Asset sales petition gathers momentum

This weekend I took to the streets of my hometown to help the team of volunteers collecting signatures for the petition calling for a Citizens Initiated Referendum on the sale of our state assets. Some people call it a partial sale I cannot see much hope in such a fine distinction.

I began collecting signatures at the local market where I met many people enthusiastic about the opportunity to sign. Then I moved to outside Kiwibank where I engaged in some illuminating conversations. Some people think the Government won’t listen to the peoples’ views on asset sales, but others regard the backdown over class size in schools as a hopeful sign.

One man eagerly signed and then shared his refreshing thoughts about foreign miners wanting to dig up his valley behind Thames.  “Last time they tried everyone in our valley wrote them a letter which said ‘Get stuffed’,” he said cheerfully.

A technology teacher who signed said she was very pleased that the Government had been forced to change their mind over class size but she didn’t have much faith in the Minister of Education really understanding the issues.

I was encouraged by how many people I met who had already signed the petition, had gone up to Auckland and marched in protest, or had written a submission against it.

After splitting up to hit the streets, the volunteer team re-grouped in the wonderful cafe Sola and shared stories. It was heartening how empowered people feel when they actively fight for their values and ideals.

The next day I was off to collect signatures in Tauranga where I met more interesting people. It was a privilege!

22 thoughts on “Asset sales petition gathers momentum

  1. I think that the Greens should announce that any future Green led government will re-nationalise the power companies. It wont stop the sales directly but it would almost certainly make potential investors so leery that the NACTs would have to withdraw the project. And even if it didn’t work we could still re-nationalise, even if we have to wait 3-6 years to do so; if Argentina can take their oil industry back, we can take our electricity back.

    On the other hand I’d be happy to flog off AirNZ; it’s a sunset industry, let someone else carry the losses.

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  2. That must rate as the most delusional comment ever about Air NZ. Out of interest, what would the loss of Air NZ do for the tourist industy. I take it you support the total collapse of that? How would visitors to NZ get here? By waka? organic powered motor boat?

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  3. It wont stop the sales directly but it would almost certainly make potential investors so leery that the NACTs would have to withdraw the project.

    I’m not convinced that kind of investor thinks about it in so much depth, or (if they do) believes there could ever be such a thing as a ‘green led government’. If it’s such a problem they’ll just complain about their rights being abused when it does happen. But if it ever happened, consider that you’re an investor in a power company, or any company, at the time that a government’s elected with a firm policy of nationalising the very company you bought shares in, no matter what the cost: You might just be about to make a truck-load of money in capital gain.

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  4. Investors would only make capital gains if shares were redeemed at market value; redeemed at face value only would cost them.

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  5. rjs131

    Selling AirNZ isn’t the same as closing it down. For as long as there’s a business case to be made the new owners will continue to ferry tourists here; also, we don’t have to sell all of it, or even in one go, several bites over several years is quite acceptable. Furthermore, the tourist industry was in good heart even before Michael Cullen bailed the company out after the Ansett fiasco; there’s no reason to expect any changes due to new ownership barring asset stripping.

    But for several years the Greens have been warning that the days of cheap air travel are coming to an end, as fuel costs increase leaving only the wealthy able to afford air travel. Just look at the European fuel tax, the departure taxes in the UK, the increased baggage charges in the USA; the writing is on the wall which is why I call air travel a sunset industry.

    As for waka travel, what a good idea; you’ve identified an excellent opportunity for some entrepreneur to expand the offerings of adventure tourism.

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  6. michaela says “I think that the Greens should announce that any future Green led government will re-nationalise the power companies.”

    Do you really think the Greens are stupid enough to announce to the world that they would run New Zealand like a dictator runs a banana republic?

    Though they did push through the anti-smacking bill, and ignored the petition against it, and now complain asset sales are anti-democratic, and have flip-flopped in their attitude towards petitions.

    Similarly we can have a 49% partial asset sale by National and the Greens spend a fortune on a petition, but not a whisper against a 49% partial asset sales when it was a Labour Govt doing the selling (i.e. in 2007).

    So the Greens are now for democracy, for respecting petitions, and against asset sales, but took the opposite positions when it suited.

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  7. Similarly we can have a 49% partial asset sale by National and the Greens spend a fortune on a petition, but not a whisper against a 49% partial asset sales when it was a Labour Govt doing the selling (i.e. in 2007).

    I’m no expert, but I did a quick search of Greens’ press releases in 2007:

    * 23-July-2007: Auckland Airport sell-off has risks for tourist industry.

    * 1-Aug-2007: Greens hope to tighten Overseas Investment Rules.

    * 6-Aug-2007: Parliament called on to stop airport sale.

    Of course that wasn’t so much about the government owning the airport as wanting to protect it from foreign control.

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  8. Photo. Banana republics like Argentina you mean?
    Seems to me they stopped being a Banana republic when they told the banks to get lost and started re-nationalising their own assets.

    Did you know how original definition of a banana republic came about?
    It was a State where the Government was changed at the whim of US corporate banana companies. Like New Zealand is becoming.

    I do agree about Greens being two faced about democracy, with the “give the cops more powers to harass poor people bill”. Otherwise known as the anti-smacking bill.

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  9. “How would visitors to NZ get here? By waka? organic powered motor boat?”

    Possibly, but more likely the poor sods would be forced to take Emirates, Qantas, Thai, Air Asia or one of the other airlines that fly to New Zealand (as most tourists already do, in case you haven’t noticed).

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  10. BTW, there’s a partial list of nationalisation events here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalization

    Seems to include pretty much every large economy in the world, though not so many so-called ‘Banana Republics’ – they tend to figure more prominently in lists of privatisations.

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  11. Possibly, but more likely the poor sods would be forced to take Emirates, Qantas, Thai, Air Asia or one of the other airlines that fly to New Zealand (as most tourists already do, in case you haven’t noticed).

    But… But… how could they possibly get to Taupo to walk the Tongariro Northern Circuit without Air New Zealand?? :-P

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  12. “But… But… how could they possibly get to Taupo to walk the Tongariro Northern Circuit without Air New Zealand??”

    That’s the typical socialistic comment I expect from Green party watermelons. The ‘Tongariro Northern Circuit’ is a socialist fantasy, constructed by a government department at taxpayer’s expense and should be closed down, and the land returned to its owners, Tuwharetoa, who only donated it to the nation after communist brainwashing. The government should have sternly told them they weren’t in the business of owning land for the benefit of society (which doesn’t exist). Taupo should also be closed down as its existence relies on a socialist roading programme of dubious economic value. If the cafe owners of Taupo want business they should build their own roads, not sponge off the taxpayer. These and other measures will ensure the government get’s off the back of the tourist industry, which will consequently thrive. :-P

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  13. Oh, and yeah, your link to the ‘conservation partnership’ between DOC and Air New Zealand is pretty scary. It’s up there with the “if I can’t drive my 4WD around the bush, my kids won’t get to experience nature” comment I rad in an Aussie magazine some years back.

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  14. Heh. I found it interesting in a sense how Air New Zealand’s now bought itself preferential advertising space in a government website where flying straight in and out of places for short targeted visits is being pushed over other options. Previously DoC might have listed options but wouldn’t typically endorse one over another unless there were objective reasons in visitors’ interests. It’s beyond Air NZ just making a big noise about how it’s being nice to the environment, and I guess the paid-for endorsement from DoC is exactly the sort of kick-back Air NZ wants for its cash. Maybe there are other precedents and it won’t amount to much long term but I’m uneasy on first seeing it.

    And I can appreciate the Aussie comment from what I’ve seen in Victoria, at least, where there’s still a massive 4WD with the boat and/or family tent culture and where the entire state spokes out of a central Melbourne super-city. Even the bushwalking clubs tend to focus on what are called base-camps where they’ll drive to a campsite for a weekend or longer and wander off doing shorter walks each day, and that’s entirely different from what’s encouraged in NZ. Big cars are still seen as everything for anyone who wants to go anywhere outside of the metro area.

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  15. Kerry says “Banana republics like Argentina you mean?”

    Funny you hold Argentina up as a beacon. When you visit there after being next door in Chile, you’d think you just gone back in time 30 years. Everything is old and dilapidated and doesn’t work.

    As for the nationalised Aerolineas – it’s the worst airline I’ve been on, ever. It makes Jetstar look upmarket, on time, and friendly.

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  16. Interesting you think shiny new airports paid for with offshore borrowing beats having your people fed and housed.

    Like the NACT’s putting up monuments to the Rugby Union in Christchurch, while families still have to go to the end of the street to shower and toilet.

    Give them a chance. It has taken until now just to pay off their version of our asset thieves.

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  17. Interesting you think shiny new airports paid for with offshore borrowing beats having your people fed and housed.

    Like the NACT’s putting up monuments to the Rugby Union in Christchurch, while families still have to go to the end of the street to shower and toilet.

    Give them a chance. It has taken until now just to pay off their version of our asset thieves.

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  18. Well done.
    They really don’t have a clue do they.
    The National Standards is impacting on children as well, perfectly capable kids developing at their natural rates being labelled as failures at the start of life if they don’t fit in the system’s arbitrary straight jacket.
    The Key government seems to be modeling itself on Plato’a ‘Republic’. Use education to maintain Power to the powerful.

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  19. Absolutely the greens should announce that any shares sold in the energy soes will be repurchased if and when the opportunity arises, and at a price that is the lower of the issue price or the current market price.

    I am very disappointed to see Russell Norman arguing otherwise.

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  20. Hi catherine
    I am wanting to help get signatures for this petition. Would you be able to help me get set up please? Like what info do i need to get and then where do i send this info?

    Thanks

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