Bill English - Asshole of the Week | The Jackal

24 Feb 2012

Bill English - Asshole of the Week

Last night, the National party website reported:

Opponents of the Government’s mixed ownership programme need to explain to New Zealanders why it would be better to borrow an extra $5 billion to $7 billion from overseas lenders, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Now hang on a second... there's still unanswered questions concerning National over-estimating the potential revenue gained if they partly privatise our SOE's. Firstly, their midrange $6 billion estimate was shown to be $800 million over and above the $5.2 billion book value.

In the current stagnant economic climate, how can National expect to gain more than the book value and why are they still promoting a falsehood?

Last Friday, the NZ Herald reported:

Mr English said the Treasury "had to pick a number" so they picked the mid-point of the range.

"If we did get $6 billion, that would be a gain of sale [of $800 million] which is just a product of the accounting.

"I just want to emphasise that it is not our best guess; it's just a guess. It's just to put some numbers in that look like they might be roughly right for forecasting purposes.

"That's an honest answer."

Talk about creative accounting. It's a pity English wasn't honest about the potential sales revenue prior to the last election... you now, the election that apparently gave National a mandate to sell our assets.

Not only did the assholes garner more votes because of their lies, their over-estimating the sale proceeds means they get to say there's a saving of $266 million in interest payments on government debt.

They're also saying they will spend all the money gained on purchasing other taxpayer owned assets FFS! It simply does not compute... will they purchase more tax payer owned assets or pay down debt with the revenue gained?

Last Friday, The Standard reported:

If you want a real estimate of what Treasury thinks asset sales will bring in, look in the PREFU. It has the new capital spending allowance (rebranded the Future Investment Fund by National) being paid for by just $3.86b of ‘balance sheet funding’ (ie asset sales).


Then, they’ve under-estimated the dividends and retained profits, which the buyer gets in the form of a higher share price. In the past five years, the dividend flow from the shares National wants to sell has averaged $326m but they’ve only booked $200m a year in lost dividends in 2016.

So National is planning to sell our assets at a loss. They are completely ignoring the fact that it is cheaper to pay the interest on the debt to service new capital expenditure than it is to lose the revenue streams from the SOE's. How many people would have voted for asset sales if they knew it was going to cost New Zealand money?

The PREFU shows that the estimate is overstated by as much as $3.14 billion. There's also a huge cost in getting the SOE's sold that has not been factored in. But as hard as it is to believe, National's blatant propaganda gets even worse:

“Taxpayers own $245 billion of assets, and this is forecast to grow to $267 billion over the next four years. So we are not reducing our assets. Our challenge is how we pay for their growth, while getting on top of our debt.”

He's actually arguing that funding irrigation systems for farmers is somehow better than retaining our power companies in public ownership. Personally I don't want my power bill to increase dramatically and think that farmers should pay for their own damn irrigation systems.

National simply want another transference of money from the public to the already wealthy. They're obviously unsatisfied with the last round of tax cuts for the rich, which cost us $1.1 billion in the first nine months... they want more.

Despite the recent exponential growth in inequality in New Zealand, National's irrational financial reasoning continues:

The rationale for offering New Zealanders minority stakes in four energy companies and Air New Zealand is quite simple, Mr English says.

“First, the Government gets to free up $5 billion to $7 billion – less than 3 per cent of its total assets – to invest in other public assets like modern schools and hospitals, without having to borrow in volatile overseas markets.

Well since the puppet like English has raised the subject; the government's net debt has increased to FIFTY BILLION FUCKING DOLLARS. That's an increase of 190% in National's first term as government. In comparison, the net debt under the last Labour government increased by only 5.3% in nine years.

English then rambles on about being confident New Zealander's will retain 85-90% of shares, forgetting that State Services Minister Tony Ryall had previously said there was no guarantee of this. English even says there will be greater transparency, when there is going to be less transparency because private companies are not bound by things like the Official Information Act 1982 (PDF).

National need to explain why they're still promoting falsehoods about the potential returns from MOM asset sales, why they've dramatically devalued the current dividends and how they've managed to borrow $50 billion with practically nothing to show for it? There are huge risks involved in borrowing so much money, especially when there's increased interest payable now that New Zealand has experienced (thanks to National) a couple of credit downgrades.

Somehow I doubt the Pinnocchio like English has the ability to honestly explain why he's been lying... and for that he's most assuredly an asshole!