Right wing confusion over NZ Power | The Jackal

4 May 2013

Right wing confusion over NZ Power

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Investors in Mighty River Power should send the champagne next week to Russel Norman, Green Party, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

The stock looked a good buy even before he talked the Labour Party into threatening price control on electricity. It looks an even better one now.

What a confusing statement. Roughan is basically saying that the Labour and Greens policy announcement concerning NZ Power has caused the share price of Mighty River Power to drop, but is then saying that's a good thing for people buying shares because they will be cheaper. He then says it's a bad thing:

Brokers and fund managers expect the bids from institutions to be at the bottom or even below the range the Government considers fair value. Taxpayers should send the Greens' financial larrikin something else - a bill.

Brian Gaynor has estimated the likely cost to the public purse at $400 million.

Leaving aside the fact that National said they wouldn't partially privatise unless they got a fair price, where on earth has Gaynor pulled that $400 million figure out from? The actual estimated reduction to the government's books is $60 to $90 million, which is easily reimbursed to taxpayers through cheaper power prices.

Roughan then claims there is no real risk from the policy announcement:

When the stock starts trading on the New Zealand and Australian exchanges, probably on Friday, we could begin to see the "significant upside", as they say. But it might take a little longer for the price to rise, as it will when those who were too nervous to subscribe this week reassess the political risk.

The right wing hack is basically arguing that there will be no long-term adverse effect from the NZ Power announcement on the value of shares, and they will significantly increase in value making investment worthwhile.

That doesn't just contradict what most other right wing propagandist's have been claiming for week's on end, it makes their argument against NZ Power largely ineffectual. Will NZ Power cause the stock market to crash or not?

Roughan's argument, like most other deluded right wingers, is entirely based on a what if scenario, which basically amounts to making financial investment decisions on par with fortune telling.

Let's see what else Roughan's crystal ball gazing foretells:

Before the electricity market could be replaced with a state-controlled pricing regime, two things would need to happen. Labour and the Greens would need to win the next election, and if they did they would need to carry out this policy. Neither, I think, is likely.

Claiming that Labour and the Greens won't form the next government is all a bit premature... But claiming that they won't implement their policy to lower the cost of electricity if elected is down right insane! This is a policy both parties will campaign on, and the public will therefore expect it to be undertaken if Labour and the Greens win the next general election.

But what's perhaps even more delusional is why Roughan thinks National is a certain shoe-in:

John Key remains the most widely admired of any New Zealand Prime Minister I have seen. National continues to lead all polls by a margin that is remarkable five years into the life of a government.

Unless something disastrous happens, he looks certain to win again next year.

A mighty big claim 18 months out from the next general election, especially considering what the polling trend is showing. Here's the latest Roy Morgan:

Although National has substantially increased their vote, the low support for governing Coalition partners the Maori Party, ACT NZ and United Future mean a combined Labour/ Greens/ New Zealand First coalition remains a good chance of forming Government after the next New Zealand Election — due late next year.

Despite that statistical analysis showing National would lose, the ignorant propagandist believes:

Democracies, though, have an uncanny habit of getting the governments they want, and we don't seem to like coalitions at all, let alone coalitions of second and third. We have consistently punished smaller partners and let the leading party govern alone for all practical purposes.

National certainly aren't governing alone, and require the help of John Banks, Peter Dunne and/or the Maori party to pass legislation. We actually have a coalition government at the moment elected by 24% of New Zealanders.

That fact doesn't just make John Roughan look a little bit confused it makes him appear to be entirely mental! As Gary Morgan highlights, it's the declining support for National's coalition partners that could be the decider, and with things not looking good for them, John Key being reelected is not a certainty.

All Roughan's article really does is stroke the egos of those rich enough to invest in Mighty River Power, who are likely to support National anyway, while trying to blame the opposition for any possible issue the share offer faces.

Similarly, Fran O'Sullivan's article also dismisses NZ Power without justification. For instance, she completely fails to acknowledge the reason behind the policy in the first place, which is to reduce the extensive energy poverty in New Zealand so that people can heat their homes properly.

But if that ignorance of the key issue here wasn't bad enough, O'Sullivan seems to believe that Labour and the Greens somehow owe those who have caused such inequality in the first place an explanation and say in their socially conscious policy:

There certainly are genuine business concerns at the precedent the two parties have set by their announcement to set up NZ Power to constrain electricity market prices, without even discussing the proposed and complex policy with key players.

Whoever O'Sullivan's "key players" are, they certainly don't have the best interests of the public at heart if they're against such considerate and moderate policy.

NZ Power is definitely not a "precedent" by any stretch of the imagination, and similar regulators are pretty normal in many other successful democracies around the world. By all accounts such systems work well to ensure consumers are supplied with affordable electricity.

O'Sullivan, like all the other National propagandists, is ignoring that fact like the plague. It also doesn't seem to matter to them that the policy behind NZ Power was proposed by the Ministry of Economic Development in their Review of the New Zealand Electricity Market (PDF) way back in 2006.

That well researched document looked at alternative models to benefit New Zealand, with a single buyer model being the result.

If you want to know just how much bullshit the right wing has been spreading about NZ Power, I suggest you read what the actual research is showing along with the Greens discussion paper (PDF) on the matter.

Another issue the right wing is ignoring is that most of our trading partners have recently gone back into recession, meaning there will be less foreign investment to ensure the government gets a fair price. Despite this glaringly obvious problem, O'Sullivan lays all the blame for the Mighty River Power share offer potentially failing on the opposition:

There's been plenty of back-of-the envelope estimates suggesting the Government could lose out on at least $400 million and possibly a much higher amount if the MRP float bombs and the shares don't reach the predicted price band. Other estimations - including that relayed by the business lobbies - suggest $1.4 billion could be wiped off the value of private power companies and a similar amount from the taxpayer-owned companies which will go on the block.

Next week, it will be apparent to what extent the Opposition's proposed intervention has affected values.

Things like the increased productivity from having a healthier population because NZ Power will allow for people to heat their homes properly is obviously of no concern to O'Sullivan. Nor is it a problem for these elitists that New Zealand is now the second most expensive developed country in the world to live in. They only care about the profits to be made from selling our assets, which will be of no benefit to the majority of Kiwi families.

In many respects the right wing doesn't share in the values that have made this country great. They seem to regard fairness and equality as principles that don't apply when it benefits their bank accounts. That lack of sympathy or social conscience clearly displays a complete disconnect between the right wing's spin doctors and your average Kiwi family, who's cost of living has increased while wages and opportunities for work continue to decline under a National coalition government.

The degree of the current governments failure to make people's lives better will decide the next election, not the rampant and baseless ranting's from right wing hacks like Roughan and O'Sullivan who wouldn't know the truth if it bit them on the ass!