Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


We Are Being Ripped Off | 500 Words

We Are Being Ripped Off | 500 Words


Cartoon by Martin Doyle - Click for big version

Later today we expect Prime Minister John Key to kick off the final countdown to the sale of a 49% stake in Mighty River Power.

As he does so the level of acrimony we can expect in political debate will rise. (Acrimony = "harsh or biting sharpness especially of words, manner, or disposition" )

Which is not to say that there are two sides to this debate - however much the cheerleaders say there are benefits to the NZ Capital Markets.

Bottom line this is not about benefiting anyone other than share-brokers, merchant bankers, company directors and investors.

It is not a democratically supported decision:


- a clear majority of the New Zealand public are opposed to this sale;
- a referendum will be held later this year; and
- the sale is taking place against the clear stated wishes of Maoridom - the Tiriti O Waitangi treaty partner;

There is no economic rationale for the sale i.e. no basis to believe - beyond blind faith and chauvinism - that this sale will result in any economic gain, either to the country, the government or us individuals as citizens and ratepayers:


- Treasury - using basic math - has told us that the deficit will increase faster as a result of these sales - due to the fact that the investment returns on the capital employed are substantially higher than the current cost of borrowing;
- We will all pay for it in higher electricity prices as private shareholders demand a higher return on their assets than the government would have been expected to (the government is moderated by fear of upsetting its voters - shareholders are not).

But the biggest negative in this sale is neither of the above.

If NZ sells down its electricity assets it will cut off a golden opportunity to pursue a bold and imaginative future.

NZ is in a position to become the first fully carbon neutral country. We could be the first smart energy country in the world.

We are already way ahead of the rest of the world in terms of renewable electricity. And we could get close to 100% on the electricity side of the equation - provided we have the right regulatory systems in place.

Yes we could.

But not if we sell the power companies.

Why?

Because:


1. We would almost certainly need to do a radical shakeup of the energy regulatory regimes in order to achieve this objective;
2. It would not be in the interests of the shareholders in the power companies for this to happen - they are powerful and rich and would oppose it - and then it would get too hard;

Or if you are inclined to disagree with (2).

3. Taxpayers would be required to compensate the shareholders in the power companies to make it in their interests to consent. Best case scenario they will be enlightened and the Govt. would only need to sweeten a reform package. Worst case - NZ signs a Trans Pacific Partnership agreement with investor state enforcement provisions in it and we have to pay a direct financial penalty to the shareholders.

This is 1987 all over again. A privileged elite is bulldozing through a policy against our wishes which enriches the personal short-term financial interests of a few at the expense of us all.

In short, we are being ripped off.

- Alastair Thompson | 500 Words 4/03/2013 8:59:58 a.m.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Latest Allegations Against Helen Clark

According to former PM and UNDP leader current Helen Clark, the allegations leveled at her this week in a Foreign Policy magazine article by the prize-winning UN journalist Colum Lynch have been ‘totally fabricated’. Hmmm. That would be very, very surprising. More>>

Letter From The Editor: The State Of Scoop

Gordon Campbell: The PledgeMe campaign currently being run by the Scoop Foundation does provide a useful opportunity to update you on what gets done with your money. Further down the track, other documents will set out what we plan to do, resources permitting. For now, lets stick with the practical nuts and bolts. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Rise Of The Far Right (And Battle Bots)

In his victory speech at the Cannes film festival this week, the British film director Ken Loach [pictued] warned that the rise of far right parties in Europe was being fuelled by the economic policies of austerity, and manifested in a welfare bureaucracy that systematically denies assistance to those in most need. More>>

Julienne Molineaux: Stuff-Me - The Newspaper Gobble-Up

In New Zealand, concentration of newspaper ownership via mergers and acquisitions has a long pre-digital history. The trends of declining readership and fragmented audiences began before digital content, and mergers and acquisitions proceeded apace, enabled by weak legislative protections. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Foundation Membership Drive:

The Scoop Foundation: The best chance to create an independent guardian for public interest journalism in NZ

The Scoop Foundation is seeking public support to safeguard the future of public interest journalism in New Zealand. To ensure public access to comprehensive, free, timely news is maintained during this dark hour for journalism. And to provide every voice in NZ the opportunity to be heard in the national debate. More>>
PLEDGE NOW: Journalism: A New Model - The 2016 Scoop Foundation Membership Drive

Scoop Foundation Timeline:

Gordon Campbell: On Trump And The Madman Theory

Years ago, Richard Nixon explained to his chief adviser Bob Haldeman what has since become known as the “Madman Theory” of foreign policy. Basically, if America’s rivals could be reminded that Nixon was an unstable, rabid anti-Communist with his finger on the nuclear trigger, Nixon reasoned, then maybe they’d be less willing to challenge the US in the world’s hot spots… More>>

Australia And The South China Sea: Another Foreign Policy Blunder Looming

James O’Neill: The overblown rhetoric from the United States has led at least one commentator to describe so-called ‘analyses’ of the South China Sea situation as “the biggest load of analytical rubbish about South East Asia to emerge since the CIA mistook bee feces for a Soviet-supplied biological weapon in 1981.” More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news