Saturday, December 17, 2011

Labour on the journey back to power...

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New Zealand Labour Party MP Grant Roberts in 2009
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English: David Shearer, New Zealand Labour Par...
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Labour Party President congratulates new leadership team...

The Labour Party caucus today elected Labour’s new leadership team.

David Shearer was elected as Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party, with Grant Robertson as his deputy.

“I congratulate both David and Grant and look forward to working closely with them as we build towards a Labour victory in 2014”, Moira Coatsworth, President of the New Zealand Labour Party.

“David and Grant bring a fresh approach; a breadth of skills and a strong commitment to rebuild for a Labour win in 2014.

“I offer the Party’s thanks to outgoing leaders Phil Goff and Annette King. They shared a passion for making New Zealand a better and fairer society and I thank them for their contribution and their legacy of bold policy for the future.

“Our selection process enabled a robust contest of ideas throughout New Zealand. I congratulate all four candidates and party members nationwide for the way they contributed to the selection of our new leadership team,” Moira Coatsworth said.

The Clark years are well and truly behind Labour now; the Goff years were almost irrelevant. These are the days of David Shearer, Grant Robertson and the rebirth of the Labour party and New Zealand.

 David Cunliffe badly misjudged the political situation and has lost his chance of ever  leading Labour. Hope is on the way!

John Key and his old rusty lock administration is now on the way out!
English: David Shearer, New Zealand Labour Par...
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NZ Govt expects $100 million in fees for its asset sales...

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 The government will probably stump up around $100 million in fees to investment banks preparing the partial sell-down of state-owned energy companies, according to State-Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall.
He told a media briefing in Wellington the mixed ownership model is a “very very big programme” but he wouldn’t expect to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for it. Rather it would be “more around $100 million.” That would work out to be around 1.8 percent of the sale price, which was in line with costs relating to the Contact Energy privatisation in 1999.
In June, Ryall told Parliament’s Commerce Select Committee the Treasury’s expected range of fees of between 2 percent and 9 percent was at the high end of the scale.
The government confirmed Mighty River Power as the first electricity generator and retailer to go to market, with a sale flagged for the third quarter next year. Treasury officials estimate the company could raise as much as $1.8 million.
Finance Minister Bill English said the government, as shareholder, is limited in what it can say due to securities market disclosure rules, but more information will be forthcoming in March or April next year once the lead manager has completed due diligence on the sale.
MRP, which operates under the retail brand Mercury Energy, is first off the rank due to its long-running chief executive Doug Heffernan and chairman Joan Withers being known to the market and its structure and scale being attractive investment opportunities.
“It’s a very good size to offer kiwis that should have very good interest to New Zealanders and sufficient scale to market,” Ryall said. MRP also has produced consistently better returns on capital than its two state-owned rivals and candidates for partial sale, Meridian and Genesis Energy.
The government hopes to raise as much as $7 billion by selling down minority stakes in Meridian, Genesis, MRP, coal miner Solid Energy, and Air New Zealand.
The sale programme will get legislative sign-off as part of the supply and confidence deal with United Future, which will remove the companies from the State Owned Enterprises Act and set a cap on the Crown’s level of ownership and how much a single entity can buy.
English talked down the threat to the programme caused by volatile global financial markets, saying the prospect of a steady return from utility companies was more attractive than other investment opportunities, and a better way to clamp down on new government debt.
He said he expects the companies will have New Zealand ownership of between 85 percent and 90 percent, with retail and institutional investors likely to divert property investment and some cash in term deposits into the shares.
Corporate iwi investors are likely to join institutional investors such as the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Accident Compensation Corp’s investment portfolio and KiwiSaver funds when the allocations are determined, English said.
He confirmed no shareholder, other than the government, will be allowed to own more than 10 percent of the partially private-owned entities.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Labour leadership voting...

English: David Shearer, New Zealand Labour Par...
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David Cunliffe at the NZ Open Source Awards, 2007
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Labour leader contenders focus on undecided MPs

Updated 15 minutes ago
MPs in the contest for the Labour Party leadership are concentrating on securing the votes of their caucus colleagues who remain undecided.
Labour leader Phil Goff and his deputy Annette King have announced they are stepping down on 13 December.
David Cunliffe believes he's the clear choice to become Labour leader.
David Cunliffe believes he's the clear choice to become Labour leader.

Four contenders are mid-way through a series of meetings where they are putting their case directly to party members.
David Shearer, the MP for Mt Albert, says he is quietly confident of winning the leadership when MPs cast their vote next Tuesday.
Mr Shearer says there is still a group of MPs who have yet to make up their mind and he will be working hard to convince them he is the best candidate.
His rival, Mt Albert MP David Cunliffe, says it will come down to who the caucus thinks is ready for the role - and believes it is clear that person is him.
Central Wellington MP Grant Roberston says he would like to be deputy in a team led by Mr Shearer, but says they are not running on a formal ticket.
Mr Cunliffe is running on a ticket with Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta as his deputy.
MPs will vote at next Tuesday's caucus meeting, with separate votes for the positions of leader and deputy leader.
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key and Banks chart course to total disaster - political ideology not education...

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Millionaire ideologues Key and Banks  chart course to educational disaster...

John Banks assertion that he will, hand-pick 'like-minded' people to implement the controversial charter schools trial is proof the proposal is about political ideology, not educational achievement says Labour's Education Spokesperson, Sue Moroney.
"Given that he only represents 1% of the population, Mr Banks assertion to Radio Live yesterday that he would surround himself with 'like-minded people' means he will be choosing from a small pool of people," said Sue Moroney.
"The future of our children's education is too important for politics to rule over best educational practise.
"The education system is meant to be about doing what is best for children and their future, not shonky political deals that have excluded the public and the education sector.
"It is quite clear from John Banks' insistence that Onehunga High School is a charter school, when it clearly isn't, that he has no idea what he is talking about.
"If he doesn't know what charter schools are, how can it be his policy that he insisted on?
"John Key seems to know a lot more about the detail of the policy, than John Banks does, so who's policy is it?" Sue Moroney said.
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Monday, November 14, 2011

The controversial "teapot tape" to be released after the NZ elections...

John Key at his victory speech at SKYCITY, Auc...Image via WikipediaJohn Banks, Mayor of Auckland City, New Zealan...Image via WikipediaNew Zealand's online predictions market, iPredict, has today launched new stocks asking about the content of the so-called "teapot tape"
Prime Minister John Key and Act Party Epsom candidate John Banks met for tea on Friday and their conversation was recorded by Bradley Ambrose, formerly known as Brad White. Act leader Don Brash did not attend the meeting.

The Herald on Sunday and TV3 have reported that they have obtained the recording but its contents remain unknown. Mr Key has asked the police to investigate the circumstances of the recording. The Deputy Editor of the Herald on Sunday, Jonathan Milne, says the contents of the recording are potentially a "game-changer" for the election. The Political Editor of TV3, Duncan Garner, disagrees but says the contents are "interesting and raise some questions for Key and Banks".

The new stocks launched by iPredict today are as follows:
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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cosgrove in for a hiding in Waimakariri seat in Canterbury

Clayton Cosgrove, Labour Member of Parliament,...Image via Wikipedia

Fairfax Media Poll

Big defeat threatens Waimak's Cosgrove
Waimakariri Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove faces a crushing defeat as a new poll shows his National rival, Kate Wilkinson, has opened up a huge lead in the seat.
A Fairfax Media-Research International snap poll in the seat put Wilkinson on 53.9 per cent of decided voters against 36 per cent for Cosgrove.

The only consolation for Cosgrove is that the poll of 250 voters had a margin of error of 6.2 per cent and a high proportion of undecided voters – 23.5 per cent.

The poll also showed a huge lead for National of 71.9 per cent to Labour's 17.4 per cent.
That compares with 2008 when National won the party vote in the seat by 49.4 per cent to 33.9 per cent for Labour.

Paul Epplett of Research International said his best explanation for the huge shift in support was related to the earthquake and polling on that had been positive for National.

"The rebuild of Christchurch is the number one issue and we know 66 per cent of Cantabrians feel the response by the Government has been at least good [only 15 per cent said poor]," he said.
"If the electorate believes that National have done a good job post earthquake, it will likely be translated into confidence in the local candidate."

In the latest nationwide poll, Labour leader Phil Goff's increased popularity seemed to come from Labour voters previously not willing to endorse him.

"A large part of the undecideds ... may also be reserving judgment on Cosgrove," Epplett said.
Cosgrove, who has held the seat for 12 years, has led the party's Christchurch MPs in their response to the earthquake.

Wilkinson is ranked 19 in John Key's Cabinet. Her portfolios include labour and conservation.
She said she was surprised by the poll result and it was hard to know if it was accurate.
Even if he loses the seat Cosgrove is likely to remain in Parliament as a list MP at number eight for Labour.
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stopping all asset sales an immediate priority for an incoming Labour Government...

Labour Party leader Phil Goff has stepped up his opposition to asset sales, saying his first act if he became Prime Minister would be to stop the sales process.

Labour has made opposition to National's plan for partial state asset sales one of the central planks of its election campaign.

National's policy is to sell up to 49% of state-owned energy companies Meridian, Mighty River Power, Solid Energy and Genesis and reduce the Government's majority shareholding in Air New Zealand.

Phil Goff says National Party leader John Key is ploughing ahead arrogantly by letting an Australian arm of the investment bank, Lazard, and others prepare to put the assets on the block for sale.

And he says the partial sale of state-owned assets would ultimately end up lining the pockets of overseas bankers and brokers.

Based on the percentage that is taken from the sale of assets, Mr Goff says, brokerage fees and other expenses are likely to cost up to $100 million.

"For a start, the Aussie banks that have been promised $100 million to sell off our assets, they'll be told to go home."

He says this will further erode the returns from selling New Zealand's state-owned assets.

Mr Key is defending the appointment of the Lazard to advise the Treasury about the merits of proposals presented by bankers involved in the sale process.

Asked whether the appointment was jumping the gun, as National does not yet have a mandate to start selling shares, he said that it was not.

"They're doing some preliminary work for us and in the end their contract - I mean it's done with Treasury and I haven't looked at all that - but I imagine they're paid for the work that they do and in the end if we're not the government they won't be doing any work and they won't be getting paid."

Mr Key says there will be bank fees to be earned if and when the sales go ahead, but he says that business would be more likely to go to New Zealand banks.

Kiwi Riverman says:  And  all asset sales must be scrapped, including the new  policy to dam rivers in the South Island and distribute our water to wealthy dairy farmers.

Acknowledgements: © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Thursday, November 3, 2011

John Key can't do his maths...

Labour says National is wrong on three major counts which between them counted for more than half of the $17 billion 'made up hole' in Labour's figures. Picture / Getty Images Expand

Labour says National is wrong on three major counts which between them counted for more than half of the $17 billion 'made up hole' in Labour's figures. Picture / Getty Images

National's attack on Labour over the alleged $17 billion "hole'' in its economic plan ignores more than $1 billion a year in proceeds from the state owned assets National would sell and also the assets generated by super fund contributions, Labour's David Parker says.

Associate spokesman Mr Parker led Labour's defence against National's criticisms as his party unveiled the keenly anticipated numbers underpinning its economic transformation plan this morning.

The credibility of those numbers became an important election issue after Prime Minister John Key goaded Labour leader Phil Goff about them during a debate earlier this week.
This morning Mr Goff said Labour's borrowing relative to National would peak at $4 billion in the 2016/2017 financial year.

"But from 2017/2018 we will be paying back the debt faster than a National Government would because of the ongoing asset returns and the increasing revenue of our fairer tax package", he said.
Mr Parker said National was wrong on three major counts which between them counted for more than half of the $17 billion 'made up hole' in Labour's figures.

National's own figures, against which Labour's were being compared hadn't factored in lost dividends from selling up to half of state owned enterprises, "despite it standing out like dog's balls''.

"You can't sell an asset and pretend you're still going to get the revenue... Within four years that's half a billion dollars.''

Labour's figures this morning show it expects to receive ordinary and special dividends from the SOEs of just over $845 million in the next financial year, rising to $1.28 billion five years later.

Under National, that cashflow would be halved.

Mr Parker said National had also "tried to ping us'' for resuming NZ Super Fund contributions.
"They've ignored the asset it purchases, how fair is that?''

The third major misrepresentation was over the cost of Labour's plan to part fund the Auckland rail link.

"They have said we have not funded that. You all know that we are funding that through cancellation of the holiday highway and in fact we come out ahead.'

National had budgeted $1.7 billion for the project but Labour would spend $300 million to 400 million making the "required'' but cheaper highway improvements leaving more than enough for the $1.2 billion it has said it would contribute to the rail link.

"It is not us that have misrepresented the Standard & Poor's downgrade, it is not us that said the capital gains that would put a dagger throught heart of the economy and it's not us that's misrepresenting the figures.''

But Mr Key said Labour's claim that it would only borrow $4b over the next four years was a "shambles",

"If you take the New Zealand Super fund, for example, he's saying if you have a mortgage against your home, that [debt] doesn't count and the day you buy the house, you should book the profits of what you think you might be able to sell the house for some time in the never-never.

"And he's wanting New Zealanders to believe that's real, at a time where we're living through the most volatile financial markets and stockmarkets in the world.

"It might be a form of economic management that Greece is happy with, but it will not work in New Zealand."

Mr Key again played the "I spent my life as an investment banker" line to talk up his financial literacy.

"The definition of borrowing is where you issue a bond. Ask Phil Goff if he'll be issuing bonds for $4b, or a lot more than that."

He said restoring ECE centres to having 100 per cent trained staff would cost $400m a year, and the Government only has $800m in new operating money a year.

"Their numbers don't add up. They're using a Greek calculator."

But a Labour spokeswoman said Labour's numbers included an allowance yet to be announced policies over and above that $800 million.

"We have not announced our ECE policy and we have not announced how much we will spend on it. So he is wrong on all counts.
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