It’s not their money

 Does Meridian Energy realise what it’s saying?

Increasing power prices now would shield customers from large increases if and when planned schemes came about: “Small increases provide a smoother path for consumers.”

 Is it the job of a power company to “provide a smoother path for consumers”?  That sounds like they think  they’re better able to manage our money than we are.

My concern is increased because of the proviso “if and when planned schemes come about”

What happens if planned schemes don’t come about, will we get our money back, with interest?

And how much more power generation do we need? The reduction in production at the Tiwai aluminium smelter means there is considerably less demand for power than there has been for some time.

The Remuneration Authority has a similar line  with regard to local body pay rates:

Authority chairman Richard Oughton, in the circular, said some local bodies were considering not increasing pay.

He said the increase from July 1 was conservative, somewhat less than it should be based on market conditions.

“A zero increase could create a situation where a larger, and perhaps less publicly acceptable, adjustment may be needed from July 1, 2010.

Further postponing an adjustment at that time would only serve to exacerbate the problem,” he said.

 He too is saying that a lower increase now will mean a bigger increase later.

I think ratepayers would prefer to keep a little more of their own money now and worry about how acceptable future pay increases are when the time comes. 

The government is sending very strong messages about the need for restraint so it’s possible that the pubic and private sector salaries on which councillors’ remuneration is based may show little or no increase in the short to medium term.

That would mean the big increase that Oughton is concerned about may not eventuate anyway.

If it does, at least we’ll have had a wee bit more of our own money under our own control in the meantime.

8 Responses to It’s not their money

  1. Lou Taylor says:

    excellent post
    The future is exactly that.
    The public service can’t expect automatic wages increases. Just in the same manner I don’t expect to be able to put the price of my goods up every year. You must adjust to what the market is telling you today. And the market is telling those people that they should be expecting a salary decrease!!


  2. Tired Farmer says:

    Congratulations to HP and Lou Taylor.
    I hope Neil reads your comments.
    Suggest he log on to to learn about transparency which is long overdue in New Zealand.
    Suspect he may have been at the Gore District Council meetings on the 10/2/09, as I was.
    Wonder of wonders! Four male councillors actually questioning the proposed budgets and their sustainability.
    In the previous GDC, if councillors (especially some of the females) had the temerity to question the mandarins, they were accused of being mischievous and making personal attacks.

    Have finally worked out the constant drivel re the public sector salaries lagging behind the private.

    The reason they think they are lagging is because they have almost lapped the private sector so in their mostly deluded reasoning they assume they are running second.

    And thats not even mentioning relative productivity.


  3. JC says:

    I was flying home on Tuesday night.. flight was an hour late. I had a genial public servant seatmate coming back from a course. He said the late flight was a bonus for his overtime and then told me how much extra he’d earned just traveling and flying to and from his course.. it was an impressive amount.

    I was a bit rueful about it myself.. I was on my 20th hour without sleep and all of that in my own time mostly traveling and chairing a meeting for a charity. I’d also pick up the $45 taxi fare myself plus airport fees and parking.

    It kind of told me that it’s not public service anymore, but privileged unionism.



  4. significanthazard says:

    “Whangarei Mayor Stan Semenoff and his Councillors won’t accept a pay rise this year.”

    Thank you Mayor Semenoff. You are a true leader. What a pity Southern Mayors and Councillors are not of a like mind!

    “The money doesn’t come from the Remuneration Authority, it comes from the ratepayers. Councillors have made it quite clear that this year they should forgo any increase,” Mr Semenoff said.

    “He says he has a personal view that Whangarei District Council should go further and ask management and staff to consider doing the same.”

    “I genuinely believe we should look for a nil rates increase this year. We in New Zealand haven’t felt this global recession yet, but by mid-year we’re in for a shock.”

    Read the whole article here.


  5. significanthazard says:

    and more good news for ratepayers in Whangarei…………

    “Mayor leads the way in not taking perks”

    “The second-hand Volvo car bought in Auckland by former mayor Pamela Peters was sold soon after Mr Semenoff was elected in 2007 and not replaced.”

    “Ratepayers save around $25,000 a year by the decision, and Mr Semenoff says he will forgo the perk again this year.”


  6. macdoctor01 says:

    “Small increases provide a smoother path for consumers.”

    Translation: We think our customers are frogs and we’d like to make boiled frog soup.

    Or, if that is too cryptic: Multiple small episodes of extortion are less likely to be noticed than one big one.

    “if and when planned schemes come about”

    Translation: How else are we going to pay for my bonuses?


  7. bobux says:


    I hate to sound sceptical, but outside a small range of people paid by the hour, the NZ public service doesn’t pay overtime. If I attend work meetings outside normal hours, I am entitled to ‘time off in lieu’. But there is no possibility that my department is going to give me extra money, and that is true across almost all the major crown agencies in Wellington.


  8. JC says:


    That was my experience of 28 years as a ps 20 years ago.

    I must have misinterpreted him.



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