Home > Media, The Body Politic > Does the Soviet Pravda’s spirit live on as the Dominion Post?

Does the Soviet Pravda’s spirit live on as the Dominion Post?

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The latest  anonymously-penned, propaganda-piece, for the National Party, by the establishment media,

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Editorial - Key should consider MRP sale delay

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OPINION: An unholy mess. There is no other way to describe the Government’s partial asset sales programme.

With just days to go before the public offering of shares in Mighty River Power closes, the float is shrouded in uncertainty. Is the country’s single biggest consumer of electricity about to shut its doors? Will Labour and the Green Party be part of the next government and, if so, will they make good on their promises to renationalise the electricity industry by stealth?

Potential investors have no way of knowing whether Rio Tinto is serious about closing the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter unless it can wring further concessions from the Government and Meridian Energy. Likewise, they have no way of knowing whether Labour and the Greens will be in a position to implement their policies after the next election.

But, amid all the uncertainty, there is one certainty: the price the Government and, ultimately the public, will receive for shares sold in Mighty River Power will be lower because of the uncertainty. Immediately after Labour and the Greens announced their plans to establish a new Crown entity to take over the running of the electricity industry, shares in publicly listed Contact Energy dropped almost 10 per cent in value. A similar drop in the value of Mighty River Power would reduce the amount the Government hopes to receive for the 49 per cent of the state generator it is putting up for sale by more than $150 million.

In similar circumstances, a prudent private-sector business owner could be expected to consider the wisdom of proceeding with the sale in such an uncertain environment.

Perhaps John Key and his ministers should do likewise. The Government has a mandate to sell, but it is not a mandate to sell regardless of the price. Suspending the process would be a bitter political pill for Mr Key to swallow. He has made the partial asset sales programme the centrepiece of his second term in government.

However, political considerations should not determine the fate of an asset worth billions of dollars that has been built up by generations of taxpayers. The Government’s overriding concerns should be ensuring that taxpayers get fair value for the business and that as many New Zealanders as possible take advantage of the opportunity to become shareholders in it.

Neither of those goals are likely to be achieved while there is a possibility of the country being flooded with cheap electricity and the next government telling generators how much they can charge for electricity and how they should operate their power stations.

Labour and the Greens’ Stalinist proposals are as unattractive as the free-market ideologies that have produced windfall profits for power companies and ever-rising prices for residential consumers.

But, delaying the sale till after the next election would at least allow voters to choose which of the two approaches offers the better prospect of sensible pricing and secure supply. It would also allow time for the future of Tiwai Point to be resolved.

Acknowledgement: Fairfax Media –  Editorial: Key should consider MRP sale delay

Labour and the Greens’ Stalinist proposals are as unattractive as the free-market ideologies that have produced windfall profits for power companies and ever-rising prices for residential consumers.

WHOA!!!  Back up there, fella!! There’s nothing “Stalinist” about this. It’s out for the public to determine and we get to vote on it. Having a single-buyer desk is as “Stalinist” as Zespri, Fonterra, Pharmac, etc.

Every time I hear abject fear-mongering like “stalinism”, I’m wondering what the writer’s  secret agenda is? Have  they no intellectual rigour in promoting a sensible, rational debate?

Is ‘McCarthyism’ the only knee-jerk response that the Right Wing has to Labour-Green’s policy on NZ Power?

This is a shabby way for a supposedly ‘respectable’ newspaper to behave. It is as “Stalinist” as the old totalitarian regimes it complains off.

I’ve put my name to a post on the messageboard immediatly after this so-called “editorial” . Will  the author  of this biased piece of dogma put his/her name to the editorial, I wonder?

The Dominion Post demands that all letter-writers to the paper provide their own name and address to anything submitted.

Funny how the same policy doesn’t apply to the authors of their editorials?

The “editorial” pretends to take a swipe at neo-liberal policies by stating,

Labour and the Greens’ Stalinist proposals are as unattractive as the free-market ideologies that have produced windfall profits for power companies and ever-rising prices for residential consumers.

However, pointedly it offers no constructive alternative solutions.

Why?

Because by condemning Labour-Green proposals for real reform, it undermines the prospect for meaningful change – whilst at the same time, allowing the status quo to remain intact. Every time a proposal to effect meaningful change is derided – but not offering alternatives – the neo-liberal ideologies remain unchallenged.

It is the same technique that the Right used in their campaign against MMP.

It’s a sneaky way to sow doubt in the public mind.

As for claiming,

“The Government has a mandate to sell, but it is not a mandate to sell regardless of the price.”

Bollocks.

It has no such thing.

As has been pointed ad nauseum, more voters voted against the asset sales than for it. Whilst the National-ACT-Peter Dunne Coalition has 61 seats, and Labour, NZ First, Greens, Mana, and Maori Party have 60 seats – the number of Party votes cast tells a different story.

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National , ACT, United Future Party Votes Labour, Greens, NZ First, Maori Party, Mana, and Conservative Party votes

National – 1,058,636

Labour – 614,937

ACT – 23,889

Greens – 247,372

United Future – 13,443

NZ First – 147,544

Maori Party – 31,982

Mana – 24,168

Conservative Party* – 59,237

TOTAL – 1,095,968

Total – 1,125,240

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* Note:  Whilst the Conservative gained no seats in Parliament (because of the 5% threshold), their numbers are included because they gained over double the electoral-support for ACT.

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= fs =

  1. 25 April 2013 at 5:01 pm

    No disrespect Frank – but I don’t share your view on this one.

    This National/ACT Government want to sell Mighty River Power – this Dominion Post Editorial is calling for the sale to be delayed TILL THE NEXT ELECTION?

    For those of us who have NEVER dropped the ball in trying to stop the sale of Mighty River Power – this is REALLY useful – in my considered opinion.

    A delay in selling Mighty River Power until the next election – will effectively STOP the sale of Mighty River Power.

    YAY!

    Penny Bright
    A Spokesperson for the Switch Off Mercury Energy community group.

    • 25 April 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Yes, but look at the hidden intent.

    • 25 April 2013 at 7:58 pm

      All good, Penny. We’re on the same side on the anti-asset sales issue.

      The problem I have with the editorial isn’t the message to the Nats that the asset sales should be halted. I’m 100% on that. (I could’ve made it clearer, I guess.)

      My two points are the derogatory language used in the unattributed editorial, using phrases such as “Stalinist” and “promises to renationalise the electricity industry by stealth” – neither of which is very helpful.

      The other point is the hidden message (as Athena refers to it) when the editorial-writer sez,

      “Labour and the Greens’ Stalinist proposals are as unattractive as the free-market ideologies that have produced windfall profits for power companies and ever-rising prices for residential consumers. “

      The writers slams the Labour-Greens proposals; gives a wet-bus-ticket ‘slap’ to “free-market ideologies”; and offers no other solutions. It’s like they’re saying,

      “The Labour-Greens proposal is stalinist and we want you to oppose it. The neo-liberal system is bad, and maybe, one day, we’ll come up with something else. In the meantime, it’s better than the Labour-Green model, because the market is better than state regulation.”

      Having said that… if the Nats put asset sales on hold (or call a snap election) – I’d be very, very happy with that.

  2. Matthew
    25 April 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Penny, I think the point of this blog isnt whether or not the sales should go ahead (we know they shouldnt) but the constant referal to ‘Stalinist’ or ‘Socialist’ or ;Comrades Shearer & Norman’ Ad hominem in the media. On that point, I agree with Frank.
    Its funny how the same papers are not refering to the ramping-up of surveillance of NZ citizens at the same time as the decimation of the Human RIghts Commission as Stalinist…. but it is a hell of a lot more Stalinist than power reform.

  3. Theodore
    25 April 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Anonymity lends itself to instant discreditring as far as I’m concerned. Hiding behind anonymity suggests that the writer doesn’t want to own his or her views. In which case why should they be taken seriously?

    Agree with Penny though. Any and every pressure brought to bear on Key and his mates is a good thing.

  4. 29 April 2013 at 12:23 pm

    One thing not coming through on many of the posts/comments on the MRP sale is the propaganda that the energy sales are for grassroots “Mums and Dads” – “say a thing loud enough and long enough the people are stupid and will eventually believe you ” paraphrasing Herr Goebbels – now suddenly it is about the NZ Super fund benefitting along with Working For Families, Australian and NZ institutional investors etc etc. Not much left over for mums and dads either when the multinationals and Wall St Banks eventually get in on the act, as they will, like all the other privatisations. So the whole thing is based on the “Big Lie” – why am I not surprised? Next time you hear “mums and dads” try not to upchuck.

    • 29 April 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Interesting point, McClairy. I’ll bear that in mind next time I’m blogging on this issue. National is beginning tio abandon the nonsense of “mum & dad” investors, as the share float begins in earnest.

      (Have you made this point over at THE DAILY BLOG? It’s worthwhile sharing this with others…)

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