 first-time investors and more than 101,000 people invested less than $15,000 in the company.

“The Green Party are being hypocritical, saying not enough everyday New Zealanders bought shares, while at the same time they are doing their level best to frighten them off.” . . .

“Over 76,000 people invested less than $5,000 on Mighty River shares and they got everything they asked for,” says Mr Ryall.

“That is a huge achievement despite the economic sabotage of the Green Party and Labour during the float.”

Mr Ryall says investors who were not ‘mum and dads’ had their shares reduced due to demand.

I know several people who were planning to dip their toes into the share market by buying Mighty river Power shares who got cold feet after the LabourGreen power play.
It is indeed hypocritical for Norman to complain that not enough everyday New Zealanders bought shares when their quest for publicity and economic ignorance caused some of those who would have bought to change their minds.

Spending well not up

May 17, 2013

Finance Minister Bill English’s fifth Budget is characterised by spending well rather than spending up.

Budget 2013 has freed up a further $1.5 billion by redirecting spending to where it delivers the best results, Finance Minister Bill English says.

This takes the total amount of reprioritised government spending since Budget 2009 to $14.9 billion.

“At a time when the Government’s finances are constrained, reprioritising spending allows significant additional funding for new or proven initiatives that get better results for New Zealanders,” Mr English says.

“It’s about spending well, not spending up.”

In total, Budget 2013 includes new spending initiatives worth $5.1 billion in the current year and over the next four years, paid for by a combination of new spending and $1.5 billion in reprioritisation and new revenue initiatives. Those savings and revenue initiatives include:

  • Tax and revenue changes that net an extra $313 million over four years.
  • Reprioritisation of $641 million to new spending initiatives within Budget votes.
  • Reprioritisation of $252 million of savings from across budget votes into significant new spending initiatives in areas like health, education, welfare reform, and science and innovation.
  • $303 million from existing contingencies.

“These savings are consistent with the Government’s approach across its five Budgets, which have together reprioritised almost $15 billion of spending,” Mr English says.

“New Zealanders were conditioned in the 2000s to believe that Budgets should be about the novelty of new, expensive spending programmes that held out promises of economic and social transformation. Those promises were illusory.

“There was no sustainable revenue stream to pay for the increased spending and there was nothing genuinely transformational to show for it.

“Governments should be judged on what they achieve rather than on what they spend. The value of our spending is a better measure than the amount of our spending. This Government is focused on results, and it’s paying off.   

The idea that a government should be judged on its achievements rather than its spending is a relatively new concept.

Budgets used to be focussed on spending and people waited with excitement to see what was in it for them.

The steep increases in spending from 2005 until 2008 show the cost of Labour’s pre-election lolly scramble.

National changed that, improving results rather than increasing expenditure, even going so far as to deliver a Budget with no increased spending in election year.

John Key, Bill English and their team changed that, making a virtue out of restraint and they’re getting results.

“For example, recorded crime is at a 24-year low, and we’re rolling out new technology for frontline police officers, but the baseline funding for Police is not being increased.  Instead, Police are finding more efficient and effective ways of doing their job which is generating savings they can reinvest.

“At a time when many governments overseas are undertaking radical cuts to get their books in order, we are enhancing high-quality frontline public services while maintaining support for our most vulnerable citizens. That is a real achievement.

“The Government will ensure future Budgets continue to focus on improving frontline public services to deliver better results for New Zealanders, at the same time as improving value for money from more than $70 billion of public spending every year,” Mr English says. . .

A friend who worked in Wellington in the late 80s and early 90s saw the results of spending cuts. She was back there during Labour’s last few years in government and was horrified to see the increases in spending, including steep growth in public service employees, without commensurate improvements in services and results.

National had to change that but its restraint has been restrained rather than radical – focussing on protecting people from the worst impacts of the recession, reducing expenditure, improving efficiency and maintaining services.

The LabourGreen reaction to the Budget shows that they still don’t understand the necessity for such measures, they would undo the good National has done just as the 1999-2008 Labour-led government undid the good done by those which preceded it.

They spent up, they didn’t spend well and LabourGreen would follow that bad example.


$500 in the hand

May 17, 2013

Continuing improvements in ACC provide an opportunity for significant levy reductions to benefit businesses and households, ACC Minister Judith Collins says.

“The Government is confident that a decrease in ACC levies is sustainable and is allowing for a reduction of around $300 million for 2014/15, increasing to a reduction of around $1 billion in 2015/16,” Ms Collins says.

This follows a $630 million reduction in levies for households and businesses in 2012/13. . .

“The potential 2014/15 levy reductions would leave around another $300 million in the economy for businesses and families.

“The Government is currently working with the ACC board to review its funding policy, with the aim of improving the governance and transparency of the levy-setting process, while ensuring that it reflects the Government’s objectives for the ACC scheme.

“Already there is general consensus that the improved performance of the ACC scheme makes substantial levy reductions appropriate and sustainable. Therefore, I am signalling a likely further reduction from 2015/16.

“Final decisions on levies for 2014/15 will be made later this year, following public consultation.

“The future for ACC is bright and will be of significant benefit to households and businesses alike,” Ms Collins says.

I read somewhere, and can no longer find it, that the reduction in levies would leave around $500 a year in the average household.

That’s a certain $500 in the hand which is far better than the LabourGreen promise of a $300 saving on power bills about which there is no certainty except any gain would be cancelled out by an increase in ETS charges.


No consensus, no change

May 15, 2013

One of the arguments used to urge people to vote for a change in the electoral system was that it was the only way we’d get a second vote.

They’ve been proved right.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says since there’s no consensus there will be no change.

In November last year, the Electoral Commission released its review of the Mixed Member Proportional system, estimated to have cost $1.6 million.

It recommended dropping the party vote threshold from 5% to 4% and scrapping the “coat-tails rule”, which would stop a party that won an electorate seat bringing in extra list MPs unless it reached the party vote threshold.

However Ms Collins says the changes would have been significant, and can not be done without widespread support.

On the coat-tails rule, Ms Collins told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report that five parties want to keep the status quo and three want it abolished, so there are major differences of opinion.

“Law changes in this country require 61 votes to get through Parliament. I don’t have 61 votes to bring forward the law changes suggested by the Electoral Commission. It’s as simple as that.”

It’s not just that law changes require 61 votes, it’s that major constitutional changes should either have the support of at least 75% of parliament or be put to the people in a referendum.

Had a majority of people voted for change in  2011 there would have been a review of MMP and we’d have got to vote between the modified version of the current system and the most preferred alternative next year.

A majority voted for the status quo, there’s been a review but there’s no consensus and so there will be no change before next year’s election.

It would have been better for the review to have been carried out before the referendum then we’d have all known exactly what we were voting for.

As it was some people who supported MMP might have supported it as it is and others as they’d hoped it would be after the review.

LabourGreen might decided to campaign on the issue and promise to implement the recommendations of the Electoral Commission.

But even if they win the election they won’t be able to claim a mandate for change.

They’ve put so much energy into saying National campaigning on the partial sale of a few state assets and winning the election didn’t give them a mandate, they won’t be able to claim campaigning on the electoral system and winning would give them a mandate.


MRP shares open at $2.73

May 10, 2013

Mighty River Power shares started trading at 12:30 and opened at $2.73.

That’s a healthy premium on the listing price of $2.50 which poses a problem for LabourGreen.

They can’t complain about the money going into the pockets of people selling them because had it not been for their sabotage, more people would have opted to buy them before they listed and the listing price would have been higher.

If they can cost us this much money in opposition the thought of how much they could cost in government is terrifying.

 


Crocodile tears

May 10, 2013

Green co-leader Russel Norman is still complaining about the float of 49% of Mighty River Power.

Mighty River Power’s shares have been transferred from all New Zealanders to corporates and a small minority of already well off New Zealanders, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today. . . 

Finance Minister Bill English last night revealed that only 113,000 individual New Zealanders bought shares in the Mighty River Power offer with an average purchase of $8220 worth of shares. The Government claimed over 440,000 New Zealanders had pre-registered to buy shares.

“There aren’t too many mum and dad investors with the ability to put down $8,220 on a share portfolio,” said Dr Norman. . .

An average is just that – some people would have bought more than $8220 worth of shares and others would have bought less.

What’s more 68% of applicants didn’t have a CNS indicating they were first-time investors and more likely to have purchased smaller amounts of shares.

But Norman is crying crocodile tears anyway.

As Hey Clint showed, the Green Party is delighted at their act of sabotage and it is the LabourGreen power play which put a lot of the smaller investors off buying shares.

When they list today the price is very likely to go up because institutional investors like ACC, Community Trusts and KiwiSaver funds will want more.

LabourGreen will no doubt complain about people making a fast profit but had it not been for their power play the float price would almost certainly have been higher.


Asset sales petition hasn’t got numbers

May 7, 2013

The petition seeking a referendum on the partial sale of a few state assets hasn’t got the numbers.

. . . Parliament’s Clerk of the House Mary Harris this afternoon said she had certified that the petition had lapsed because she could not be sure minimum number of signatures required by law had been met.

The petition needed the signatures of 10 per cent of voters to succeed which the Electoral Commission said worked out to 308,753.

But Ms Harris said that following a counting and sampling and checking process she found the petition was short by about 16,500 valid signatures.

The organisers of the petition presented it to Parliament in March claiming they had 393,000 signatures. . .

The petition was started by Grey Power but promoted by LabourGreen with the assistance of taxpayer funds.

They’ve got another couple of months to get the additional signatures needed but they should stop wasting their time and our money.

Might River Power shares will start trading on Friday.

Even if the people and parties behind the petition get enough signatures it will be far too late. The government will have received the money from the sale and will have invested some or all of it in other assets.

LabourGreen made this an election issue and lost.

Whether or not most people support the partial sale of a few assets, enough didn’t feel sufficiently strongly about the issue to vote to stop them.

They missed that opportunity; they’re short on signatures and attempting to get more will show they’ve got nothing better to do than pursue a lost cause.


There’s hope

May 4, 2013

Quote of the day:

. . . Before the electricity market could be replaced with a state-controlled pricing regime, two things would need to happen. Labour and the Greens would need to win the next election, and if they did they would need to carry out this policy. Neither, I think, is likely.

John Key remains the most widely admired of any New Zealand Prime Minister I have seen. National continues to lead all polls by a margin that is remarkable five years into the life of a government.

Unless something disastrous happens, he looks certain to win again next year. . . 
John Roughan.

But winning the most votes of any party isn’t enough under MMP, parties have to get above 50%, by themselves or in coalition.

Should National go into the election with no partners in prospect, an absolute majority is conceivable. Conventional wisdom says it is practically impossible because it hasn’t happened since 1951. But before then, it was not unusual.

Labour won more than 50 per cent of the vote in 1938 and 1946, as did National in 1949 as well as 1951. Since then many have gone as close as 47 per cent, including National at the last election when it became only the third post-war government to be re-elected with an increased share of the vote.

There is nothing magical about an extra 3 per cent. Conventional wisdom is destined to be surprised sooner or later.

It becomes more possible the more often David Shearer stands too close to the larrikin.

Shearer is a sensible man. To enact Norman’s scheme or Labour’s version of it, he would need to ignore all the economic advice available to him. . .

It can be very easy to ignore the soundest of advice if it doesn’t fit your policy and you’re more interested in power – or the electoral rather than the electrical kind – than people.

Yesterday’s  Roy Morgan poll showed National up and LabourGreen down after the latter’s power plan was announced.

However, that poll is notoriously unreliable.

The next few polls will be more significant but even if they do give the thumbs down to the LabourGreen policy it’s more than a year until the election.

We have few one term governments which makes the odds on winning a second term better than reasonable.

Winning a third term is much harder.

Roughan’s comment shows there’s hope. Enough voters might understand the danger of powering back to seventies socialism to scorn LabourGreen.

But hope doesn’t win elections.

That takes good people, good policy, active party members, money and a lot of hard work.

There’s hope but no certainty.


LabourGreen can’t win this one

May 3, 2013

The Mighty River Power float closes at 5pm today.

An experienced investor told me he’d written to David Shearer and Russel Norman thanking them.

Their power play was likely to depress the price so he’d get more shares.

Peter Sherwin at the NBR thinks the price is likely to be lower too:

Potential investors may now hold back because of confusion about the future of the power industry, uncertainty whether MRP will stag at a higher price and a fear the price will go down upon listing.

The lack of take up will dampen the listing price, which is more likely to be at the lower end of the scale, around $2.25 rather than the expected $2.80.

The Greens and Labour may have scored political points, but effectively they have slashed the government’s cash investment to fund health, education and infrastructure programmes. . .

So who pays the price for the opposition’s political gain? Every Kiwi, even those they claim to champion.

Professional and institutional investors will not be daunted by any of this and are making big offers, but with fewer “mum and dad” buyers they may not have to go to the market for as many shares when they are listed on May 10. . .

The investor I spoke to said much the same thing.

The LabourGreen power play was putting off first-time and small investors who had been planning to dip their toes in the water but now have cold feet.

The Hey Clint clip shows that Green MP Gareth Hughes thinks it’s funny. But Patrick Gower points out it’s not:

Now I know a lot of people watch “Hey Clint!” and find it funny.

But to me it showed much more than a bit of humour. It showed what we know – the Greens, like Labour, are trying to act like they are not gleeful that the policy is screwing with the MRP float.

In fact, it looked like Gareth Hughes was stoked. It was in the public interest to run it. No question.

It busted spin, in fact, it blew the spin apart.

It showed that the Greens, like Labour, are trying to come up with ‘lines’ to pretend that it’s not about wrecking the float.

And that’s fair enough; the Greens want to emphasise what they see as the good parts of the policy.

But, thanks to Gareth’s indiscretion, we could show what they really feel. . .

Putting politics before people isn’t the picture LabourGreen wish to portray.

They forgot that what’s good for the economy is good for people and their power play isn’t.

They can’t win on this one.

Support the policy or not, it’s in New Zealand’s best interest for the shares to sell for the best price.

If the float goes well their many attempts – most at the public’s expense – to counter the policy will have failed.

If it doesn’t, they’ll have cost the country millions of dollars.

Either way, they lose.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,167 other followers

%d bloggers like this: