Home > The Body Politic > BREAKING NEWS: Anti-Sale protestors invade Bell Gully offices

BREAKING NEWS: Anti-Sale protestors invade Bell Gully offices

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Monday, 13 August: About a dozen anti-sales activitists from AOTEAROA IS NOT FOR SALE – WELLINGTON met at mid-day outside the Old BNZ buildings, at the corner of Customhouse Quay/Willis St/Lambton Quay, with an intention to stage a Flash Occupation,

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As the dozen or so activists met, the ‘target’ of the Flash Occupation was disclosed: Bell Gully legal firm, at 171 Featherston Street.

Bell Gully is closely associated with National’s asset sales programme, providing legal services, and ANFS activitists wanted to draw attention to this company’s connections to the theft of publicly owned assets.

See: Firms appointed for Mighty River Power initial public offer

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The message would be simple: Aotearoa’s assets are not for sale, and would be delivered through signage; song; and a message to be read out at Bell Gully,

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Richard (center, white shirt, no tie) instructed the group that the Flash Occupation would be peaceful and non-violent. A plan was discussed and agreed upon,

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Once at Bell Gully, the protest group entertained Bell Gully staff with anti-asset sales songs, specially written for the occassion,

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Bell Gully staff were quick to emerge from their offices, and were obviously displeased to see us there. We explained to this chap why we were there, and that we represented the majority of New Zealanders who were staunchly opposed to the sale of publicly owned assets,

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The Occupiers began singing anti asset sale songs again,

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Another Bell Gully staffer emerged (white shirt and bad taste lavender tie). This was one of Bell Gully’s executive managers and was also unhappy at the occupation of his offices,

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The executive became more insistant that we leave and informed the Occupiers that the Police were on their way,

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The Bell Gully execs were told that we would leave, but that first a message, on behalf of the public of New Zealand was read out,

The power companies Mighty River Power, Genesis Energy, and Meridian Energy belong to those who built them from scratch, benefitted from them in the past and benefit  from them today;

all New Zealanders.

The proposed sale of these State Owned Assets means the transfer from public into private ownership of these essential national services. We know that this will result in higher power prices for thepublic and loss of control of our electricity-generating capacity.

We think your role in this process is outrageous and we, as members of the public, object to paying fees to you to help sell what we already own.

No sale of state assets!

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Shane, reading out a message on behalf of the public of New Zealand

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After the message was read out, there was spontaneous chanting of  “power to the people!” and “Who’s got the power? We got the power!”.

Aside from one of the  receptionists briefly grabbing one of the female protestors on the shoulder, there was no other physical confrontation between the anti asset-sales activists and Bell Gully staffers. The receptionist removed her hands from the female activist when it was pointed out that such action could constitute technical assault.

The Occupation concluded at that point and the protestors left, peacefully, of their own accord.

The protest action last for about 20 minutes and there was no damage or mess caused by any of the activists.

Note – from Bell Gully’s website,

Social Responsibility

We firmly believe that social responsibility is an integral part of a successful and sustainable business.

Our commitment is demonstrated through the policies that guide our operations and practices, and through our actions at work and in the community.

We manage our operations in line with sound environmentally sustainable practices and by contributing time, expertise and funding to community organisations in need of support.

We seek to build long-term partnerships with organisations dedicated to improve the quality of life for people within the communities in which we live and work including organisations working with:

  • Parents and families
  • Cancer patients and their families
  • Teenagers who could benefit from mentoring
  • People unable to pay for essential legal advice.”

See: Bell Gully – Social Responsibility

It Bell Gully’s shame that they do not extend their sentiments toward social responsibility to the immoral theft of our publicly owned state assets.

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Additional

Facebook: Aotearoa Is Not For Sale

Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  •     Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  •     For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  •     Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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= fs =

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  1. Murray Olsen
    13 August 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Very cool action.

  2. Ralph
    13 August 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Brave souls….its all about timing

  3. 13 August 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Niceone did u take the photos frank ?? when did happen ??

  4. 13 August 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Yup, I covered the event, Toko, and took the photos. (I’ve added the date to the text above) The media never turned up despite being informed, so I guess this is pretty much an “Exclusive” story to me! Woohoo, my first one!

  5. 13 August 2012 at 5:45 pm

    good one!

  6. 13 August 2012 at 6:43 pm

    These guys are good! Model citizens actually. Could use a lot more like them.

  7. Ralph
    13 August 2012 at 7:14 pm
  8. Maria van der Meel
    13 August 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Massive; thanks to all the protesters and Frank for providing this exclusive story to the people. The City is Ours…the country is ours.

  9. John from waiheke
    13 August 2012 at 7:38 pm

    brill, thanx from us

  10. Gazza
    13 August 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Well done! Those suits need to be reminded that they are dealing with a bunch of thieves and con artists, otherwise known as John Key and his mates.

  11. 13 August 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Coming out swinging for you…

    http://peteskiwiforum.blogspot.com/

  12. Noel
    13 August 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Should have taken the SFO along with them…

  13. Jenny
    13 August 2012 at 10:51 pm

    You Guys are my heroes for the day – give yourselves a gold medal

  14. 13 August 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Thankyou, Jen!

    And to everyone else for your kind words of support!

  15. 14 August 2012 at 3:00 am

    Message from Auckland with a grin and a wink.. Awesome all involved and as Punch said to Judy I believe..”That’s the way to do it!”.. Respect x

  16. deano
    14 August 2012 at 11:21 am

    Good stuff, takin to the *ankers who make bad stuff happen. An ethical company this cannot be.

  17. Athena
    14 August 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I am so proud of everybody :)

  18. Mick
    14 August 2012 at 10:49 pm

    nice Frank.

  19. Ralph
    16 August 2012 at 11:11 am
  20. Sean
    16 August 2012 at 9:23 pm

    wouldn’t the Government be better off owning a hospital rather than a power station? I just can’t understand why you wouldn’t sell assets to the private sector provided you (a) ensure appropriate regulatory control is retained and (b) the cash is invested in social projects (hospitals, schools, roads) that the private sector won’t invest in. Fair dues to protest however…

    • 16 August 2012 at 9:39 pm

      Probably, Sean, because the State already owns hospitals and schools, and the so-called “Future Investment Fund” appears to be directed at maintenance rather than constructing entirely new facilities. (In fact, National is cloasing down schools, not building new ones.)

      Spending a capital gain on maintenance rather than a new revenue-earning project (eg; a new power station) eventually depletes that capital.

      To give an example; let’s say a pizza delivery business owns a pizza-delivery van worth, say, $10k. The owners decide that they don’t need a big van to deliver pizzas, so they sell it.

      Plan A: They make a capital gain of $10k and buy two vehicles at $5k each; thereby doubling their pizza delivery capability.

      Plan B: They spend the capital gain of $10k on painting their building.

      Plan A is investing in new capital assets (two cars). This has the potential of doubling revenue, with twice as many pizza deliveries.

      Plan B is investing in maintenance. This will not directly affect or improve revenue.

      (This is something that accountants always differentiate in their accounting of business expenditure.)

      National is intending to spend it’s $6-$7 billion on Plan B-style projects.

      The reason for this is that State revenue has fallen by about $2 billion per annum since the 2009/10 tax cuts.

      By “coincidence”, three years of lost tax revenue equates to… $6-$7 billion.

      Govt borrowing $380m a week

      Budget Deficit 1.3 billion worse

      Govts 2010 tax cuts costing $2 billion and counting

      In effect, we are paying for those tax cuts – by the partial-sale of our own assets.

  21. Sean
    21 August 2012 at 12:51 am

    Appreciate the response however using your example, I would say the situation is that the pizza delivery business (whose revenue stream from pizza sales equates to the Government’s primary revenue stream from tax) is also delivering newspapers, a business it got into by accident because no one else would do it and a business it has no real expertise in managing and one that would be far better off managed by a newspaper business who would pay a premium price for the opportunity and run it far more efficently and pay more tax.

    Most academics agree that State participation in industry should only arise where the private sector won’t invest due to the risks involved however once the projects have been de-risked then the capital should be released back to the Treasury to fund the next social project. Investment in schools, for example, provides a net benefit in having a highly skilled work force; investment in hospitals equates to better health, less sick days, less drain on public health; investment in police means (or should mean) less crime etc; agreeing to by all gas produced by the Maui Gas Field bankrolled that offshore development and guaranteed domestic energy security; investment in power stations was done because the private sector wouldn’t step up at a time when the Government wanted to ensure NZers were able to enjoy a standard of living that was comparable to other OECD nations. These are all benefits that the private sector can not or would not value.

    ‘Painting the building’, equates to better hospital equipment, new school facilities, up to date data management systems and other sustaining capital – all of which is necessary to ensure the public receive an optimum return from their capital investments.

    I do think the issue is unnecessarily emotive – the old ‘selling the family silver’ charge levelled at the Lange Government when it’s nothing of the sort. The fact is the Government has no business running a power station – far better to sell it to someone who wants to be in the business, deploy the capital elsewhere and collect a low risk, easily administered return from the Government’s primary revenue source – corporation tax – something the Government is set up to manage.

    Falling tax revenues have almost certainly been inflated by the GFC and/or the strength of the NZ dollar on an export driven economy. If Government policy is the issue then vote them out, something the public didn’t do when the opportunity presented itself recently. I would wager that most NZ’ers would rather ‘pay’ for those tax cuts by flogging some power stations than having to dip into their own back pockets and pay higher taxes.

    • 21 August 2012 at 5:56 pm

      By the way, Sean, your arguments are well-constructed. I may disagree with your premise – but you put your position well, and coherently.

  22. 21 August 2012 at 10:23 am

    “Appreciate the response however using your example, I would say the situation is that the pizza delivery business (whose revenue stream from pizza sales equates to the Government’s primary revenue stream from tax) is also delivering newspapers, a business it got into by accident because no one else would do it and a business it has no real expertise in managing and one that would be far better off managed by a newspaper business who would pay a premium price for the opportunity and run it far more efficently and pay more tax.”

    Can’t agree with that, Sean.

    The State has been involved in power-station construction and management since the very first generation systems were built in the late 1800s. It was the State that built and operated these systems, building up over a century of experience.

    It was not private enterprise that built the dams and transmission lines – they were latecomers on the scene. They basically bought up what the State had built.

    It’s also worthwhile noting that the State owned power companies offer a cheaper service to customers than Contact Energy (http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/5283500/226-000-shop-for-power-savings) does – and yet the SOEs still manage to deliver a profit to the State. In fact, Bill English complained about power costing too much; http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10705235

    Which of course begs the question why we’re selling them in the first plAce.

    “Most academics agree that State participation in industry should only arise where the private sector won’t invest due to the risks involved however once the projects have been de-risked then the capital should be released back to the Treasury to fund the next social project.”

    So you’re suggesting the TAXPAYER takes the risk and then sells the ‘fruits’ of their risk-taking to private interests, once profits are guaranteed?!?!

    If that’s the case, why have private enterprise at all if they’re unwilling to take those initial risks themselves?

    I’m not convinced that is fair or even desirable.

  1. 18 August 2012 at 10:54 am

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