April 27th: National day of action against asset sales

Its time for the Government to listen to the majority of Aotearoa/NZ. Want to organise a protest in a smaller town? Contact Joe at 029 4455702.

Auckland- Britomart 2pm.

Wellington- Pigeon Park, 2pm

Tauranga- Red Square, 10am

Napier- War Memorial Square, 2pm

Christchurch- corner Deans Ave & Riccarton Road to Hanmer Hot Springs Hotel, 2pm
Christchurch/Hanmer- Hanmer Hot Springs Hotel (National Party regional conference) April 27th-28th

Dunedin- Octagon, 2pm

Nelson- Millers Acre, 12pm

Tens of thousands challenge asset sales

anfs-hikoi-parliament

This article by Jared Phillips, member of Fightback, was originally published by the Socialist Party of Australia.

 

At the beginning of 2011 the ruling National Party in New Zealand (Aotearoa) announced electoral policy for the partial sale of several major state assets including the Solid Energy coal company, Air New Zealand, and three major power companies – Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy, and Genesis Energy.

After its re-election and the formation of a coalition government with the ACT party and the Maori Party in late-2011, the government has pursued the sale despite the policy being very unpopular.

A TV3 poll conducted in early 2012 found that only 35% of people surveyed agreed with the sales while 3.5% were unsure and 63% opposed the sales. As a consequence a broad opposition of diverse forces has formed and driven a struggle on the streets, in the courts, and by successfully pushing for a referendum on the issue.

The stated aim of the part sale of these assets is to free up $10 billion (NZD) to reduce government debt and establish a surplus by 2013/2014. In relation to the sales Prime Minister John Key stated, “Weaker global growth, particularly in our key export markets in Asia and Australia, will put downward pressure on the demand for our exports. That will have a real and noticeable effect on the New Zealand economy, which is expected to grow somewhat slower than was predicted at the end of 2011.”

This demonstrates the connection between the world economic crisis and the asset sales. It shows that the ruling National Party is prepared to carry out policies which force ordinary people to pay for the impact of the world economic crisis. [Read more...]

State-owned assets: No to confiscation, yes to collective control

Police Minister Judith Collins, broadcaster Paul Holmes, State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall, Prime Minister John Key and MP Peter Dunne

Ian Anderson

The National government has introduced plans to sell 49% shares in state-owned enterprises to private investors. Many on the left call for “New Zealand ownership,” but the real issue here is corporatisation of resources; whether by Kiwi or international investors.

National describes their plans as a “mixed ownership model,” claiming they’ll cap investment by any one company at 10%, and that 85-90% of shares will be held by Kiwi “mum and dad” investors. However investigation by the Ombudsman reveals that Treasury has no evidence for these claims. Only a small minority of investors will benefit from these sales. [Read more...]

Leaflet: No to asset sales

If assets are in private hands, whether foreign or New Zealand owned, they only care about three things – (1) profit, (2) profit and (3) profit.

-Hone Harawira

State-owned enterprises, originally introduced under Rogernomics, are a backdoor to privatisation. Run primarily for profit, they don’t care about:

  • Cost of living: cutting your power off if you can’t afford to pay.

    strike against Solid Energy contractor

  • Workers’ rights: contracting out employment to avoid accountability. 1000 mine workers went on strike in 2009 against sub-contractor HWE Mining.
  • Ecological destruction: Solid Energy is the largest coal mining company in New Zealand.
  • Tino rangatiratanga: they carry all this out on enclosed, confiscated land.

By selling controlling shares in State-Owned Enterprises, National plans to remove further barriers to smooth, unaccountable business operations.

Ombudsman investigation revealed no evidence for National’s claims of a 10% cap on shares held by any one company, or 85-90% control by ’mum and dad’ investors. With greater control by private business, social and ecological impacts will be externalised.

One million non-voters, the lowest turnout since women won the right to vote, is no mandate for this.

Yes to community control
In the short term we must organise to stop asset sales.

In the long term, we need workers’ and consumers’ control of public utilities.

If you agree, get involved.

pdf here

Auckland hui on asset sales: “One million non-voters is not a mandate”

Mike Kay

The Auckland Māori consultation hui on state asset sales took place yesterday at Tainui’s Airport Novotel under heavy police and Māori warden presence. The hui revealed universal dissatisfaction from Māori about the government’s plans, but also exposed important class divisions within Māoridom itself.

In his opening presentation, Minister for SOEs Tony Ryall stated that the controversial Section 9 will stay in the SOE Act, and that the government had “got the message on that.” Section 9 provides that “nothing in this Act shall permit the Crown to act in a manner that is inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.” Whilst the audience made it clear that Section 9 should also apply to the new legislation enabling partial sell-offs of state assets, the debate that followed rapidly broke out of the bureaucratic parameters that the government had laid down for the hui.

A Mana Movement member asked Ryall what guarantees that, after these sell-offs, the government wouldn’t sell more. His response was that the government only had a mandate to sell a 49% stake in each of the power companies, and the rest of its stake in Air New Zealand. The questioner replied that they were already privatising further by selling off state housing in her neighbourhood of Glen Innes. Ryall reiterated that the general election had given them a mandate, whereupon a Workers Party member interjected that “one million non-voters is not a mandate!”

[Read more...]

Rally: For Public Assets

If assets are in private hands, whether foreign or New Zealand owned, they only care about three things – (1) profit, (2) profit and (3) profit.

-Hone Harawira

2pm Wednesday, February 15
Te Puni Kokiri – Ministry of Maori Development
Corner of Lambton Quay & Stout Street, Wellington
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